My Capsule Wardrobe – 1 year on

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Exactly a year ago I wrote about my venture into the capsule wardrobe concept, and I’ve been posting updates along the way (all previous posts are linked below). Now, after having given myself a pat on the back for sticking to it for all this time, I’m sharing the lessons I have learnt after 12 months and how I plan to apply the principals to my wardrobe moving forward…

Be flexible

This has to be my biggest and most important lesson and it is relevant in more ways than one. My original plan was to create a 37 piece wardrobe to be switched up each season. The weird and wonderful British weather threw a spanner in the works here, meaning I had to do the change-over at times I hadn’t expected to or planned to. I also originally planned to incorporate my “going out out” clothes into my capsule wardrobe. On reflection, I do this so infrequently that very dressy items took up valuable space in the limited collection and they were only worn once or twice over the course of a few months (if that). Moving forward, I have a few pieces separate from my main wardrobe for special occasions and plan to operate a ‘one in, one out’ policy to my main collection. I will still rotate items out of storage as the weather changes but when I am tempted by a new purchase at other times, providing I have thought it through, I will allow myself to buy it on the condition that an existing piece is rotated out and either put back into storage, sold or donated.

Layering is your friend

Talking of unpredictable weather, I have definitely realised that it is important to buy pieces that can be layered. Not only does this mean the wardrobe can outlast changeable temperatures, it also provides a bigger variety of looks meaning you are less likely to get bored of your collection.

You do develop a style

The interesting thing about having a capsule wardrobe is that when you do shop, you get very picky. Whereas a previous changing room thought process may have involved little actual thought and resulted in a lot of emotional purchases, nowadays each item is scrutinised heavily! Does it fit perfectly? Is it flattering? Will I wear it regularly? Does the shade fit my current colour palette? Is it well made and does it feel good quality? This level of scrutiny has definitely resulted both consciously and sub-consciously developing a style,  or the ‘every day uniform’ I had read so much about but never really fully understood until now!

It is still a work in progress

If I was feeling in a corny mood I would say something like “it’s a journey not a destination” and it would be true! My Summer capsule wardrobe was my least enjoyed so far (for various reasons including poor planning) but this only enabled me to make a better job of it next time around, meaning my love for the capsule wardrobe has been rekindled and that my current Autumn wardrobe is my favourite yet! I’m bound to make further errors of judgement and need to make more changes to the way I approach it (like I said – it is important to be flexible!) but to me that is part of the beauty of the whole concept – you can choose to apply the parts that work for you and adapt it to suit your lifestyle.

Previous capsule wardrobe posts…

Trying out the capsule wardrobe – the ‘Un-fancy’ way

My Capsule Wardrobe – lessons and Winter updates

3 Spring Trends – for a capsule wardrobe

My Capsule Wardrobe – the Winter to Spring transition

My Capsule Wardrobe – most worn this Summer

 

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Trying out the capsule wardrobe – the ‘Un-Fancy’ way

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When I started blogging, a friend suggested writing a post about The Capsule Wardrobe. As much as the idea intrigued me I thought it was something I’d never actually be able to do. However, after doing my research (in other words; reading a lot of blog posts) I decided it was something I definitely wanted to try out. I’ve now overhauled my wardrobe and created my first ever capsule wardrobe. Read on for the what’s, why’s and how’s of the process so far! (You might want to grab a cup of tea and a snack – it’s a long one!)


What is it?

In short, it’s a finite collection of fashion pieces that make up your wardrobe, and is designed to last three months (typically a season). I decided to base mine on the recommendations of Caroline who owns the blog un-fancy.com – completely dedicated to the capsule wardrobe concept. She recommends around 37 pieces (I ended up going for 39). If you are thinking of creating a capsule wardrobe I highly recommend browsing her site as this is where I got most of my inspiration. Included in the number is tops, bottoms (skirts, dresses, trousers), shoes and outerwear. You don’t include accessories as these can then be used to provide more variety to the outfits you can create, however I notice Caroline takes a very minimal approach to accessories too. Neither do you include underwear, workout wear, loungewear, swimwear or any cocktail dresses or ball gowns you happen to own! Reassess and swap or buy items every three months and Bob’s your uncle! You could argue that in the UK we don’t need to swap our clothes out every season given the unpredictable and mixed weather but I decided to start off with three monthly intervals as I’m new to the capsule wardrobe game and want a chance to be able to correct any mistakes sooner rather than later.


Why do it?

Personally, I wanted to start to develop my own personal style. I realise written down that sounds a bit pretentious! However at 32 years young I couldn’t tell you what my style is. A browse through old photos would just confirm that I jump on whatever fashion bandwagon happens to be going past at the time and as a result I’ve bought into the ‘throwaway fashion’ culture. Hopefully that will start to change now. I also really relate to Caroline’s points on her blog about the paradox of choice and emotional shopping. Being faced with an overflowing wardrobe and drawers stuffed full of clothes meant I didn’t get full use out of my items and ended wearing the same things a lot of the time. Too much choice is not always a good thing. And as for emotional shopping; if you look in your wardrobe now and find the things you have never worn or only worn once, there’s every chance they are a result of this. I know I haven’t made good fashion purchases when feeling panicked, stressed, tired or upset! In the long term this method should also save you money. It might seem like a big cost when you start, but you won’t spend any money on clothes for another three months, and the more practised you get the less money you are likely to spend each time you swap the clothes for the change in season.


How did I do it?

Taking lead from un-fancy.com first I thought about where I spend most of my time. Working full time in an office environment means I wanted a high proportion of the pieces to be work-suitable but I still needed plenty of items I could wear socially including just a few ‘party pieces’ (gone are the days of all night partying every weekend for me!) This is probably the most important step as everybody will have completely different requirements here depending on your lifestyle. Next, the big wardrobe clear out. This was eye opening! I naively thought I probably didn’t have that many more than 39 pieces as I’m pretty good at having regular de-cluttering sessions. Well, I was wrong as when it came to the crunch I had 198 pieces! I sorted everything into three piles;

1. Keep and wear. This pile went straight back into the wardrobe. It included everything I looked at and immediately thought ‘love it, fits me and is season appropriate’. This was the starting point of my new capsule wardrobe and I had 19 pieces (which further proves how little of my wardrobe I was actually wearing!)

2. Storage. In here went anything I loved and can still wear but is not suitable to wear in the next three months (so in other words spring/summer clothes). Also into this pile went anything that I’m not going to wear any time soon but for some sentimental reason couldn’t bear to part with. When it’s time to reassess the capsule wardrobe in a few months time this will come out of storage to be considered again. I bought some vacuum packed storage bags so that the clothing will be kept safe and dry for the end of December but is not easy for me to dip into if I feel like cheating!

3. Donate/Sell. This included items that don’t fit or I simply didn’t love enough to put into either of the other piles. I didn’t actually count how many items ended up here but this was definitely the biggest pile, I reckon around 75% of the whole lot! I ended up donating most of it, and keeping just a few items to sell on eBay, but if you have more patience than me you could sell the lot and use the money to fund your new capsule wardrobe.

You can also have a fourth pile for any items that cause you to hesitate and are unsure where to put. You can either store these away or reassess once everything else has been sorted. However, I was feeling in a ruthless mood so decided not to have this pile!

Finally, the fun part: shopping! But a different kind of shopping for me; carefully planned and every purchase considered to make sure it worked with most, if not all, of the other items in the wardrobe so far.


The result?

My first ever capsule wardrobe! Well, almost. I have 35 pieces so far and still need a coat, a jumper and two tops before it will feel complete so am still on the lookout for these pieces.  I will then have 39 pieces that I will wear exclusively for the next three months and I have to say I’m quite excited about it. Sadly, my photography and photo editing skills are not advanced enough to provide a visual of the whole wardrobe contents but at the end of the post I have listed all the items with links to the exact or similar items (some items are not available online or I already owned them so are not current stock).


Lessons so far

De-cluttering in any form can be therapeutic and this has been no exception. It’s also contagious and has made me want to take a more minimalistic approach to other possessions too. This will be a work in progress and I’m sure lessons will be learnt along the way. The biggest one this time was not to try and complete the shopping in one session; it needs to remain fun and you want to avoid buying things for the sake of it. It’s therefore a good idea to do the wardrobe sort out 2-3 weeks before you plan to start and before each season change. This time I did an initial shopping trip where I got about half the items I needed. After taking everything home and reassessing what was missing I finished with two online sessions and a further trip to the local shopping centre. And as I already mentioned, I have a little bit of shopping still to do.


My items

TOPS

Long line black cardigan – Primark (similar), Black blazer – ASOS, Sleeveless tuxedo jacket – Primark (similar), Wine roll neck – Boohoo, Cream side split jumper – Boohoo, Burgundy oversized jumper – Primark (similar), Grey turtle neck crop top – Primark (similar), Black jersey top with PU sleeves – Primark (similar), Denim shirt – H&M, Check shirt – H&M, Black cold shoulder top – Primark (similar), Blogger slogan tee – Boohoo (similar), Floral top – Miss Selfridge, Grey V Neck – H&M, White blouse – ASOS, 2 Tops & Jumper – still to buy

BOTTOMS

Blue skinny jean – Seven for all Mankind, High waist blue jeans – Miss Selfridge, High waist black jeans – Boohoo, Black treggings – Boohoo, Black tailored trousers – Next, Grey tailored trousers – River Island, Black pencil skirt – ASOS, Corduroy skirt – Topshop

DRESSES

Black jersey midi dress – H&M, Retro black dress – ASOS, Roll neck stripe dress – Miss Selfridge

SHOES

Black trainers – Nike (similar), Black loafers – Primark (similar), Black Chelsea boots – Primark (similar), Black heeled boots – Primark (similar) , Brown heeled boots – New Look (similar), Patent heels – TK Maxx (similar), Suede heels – River Island

COATS/JACKETS

Grey cape – River Island (similar), Black faux leather jacket – Topshop, Coat – still to buy


I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings the capsule wardrobe experience so far! I plan to do an update each season. Let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see, and if you have any tips for me…

5 reasons – I love Autumn

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While everyone else mourns the loss of Summer, the first week of September gets me all excited for Autumn (or Fall if you are reading in the US!) As much as I love warmer weather, barbecues and an excuse to eat ice cream every day, Autumn is definitely my favourite season in the UK. Something about seeing the trees shed their leaves feels like a metaphor for new beginnings and having things to look forward to. So today I’m sharing with you five reasons I love the beautiful season that is Autumn.

Time to get the boots out

I own too many pairs of shoes (hardly a surprising confession from a female!) but boots are definitely the favourite way to dress my feet. Wedge, heeled, flat, ankle, knee high, calf high and even wellies – I love them all!

It’s onesie season

Can you believe there was a time when onesies weren’t a thing?! Autumn is the time mine come out of storage and they don’t go away again until at least February!

Not long to wait for Bonfire Night 

Bonfire Night was a celebration I didn’t embrace as a child (mainly because I was a huge wimp and was scared of fire and all things related) but I have made up for that as an adult! I love wrapping up in a jumper, coat, scarf, gloves and (of course) boots and trampling through a field torch in one hand and hot drink in the other ready to “ooh” and “aah” at the fireworks displays.

Make up gets vampy

Obviously you can wear whatever make up you like no matter the weather but I love cracking out the vampy colours in Autumn. Plum lips, burgundy nails, and copper eye shadows are a few of my fave options. I uploaded a video to my YouTube channel creating just the look I’m talking about (linked here).

Strictly starts!

I have watched Strictly Come Dancing almost since the beginning. I love the “British-ness” of the format, the make up, the costumes and of course the dancing. After having had a brief affair with X Factor last year meaning I didn’t get into Strictly, I have seen the error of my ways and am ready to dedicate my Saturday nights to Tess and Claudia. Even better – it’s like a count down to Christmas!

What are your favourite things about Autumn?