Starting a capsule wardrobe

(34 Posts)
LisaAYarrow Mon 24-Feb-14 16:25:24

I'm so fed up with my whole wardrobe after giving birth that I'd like to throw everything out and start again. I realised I've been keeping clothes that no longer fit me and are dead old and would like to buy some new things to boost my confidence a bit. smile

Has anyone here done the capsule wardrobe thing and how much do you think it will cost? Has it worked out for you?

issimma Mon 24-Feb-14 16:46:16

I'm trying to do this too, so watching with interest!

LisaAYarrow Mon 24-Feb-14 16:52:45

Haha! Yes I think it sounds like a great idea. Normally I am a cheapskate and will go into Primark and try to spend £10 on a pair of jeans or a skirt. My thinking is that if I start a capsule wardrobe then I'd want to spend a good amount of money on each thing to make it last. I can do this slowly, and throw out other things as I go along.

I've tried to look online for a list of items in a capsule wardrobe but they are far too large. To me it means one black skirt, one black pair of trousers, one white shirt etc etc, which you then add to over time.

Maybe TMI for this thread but I was in an emotionally abusive relationship years ago that has seriously messed with my mind regarding what I like to wear as he would dictate what I 'should' wear (I quite like victorian/gothic/and yes occasionally slutty stuff) and I've ended up with a neutral, bland, boring wardrobe of cheap shite! So I see this as really taking control smile

Macocious Mon 24-Feb-14 17:05:09

Sorry to hear about your bad relationship.
I'm watching with interest too. Have recently had a baby and I'm in need of some confidence boosting. I'd like to simplify my wardrobe to make it easier to dress nicely. I read that it's a good idea to pin looks you like on to pinterest to work out what your style is but don't know where to start looking for these pictures!

LisaAYarrow Mon 24-Feb-14 17:07:31

Oh yeah Pinterest is great! I use this. All you do is type into google something you like, i.e. 'black velvet bag' or whatever, then choose a picture you like from the Images section. You can either copy the link to the picture onto Pinterest or I think even drag it into your pinboard. Dead easy to do and yes it does help you build up your style. :D

scarlet76 Mon 24-Feb-14 17:14:24

Around 3 years ago I got into exercising again and lost the last of the baby weight, taking me from a size 10 back to a size 6-8. Am only 5ft.
I gradually replaced items as they started to look far too big on me.
I chose items that flattered my shape and size and bought the best quality I could afford (mid range high street for me)
I wouldn't say I have a capsule wardrobe but I have a nice collection of clothes that work well together. This year I'm sticking to a regime of buying no more than 3 items per month so am just adding to what I have.
The most useful items have been: parka coat, heeled ankle boots, blue skinny jeans, breton tops, cashmere skinny jumpers, pleather leggings, blouses...

I'm sorry to hear about your bad relationship. thanks

If you like a slightly victorian/gothy look, charity shops are a great starting point for things in colours that aren't in the shops at the minute. They are also a velvet jacket explosion if you land lucky, I buy all my velvet jackets from them and they are in great nick if that's your thing.

I second starting pinboards, build up things you like the look of and pick out what you can actually buy in shops. Cheap is not always terrible, if you hunt through primark carefully, you can get a surprising amount of decent quality cotton vests in a rainbow of colours, cotton mix/100% cotton cardigans and even high cotton content jeans, the lowest cotton content my jeans from primark have is 97% so be sure to check labels!

LisaAYarrow Mon 24-Feb-14 17:18:45

I had to look up breton tops wink but I like!
So I think that what I need to do is find the style I like, buy a few good quality items (mid range hight st for me too) and gradually add to it. And have the courage to start chucking stuff out...my oh will be delighted! grin

LisaAYarrow Mon 24-Feb-14 17:20:48

Thanks OneLittleLady - I love velvet jackets and bought my first one from a charity shop! Yes I think for things like t-shirts or blouses I would check out Primark again smile Sounds strange but I'm really hankering after a pair of plain black pj's, why are they always mentally designed for 13 year olds? Haha x

Dilidali Mon 24-Feb-14 17:21:00

Start with underwearsmilegrinne bra in nude, one in black, 2 pairs of matching french knickers. I like Intimissimi.

One fitted white shirt, I like TM Lewin personally, but I also have a fitted one from Levy.

Long sleeved t-shirts in navy/black and white/cream.

Navy cotton blazer.

Black/ navy trousers.

One very plain dress in block colour. I like me&em ones lately.

A funky skirt in a block colour.

A cashmere jumper/cardigan.

One pair of flats, one pair of wedges (I don't do heels)

One handbag. I have hobo slyle ones, that's what suits my needs.

Some jewellery, a silk scarf, a linen scarf. I only own one bracelet which is a family hairloom and a very small discreet watch I had for the past 20 years. But jewellery and scarves are rather personal and dress you, not the clothes, so experiment smile, that's where you get to reinvent yourself.

Face cream with a bit of foundation (I use max factor)
Concealer (I use chanticaille)
Eyeliner, mascara, blusher (max factor)
I own two lipsticks, a chanel for the summer, a mac for winter, see what suits you.

Get a haircut, thread your eyebrows, clear nail polish.
Chin up, straight back, smile. smile

Never settle for:that'll do. Keep looking till you find the piece that makes you feel amazing.

It'll take months, but enjoy the search.

TheWiseOldElf Mon 24-Feb-14 17:21:39

While pg with DD2 I did a massive wardrobe clear out which forced me to buy some nice new things to wear after she was born (lived in old leggings and sloppy tops after DD1 was born which made me feel gross). I was fortunate that she was due mid-Jan which meant I had the January sales and some Xmas cash to help out. I bought:

Topshop Baxter jeans
J Crew pixie pants
Some North Face hiking pants for walks and trips to the park
A few layering Ts from Joules, Jigsaw and Boden
Plain suprima vests from M&S for wearing under other tops for breastfeeding
I was also one of the lucky ones who bagged a couple of the 80% off Boden cashmere jumpers

All the tops and trousers mix well together and allow for feeding. I mostly pair with converse or Chelsea boots which I already had. I've also bought a pair of pointed flats from Boden for smarter wear but am yet to have the appropriate weather or occasion to try them out!

I'm certainly not the most stylish person in the world but I feel much more put together than after my last pregnancy and I am comfortable enough for running after the kids.

Dilidali Mon 24-Feb-14 17:23:20

*heirloom grin

AuntySib Mon 24-Feb-14 17:25:32

Depends on your lifestyle. Some people recommend that capsule wardrobe includes black trousers, skirt and white shirt, but if you are a SAHM or in a n environment where casual/arty clothes are more suitable, then you wouldn't necessarily need those, and might focus on decent jeans, a few jackets and jersey tops.
FWIW,I would get long black leather boots, flat-ish ankle boots, a couple of nice jackets, a jersey dress, jeans, leggings ( for comfy days) and tops to go them. Also a hat to tuck hair away on windy/wet days.

Lisa if you can find 100% cotton pjs, any design you like so long as they don't have anything printed on them in the rubbery stuff you often get on pj tops, you can dye them black in the washing machine with Dylon machine dyes. The dyes cost about £7 but will dye several things at once so you could chuck in some plain coloured vests or tees and so long as they are cotton, they will come out great.

LisaAYarrow Mon 24-Feb-14 19:17:53

Aahh brilliant thanks so much all for the great suggestions. Love the dye suggestion too and the comment re 'it'll do'- that's what I've been doing for far too long. I'll even wear gifts given to me by friends, stuff that I really don't like or suit, just because I feel I should. Ridiculous and must stop!

TheWiseOldElf Mon 24-Feb-14 21:29:12

Just saw this on WIT blog re wardrobe essentials. Worth a look.

LisaAYarrow Mon 24-Feb-14 23:11:22

Brilliant thank you! Gorgeous things for inspiration.

Deathwatchbeetle Tue 25-Feb-14 08:21:02

Lisa I hope you manage to build up a wardrobe you like and here's to you never having to dress for a man again (unless you want to that is!). Our taste sounds similar but I agree with the other poster about Primark for vest tops and stuff. I also love Matalan.

Ditto about the charity shops I have seen loads of velvet there. You can sometimes get some real bargains too. I got a jacket for £1! Not velvet but one of those very lightweight quilted ones that I was umming and ahhing about. Seeing it at last for £1 I decided on it very quickly!

Snowdown Tue 25-Feb-14 08:40:21

Tricky thing to advise other people on capsule wardrobe. I bought a lovely navy blazer, fits well etc but I never wear it...blazers just aren't me, when it comes to dressing every morning they are the last thing I ever want to wear.

Hopefully Tue 25-Feb-14 09:49:11

I've been vaguely thinking about a post natal capsule wardrobe, as I don't seem to have many clothes for that annoying in between size. I think your idea of buying the odd decent thing and chucking out the crap as you go is great. I'm awful at shopping so I've challenged myself to buy one decent thing every month for this year, and clear some of the dross from my wardrobe.

My wardrobe has plenty of jeans/harem pants in various sizes from being pregnant/post natal twice before, so I'm not going to worry about those until I've lost a chunk of baby weight, but my current shopping strategy is:

March - Ash Jalouse boots in gold (will work with skirts and rolled up jeans for summer, and normal skinnies now). If i have any leftover budget I will also get some skate shoes for casual
April - cashmere v neck sweater
May - new (nursing) underwear (not expensive, but needs to come in somewhere!) and some new camisoles, new pants etc (thrilling month)
June - new blazer or shirt
July - blazer/shirt, whichever one I couldn't find in June

I'll reassess at that point and see what I need for the rest of the year. I'll only acquire a few items this year, but I have plenty of cheap clothes to see me through until more of my clothes have been swapped for the 'nicer' version.

Hopefully Tue 25-Feb-14 09:49:55

Have you tried Pinterest for finding styles you like? Sorry if it's already been suggested. And I love your motivation for changing your wardrobe, how lovely to celebrate the new you smile

bumbumsmummy Tue 25-Feb-14 09:53:57

Watching with interest what basics should you have in your wardrobe and how many ?

Hopefully Tue 25-Feb-14 10:00:19

I think it really depends on your lifestyle bumbum, but I find I can get by quite happily for the non-work clothes side (about 5 days a week for me, I need to be smarter 2 days) with roughly:
2 pairs of jeans/trousers
2 jersey tube skirts
1-2 jersey/sweater dresses
1 pair boots
1 pair flip flops
2 pairs flats (sneakers/slipper flats etc)
4-5 t-shirts (could do with a couple more TBH)
2-3 long camisoles for layering underneath
2 sweaters
3 cardigans
5-ish scarves
a couple of different necklaces/bracelets etc

No idea if that's a normal amount though! the downside of being that capsule (which is what I tend to be) is that clothes actually wear out quite quickly, so need replacing. I think in an ideal world having slightly more clothes than that would be sensible, especially if I was a full time SAHM. Hence my mission to accumulate some more clothes this year!

QueenCadbury Tue 25-Feb-14 12:47:19

lisa think about what you really need. When I became a sahm I didn't have a huge amount of casual clothes as I'd worn a uniform at work and then had going out clothes. So even if you're going back to work at some point think about what you need for the next few months. I live in a uniform of jeans, blouse and cardi pretty much. I couldn't get by on hopefully wardrobe of 2 pairs as I can get through a pair a day if the toddler gets sticky fingers on me etc. Same with tops and cardis-it's not so bad now she's older but that initial baby phase means you end up covered in milk/snot etc and clothes are being constantly washed.

Not sure if this is your first baby or not but think about outerwear and shoes if you're going to be pushing the buggy a lot as you'll need to budget for that. Especially a good winter coat to keep you warm and dry and also a summer coat to keep you dry in case we have a wet one.

helzapoppin2 Tue 25-Feb-14 14:34:56

Lisa, a bit off topic, but if any of your clothes carry bad memories, chuck, chuck, chuck and chuck!
I find it works wonders for never having to think of those bad times ever again!

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