Having a bit of fun today experimenting with a few options for trend pieces to add to my 5-Piece French Wardrobe this season. I love the look of sleeveless coats and jackets. I think they make a great transitional piece, but I’m not sure how much wear I’d get out of one. I’m seeing chain boots everywhere at the moment too – they’re a really cool alternative to chelsea boots.
I’m minimizing my closet and building a capsule wardrobe from scratch, starting with a strong foundation of basics. I’m also following the 5-Piece French Wardrobe concept of only buying five new trend or statement pieces each season. Read the full series here.
According to the Met Office, spring officially started on the 20th March – perfect timing for my newly revamped basics wardrobe! Last time, I created a 32-piece wardrobe of basics for AW14-15, but when I was creating my wardrobe for SS15, I realised how much overlap there was going to be. So I decided to do things a little differently…
The UK climate is pretty mild most of the year, so I tend to wear the same basic pieces, adding or remove layers depending on the temperature. So this time round I’ve created a year-round capsule wardrobe of basics, suited to my own personal everyday style.
This is a loose guide – the numbers aren’t hard and fast (I have multiples of regularly worn items), and not everything below is the exact item I own (although I’ve tried wherever I can). I’m pretty new to this and I’m still assessing the areas of my wardrobe that are missing/lacking, so this wardrobe is a work in progress. I do have some holes to fill, but I’m getting there. Last season involved a lot of purging, and since then I’ve been slowly stocking back up, but the final product should look something like this:
t-shirts : a mixture of approx 10 neutral coloured t-shirts & vests in a variety of cuts (crew neck, v, tank etc). white | grey | black
shirts : an ivory blouse* and/or white shirt, a flannel*, a chambray/denim shirt. blouse | flannel | denim
bottoms : skinny jeans in black and blue, 2-3 pairs of each colour, ripped and clean + one pair of white skinny jeans*. A pair of boyfriend jeans and a pair of loose-fitting trousers. black | blue | white boyfriend | trousers
long-sleeves : 2-3 heavier knits and 2-3 lighter knits/sweaters (I want this one*) black | cream | grey
cardigans : two cardigans (but preferably four), 1-2 in black* and 1-2 neutral, like grey, cream or camel. Big and oversized. grey | black
jackets : a black blazer + preferably a second in a lighter neutral* for versatility. A leather jacket. A denim jacket* – possible fourth option. blazer | leather | denim
coats : a wool coat, a hooded coat (I like parkas) and a lighter trench for transitional weather. wool | parka | trench
shoes : 3-4 pairs of trainers*, 2-3 pairs of heeled boots, 1-2 flat boots, one pair of flats. The rule is that all multiples of one type of shoe must be very different. Note: No heels for everyday (these go in a tiny occasional capsule wardrobe). superga | converse | nike | new balance pointy | chelsea | flats
*items currently missing from my wardrobe.
So there you have my year-round capsule basics wardrobe… I count that as approximately 50 items, so I’m going to use that number as a rough guide for the size of my everyday wardrobe.
Like I said, this is a work in progress – the first time I took a serious look at my wardrobe, I cut back my wardrobe pretty drastically. I ended up with just t-shirts, skinny jeans and a few jumpers. It made it super easy to get dressed everyday, but it also helped me realise the key elements that were missing; clothing items that would help complete outfits and add a little variety.
The list above seems a good balance of a smallish wardrobe, with enough variety to keep my happy. My plan now is to slowly build on what I’ve got and make sure that each new addition has a place in my wardrobe. The items marked with an asterisk are pieces I don’t currently have at all in my wardrobe, so I’m on the hunt for some of those items, but for everything else, it’s a one-in-one-out policy.
I’m following the 5-Piece French Wardrobeconcept of only purchasing five new items per season. Basics don’t normally count, but since I need quite a few items, I’m going to try to limit myself to only five new items to add to my wardrobe this time round. Hopefully that will keep my bank balance happy and it will ensure that I continue to choose quality over quantity. Anything not featured on this list will also count as a trend/statement piece for the season, of course.
Do you have a capsule wardrobe? I would love to hear other people’s experiences!
By the way, in case you noticed the lack of shorts, skirts and dresses in my wardrobe, I’m going to do a separate “sub”-capsule wardrobe for summer/holiday pieces later in the year. We get some really nice days in summer in the UK, but it’s a pretty short season here, so for me, anything super summery goes down as a trend piece rather than a basic. I didn’t include them here because I never really gravitate towards those items on a daily basis, so I don’t count them as part of my daily uniform (skinny jeans ftw X).
Back in November, I was psyching myself up for another (pretty much bi-weekly by now) wardrobe purge, and I decided that maybe it was time for a new approach : build a smaller, more focussed wardrobe of clothing I would actually wear… That was AW1415. It is now SS15, so I thought I’d recap on the process so far and have a look at what I’ve learnt before I start all over again for Spring.
A Personal Style Uniform
The first thing I did when starting down this road was to take the time to define my personal style uniform. This was 100% the most valuable step for me in building a capsule wardrobe. Figuring out the key elements that made up my outfits and the themes that ran through my style choices, was the starting point to the whole process. Once that was done, I could then easily purge my wardrobe of anything that didn’t “fit” the concept, as well as see the gaps that needed to be filled. Having a personal style concept made poor purchasing decisions almost impossible and made it a hundred times easier to get dressed in the morning, because I always knew the look I was going for. To find out more about how I went about defining my personal style, check out this post.
The 5-Piece French Wardrobe
The other minimalist wardrobe concept I really liked was the 5-Piece French Wardrobe. The “5-Piece” part refers to a limit of 5 new trend-based or statement clothing purchases each fashion season, but the concept is about creating a capsule wardrobe of statement and investment pieces, supported by well-chosen basics: a quality over quantity approach. Based on this principle, and with my style concept at hand, I set about defining my basics for AW1415. You can see them here.
I ultimately came up with these 32 items:
15 tops (6 short-sleeved tees, 3 long sleeved, 3 collared shirts, 1 jumper, 1 cardigan, 1 turtle neck,)
7 bottoms (4 jeans, 3 trousers)
6 shoes (2 sneakers, 1 flats, 2 boots, 1 heels)
After a few months, here is what I’ve learnt:
.specific numbers aren’t really important to me, it’s more about making sure that I actually wear and love everything in my wardrobe.
.so since I wear skinny jeans and a t-shirt 85% of the time, I can definitely justify having more than one of each colour available…
.I should separate my smart and casual wardrobes. I’m casual almost everyday, so I don’t need heels and trousers in my everyday wardrobe, but I do need a mini wardrobe for dressy days.
.The more I wanted to keep my wardrobe minimal and in line with my style concept, the less I actually wanted to shop.
I’ve created an updated everyday basics wardrobe based on what I’ve learnt from these past few months, which I’ll share in my next style post (Sunday).
My Five Purchases
I didn’t get a chance to test out the 5PFW’s five-item cap this time round, because I was working on building up my basics wardrobe. All of my purchases were for basics, which don’t officially count towards the limit, but here they are anyway!
My favourite and possibly most worn wardrobe item – I cannot get enough of the classic grey tee. I like mine a little oversized and baggy, but scoop-neck, v-neck, crew, I’m not fussed. I grab them in every shade I can find. I love how versatile grey tees are; they go with everything and there are so many ways to wear them. Definitely a signature piece for me!
It’s almost time to start planning my Spring capsule wardrobe! Spoiler alert: my love affair with black skinny jeans isn’t over. In fact, a lot of my basics will probably stay the same as last season. I might think about adding some colour though (but that’s a big maybe…). New shoes are definitely in order for a new season, and I think these D’Orsay flats are so chic! This combination makes such a simple, classic and sophisticated outfit.