I’m a busy mom with a toddler and limited time to spend on getting ready in the morning, so I tend to choose outfits that are comfortable and easy to put together. I have found that planning my outfits the night or even a few days in advance and doing my hair the night before helps me get ready in less than 15 minutes the following morning. Although many of the items below were bought secondhand, I hope that these outfits get you thinking about creative ways you can use clothing you already have as well as ideas for items that might fill some gaps within your wardrobe.
It’s that time of year when photographers are booked–shooting three, four, sometimes five shoots in one day. If you live in a state with seasons, the green leaves are most likely fading into shades of crimson, persimmon, and gold and the air has a bit of bite to it. You may have scheduled family pictures, but now it is the week of and you have absolutely no idea what to wear. You try on outfit after outfit and all of a sudden decide that you don’t like any of your clothes, your hair needs cut, and the thought of putting together a cohesive group of outfits feels more daunting than Everest. Yeah, I’ve been there, too.
I’ve never really been a “jewelry” girl until recently. My mom is someone who wears jewelry really well. She has a small collection of dainty pieces ranging from hoops to studs to teardrop necklaces to pearls. Her pieces are minimal, carefully chosen, and compliment her outfits as opposed to distracting them. I’ve been learning recently how jewelry can be seen as an investment and collection of heirloom pieces with special meaning tied to their value.
One item that I have been wanting to add to my wardrobe is a new pair of walking shoes. I have an old hot pink and blue running shoe from when I was in high school cross country and a barely-holding-on pair of grey walking shoes that I bought a few years prior. I wear these grey shoes with jeans, shorts, and when working outside. They are still usable for yard work but definitely look a little raggedy when paired with jeans and a pullover. Allbirds generously gifted me a pair of their beautiful and functional shoes. I chose their white wool runners because I knew that they would blend well with the items I already owned and would dress up even a casual jeans and tee outfit.
Today is the day, friends! At 12 pm CST, I am officially relaunching my handmade clothing shop–Elsie James Clothing. For those of you who have been following along for some time, you probably know most of the story behind my brand. But if you’re new, I wanted to provided a brief synopsis of the who, what, where, when, why, and how of this passion project of mine.
Last year, I remember staring at closet overflowing with clothing that I didn’t like and didn’t wear. I had just given birth to my son a few months prior, and a lot of the clothes that I had worn before no longer fit well or were nursing friendly. We were also several months into covid, and I found myself living in oversized shirts with holes and stained sweats with pilling fabric. I didn’t feel put together or confident and even though I really wasn’t going anywhere, I wanted to feel not only comfortable but also classy in the clothing that I owned.
I had the privilege of “meeting” Fausthyara via Instagram a little over a year ago. She is someone who I look up to in so many ways–as a follower of Jesus, as a mom, and as a person in general! Fausthyara and I got connected because of our mutual love for small shops. She has a lot of experience as a brand rep for several handmade clothing shops, including my own. She is an incredibly talented photographer and has an eye for design and pairing pieces of clothing together–both old and new.
It took a lot of frustrating moments at naptime, bedtime, and on weekends, but I slowly got the hang of it. And I quickly became addicted to learning everything there was to know about sewing. I made a lot of mistakes and wasted some money on cheap products that broke after a few uses. Here’s what I wish I had when I first learned to sew:
I’m a part of several online sewing groups, and I was always amazed by the beautiful capsule wardrobes that other moms were making for their kids. Yet, whenever I tried to plan one for my own son, I got overwhelmed by all of the fabric options, pattern options, and the combination of the two.
I decided to come up with a plan and process to not only help me build his current capsule but to refer back to for future seasons. If you sew, I hope that you can take some of these ideas and tweak them to make them your own. If you don’t sew and have no plans to start sewing, don’t stop reading! You can still follow these steps to plan out a capsule, you just will replace the sewing part with shopping! In the past, I did a combination of new, thrifted, and handmade items for my son each season. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to make a cohesive seasonal capsule!
I am at a time of my life where I recently had a baby and hope to have more, so part of me just wants to wait until this phase of my life is over so that I can buy clothes that will fit for longer than a few months. But, I also don’t want to wait 10 years to feel confident and put-together, so I am working on building and creating a capsule wardrobe with pieces that will last during various seasons of my life. This means silhouettes that can accommodate a pregnant belly, shirts that are breastfeeding friendly, and loose tops or wrap shirts that are flattering with my current measurements. I also am trying to find pieces that can be worn between as many seasons as possible–materials that are breathable for the summer but can be layered for the cooler months. So, whether you are in a season of life similar to my own or just want to build a versatile capsule wardrobe, here are my top 5 capsule wardrobe pieces that I wear all the time, in almost any season!