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Spring Capsule 2022, Part 1 (Vibes & Ideas)

Hey there corionautas! After three years — a capsule wardrobe post! Including some trans* nb feels because a) obviously and b) as I said in an earlier post, I don't see a lot of trans* folks doing here goes (please let me know if you have any trans* and nb creators that also do capsules/sustainable fashion!).

Quick recap because I haven't done this in a long while: a capsule wardrobe is a curated selection of your clothes. It's traditionally seasonal, but you can also use it for travel or have a year-round capsule. The main strategy is to choose versatile pieces that can be paired with everything else in the capsule, maximising the number of outfits you can create with the least amount of clothes. The idea has been around since the 1970s but I think Courtney Carver popularised it with "Project 333" (33 items for 3 months).

I started doing capsules in 2018 and have always been flexible about the number of items — I enjoy the process, I like that it's made me mindful of what I wear, and it's helped me figure out my style (and boy has that changed in the past four years...).

The last capsule wardrobe I properly set up was for summer 2019 (northern hemisphere) when I moved to New York. Having the habit of choosing pieces that go together was incredibly useful — I moved with one suitcase to cover most of summer and autumn (I did buy snow boots and a giant puffer coat once I got there, though!). Then throughout my stay in NYC I would thrift certain items to try out new styles.

Even before the pandemic hit, I wasn't really doing capsules anymore because my wardrobe had already been reduced and storage was at a premium. I basically did spring/summer and autumn/winter, stuffing as much of what I wasn't wearing as possible in my suitcase.

Throughout 2020-2021 I can also honestly say that I still got dressed every day throughout the worst times because it's actually become important to me (not to mention that I got my first binder around that time and I wanted to use it!). But my needs definitely changed from schlepping around NYC to studying from home. By the end of my stay in NYC in May 2021, I had noticed two things: my wardrobe had almost no patterns and was becoming increasingly defined by dysphoria.

Personal style & pre-op trans* feels

Valen is laughing and showing how what they're wearing (a roomy denim jacket, a large grey linen shirt and baggy jeans) are simply too big
Channelling my inner Artful Dodger, minus the top hat and pickpocketing

As dysphoria became more and more difficult for me to handle, my style eventually just became a question of how to smother-cover my body in the chicest way possible — flowy trousers that were cinched in the waist, but you'd never know because of the gigantic long shirt I would put over them. And sometimes a massive hoodie for good measure. Or an unbuttoned coat. Sometimes I would feel amazing in something that hugged my body but that was extremely rare: my small acts of rebellion against dysphoria would be unbuttoning an oversized shirt or wearing a binder as much as pain would allow.

Cue moving back from NYC and starting on the road to get top surgery: what should I do with my clothes? Should I buy smaller items? Preemptively tailor them? Should I declutter everything and start from scratch?

What I decided — this of course could be different for you — was to just not sweat it. In fact, I barred myself from decluttering until after top surgery. Decluttering can be a little addictive and I didn't want to get rid of everything due to a serotonin-charged antidote to the general upheaval of 2021. It wouldn't have been the end of the world, but I'm really glad I did this.

Top surgery came and went, and I decided to keep the rule in place for a few more months. Then I did one big declutter around February 2022: I got rid of a lot of things, but mostly the ones that a) didn't work colour-wise and b) couldn't be tailored to look good (or that I wouldn't put in the effort to get tailored).

Then I put the rest in the wardrobe instead of curating a selection. All hanging up for me to see, which hadn't happened in years. It was really helpful because my style has been fluctuating quite a bit since the surgery. I've been connecting with the more femme side of my style, wearing more accessories and things.

  • Words: contrast, colour, casual, minimal

  • Aesthetics: queer pirate, slouchy teen

I'd like to add "androgynous royalty" as an aspirational aesthetic. Although I love a lot of the fabrics and items in my wardrobe, they're not really serving their purpose because I often feel like someone unceremoniously dropped a tent on me. It can be a look, sure, but not all day every day. I actually want to feel clothing hug my skin more and show off my gorgeous scar (bristle away, unaccustomed cis people, I paid good money for this beauty!).

I don't consider my wardrobe to be minimal but I do wear everything I have (with an Excel sheet to prove it), so this should be a pretty intuitive process. The idea is to be flexible, as always — if it's suddenly cold, I will wear a jacket or jumper that isn't in the "strict" selection for the season. Also, since I have the space, I'll have my capsule on one side of the wardrobe and my coats on the other (instead of trying to squish them into boxes for months).

The capsule idea

Alright with all that out of the way, here are the steps of my planning (ish) stage of the capsule. All I knew was that I wanted to wear purple and green because I've been really enjoying those colours lately.

  • First, take out clothes that won't be worn in the spring/summer. I've become more flexible with having synthetic fibres in my wardrobe (sheer materials I love wearing post-top surgery, sentimental items, etc.) but they're unsuitable for hotter weather.

  • Second, find a postcard of Joan Miró's "Retrato II" and think "huh, that has colours I enjoy wearing and others I hadn't thought of pairing them with. Let's revive my first and favourite capsule method — portrait colour inspiration."

  • Third, unearth boxes I used to keep my clothes in and congratulate them on being needed again. Put the autumn/winter clothes there (making sure they're laundered first)

  • Fourth, with the Miró postcard taped to the wardrobe door, find items that match some of the colours. Although I don't own anything orange, I have some red, beige, and patterned things that come close enough to the Miró vibe. The painting made me opt for items that contrast with green/purple nicely but didn't fit that well. So...

  • Fifth, take clothes to the tailor. Like I said, several items are now huge on me and I want to keep them.

So here's the "first draft" of the capsule: some of the items have already been swapped out and I'm still waiting for the items sent to the tailor. But that's what drafts are for.

It's not spring here yet (in fact it got FREEZING as soon as I put away some of my heavier winter things...classic) but I'm actually happy to be doing this again. It's definitely a relief to see my wardrobe so curated again, I missed that.

I don't have a specific wish list for this particular capsule unless I happen to find a GORGEOUS orange item that I feel MUST be included...which is unlikely. If I get anything for spring/summer, I'll share it in the next post.

Stay tuned for part two!

Tailoring PSA

If you're out thrifting, please don't purposefully buy clothes that are far too big for you to "just get it tailored later." There are people who need clothes that size and who are having a far more difficult time than you finding something that fits because being straight-sized is a privilege.

My main tailoring need is with tops/shirts because that's what I would size up in to get my dysphoria under control. Now, I want to avoid buying new things and make sure what I have continues to be used after years of wear. If I were to buy something new, I would make sure the fit is pretty damn close to perfect. Tailoring should be a detail, not a complete reworking of a garment (which also doesn't make for good results). Leave that cool thing you wish was your size for someone else to enjoy the way it was meant to be enjoyed.


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