Real World Capsule Wardrobe: Spring Edition

In mid January, my husband and I beat it out of Baltimore and headed to Key West, Florida for six weeks. Like 65% of American office workers, we’ve been home for the last year and just needed a change of scenery. My in-laws live 60% of the year in Key West and now consider it their primary residence, but came back to Maryland in June 2020 with no intention of going back until they are both vaccinated. We took advantage of the rent free condo in the new year, took a few days to drive down and played summer home for a month in mid winter.

This last year I’ve sewn with a particular focus on plugging wardrobe holes, defining my personal style and sewing from a coordinated color palette. I’ve learned so much about me during the process using the following books: Curated Closet, Triumph of Individual Style and the Your Color Style color palette.

Hello from Florida

While I’ve been sewing these clothes, I wasn’t wearing them much because they seemed too nice to wear inside? So I brought them down with me to Florida. I can say after being one with 75% of spring/summer wardrobe, I’m really happy with the changes I’ve made.

What’s good:

I have separates and my clothes coordinate! Prior to this, I regularly sewed orphans and always felt like I didn’t have the right thing to wear. I’d have lots of dresses but nothing when I needed casual. I’d have jeans but no slacks. I’d have formal but no cocktail. It would be hot and my clothes weren’t for the right temperatures. This just wasn’t really a problem for me this time. I found color and outfit combos I hadn’t expected, just because I made myself sew from a strict color palette.

Unusual color pairing for me that I loved

What I can improve:

Well, turns out I like olive a lot, lol. I’m taking Cool White out of my Main Color palette because I’m just never going to make a white predominate outfit. Both white and black fall within my Bright, Cool, Deep color palette and I consider them neutrals — meant to support my wardrobe than be a star. So olive is now a Main Color and Cool White is a neutral.

A little TOO much for my taste

I really like monochromatic looks, but not high intensity monochromatic and definitely not perfectly matched monochromatic. I want to dress this way using the hue, but varying the intensity.

I’ve been using a regular old color wheel to help me think of ways to mix and match my wardrobe (I do have clothes I made before I started this journey) but I think I’m going to invest in one specifically for my coloring.

Three colors seemed to have a better visual impact on me

I’d like to get better at adding a third color from my accents that give an extra OOMPH. I was very focused on my mainstay garments that I didn’t add much in yellow, orange, powder blue or aubergine. For me, those accent colors mean I have details or garments in those colors, they just aren’t the base of my colors.

What’s next?

Sewing styles better suited to my build: cinched and snatched waists, sticking with scoop neck because it’s my best, getting my length proportions right.

My Jalie Renees in ponte knit are my only slimmer pants

Pants that aren’t flowy. I’ve deeply enjoyed having loose and comfy summer pants, but they won’t help me in the winter or when I need to dress up. I’ve been avoiding pants because I don’t like how they look on me, but am drawn to pants looks and quite frankly need the versatility.

Skirts for summer. I don’t wear shorts and I’m not interested in trying (my thighs rub and that ride up is not cute in shorts). But, I am interested in summer skirts to build out my wardrobe and have a shorts alternative.


Stole Jordan’s sweatshirt and flannels to wear on a few cold days in Florida

Since we left during the coldest months, I wasn’t sewing or thinking about my winter wardrobe. If I needed to take winter clothes with me, I’d have had maybe four items total. While I made a few of the items from my “Call My Agent” influenced wardrobe (Vogue cape, four pairs of Jalie Renee ponte pants), I didn’t get through it (fair trade off for getting away). Some of those items will become Spring sewing and mostly high contrast black and white.

In 2021 I’m going to plan my winter wardrobe starting in late summer and that will include knitting a few sweaters, two pairs of wool pants and sewing more items for layers. My number of layers is somewhere between zero and one. I’d like some cargo style jackets, jacket-like toppers and maybe some long sleeveless vests.

I know my wardrobe won’t be solved in a year or even two. I consider this a long-term plan and overhaul and look forward to what’s next! What I do know is this is the most comfortable I’ve felt about my clothes in years and years. I don’t want to buy any new fabric just yet (famous last words) and have enough in my stash to work through for this year. I might be missing more fun and jazzy pieces, but they will come in time.



  1. I don’t know if it’s a third color or a third piece that makes that one outfit look so good on you but I know that I like how a third piece looks on me. Summer is definitely not for third pieces, not here and not in Baltimore!. I started following Jen Thoden from Your Color Style on You Tube after hearing about her from you. I didn’t really want to spend the money for her course, but I wanted to expand my colors. I watched her video on colors for gray, silver and white hair. I am so white, so I knew that I fell in the bright category, especially since my coloring really isn’t soft, and cool since warm colors look so bad on me, so I decided on cool and deep. I bought her color fan and that was a big help. I’ve got all of this white linen none of which turned out to be white white, or optic white so I am going to dye them to colors I have decided I want to wear. I am not sure that I want as many colors as you’ve chosen for accent colors. But I’ve decided on Chartreuse and more red, which I am already wearing. I even had a pair of red shoes until Sophie decided that they were tasty. Not once in the 7 months we’ve had her has she been interested in shoes. Of course she had to choose my favorite pair! Now I have to decide what to do with fabric not in my colors.

  2. I love your palette! Those colors look fantastic on you! I am a maker of orphans. I’ve been thinking along those same lines, but I have been rage-buying fabric lately and have a lot of all “over the place” colors and patterns. You inspire me.

  3. This is inspiring, both how great you look in the colors, and your discipline! Thanks for the hints.

  4. I’m glad of your warm getaway. These outfits look great. Your investment in mastering coordinated wardrobe will pay off for a lifetime. I know because I had dabbled I’m coordinating in my youth but still made a few mistakes. When Color Me Beautiful came out in the ‘80’s, in my early thirties, she mentioned most likely mistakes people in each category were likely to make and since then I haven’t made any. It not only guarantees something to wear but also it’s more fun to know for certain that I will wear this at least with this and that to this, this, and this occasions. Saves money, saves closet space. Always being able to quickly grab something appropriate garners more respect at work and socially than having 100 of just one kind of thing (something I’ve seen others do). Having a plan paid off handsomely for me as it does for you and others.

  5. Thanks for sharing part of your wardrobe journey. I am also guilty of sewing up way too many “orphans”. UGGHH…I need to focus. I think defining color choices is a good place to start. Happy sewing!

    • I was so worried it would be limiting, but it’s been so freeing when I’ve thought about what to buy or make next. I honestly can’t believe I don’t have a real need for more summer/ spring clothes? It helps that I expect to work from home until this fall, hence my focus on knitting and winter garments.

  6. Six weeks in Key West! An unexpected COVID-19 benefit. Your wardrobe journey reminds me of mine – a lot of pieces that may be attractive on their own, but don’t fit with the rest of my wardrobe. Thanks for sharing your insight.

    • An embarrassment of riches really (except we couldn’t really go out – out). My husband has decided it’s unnatural to be humid in February and I just tell him he needs to relax more, lol.

  7. Your three-piece outfit looks great — both color and style. I’ve been loving the ‘Call My Agent’ looks too, and have been trying to figure out what would be adaptable to my life. Karen

  8. Great inspiration for me to do more planning-before-sewing. Might even get out the ol’ “Color Me Beautiful” book for a re-read. Thank you for sharing your journey & reading list!

    • Ah yes! Takes me right back to middle school. You know, my high school roommate was cousins with the “Color Me Beautiful” writer. I randomly remembered that when I started this.

  9. I love how you look in the outfit with the olive pants and top (slightly different olive) and the kimono, the three color look. IMHO that color pant in the Jalie Ponte slim ones in olive would make the outfit perfect. I love your sewing and your blog. Good luck in your projects.

    • Thanks! I really like the short duster also. I wouldn’t mind some in a beefier fabric for wearing around the house. And that’s such a good idea with the Jalie olive pants! I didn’t bring them on this trip because I figured the charcoal would wear better and show less dirt, lol.

  10. Your outfits all look so good! I also really love the olive look. I’ve been taking time to look back at past projects and I also have so many orphans. I think wardrobe planning has been super helpful and I’ve also really appreciated you sharing information about the resources you’ve been using. I’ve played around with different color systems, but the My Color Style has been possibly the most helpful in realizing that my coloring is maybe not as bright as I thought it was. It’s made me reconsider which colors I’m choosing to sew with, but it’s actually leading to more successful garments because of that. It’s so great to see how your coordinated sewing has worked out for you and I’m excited to see what you work on next!

    • Oh boy do I LOVE to hear this! In a way, the pandemic and being home gave me room to breathe and really assess what I like and was wearing? The color palette for me helped me figure out ways I liked to wear color too. I agree with “not as bright”. What I sorted out for myself if that I can wear these bold colors, but I don’t always like them on a personal note for me.

  11. That “Clear Red” is just gorgeous on you! Nice to have such positive results from your experiment.

  12. I have to say, seeing you work this out in “real time” is much more inspiring to me than official wardrobe fixers I’ve checked out. As I’ve been tinkering with my clothes, I also have discovered a love of olive. And navy is always present for me because of jeans. I’d love to find some bottoms so I could wear navy in different ways! Thanks so much for bringing us along on your journey. I’m so glad you still blog!

    • Thank you! It’s definitely slower than a big splashy debut. But I feel like I’ve really gotten to think through / work through clothing choices instead of feeling like I’ve made myself over.

  13. This is my first time to read your blog and I have to say I really enjoyed seeing how you made a wardrobe based on a color pallet. I NEED to do this! I love your colors! The lack of black got my attention. I have quite a bit of black fabric but you have me rethinking this. I love your blog and I’ll be back!

    • Staying away from black is SO HARD! I especially love super graphic prints and black is usually used in them. I do have some black planned for this summer, just to help me have a couple more coordinates. Thanks for stopping by!

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