Capsule Wardrobing

Italian Capsule Wardrobe

The French Aren’t the Only Ones with Style!

Happy day, reader dearest!

If you’ve been here a while, you know I have a thing for Italy. If for no other reason… GELATO!

Pasta.

Espresso.

Have I covered the major food groups?

Ooops. Missed one. CHOCOLATE!

Some Context: My thing for Italy began years ago when we lived in England. When we could, we took advantage of super plane fares to travel in Europe. (Not nearly as often as we might have liked, but certainly far more than we expected!) When I found round-trip plane tickets from a nearby airport to Rome for 16 Pounds (At the time, just under $32.), all of a sudden a vacation in Rome fit our family of five budget. Then I found a convent we could stay in rather than a hotel and our trip grew from three days to ten!

It was amore at first sight. We are all history nerds. So much to see and so little time! Even eight days in Rome wasn’t going to be enough to visit all the sights we wanted to see, but we did a great job, walked our legs off, and had a fabulous time. The nuns loved and spoiled our boys with special treats at breakfast. We ate gelato daily. It was a truly magical trip. Well, except for one teenage meltdown. That’s a story for another day.

Fast forward to 2020. We now live in the US and no one is traveling. A family friend has been living in Italy for a few years, and her Instagram feed makes me green with envy. I decide it’s time for a Staycation in Capri. I plot and plan. I read books about Italy and with Italian themes. I watch movies set in Italy. I download Duolingo for Italian lessons.

Jump to 2021

This past weekend, while clearing books out of my Kindle, I run across last summer’s reading selections. I click on one to ask Do I want to reread this? Or should it go? When it opens to this highlighted passage…

…all a woman needs in her wardrobe are three pairs of pants, five shirts, two hand-tailored jackets, three dresses and two skirts.

Sass, Smarts and Stilettos: How Italian Women Make the Ordinary Extraordinary, Gabriella Contestabile

Hmmm. That sounds like a nice tight capsule wardrobe to me! I need to find out more about the woman Gabriella was quoting here. (You see where this rabbit hole is going, right?) Which brought me to Jussara Lee and her atelier.

It turns out that in the notes on her website, Jussara Lee describes herself (I’m assuming the pronoun.) as a Brazilian of Korean heritage, so this can’t properly be called an Italian Wardrobe, can it? She also includes a couple of sweaters in her listing. Sign me up for an August Style Challenge! Why do I do these?

To channel Italian Style rather than French, I included a little more print, pattern and drama–animal prints in particular. And some feminine swish. And more color than stereotypical French capsule you find on Pinterest!

Five Shirts

After selecting these, I realized I’d give an eyetooth for a white sleeveless shell. That is one wardrobe gap that I am constantly having to fill/refill.

Three Pair of Pants/Trousers

Two Jackets

I’d love hand tailored, but that’s not currently in my wardrobe or my budget.

Three Dresses

I want ALL the dresses for summer. Including my pink polka dot. Too many to choose from! (This may change. Stay tuned…)

Two Skirts

Proportion makes skirts a struggle for me. I pulled the spotty one out of storage. We’ll see how it goes!

Two Sweaters

A couple is usually two, but you could stretch a couple to three, especially for winter! Summer in the South? Sweaters are not high on my priority list. Well, maybe a cardigan for turbo-charged A/C.

Yes, the mind cardie needs steaming… It just came out of the storage box!

Total Pieces = 17

That’s certainly more than my Bakers’ Dozen capsule! BUT I’m stressing about the lack of casualwear AND that so far I have NO shorts for August in Georgia. (Yes, these are 1st world problems.) Let’s add:

Let me clarify: When I say add, I am not buying any new clothes for this wardrobe (or style) challenge. I already own everything included here. If it wasn’t part of my Summer Capsule Wardrobe, it was in the out-of-season storage box.

How About You?

Does 17 (or 22) pieces sound like enough clothing to you? Too much? Are these selections too dressy for your lifestyle? Not polished enough? What category needs more pieces? Is there a category you would skip completely? Do you capsule wardrobe? Or are capsules only for travel packing? Please let me know! I do so love to hear from you and I’m saving space in the comments just for you…

Stylishly yours and ciao, bella!

6 Comments

  • Sally in St Paul

    I like this capsule a lot! The white, pink, and denim shirts with their combination of swishy femininity and structure are stand-outs. I will say I was worried about you in the heat until I saw your final additions, which definitely help…though I personally would find the capsule too warm for August. I was pondering the “polished” question just this weekend because that description doesn’t resonate for me, either how I actually am or how I would aspire to be. I need a little rough-around-the-edges vibe to my look or I feel like I’m playing dress up.

    • Liz K

      Interesting, Sally! I’m looking forward to seeing how this little capsule works… It may be the basis for my fall capsule wardrobe. Any adjective like polished and even rough-around-the-edges are very personal. My polish may be someone else’s casual. And my casual might be downright sloppy to that same person. I know my relaxed is downright overdressed for many! That playing-dress-up/costume-y feeling happens anytime you are out of your style zone. (For me that would be wandering around in athleisure. I’d feel like a poser! Or anytime I dress deep into one of my style personalities without honoring the others.)

  • Andrea Andresen

    As much as I admire Audrey Hepburn’s more French classic style, I think the colour, pattern and flow of what I understand Italian Style to be to resonate more with me. I’m with you on the dresses though.

    • Liz K

      I have to agree with you, Andrea! At the risk of the style gods and trolls of good taste coming down on me… As lovely as French style is, there’s a sangfroid about it that doesn’t appeal to me. Italian (and other Mediterranean) style has more verve and attitude. I’ll take some of that, please!

  • NATALIE K

    Liz, I dress much more polished than this ardrobe! I admit, I don’t use a capsule ardrobe but I’m becoming more open to the idea!! I’m thinking fifty pieces!! The problem is I feel I need more to be express myself although I’m pretty classic ith a European tist ith a feminine touch and glamour accessories! I really LOVE the ardrobe capsules you have done ith color!!

    • Liz K

      From what I’ve learned, everyone has a different definition of polished, just like everyone has a different definition of comfortable. Personally, I think polish is in how you combine and accessorize the pieces! (And there certainly aren’t any accessories here.) Looking at the pieces, it looks like eight are colorful and the others neutral. That certainly isn’t as colorful as I usually go for… I’m looking forward to seeing what I learn from this month’s experiment!

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