Wardrobe 101

Wardrobe Reboot

Building a Dream Wardrobe?

Happy day, Reader dearest!

It was my plan to be back to blogging thrice weekly in September, but the scheduling gods have a different plan for me. How does that expression go? Want to make God laugh? Make a plan. Mama now has cardiac rehab therapy three times weekly. I’m thrilled! Although, not so thrilled with sitting around in the hospital car park for an hour or more three times weekly for the next few months. We’re rolling with it!

I’m trying something different this season. All because of a little red wagon (LRW) and a dream. I don’t know what kind of memories and feelings you attach to a little red wagon. Maybe a LRW reminds you of summer. Did you tie your dog to the handle to give you a ride? Maybe you loaded yours up and ran away from home. Did you use yours for digging in the dirt and gardening? Maybe you piled in all your dolls and took them to a friend’s house to play?

I never had a red wagon as a little girl. So, how did a red wagon push this shift and inspire this fall’s capsule wardrobe? Well, you might say I needed to run away from home. (I did that once. No wagon. Mama didn’t need to look for me. She saw me walking to my best friend Mary’s house.)

A Change in the Air

I’ve been rumbling for a few seasons now about a shift in my style. That’s natural! As we grow and change, our style (the outer expression of our personality) shifts and changes, too. The shift might be brought on by a lifestyle change or a body change. Sometimes, it’s a change in your priorities. This time the shift feels like a trifecta. My last style overhaul was six or seven years ago, so I’m overdue! Like a storm, I could feel it coming, but I wasn’t sure where it was headed.

The Dream

Mr. CP and I were living in a dorm. (What?) At least 15 floors up. Each studio apartment (with a kitchenette and a bathroom) faced the outside of the building. All the rooms opened onto a hallway that encircled a large common room and the elevators. All residents were called to the common room for an announcement. Everyone shuffled in, annoyed. Young and old. Able and differently abled. All colors, shapes and sizes. There was coffee. Strong coffee. (Why?)

The firefighters in the common room notified us that we had 20 minutes to evacuate the building; 20 minutes to get any important belongings out of our rooms. One trip. Everything left behind is gone. The instructions were clear: There is a red wagon for you in your room. One per person. Fill your wagon, get on the elevator and get out.

No, it doesn’t make sense. Dreams never do. They make sense at the time, but when you explain a dream later, the inconsistencies make you feel like an idiot. Why the elevator? You never take the elevator in an emergency. How will everyone get down the elevators WITH wagons in 20 minutes? Why do we have to evacuate? Who made that amazing coffee? Why a wagon? How did the wagons get into our rooms?

We went to work. The clarity of mind and purpose that an emergency brings took over. I grabbed a few documents, trinkets and my computer. I hit the closet. There was no agonizing over what to take and what to leave behind. No angst. This. That. The other. The alarm screeched and we wheeled our wagons out of the room.

The Morning After

In the morning, I remembered grabbing color and pattern. So I grabbed… Paper to jot down my “takes.” All told, I had 24 items, some summer pieces, some year ’round, others–winter wear. Looking at these 25 items, I saw the foundation of my “new” wardrobe. My favorites.

This past year, I’ve said Good-bye! to a great deal of clothing. Some items have simply worn out. Others no longer suit my new work-almost-exclusively-from-home lifestyle. Another group doesn’t feel like me anymore. It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s simply a recalibration and appreciation of my favorites. Because life is too short to wear clothes you don’t love. (Look out jewelry box. You’re next.)

The Italian Capsule Wardrobe experiment in August solidified the plan. I say experiment, because most of that capsule came from my LRW.

The 25

My 25 aren’t a wardrobe by themselves. There are no shorts, nor enough summer items here to get me through our heat, but it’s an interesting starting spot for a wardrobe reboot. Which is how most do-overs work! We start a “new” wardrobe with what we already have and love and build from there. (At least that’s always the M.O. when working with my clients! It’s time to apply that M.O. to my own reboot.) I was lucky enough to have the bones chosen for me by my subconscious! Many of my 25 are pieces you’ve seen regularly in blog posts. Others not so often, but I expect you’ll see more of each over the next year! Grouped by category:


Plus: I need a new Pink Silky Blouse


Cream Pullover with Faux-Leather Pockets



Plus: Tweed Suit. I couldn’t decide where to put it… So it ended up with dresses.


Where to Go from Here?

No, there’s no cold weather gear here. I’ll need another dream for that!

I’m not sure what all this means yet. We’ll see how it plays out as I finish pulling together my fall capsule wardrobe. I’m seeing more colored bottoms and neutral tops. That’s interesting… This doesn’t fit the neat frameworks I usually use to build capsules. This approach feels more organic and alive somehow. That sounds good right now! I don’t have any inspiration board or anything more concrete than some of the words from my Style Tic-Tac-Toe activity that I did with the Closet Play Style Reset Subscription Group: Sleek, Lively, Cheerful, Flirtatious, Cheeky and maybe a bit Subversive.

Aside from Red Wagons and Italian Style, I’ll be taking some inspiration from Diana Vreeland…

A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.

Diana Vreeland

No, I’m not throwing out everything else I own. I’ll still be shopping my wardrobe and out-of-season boxes first. It’s just that this time, I’m making sure to give these pieces first dibs! (At least the ones I can wear right now… Sweaters? You have a few months to wait.)

How About You?

Do you remember your dreams? Do you pay attention to them? Have you ever needed to reboot or rebuild your wardrobe? What was it that pushed you to do so? Did you start from scratch? If not, how did you decide what to keep and what to scrap? Have you ever felt the urge to roll off your wagon and start a new sartorial life somewhere else? Have you ever felt “oppressed” by what others have taught you to be “good taste”? What paprika would you add to your style? Please let me know… I do so love to hear from you!

Stylishly yours,



    I completely rebooted a filled closet sfter my son graduated ith his master’s. My girlfriend helped me MariKondo’ my closet. I as left ith very little that actually fit!! I decided if I as basically rebuilding my ardrobe that I needed to research my style no! I bought a fe button don shirts before I realized my mistake. I as trying to dress the old Natalie in body and style!! So I began really making a point of noticing the styles I love and are right for my body. Made a printerest board! Finally shopping on-line buying not one item I but had my style don. I ordered a fe items and played ith them. Then every month a fe more. I basically as left ith nothing hen e MariKondo’ my closet. In the Fall, I bought more for my Birthday then Christmas. No I as feeling like the ne me and I looked it a bit more! I’ve changed a bit over the years and I’m happier having done something for me and I continue to do so!! My bad taste is sparkly jeelry from the 50’s! Love it!!

  • Rebecca

    Hello! I look forward to see your Fall wardrobe, inspiration! Could you tell me your thoughts about your hair….style,length, products etc…? Have a great day, I’ll be waiting for your next post!

    • Liz K

      Thank you for asking, Rebecca? I’m all about easy hair which makes me a stylist’s nightmare. I won’t “style” it, so for me it’s all about an amazing cut, and I’m willing to pay for it. I get a cut every 5-6 weeks; last year was a stress. I use Pantene’s 2 in 1 Smooth and Sleek along mixed with a purple shampoo (Usually Paul Mitchell). I wash 2-3 times weekly, although I wet it and fluff it on non-wash days to take care of sweaty roots. Products are minimal. There’s a hair thickener I use on top that helps give the crown some body. I will blow it dry, but only finger styling while I do. I put it in place with my hands and spray lightly with hairspray (in a green can). I run my hands through it all day long. (Horrible habit, I know.) I brush it out before bed. Does that answer some of your questions? Right now my hair is long (for me) but short for everyone else. I don’t feel like me with hair on my collar, but do like softness around my face now that it has thinned with age.

  • Juhli

    What a dream! I like your picks and think you can call this one your “Dream Wardrobe” lol. The style tic tac toe exercise sounds interesting and you picked some very interesting descriptors. I look forward to seeing how they play out.

    • Liz K

      Me, too, Juhli! It was a doozy of a dream. I know it must have come after the tragegy in Florida, but my brain feels otherwise. I’m learning which dreams to pay attention to, and which to ignore…

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