Tag Archives: Wardrobe essentials

Capsule Wardrobe, a versatile clothes collection.

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I am no minimalist. My aim is to create a “capsule wardrobe” of assorted pieces that I can combine in a variety of ways and enjoy wearing.  I think it is a given that I should have more than one pair of jeans and more than one T, but key pieces have to versatile.

In the little collection above, I have combined some favourite Vintage pieces with new items.

Firstly, I have included my favourite coat, a black wool, single breasted collarless straight cut garment by Corner Shop that I bought in 1990 from a Paul Sartori charity shop in Haverfordwest. I think that it had been made to measure for someone, but fitted me perfectly, and still does! It cost me £7. When I put this coat on, I feel instantly smart, and it works with dresses, skirts, trousers and jeans. As it is collarless, I often add a scarf. The scarf in the photos is one that I made myself. It is black wool with woven border deep pockets and a light grey suiting lining. ( One of the photos also shows this scarf worn with a black dress.)

I am a great fan of traditional Welsh Wool, and collect blankets and “carthen”, mostly brightly coloured ones from the 1960s.  The 1960s was a great era for the Woollen mills of West Wales, as fashion designers such as Mary Quant, used Welsh woollen cloth to create funky clothes and accessories.  The two skirts included in this collection are both Welsh wool cloth from the 1960s.  Both the red cloth and the green cloth are traditional woven patterns.  In one outfit, I have combined the sixties skirt with an early 90s black zip top by Workers for Freedom, and a white T.  I would wear this zip top with either skirt, and love the white “surprise” detail on the back.

The grey merino wool cardigan with red and maroon yoke is a recent purchase from TK Maxx. It is the perfect length to wear with the red skirt, but will also combine well with jeans.

The classic denim jeans jacket is also a recent High Steeet purchase, and already a favourite of mine. I have shown it here with one of the 60s skirts ( I could wear it with either), with my black straight cut Per Una jeans (bought second hand), with a Vintage Orvis button-through below the knee black cotton dress, and with  a stretchy knee length tie-dye patterned T shirt dress by Apricot, bought a few years ago on the High St. ( cheap and cheerful!)

One of my favourite items is a glorious reversible Vintage embroidered silk jacket from the Orient. Depending upon my mood and upon the occasion, I can wear it black with a red lining or red with a black lining. I can dress it up or dress it down. I wear it with the black jeans or over the black dress.

The last item in this little collection is a Vintage Hyphen silk lined knee length frock coat, that has been in my wardrobe for about twenty years. It has a single button in the front and is fitted. It looks great over black jeans, but also looks great over the stretchy Apricot dress.  It’s the type of garment that looks pretty sharp!

So, I think that is about a dozen items of clothing that form the basis of my wardrobe, and about 50% of its volume. The remainder is mainly seasonal or party clothes that I can happily put into storage, but also include a couple of shirts that I love and wear, an oversized sweater, ditto, and a classic trench coat.

That’s it!

Add ons include: underwear, footwear, accessories, bags, scarves, belts etc.

Visiting The Capsule Wardrobe

The Capsule Wardrobe – one woman’s project (mine)

I think that it may have been back in the 1970s that I first heard of “The Capsule Wardrobe”as a fashion concept. “The Capsule Wardrobe”, “Wardrobe Basics” or “Wardrobe Essentials” have been the subject of articles and books on and off for at least fifty years….and probably before that too!
It is true that fashionable looks in clothes are often re-cycled or re-worked from previous eras, and it is often said that if you keep your old and no longer fashionable clothes, they will eventually come back into vogue. It is also true that some clothes are regarded as “Classics” that never really go out of fashion, and can be worn stylishly year on year.
As a collector of Vintage clothes, my view is that Vintage pieces work well as key items in the “capsule”approach to dressing well, adding a large helping of creativity and originality to a “look”.
Personally, I like to mix eras rather than adhering to a head to toe style from a specific decade. Mixing it up a bit also allows you to choose styles, cuts and colours that work best with your particular body shape, skin tone and life style, allowing you to create a unique personal look using pieces that are versatile and to some point, interchangeable.

So, most articles that you come across will suggest some Wardrobe “essentials” that can be worn in a number of combinations to create different outfits.

These usually include:-

A plain and well cut white T shirt
A plain and well cut long sleeved crisp white shirt
A well cut knee length or over black pencil skirt
A knee length navy or plaid pleated skirt
Straight cut blue denim jeans
Straight cut black trousers
Well cut black blazer
Well cut overcoat
Little black dress
Flat black pumps
High heel court shoes
Trainers
Ankle boots
Leather handbag
Leather belt
Beret
Coloured scarves and jewellery to accessorize

With these basics you can create different looks to suit occasions and mood….

e.g T shirt, jeans, leather belt, ankle boots, black blazer
White shirt, plaid skirt, overcoat, pumps
White shirt, black blazer, black trousers, ankle boots, bag
LBD, high heels, coat

Mix and match. Add in flashes of colour and bling with accessories……

So far, so good. Some lists are more specific, and more prescriptive, some suggesting that your “Capsule Wardrobe” should consist of 12 items or 20 items or 30 items……some are more inventive and more adventurous, showing fabulous clothes with eye watering price tags!!!!! And some are so “tasteful” that they create a kind of uniform…..wearable but dull!!!!

Looking at my own wardrobe (literally) I see that what I own and what I wear are two different things. I like the idea of organising my clothes and wearing more of the items I love, rather than always seeing them on hangers and hardly wearing them at all. I think that I need to sort through my collection, discard those clothes that are never going to fit me again, or that I bought on a misguided whim, and create my own version of “The Capsule Wardrobe” to include my favourite Vintage pieces along with new items, creating outfits that Will express my style and personality, and that I will enjoy wearing!
This may take me some time……I seem to have Uber-numerous coats, jackets, dresses and separates to sort through…..plus plenty of items I shouldn’t really admit to…….a stack of cotton summer shorts….Why?????

Wardrobe clutter
Cotton shorts

Over the next few weeks I intend to have a sort through my clothes and put together my own version of a Capsule Collection.

Further Posts to follow….