Capsule wardrobe: Autumn 2018
You might know by now that I am completely sold on the capsule wardrobe concept but that it's been a work in progress with my constantly changing body shape post pregnancy.
I have been working on getting myself back into shape and my weight down to a healthy one for my height. As such I left my box of autumn/winter clothes from pre-pregnancy tucked away in the cupboard. I couldn't make decisions about those clothes when I couldn't even begin to try them on. That box was also annoying me though - sitting in the cupboard it was a constant reminder that I wasn't a size 10 and not in a motivating way. It was like a little monster cackling away just out of sight but not out of mind. I decided that I needed to address this: come September (just before my maternity leave ends) I was going to draw up what I wanted my autumn capsule wardrobe to look like and go through that box of clothes. Anything that didn’t fit my body or fit with my capsule wardrobe was going to charity.
Now that September is here (where did that time go?), I've pulled the box out of the cupboard and had a good sort through. I can fit back into most of the clothes in there (excellent!) but it turns out that in a year and three quarters you can change your mind quite a bit on what style of clothing you like so I ended up sending a lot of it off to the charity shop anyway. The biggest lesson for me: live for the moment and in the body you have rather than waiting for the day when it will be better. It doesn't mean you can't stop the healthy eating and exercise programme to lose any weight but it also means you don't spend so much time waiting and feeling guilty or rubbish rather than embracing what you do have in the here and now.
So what do I want my autumn capsule to look like? First things first (using Jessica Rose Williams' brilliant ebook as a guide (check out her website for this); what will my lifestyle look like for this season? I'll be heading back to work for four days of the week but two of these will be from home. I work in an office in London so I need relatively smart clothes for those two days. When I'm working from home I"m going to keep it smart casual - I might be on video calls some of the time (so no pyjamas!) and I also want to create a division in my outfits between work and my days off. It's a way for me to put a boundary in place between the two. For my three leisure days my time will be a mixture of relaxing at home, walks in the countryside and city/town time (cafe trips, museums, art galleries, exploring, that sort of thing). It works out like this:
a minimum of 4 smart outfits for the office
a minimum of 4 smart casual outfits for days working from home
a minimum of 6 casual outfits
two loungwear outfits
I’m sticking with my monochrome palette of black, white, navy and grey because they’re my favourite colours to wear. I’m going to accent these with stripes, aubergine and maybe a splash of mustard yellow. I’ve set out below the different items of clothing and how I see those translating into outfits for each part of my week:
Smart outfits for the office:
Clothing: Black trousers | Navy trousers | White shirt | red silky type top | Navy dress | Chunky black knit cardigan | Grey blazer | Aubergine blazer
Black trousers, white shirt, black cardigan | Black trousers, white shirt, grey blazer | Black trousers, white shirt, aubergine blazer
Navy trousers, white shirt, grey blazer | Navy trousers, white shirt, aubergine blazer
Black trousers , red silky top, black cardigan | Black trousers, red silky top, grey blazer
Navy trousers, red silky top, grey blazer
Navy dress and grey blazer | Navy dress and aubergine blazer
I love how with only 8 items of clothing I have ten different outfits and that’s without even adding in variations of shoes. I already own the black trousers, the silky type top, the navy dress and both blazers so that leaves me with more budget to spend on those pieces that I don’t own and I can buy quality products. This is one of the great things about capsule wardrobes - more of your wardrobe lasts from year to year so when you do need to replace items you can buy a really good piece of clothing rather than fast fashion. At the top of my wishlist is this shirt from Arket, these navy trousers from Farnol and I’m still on a hunt for the black cardigan.
Smart casual outfits for working from home:
Clothing: Black trousers | Navy trousers | Navy dress | Breton top | Black striped top | Thin grey jumper
Black trousers and black striped top | Black trousers and grey jumper
Navy trousers and Breton top | Navy trousers and grey jumper
Navy dress and Breton top | Navy dress and grey jumper
The black trousers, navy trousers and navy dress are the same as for the smart outfits - there’s no need to have multiples of any item. On the wish list is this Breton top from Farnol, this grey jumper from Arket and I’m on the hunt for the right black striped top.
Clothing: Black jeans | Blue jeans | Blue silky type top | Grey shirt | Plaid shirt | Black t-shirt | Grey t-shirt | White t-shirt | Blue knit cardigan | Yellow knit jumper | Jumper dress | Knitted jumper dress
Black jeans and grey shirt | Black jeans and plaid shirt | Black jeans, black t-shirt, yellow jumper | Black jeans, grey t-shirt, yellow jumper | Black jeans, white t-shirt, yellow jumper
Blue jeans and blue silky top | Blue jeans and grey shirt | Blue jeans and plaid shirt | Blue jeans, black t-shirt, yellow knit jumper | Blue jeans, grey t-shirt, yellow jumper | Blue jeans, grey t-shirt, blue cardigan | Blue jeans, white t-shirt, yellow jumper | Blue jeans, white t-shirt, blue cardigan
Jumper dress and leggings
Knitted jumper dress and leggings | Knitted jumper dress and black jeans | Knitted jumper dress and blue jeans
Wow that’s 17 outfits - nearly three times more than what I need as a minimum and again without mixing it up with shoes, jackets and coats. I own quite a lot of this already - I just need to buy a white t-shirt and I’ve been eyeing up this white t-shirt from Hush. If this t-shirt works well I might replace my black and grey one too as the season progresses.
I wrote about my loungewear collection on here back in August. For autumn I need to switch out one pair of the trousers for some warmer ones (the summer ones will be packed away until next year) but otherwise this collection should see me through the winter. I’m considering these grey harem trousers from Hush.
Shoes and coats
I’ve ended up owning quite a number of shoes and coats and I’ve been working on slimming this down to only those that I need. I think on the coats front for Autumn a smart raincoat, a denim jacket, a black knitted poncho and a black gillet should cover all bases. I’ve tried so many different types of coat for wet weather but they’re either not sufficiently waterproof (or don’t even have a hood and so you have to go through the hassle of using an umbrella too) or they’re not smart enough to wear to the office which doesn’t work well when you have to go and meet clients. I’m determined to fix it this year and I’ve spotted this one from Rains which looks like it might just do the job. Shoes wise, I think a pair of Chelsea ankle boots, a pair of loafers, a pair of court shoes, a pair of ballet flats and a pair of black trainers should be all that’s needed. My ankle boots are starting to look like they’ve seen better days (after about 6 years so they’ve had a pretty good innings) so I’m thinking of replacing them with this pair from & Other Stories.
Throw in a few scarves here and there and that’s my plan for my Autumn capsule wardrobe. I’m planning to show more of my outfits on Instagram Stories so follow me there if you want to see the above in action.