Stone Soup for Five: Part 3--All about clothes and a capsule wardrobe

Part 3--All about clothes and a capsule wardrobe

In the series through Puritan Theologian Richard Baxter's Essay, "Directions for the Holy Spending of Every Day", we are now up to Direction 3.  Which is also the Direction that had me completely gut my closet and re-think everything I've ever thought about clothes.  True, my tangent isn't exactly (or at all) related to the Holy Spending of Each Day, but let's roll with it...

Direction 3:  Resolve, that pride and the fashions of the times shall never tempt you into such a garb of attire, as will make you long in dressing in the morning; but wear such clothing as is soon put on.  It is dear-bought 'decency' as they will needs call it, which must cost every day an hour's or a quarter of and hour's time:  I had rather go as the wild Indians, than have those morning hours to answer for, as too many ladies and other gallants have.
My translation:

Direction 3:  Commit to dressing simply, easily, and appropriately and don't be tempted by all the latest "must have" fashions of the season.  Wear outfits that are nice, well cared for, and appropriate, but not clothes that cost a small fortune to buy and hardly any occasion to wear.  Show discernment, discipline, and thoughtfulness in your wardrobe.  Simplify.  (And get RID of all the stuff you have in your closet that you hate, is worn out, or doesn't look good anymore.)

As I was writing this, I was thinking about what Baxter meant about dress.  Back in the 1600's people spent a crazy amount of time dressing with all the fuss and fanciness of corsets, layers, buttons, and more layers.  He was talking about getting dressed in all those layers and how long it would take people to just get ready in the morning.

We, obviously, don't have that problem.  Our society has gotten more and more casual, to the point now where it is not unusual at all to see someone in the store in pajama bottoms, or pastors at the pulpit with jeans and a t-shirt.  I'm all for casual (to a point-pajamas in public is pushing it), so our struggle isn't going to be in this area.

I'm a a jeans and tee shirt girl and I really do need to get a better wardrobe, but I've got a lot working against me:  I'm not a stylist, I'm plus-sized, and really didn't know where to start.  So while thinking through this blog post, I was researching wardrobe essentials and came across the idea of a capsule, or minimalist, wardrobe.

The capsule wardrobe is a small number of essential pieces that you can endlessly mix and match for a variety of outfits.  My usual plan for buying clothes was wait till I needed something desperately (or until I would feel helpless when I looked at my closet full of clothes I hated) and then run to goodwill or the thrift store, and hope I found something that would be halfway decent, but was still the same variation on my jeans, t-shirt, or sweatshirt frump theme.  I ended up with a closet of ill fitting and bad looking clothes that made me sad.

So this weekend I gutted all the stuff that I didn't like, kept the 2 or 3 things that I did, and went on a hunt for something affordable, flattering, and that would fit into the basics of a capsule wardrobe that I could start building.  I put all my old clothes into storage in our garage, so if I do need something, I can get it out, but if I don't go back for any of them, I'll donate them all.  I started my search started online and I found a great new and very affordable line of plus-sized clothes at Target called Ava and Viv.  Cute, inexpensive, and realistic. Not frumpy, not fashion-y.  Just right, I think.  So I'll add one piece or so every paycheck and see how it goes.

I'm by no means a fashion blogger, and I have next to no sense of style, and for years I haven't really cared much at all (except when a wedding, funeral, or Sunday rolled around).  My goal here is to keep things simple, have a purposeful spending plan, and a organized and coordinated wardrobe that will help me dress well, but simply, and quickly.  I want to get on with life, enjoy it, and look halfway decent while I'm doing it. I hope that's not an impossible task!


  1. LOVED this post! You're inspiring me!

  2. I ended up here accidentally while doing a Google search for something else, and HOORAY! You may be what I needed today. Your story is so similar to mine. I have a challenging body to dress... I'm too narrow in the shoulders for the plus size store, so I end up with a LOT of cleavage (NO!) and too thick in the hips for the regular stores. It's a spiritual journey for me to love this body... the one that looks like my sweet Mom's, and which I've seen her battle like it was an enemy. The same body that nurtured four babies; the best work any body could do. I could go on about the amazing things my body has done and places it has taken me, but this is the internet. ;-) A couple of years ago I decided it deserved better than ill-fitting thrift store clothes, as well, and determined to buy new, good quality items and take care of them. The challenge has been that I dislike shopping. I am still on the journey, I suppose. Bought a beautiful sweater a couple of weeks ago at an import store that I love, and that I get complimented on (what!!!??? New experience) for the flattering color. That feels like God-pleasing humility to me. Now to stumble upon more lovely things on the way to a toy store!! Blessings for sharing.

  3. I got a pair of Ava and Viv jeans a few weeks ago and really like them. You have a great plan! Another good place to look that is affordable is Dress Barn. (I hate that name!) But they have half of the store dedicated to plus sizes and have some good basic pieces. They also have coupons. :-)

  4. Capsule wardrobe for the win! So glad you're finding things that work for you. It's so much easier when the closet isn't crammed full of stuff ya hate!

  5. I will admit it. I like looking nice. I honestly don't really get much done if I dress sloppy for some reason. Most of my wardrobe is tank tops, jeans, skirts, and cardigans/sweaters. I have some dressy tops that I save for nice occasions. Personally, I usually can't find clothes that fit at the thrift store (tall and skinny over here), so I have to shell out some cash for clothes that fit and I like. I guess it's paying off. :-D My guitar teacher complimented me on how I'm always dressed nice and 'classy.' lol That was the first compliment I've gotten from anyone (other than ones I've fished for from my husband lol) in a loooong time.

  6. Kari, once again you have spoken to my heart. I, too, run to Goodwill and end up with a closet full of junk. I had no idea they had this brand at Target. Since it's my birthday tomorrow, I am going to treat myself to a new outfit. No more frump girl. When I feel good on the inside and look good on the outside I can reflect Him just a little bit more!

  7. How timely! Earlier this month I began writing down my ideas for a capsule wardrobe in my bullet journal including my preferred color palette. I want to spend less time choosing my clothing and wear my favorites more often. Then I did a Konmari on my closet and I'm enjoying the fruit of my labor!


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