Spring Capsule 2021: Inspiration

spring capsule 2021 inspiration
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Spring Capsule 2021

I railed against the popularity of capsule wardrobes for years because so many people were using them as an excuse to buy more than they needed. But now that I live in a true, four-season city in an apartment with one closet, my wardrobe has essentially turned into a capsule out of necessity. In this post, I want to share my Spring Capsule 2021 Inspiration, and how it informs my shopping decisions.

For me, a capsule simply means that I rotate clothing in and out of storage based on the weather. Just last week, I moved my heavy winter boots back into boxed storage and brought out loafers, oxfords, and lower-traction boots. I also put away my heaviest winter jackets and brought out a few mid-weight, short sleeve shirts for the warming days.

I think of my wardrobe as prioritizing two main seasons: winter and summer. Those items then get mixed and matched by weight, style, and fabric for the transitional months of fall and spring.

During my sorting exercises, I took the opportunity to try on nearly everything that had been in off-season storage. Due to weight gain and lifestyle changes, I ended up donating two bags of stuff to my local thrift store. Fortunately, I won’t need to replace too much because I had an overabundance of certain items, like t-shirts and sweaters.

But I’m glad I did the assessment because now I know what it will be worthwhile to purchase going into this season.

Practical Shopping Lists

One big lifestyle change is that I’m about a year out from the clergy workforce. And I’m already working part time at a local parish. As we move toward more in-person events, I need to consider a more professional wardrobe.

Though I prefer denim, I need to have at least a couple pairs of tailored work pants and would like a pair of nice leather loafers. I could also stand to invest in 2-4 nicer shirts and a comfortable blazer. I don’t want to overdo it, because I know that I’ll have a better idea of what to buy once I’m working full-time. But I would like to put my best foot forward in the meantime.

Vs. “Listening to My Lizard”

A woman I follow on twitter, @frisky_gatos, has sparked a conversation on choosing clothing that we are intuitively drawn to rather than trying to meet certain criteria or dress according to others’ expectations.

I appreciate the conversation inasmuch as it celebrates each person’s uniqueness and potentially points away from aspirational buying for lifestyles we don’t actually have. But I have to be conscientious of the fact that my “lizard brain” would literally only buy mid-wash denim and striped t-shirts, and that I already own an overabundance of these things.

I am in the process of sorting out what intuitive dressing looks like in the context of a more professional wardrobe. And I’m doing it on a student budget with a hard-to-fit body.

Lots to think about!


Casual, Everyday

Features: Mid-Wash Denim, Straight and Cropped Bootcut Jeans, Crew-Neck Styles, High-Cut Tank Top, High-Tops, Loafers
Colors: Green, Black, Neutrals, Blue, Pink

Already Own: Jeans, High-Tops, Tees
To Buy? High-Neck Tank Top, Loafers

Dressy Meets Casual

Features: Midi-Length, Buttons, Windowpane, Floral, Dots, Neutral Vertical Stripes, High-Tops, Slip-on Sandals
Colors: Navy, True Blue, Black, Taupe, Cognac, White, Pink

Already own: Mid-Length Skirts, Navy Dot Dress, High-Tops, Sandals, Cognac Leather Bag
To Buy? Vertical Stripe Skirt, Floral Skirt or Dress

Trousers & Blazers: Work Attire

Features: Gingham, High-waist, Pleated Trousers, Stripes, Belted, Mock-neck
Colors: Green, Rust, Taupe, Cognac, Black, White

Already own: Gingham Pants, Black Trousers, White Shoes, Striped Top
To Buy: Warm-tone Trousers, Black Cigarette Pants, Blazer

Putting it Together

Looking at all of my inspiration together, here is my color scheme:

I’ll add yellow and lilac to this list, because they’re already in my closet.

And here is my shopping list:

  • High Neck Tank Top
  • Classic Black Loafers
  • Neutral Stripe Skirt
  • Floral Dress or Midi Skirt
  • Black Cigarette Pants
  • Taupe or Brown Trousers
  • Bright Blazer

Some of these are more wants than needs, so I can hold off for awhile. My priorities right now are the loafers, pants, and a blazer.

I’ll head over to my old standbys to look for clothing and also check out Etsy, Ebay, Thredup, and Poshmark for secondhand options.

Sustainable Work Clothing Guide
Ethical Alternatives to J. Crew
Sustainable Shoe Guide
Work Shoes

See past capsule inspiration

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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