Insights from 3 months of progressive capsule tracking

Not only am I obsessed with sustainable fashion, I also happen to be a super-nerd and not afraid to show it 🙂 Earlier this year, I decided to code my own tracking system, to track my progressive capsule and see how I wear my clothing throughout the year. I know there are apps that do this, but for some reason, I felt the need to build my own web-based platform.

So, I finished it back in February and have been tracking my outfits and wears ever since. If you’re curious, you can see the tracker here. It allows me to change the time intervals, so I can see what I wore and how often I wore it, between whatever dates I choose. At the moment, I have this coded just for myself, but if anyone likes this platform and would like to use it as well, I could add accounts pretty easily. Just let me know if you’re interested 🙂

So, without further ado, here are the stats from three month’s worth of tracking:

Overall statistics for three months of the #progressivecapsule

| Overall size of my wardrobe | I made a few acquisitions and also transitioned some items back in that I was considering giving away or selling. That makes the current grand total of my wardrobe 116. I believe it was about 103 when I first started tracking. This 116 number feels perfect for me so far, give or take a few.

| Number of items worn | From Feb. 11 to May 11, I wore 62 items. That is 53% of my wardrobe and I’m happy to have worn half my items in a 3 month time period. To me, that means I’m getting good utility across my clothes. This number also highlights to me why Project 333 always felt limiting. Not only do I not like to pick items out up-front, the goal of simplification seems unnecessary to me because I don’t feel overwhelmed by the size of my wardrobe or the number of choices I have. Thirty-three items would limit me to about half of what I naturally wear, and I’m pretty sure I’d find it stifling. I like being able to dress to the day’s mood, weather, and situation, and for that, I like to have choices.

| Most worn items | Here are my most worn items between February and May, with the number of times I wore them:

topwornitems

From a top-half standpoint, the Poetry cardigan (28), the linen gauze Harper (15) and the J+J T Sweater (12) were clearly my most worn items. From a bottoms standpoint, my boyfriend jeans (32) and black skinny jeans (23) were absolutely well-loved. It makes me incredibly satisfied that #30wears is a goal some people set for the number of total wears an item might get, and I have several items that are there or close in just a 3 month period. And some of them, like the black skinny jeans, are already 2 years old!

Note that while I work in an office full time, I was also tracking my at-home clothes. So if I got home from work and changed into jeans, I tracked that. That’s how the boyfriend jeans got such a high number. I pretty much wore them every day after work. Also note that I don’t tend to wear sweats or lounge pants much. Those Old Navy jeans are perfectly comfortable and I feel both warmer and more put together than I do in sweats.

I didn’t wear much in the way of dresses or jumpsuits in this time period, but that’s because it was so dang cold this spring. This number is sure to jump up in the next 3 months.

As for coats – the down puffer coat (34) was a standby throughout the cold months, and the rain jacket (18) is what gets me through milder weather. The shearling jacket (5) is just worn for dressy evenings out.

For shoes – the Birks (22) get a lot of wear because they serve as my indoor slippers in the colder months. For actual out-and-about shoes, the black Lucky boots (20) clearly get the most wear. They’re comfortable and cute, and go with almost anything, so there you go. The black Uggs (18) were an impulse purchase last year, but I’m really glad I got them. They’re perfect for the weekends when I want to wear something more casual, and also if it’s really nasty and slushy out. The Nisolo Sofia mules (10) and Franco Sarto booties (10) are also two of my favorites. I just got the Nisolo’s a little while ago and I predict I’ll wear them a lot more over the rest of spring and summer.

The one pair of shoes that I’m on the fence about are my black Chelseas (not listed.) The reason I have them is that they are slightly dressier than the Lucky boots so they go with some outfits better (especially with my wool tweed pants.) But every time I wear them, they feel off-kilter to me. I’ll think about them some more next season.

| 30 day insights | I initially thought of the #progressivecapsule as a tracking in 30-day increments. By that measure, I wore 38 items from 2/11-3/11, 29 items from 3/11-4/11, and 44 items from 4/11-5/11. I’m guessing I’ll see more variety and more items worn in warmer months than colder months. In the cold months, I tend to wear just sweaters and skinny pants, while in the warmer months, I can play with shorts, dresses, skirts, etc. There’s just more fun to be had when it’s warm! We’ll see if that theory pans out 🙂 I also found that our vacation, which was at the end of March, reduced my number for that month simply because I was limited to what I had packed.

It’s also interesting (at least to me) to see how the most worn items shifted over the three months, as the weather got warmer:

topwornfebmar

topwornmarapr

topwornaprmay

Strangely, I wore some dresses in Feb-Mar and didn’t go for any in Mar-Apr. I think there was a little bit of a warm spell back in Feb, so that might have been why. Other than that, there are a huge number of similarities between the two months. I like seeing the J+J blush top creeping in as it got a bit warmer and I *had* to wear some color for spring.

And as much as I love the Poetry cardigan, I’m happy to see its wears waning for the season. I’ll be just as happy to pull it back out this fall / winter when it cools down again.

| 10 day insights | Finally (full nerd-out here) it’s interesting to look at the number of items I wear in a typical 10-day period. This contrasts with what I do during 10×10 challenges. What I’m seeing is I typically wear 20-25 items in 10 days. So no wonder the 10×10 always feels somewhat difficult! It’s less then half what I would normally wear in that time period. Again, challenges like that are fun, but since I don’t find I need the extra simplicity from a pared down choice, I don’t gain time or head space in the morning when I do them. I just like doing them to spend time with the slow fashion community 🙂

What I learned from tracking the #progressivecapsule

Overall, I was pleased with the results of my first three months of tracking. As mentioned, I like that I’m wearing a large percentage of my clothes. Here are some of my observations:

| I have definite workhorses | The boyfriend and skinny jeans, the Poetry cardigan, the Lucky boots, and my down coat are all critical workhorses for me in the cold months. So happy to have all of those key pieces figured out so I can simply wear them and stay warm!

| I love wearing new items | When I get something new, I have an urge to wear it all the time, partially to see how it fits into my overall wardrobe, partially because it’s always fun to wear something new, and partially because I’m auditioning how it fits and feels. That’s how the Harper tunic, the J+J T Sweater, and the J+J blush silk top racked up so many wears so quickly. I’m guessing those wear numbers will ease off a bit now that I’m integrating them into my ‘normal’ wardrobe pieces.

| I have lots of single-wears, and that’s ok! | For a while, I had the idea in my head that success in a capsule wardrobe meant having as few items as possible and wearing all of those quite frequently. The truth is, I would get bored in that scenario. I like the current size of my wardrobe. It’s not at all overwhelming, but I feel like I have a lot of choices, and I love wearing each and every one of them. If that means a dress or special item only gets worn once a year, that does not mean I’m going to get rid of it. If I love wearing it, and it makes me feel exactly right for the day and context in which I wear it, then it stays. So nice to have finally found the balance!

So that’s it for now. If you read all of this, you’re as much of a wardrobe nerd as I am, and I consider that a wonderful thing! How are you feeling about the size of your wardrobe these days?

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