Intrigued by the idea of dresses-only capsule (or wardrobe in general), in October I set out to give it a try with seven dresses of varying warmth that should have carried me from the still very warm October till December. Now comfortably in my Riga capsule lounge wear and under a blanket, here are the main lessons learnt from this little experiment:
1) I was bored and missed my separates.
2) Most of them (4/7) were sub-optimal and will be sent upstate for a better life.
3) However, I love that each of them came from a person I know, so they have actual names.
Boom! Now what? Well, let me tell you about them, both those who have proved to be my wardrobe champions and those that will be up for grabs in the next swap:
Ginta’s blue dress: the dark blue silk dress made and worn ~20 years ago by my mom is the winner. It feels amazing on skin, is just the right size, and I feel artsy and fierce when wearing it. I started wearing it only this summer and it already has 33 wears. And, being the perfect summer dress to look put together even in Barcelona heat, will get many more.
Ginta’s plaid dress: The plaid Wizard of Oz reminding “we’re not in Kansas anymore” is a fast-fashion hand-me-down from my mom I adopted in 2016 and have worn 43 times. It’s a great summer semi-formal (again, very few items manage not to kill you and still look smart in Barcelona summer) and can be worn year-round, has pockets and whirls. This is one of those paradoxical dresses that looks like an effort while feels like pajamas. A gem!
Inga’s PhD dress: The plastic fake wrap dress was a random hand-me-down from my aunt in 2014. She had got in a second-hand raffle of sorts, it looked meh on her and great on me, so I got it with a suggestion to defend my thesis in this one. More than 40 wears later, it’s the perfect no-wrinkle cold weather dress that I might actually defend my thesis in.
Laura’s polka dot dress: I fell for this one during the September swap. Oh, the color, the dots, the flow! I felt like figure skater while wearing it… But it’s 100% polyester and can feel rather suffocating (I’m still not really getting the whole “let’s make summer dresses from plastic” logic), plus the top kept slipping down my shoulders together with the bra straps. And just when I was really proud of having put in the bra-strap fixers, the rubber giving shape to the waist snapped. The dress is now queuing at the seamstress’ for a fix and then will be looking for a new home. I understand that the slipping top was the main issue why Laura gave it away, so now she can come get it!
I’m incredibly proud for having done this!
Marina’s bow dress: I adopted this one from Marina’s wardrobe a bit too hastily. I get excited, what can I say! It’s 100% poly and ultra-short. Despite the melting polyester (already two visits to seamstress), this dress is clearly keen on travel. As Marina said: “I bought it on ASOS on sale in April 2011 when I lived in London. She had many outings and came with me on vacations to Italy and Egypt. She made a couple appearances in New York but after hanging in the closet for a year, it earned a new life with you!” Add to that life in Barcelona and a trip to South Africa. So, if you’d like a short semi-formal with lust for travel, this might be just the right dress for you!
Taking the dress out for two vegan ice creams in Cape Town.
Liisa’s lace dress: Liisa brought this M&S dress to January’s swap and I picked it up, because who could resist dressing like a bridesmaid for work? Not me, clearly. And only in this autumn – after 20 wears – it showed that everyday life is not what this dress was made for. I’ve literally (and accidentally) felted on it a whole layer of pink pills from my pink cardigan, and that’s just not OK. So bye-bye it goes…
Marina’s blue bodycon: Oh, the tight winter bodycon! We’ve loved each other for 20 wears, but have to admit that you need somebody that either sweats less or lives somewhere colder than Barcelona. Good luck, my little plastic friend!
What garment lessons have you learnt in the last few months? What are your plans for 2018? Have you ever thought of a uniform or capsule containing only one type of garments?