The "Express Lane" Wardrobe Challenge

Last week, Duchesse linked in a post to the “Six Items or Less” website and several of us chimed in that we’d be interested in participating in a similar, though less restrictive challenge.  Duchesse kindly agreed to come up with some flexible guidelines, which she posted on Wednesday.

Once I began my list , it quickly became apparent that I’d need to go for 12 items instead of the 10 I’d originally intended, as I often have to layer due to variable office temperatures.   Here’s what I’ve included in my capsule wardrobe:

  1. Jeans (dark blue)
  2. Black ponte slim pants
  3. Black ponte pencil skirt
  4. Black silk tank tunic
  5. Taupe silk tank tunic
  6. Black 3/4 sleeve top
  7. Rouille Dark green linen jersey 3/4 sleeve top
  8. Dark rust lightweight wool cardigan
  9. Grey felted asymmetric sweater jacket
  10. Taupe long wool crepe cardigan
  11. Grey v-neck tunic sweater
  12. Black 3/4 sleeve lightweight jacket

Bonus item:  Olive trench raincoat as outerwear for the occasional rainy day.   I’m not including this in my 12, as there’s probably only a 5-10% chance I’ll need it.  My list is predicated on normal weather for this time of year which ranges from 65-80F and only sees a few days with any precipitation.

Additional caveats: I’m not counting tights or leggings in as part of my 12, as I think of these as accessories and I’m lumping the occasional camisole into the Lingerie category as I generally wear underneath another top, mostly hidden, so not counting those either.  And I’m also not counting the housework/gardening/dog grooming or going-to-Disneyland clothes. 

–I edited this list quite a few times, both before and after I did my PotF*.  I realized that I would be totally comfortable with 15-18 items, but thought the exercise was better served by limiting myself to 12.
–The category I’ve gone heaviest on is top layers (cardis/jackets) but feel I need the variety where it shows (“tabletop dressing,” à la Duchesse).
–I’m already twitchy.
–I didn’t want to go totally with neutrals, but as soon as you introduce color into the mix, it complicates things, and colors have to be chosen carefully.  I ultimately chose two versions of a redwood/rust color. one dark rust and one dark olive green, both of which work with all of the neutrals and with each other.
–I also realized that sticking to one silhouette (long over lean) also helped make the selection easier.  There are a few items in my closet currently on heavy rotation, but I didn’t include them here as they didn’t adhere to the selected silhouette.
–Expect to see lots of scarves this month!  🙂

The Express Lane Challenge starts Sunday…this should be an interesting experiment!

Edited to add:  After one more run though, I’ve subbed out a dark olive green 3/4 sleeve top for the rouille.  It will work better with the black items, yet still plays nicely with the dark rust cardigan.

*Polyvore on the Floor.

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  1. I love that you’re doing this and I love your photos. Looking forward to seeing it in action. I like the photos, visuals make it so much easier to follow.

  2. Julianne – thanks! I’ll try to post various ensembles periodically thoughtout the month.

    Frugal Scholar – I’d purchased the EF ones before you recommended the Chico’s. I picked up one pair of theirs too as I had a coupon that was about to expire, but for the capsule I’ve gone with the EF’s.

    Duchesse – I would’ve started earlier but wanted to be sure everything was freshly laundered first.

    hostess – I’m really looking forward to making new combinations from these and utilizing accessories!

  3. sisty – most of the clothing that’s made the last couple of cuts are solid neutrals, so I had a good base to work with. I deliberately chose bottoms that can all be washed and either machine or line dried so that I wouldn’t be running to the dry cleaners every other day.

    Belle – thanks! Scarves for sure, and jewelry too!

    LPC – Fear not, I’m going to bring in plenty of leopard, but in the accessories, which is how I usually wear it.

    Rita – oh, I’d never be able to do this without scarves!!!

  4. Oops. I already started. Beautiful selection–very elegant. What brand of ponte pants/skirt did you end up with?

  5. Not starting yet — things like this make me terribly indecisive, I’m not sure why, but I won’t get it together till the last minute.

    I’m glad to hear you’re downplaying color, too (at least in the clothes) — I was thinking that this will be a great opportunity to explore a neutrals.

  6. I meant “to explore neutrals”.

    Also, your “table top dressing” point is well taken, though I seem to be having a harder time paring down my bottoms.

  7. I’m still debating jumping into this challenge — you’re making it look fun and manageable, and I just know you’re going to rock these out with accessories. Those orange Fluevogs might be getting some play soon!

  8. Couldn’t the dark jeans go to Disneyland? Agree about not including house and garden work clothes – just like work uniforms etc.

    Once again, footwear DOES have to be included if you are planning this as a travel wardrobe.

    What make is your dark green linen sweater?

  9. Couture Allure – I’ll do my best to keep it interesting, thanks!

    lagatta – yes, if this were a travel wardrobe I’d have to work shoes and accessories into the mix, but in this case I don’t (fortunately). I probably could wear the jeans to Disneyland in the winter, but usually one is in direct sun for hours on end, and the dark jeans are just too warm. I generally wear light colored cotton capris or cargos. Also, you never know what you might sit in or have spilled on you, so I don’t wear clothing that I’d be upset if it was irreperably damaged. The shirt is from Eileen Fisher, and in their current stock, I believe.

  10. Wow, you have more clothes for this challenge than I even own! How long is the challenge going to last? I´m sure you will manage with this collection!

  11. Wow, I love the neutrals and the colors you have chosen. These will work well with many accessories as well.

    I am still intrigued but haven’t pulled myself or my clothes together yet. By the time I do, it might be over.