Nine Weeks Into My Capsule Wardrobe Experiment...

Tomorrow begins Week Ten of my capsule wardobe experiment.   

This hasn't gone entirely as expected or planned, but this has been such a worthwhile experience, I intend to continue, with a new capsule in mid-December.

Let me bring you up-to-date on all of this...

I.   My reasons for starting this capsule wardrobe experiment:

To spend less time thinking (obsessing) about clothing, and what I was going to wear.   

To reduce the amount of wardrobe items in my home, as part of a large decluttering project.

To spend less money overall, especially on things I don't need or love.

In this regard, the experiment has gone very well!   I have made real, measurable progress.   I realize these goals are not boxes to check off.   They are lifelong processes.

II.   Changes to My Capsule:

Ironically, as I stopped obsessing quite so much about my wardrobe.... I stopped being quite so careful in maintaining the capsule.   As a result, the capsule itself changed.    Some new items came in, some items were purged.   There were several reasons for this:

Non-wears:   Two words, infinite angst:  Weight Gain.   This has been the sole reason for non-wears that have happened since my last post.   Either the the item doesn't fit properly due to weight gain, or the item was something I paired with the things I am currently not wearing (due to weight gain).

Instead of allowing myself to dwell on negative thoughts, I decided to make substitutions from my existing wardrobe, including purged items that I intended to consign.  This has worked out well.   If I had to take a guess, my current wardrobe is around 55 items.   I am probably wearing around 40-45 of those on a regular basis.

Colors that looked great in the spring and summer, don't look the same in the changing light of fall.   I understand the 'why' behind the old "No-white-after-Labor-Day" tradition:  white can look very harsh in the slanted, dusky light of autumn.   I also found that my olive safari pieces of summer look faded and dusty in the fall light.

Most of my bright white pieces were purged.   Some were replaced with winter white and cream, or not at all.    Olives have been purged altogether, to wait for next summer.

Items that crept in from my closet, which were not part of this original capsule.   This was an organic process:  An unexpected temperature shift.   A backlog of laundry.   Something that goes really well with a weight-gain item that was already added to the capsule.   Being at my place, and pulling a substitute for something I left at JC's.   Wanting a little variety.  

I've realized that One Capsule To Rule Them All, is hard to put together, because any pre-planned capsule is going to be a little bit out-of-season by the time you are halfway through.   This is an ongoing process.

Items that I Purchased:   There have not been many of these, and happily, they have all been thought-out, and extremely useful.   Items include:   A pair of black leather equestrian boots.   A St. John black zip-up jacket that is an upscale duplicate of my black zip cardi.   A sexy black halter that I'm able to fit a bra under.   A black turtleneck, winter white slacks, and a winter white sweater.    These have already been seeing frequent wear, and it helps mitigate the negativity of the weight gain. 

III.   What I Have Learned Going Into the Next Capsule:

I've been able to narrow down, pinpoint, and get specific with what I want my wardrobe to say, and to do for me.    My current capsule, and the outlying items, are a great fit for my lifestyle, and I think that will only improve with time.

I've also learned that nothing is written in stone.  If I want to add something, I'll add it.   If I want to let go of something, I will.   No coulda, shoulda, woulda's.  

I am continuing my curation process, purging more items than I acquire.   I'm holding to a one-in, one-or-two-out process.

I've created a list of questions that I ask myself when I am deciding whether to keep an item, or purchase a new one.   I will talk about this in a future post!

I also have a list of 'benchmark' items, i.e., items that I consider set a high standard in terms of quality, and expressing my style.     This is very useful for making choices of keep, purge, purchase.   Again, I will talk about this in a future post!

IV.  My Plans For My Next Capsule:

1.   To create a capsule that will start in mid-December and run to the end of February, possibly mid-March.

2.  The clothing in the current capsule that doesn't fit, are all things I love.   I am going to set those aside, for future capsules.

3.   If one of those items fits again, I will allow them into the December capsule.

4.  More dance class-to-street style.

What about you?   Do you spend a lot of time thinking, planning, tracking, obsessing over the contents of your closet?

Signature Scents...

There are few things that make me feel more beautiful than perfume.   Even if I have on no makeup, and I'm hanging out in lounge clothes, with my hair deciding to f*ck off and do its own thing... a good perfume makes me feel like a million bucks.   

Give me a clean French manicure, a spritz of perfume, and a little lip gloss, and I can take on the world.

What makes a good perfume?   To me, it comes down to a two basic things:

1.   The fragrance smells real, not synthetic.  This is a little tricky to explain, because I'm pretty sure all perfumes, to some degree, have some synthetics in them.  But I would say that, in a good perfume, the floral notes smell like fresh-picked flowers, and the wood notes smell like freshly-cut wood.   In general, the more expensive the perfume, the better the quality of the ingredients.   This is regardless of whether you like or dislike a particular fragrance.  

2.   You feel an overwhelming sense of happiness or energy when you put it on.   

If you are curious about perfumes, I have found the Fragantica site to be an excellent place to research scents and learn about new releases.   

I want to share some of my favorite scents with you, as well as some scents I am currently trying out.   Please note that I do not receive any monetary or material gain by talking about these scents or posting links.   These are scents that I love, that intrigue me.

Enchanted Forest, by The Vagabond Prince:   This is my signature scent, and I never tire of it.  When I wear this, I spend the rest of the day sniffing surreptitiously at my own wrists.   

This is what they have to say about it on the Fragantica website:

"Enchanted Forest is inspired by the endless sea of Russian forests and fairytales, as well as the most sensual ancient Slavic celebration named Kupala, rooted in the times of darkness, when all on the Earth knew its soul and its name (often too powerful to be uttered in vain or at all)."

... And on the Vagabond Prince site...

"The fragrance was suggested by Nature itself. It's the smell of the forest, when you step in it in the night. Black currant, a core note of the composition, tries its delicious magic on you, unfolding memories and your desires."

I first read about it on the Fragantica site, when the perfume had its debut.   At the time you could order a sample for about $6 plus shipping.   I adored it, and JC gave me a bottle this past Christmas.   Since then, the price has increased significantly.   I don't know if they will do this, but I would recommend emailing to ask if they can send a sample, before spending $200 plus shipping!   

With regards to the scent, I find a little goes a very long way.   I usually apply half a spritz to one wrist, and rub it on both wrists and back of the neck.   If we're going somewhere fancy, I do a 3/4 spritz.   I feel like this scent goes with everything and every mood, whether its a slinky black sheath dress, wicked high heels, and a mind bent on sin, or in my Seven League Boots (I will tell this tale another day), leather jacket, and adventure.   I get a lot of compliments on this scent, and I think what makes it so unusual are the layers and depth of the fragrance notes.

I do find this scent to be a bit much in warmer weather, unless it is worn in the cool of the evening.

Sexual Sugar by Michel Germain:   This is my summertime, hot weather, fallback perfume.  I found this perfume at one of the Duty-Free shops when we were returning to the U.S. from Canada, in 2013.   It looks as though it is available at Macy's, online.

Here is what the Michel Germain site says about this scent...

"Hugs and kisses are guaranteed with Sexual Sugar.  Sexual Sugar tempts and teases with a burst of mouthwatering, juicy wildberries and crystalized sugar. Sprinkled with the light freshness of orange water flower, sensual passion flower, and aphrodisiacs, it does the flirting for you. This is not your ordinary fragrance."

Strangely, when I wear this, the first thing I think of is that it smells like something my great-grandmother would have used and loved.  I find it to be light, sweet, delicious, and not overpowering. Sweet, yes... but grown-up, too.  Online reviewers seem to have a love/hate relationship with this perfume - some people found it too sweet and cloying.   I feel that any fragrance that is over-applied, is going to have that effect.   I do a 1/2 to 3/4 depth single spritz and have gotten many compliments on the scent.

Tom Ford:   Tobacco Oud, Noir de Noir, Oud Wood, Venetian Bergamot:  On our recent trip to Las Vegas, I stopped in at the Tom Ford store at the Crystals at Aria, and a lovely staff member gave me a tour of their fragrances, as well as some samples to try.   I want to talk about these now.   They run the gamut of 'intriguing' to 'infatuated' for me, and I am in the process of deciding which of these scents to add to my collection...

Noir de Noir:   When I smelled the samples sprayed on the cards, this was my hands-down favorite.  I loved this when I first smelled it.   I still do.   The notes listed are: rose, earthy, warm spicy, patchouli, vanilla.   Every time I open the sample and sniff, the rose notes are absolutely divine.  To me, this is an old-fashioned scent, in the very best of ways:  Noir de Noir bespeaks Old World glamour and elegance.   This scent gives me great nostalgia; a very distant memory of the beautiful old Italian ladies who wore mink stoles to church, and pinched my cheeks and said 'bella, bella!' when I was very small.   There is a distinct femme fatale vibe to this fragrance.

Sadly, when I put this on my skin, there is no glamour and elegance.  There are only hippie, patchouli notes that really stand out.   The first time I tried it was bad.   I felt like I had spent a day in a head shop.

But I am nothing if not stubborn, so I keep trying the sample.   I have shaken it really well, carefully applied it.   I'm wearing it now.   Today I got some of the rose, but mostly patchouli.   At some point I plan to swing by Nordstrom and try the spray bottle, to see if there is some magical aeration that brings those rose notes forward.

The right woman, wearing this fragrance, could rule the world.

Tobacco Oud:   If Noir de Noir was my favorite in theory, this is my favorite in reality.   The notes are tobacco, warm spicy, whiskey, sweet, oud.   I have always loved the scent of tobacco, and the taste of a good bourbon - but this scent is more than that.   The sweet notes are there, but the whiskey and oud cut through the sweet, and give it just the right amount of discord.  I wish I could describe how oud smells to me.   It's adds a lushness to the fragrance.   I love it, and I love this scent:  it has a smell of mystery, intrigue, and adventure.   Like Noir de Noir, there is a sexual sort of vibe to this scent.   I feel like this fragrance would accompany my black leather pencil skirts and stiletto heels quite nicely. When I wear Tobacco Oud, I feel powerful, unstoppable, a force to be reckoned with.  Redhead coming through, get outta my way!

I am pretty sure that Tobacco Oud will be the next fragrance I buy, but I want to smell Tobacco Vanille once more. When I smelled TV at Tom Ford, I found it pleasing, but it did not leave a long-lasting impression, however, I was surrounded by scents, so I want to smell it again.

Oud Wood:  The notes in this are woody, balsamic, spicy, oud, aromatic.   This has been my second favorite choice, in reality, when worn.   The scent has that same intrigue for me that Tobacco Oud has... and something different.   I think it's the mood of the scent.   This scent, like Enchanted Forest, makes me think of fairytales.   It's a strange thing to say, but this scent stikes me as aloof, stand-offish.   I'm going to make you come to me.   I feel this lacks a little something when I smell it side-by-side with Tobacco Oud.

Venetian Bergamot:   Woody, fresh spicy, citrus, white floral, powdery.   I found this fragrance bright, energizing, and rich.   Alas, white floral has a high rate of triggering a migraine when I wear it.   I loved the scent in the bottle and sprayed on a card.   When I put it on my skin, the white floral note rose to the surface, and within five minutes, I was frantically scrubbing it off the insides of my wrists.

This is one of those delicious scents that I will have to admire on others.   For whatever reason, white floral notes on other people don't seem to bother me - as long as they had a judicious hand in the application!

Tobacco Oud is my first choice, but as I mentioned above, I want to try Tobacco Vanille on my skin.  I also want to re-try Tuscan Leather, which I thought had somewhat of a non-scent.   I want to try these apart from smelling a dozen other perfumes, and see if my impressions are the same.

When I do make my purchase, it will be via the Tom Ford store in Las Vegas, because I found the staff to be very friendly and helpful.

On a final note... when I think of perfumes, I always think of the film, American Hustle.   Rosalyn Rosenfeld (played by Jennifer Lawrence) has some great things to say about what makes perfume intriguing...

What is your favorite scent?  What makes it stand out, in your experience?

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