A few months ago, I was obsessively watching YouTube videos and Pinteresting pixie cuts in my research for the perfect cut. I stumbled across Sarah Kirsch’s Instagram, better known as Sarah Chambray.
I immediately was drawn to her aesthetic and her beautiful feed of pictures highlighting her love of capsule wardrobes, beauty and fashion, and all things chambray.
I wanted to learn more about how the fashion blogger started simplifying her wardrobe so I reached out and she graciously agreed to meet up!
It was so fun to sit down with her chat about capsule closets, KonMari inspiration, and how she wants to approach designing her own line.
How did you first get into capsule wardrobes?
Someone mentioned it and I looked it up. One of the first bloggers I found who covered capsule wardrobes was Unfancy. I liked their blog for the explanation and it seemed like a really cool idea.
In fashion school, we were designing practice clothing lines and that idea, from a design standpoint, was really intriguing to simplify things down to one or two styles of an item. Instead of a focusing on fashion cycles four times a year, what if it was was only once a year? Things that can be layered, winter items can also transfer to summer.
Later on, I heard an interview with The Minimalists on a podcast and then attended a Project 333 event in Portland. I had already been doing a semi-capsule wardrobe and then decided to commit to it. I took my wardrobe down to about 40 items. As soon as summer hit, I took out my box of summer clothes to see what I wanted to wear. I went through my summer stuff and realized I didn’t really love any of it! You just sort of collect things thinking “this will work.”
What has changed in your approach to dressing/shopping/reviewing your wardrobe?
I had bought things that were fun and trendy, but then I didn’t really like it or the way it fit. I really am better in finding joy in not purchasing. I like admiring an item, enjoying the feel of the fabric … and then putting it back. Definitely a KonMari thing.
I’m still shopping but in a more intentional way and truly able to find joy in admiring things rather than buying them.
How does this impact other parts of your life?
We have a second bedroom at home and it’s really easy to dump things there. I’ve been trying to be good at regularly going through stuff and pare down.
I have a separate sewing studio with all kinds of bins and when they fill up, it means it’s time to go through it.
How has the capsule wardrobe and KonMari movements influenced you as a fashion designer?
I want to design a collection and be more intentional about how I have set things up for my studio.
I grew up doing my back-to-school shopping in thrift stores. It’s so easy to buy cheap things. I would rescue clothes and love giving them new life. I realize I can’t rescue all the clothes!
I’ve always loved fashion and that shopping high from buying stuff. Working on Hawthorne, there are so many thrift shops available. I would drop in and get all these amazing things and would buy, not being very choosy about what I brought home. I’ve found that the KonMari method and minimalist philosophy helps guide shopping habits to keep them in check - don’t buy 20 things! It just isn’t necessary.
If I see something I really want, I will wait a day before going in to ask the price. I try to think about what it can go with that I already own, how versatile it is, if I have shoes that go with it. I was used to always saving that one shirt that only went with one pair of pants. For the most part, I’ve been good at purging and replenishing quickly. Nowadays, I’m just not replenishing right away.
Who are some of the designers and brands that you like?
The new Gucci stuff that is heavily embroidered; it’s almost too much visually but it works somehow!
I see a lot of local people doing cool things. I really like MOORE, she has a strong, edgier street aesthetic, very different from what I wear day-to-day, but I have a piece mixed into my wardrobe that’s really fun.
I like to shop Brass. They do different sizing so you can see how it fits people differently and with different outfits; you see people who look like you!
I like Everlane, Madewell jeans (they just fit me so well!), One Imaginary Girl, and Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange are my regular go-to’s for thrifting.
What do you want to focus on aesthetic-wise with designing your own line?
I want to create stuff that can work for capsule wardrobes but for people who don’t want to wear tunics all the time.Think nice button up shirts with interesting collar details. Basics but with fun and interesting things on them. I love softer colors like baby blue and pink. I want to bring a fresher, different option. Clothes don’t have to be boxy and boring to be versatile.
Oh, and pockets on everything! Two dress styles, with long and short sleeves, button ups, knit hats. A few things where it’s simple enough to produce on my own or outsource if needed. I love classically shaped pieces with a touch of feminine whimsy.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to simplify their closet / wardrobe and explore slow fashion?
Start with shopping your own closet first, KonMari style, where you throw it all on the bed and look at each item individually. I looked at all my shirts and really only wear four of them! From there, you start to see holes form and you realize what’s missing and what you want to replenish. Start keeping your eye open for those items that will tie multiple outfits together.
Everlane is great choice for a mid-range price point and they are super transparent about their practices. Brass focuses on clothing for capsule wardrobes.
I love the Jamie + the Jones’ raw silk tops (which start around $170) but super beautiful. I’ll save up for a really special garment that’s handmade, easy to care for.
Last fall, I experimented with wearing the same “uniform” of a white tee shirt and jeans with different sweaters. I accessorized with jewelry and scarves to change things up. No one realized I was wearing the same thing and I realized that no one really cares what you are wearing, which is crazy to think about!