(Approx. reading time 9 mins 55 secs)
I’ve been dressing using a capsule wardrobe for about 7 years. I don’t think I even knew what a capsule wardrobe was at the time to be honest. I just new I wanted to have less stuff and a wardrobe that was easier to get dressed with.
I have never got rid of any items or done a declutter. What I did instead was to stop buying! And to use what I already had, but in a more organised way. When I started I had 5 suitcases full of clothes. Right now, I have only 1. This way of doing it takes longer, but I find it more sustainable and also helps me save money.
I’m a work-from-home freelancer who home educates two children (aged 7 and 9). We live in the city centre, within walking distance of the sea and the woods. In summer, I am very active and go out to the beach or hiking almost everyday, in winter I hibernate in my way-too-hot flat (my daughter has asthma, so we keep the temperature high year-round) and I can perfectly fine not leave the flat in 3 or 4 weeks.
I like comfortable, casual clothes with a hint of grunge/edgy. I like fashion and I’m not scared to make a statement. I use white, greys, and blacks as my neutrals (mostly the darker end of that), and my main colours change according to whatever I fancy, but they are usually quite bright. Right now I’ve got red, purple, and blue. But I’ve gone through stages where I used pink, orange, beige, turquoise, and yellow. Right now, the plan is to slowly start adding some green in.
You can keep up with all may makes on Instagram. At the moment, I’m working on small boring basics like socks, scrunchies, headbands, and underwear. Not very exciting, but very much needed! My phone’s camera is all sorts of messed up, so don’t expect professional-quality images, this is real life people! And I refuse to replace a whole phone just for a camera. Here’s a sneak peak:
Where I get my clothes
If I buy clothes, I get them mostly second-hand from charity shops. I also sew, crochet, and knit a lot, and my goal is to have a completely me-made wardrobe.
I still have a lot of clothes from previous years that I am slowly working through. I mend and mend and mend clothes until they can’t be mended anymore, and at that stage I will try to repurpose them as something else. This means, that there’s a suitcase full of clothes in my office where all my ‘shopping’ starts. If Something breaks beyond repair, my first stop to replace it is that suitcase. After that comes making something myself, then buying second hand, and the last option is buying new from small independent sellers (big brands is the last last option).
As mentioned my camera is awful, so I found images of similar products on Amazon so you get an idea of what my actual clothes look like and I linked them because of crediting reasons (but the links are not affiliate). Try to make, get second-hand, or buy from small independent sellers if you can. But if you can’t, and you like something, the link is there!
My wardrobe is a little bit bigger than I would want right now with about 50 items, but there are a few items I will not replace once they get worn out. My replacing plans are very long term as most of my clothes still have several years of life in them.
If you don’t fancy reading, you have the images. But I know I love learning why people like the clothes they like and how they wear them, so there’s a lot of that if you are like me.
Everything in one image
Just-above-the-knee dark denim skirt: very comfy and works year round, mostly with tights. I use it everywhere. I will replace it with another denim skirt, but shorter.
Business just-above-the-knee navy A-line skirt: left from my work in a school and work in an office days, I wear it with very casual tops to make it less business. I will probably replace it with a casual mini.
Casual knee-length bright blue skirt: mine has massive pockets and is super comfy, I use it mostly when I’m out and about. I will replace it with another knee-length casual.
White linen shorts: I don’t like these at all, I’m just not a fan of linen. I will replace with khaki or structured shorts.
Flowy light grey shorts: These are gorgeous, but so annoying. The wind keeps making them fly up and show my bum, I mostly wear them at the beach on top of my swimsuit or at home. I will not be replacing them.
Light grey jean shorts: these were bermudas that got the chop. I love them so much, and they have been mended in so many places, I will be sad when I have to replace them.
Sparkly black capri jeans: another favourite, I love capris. In summer I wear them with sandals, in autumn and spring with trainers, in winter with high boots.
Dark grey yoga trousers: Very comfy and they have massive pockets. But I’m not a fan of the flared bottoms and have trouble matching it with other things as most of my tops are longish and oversized. I won’t be replacing them.
Dark grey leggings: Love them on their own, under skirts, or under trousers when it’s very cold! I will replace them with more long leggings.
Fleece-lined black leggings: a winter staple, and because I live in England a year-round staple! Another one of those things that has been mended multiple times. I’ll replace them with exactly the same thing, maybe in a different colour.
Leatherette leggings: more leggings! I just love leggings. These are so comfy and make everything immediately look nicer. In winter I wear them with the fleece-lined leggings underneath. I’ll try try replace them with real leather.
Black biker shorts: I use them just like leggings: on their own or under skirts (to avoid chafing). I’ll replace them with exactly the same thing.
Purple slim fit trousers: I love proper proper trousers, I find them very comfy. I usually wear them one size bigger so they are fresh for summer and can take a layer (aka fleece leggings) under during winter. They will be replaced with more of the same.
Burgundy skinny jeans: They’re skinny jeans, they’re awesome. Nothing else to say. I always have some skinnies in my wardrobe. These got too small (or rather I got bigger!), so I used fabric from a coat to make them into moto skinnies, using the Resolution Bottoms by Love Notions. When the time comes, I will replace with something more neutral, like black or denim.
Light grey turtleneck top: boring but useful. I usually use it under jumpers or dresses when it’s cold. I will replace with something very similar.
Navy turtleneck top: same as above.
Black sleeveless turtleneck top: same as above, but without sleeves. All three are in fact the exact same top but in different colour, and with different sleeves.
Blue backless long-sleeved top: I got this one as a present from a friend when I turned 18 (I’m 35). I love it. It’s very comfy and work for a nicer day out because it has some sparkles and no back, but I can also use it at home. I often wear it with the black sleeveless turtleneck top for extra warmth or the red crop top (see below) for extra coverage if the occasion requires it.. I will probably not replace it or replace it with another statement top, it’s a very unique top.
Long-sleeved red T-shirt: another one of those basics. It gets worn a lot and it’s more interesting than a basic white T. I’ll replace it with another colour T-shirt.
Purple paisley tank: a more statement piece that matches everything in my wardrobe. I wear it loads (I’m wearing it right now as I type this). The fabric is the same as a sports top or a swimming costume, which means it’s great for the hottest days of summer and dries really fast when I go to the beach. I’ll replace it with something in that same fabric.
Black tank: a basic that goes with everything and a staple of my summer wardrobe. I will probably always have either a black, grey, or white tank in my wardrobe.
Long flowy purple tank: something easy that goes with most things for when I’m not feeling particularly ‘fashion’. I will replace it with another flowy easy top, possible a tank too.
Long tight purple tank: similar to above but form fitting. I use it mostly for sleeping. Not a big fan of the tightness, I find it quite constricting when doing things. I won’t be replacing it.
Red crop top: a tight spaghetti strap crop top that I mostly use as a bralette. I will replace with something similar or a bralette, in a colour.
Short-sleeved oversized purple knit T-shirt: my go-to when I’m home. It’s really big and really comfy, not the most fashion-forward but I love it. I’ll replace it with something with the same shape.
Thin checkered blue and red flannel shirt: exactly what the description says. I love a flannel shirt. I wear it on top of my T-shirts, as a shirt, and under jumpers. It’s a year-round staple. I’ll replace it with another flannel.
Thick checkered red flannel shirt: hand-me-down from my dad (it was too small for him). Does the same as the other flannel, but it’s a little bit thicker. This was made for men, so I had to open the side seams and give it slits so it would fit my body better. I like it a lot, but I won’t replace it, I don’t need that many flannels!
Thick checkered blue flannel shirt: same as above but in a different colour.
Short-sleeved black cotton shirt: leftover from my office days. I wear it, but I’m not fan. I’ll probably replace it with a more casual shirt in a pattern or interesting fabric.
Long-sleeved white cotton shirt: another one from my office days. I use it on top of tighter jumpers and turtleneck tops. I won’t be replacing it.
Blue floral cami: one that looks just a little bit nicer. I don’t wear it much because it’s not the most comfortable. I am currently on the lockout for a thin cotton thread in a matching colour so I can open up the side seams and add some nice crochet lace at the sides that will also make it wider and more to my liking. I’m not sure what I’ll do when it needs replacing.
Long-sleeved purple knit tunic: a more stylish version of my oversized purple T-shirt. Just as comfy but because it’s quite thin it’s not very warm, so it’s only good for not-too-cold cold days. I will probably replace it with a thicker knit tunic.
Oversized black knit jumper: the jumper you will see me wearing about 90% of cold days, everyone who knows me is sick of it. It was a handmade present for my husband from a friend, but it’s way too big for him, so it was given to me (a fan of oversized jumpers). I will replace it with the one below.
Mid-grey thick turtleneck knit jumper: this is very similar to the black one but it has a turtleneck, and the other one is a crew neck. I wasn’t going to do it yet, but while buying fabric for something else I found the perfect yarn and it was 50% off. So it got made earlier than planned! I used the Bernat Women’s Curvy Crochet Cowl Pullover pattern by Yarnspirations.
Lilac jumper: a basic jumper, but comfy and a cute colour. I present from my mum. I’m not sure I’ll replace it with anything, maybe another basic jumper in a cute colour.
Red jumper: another basic that is not very exciting, but gets used a lot. I don’t even know where this one came from, because I’ve had it for about 20 years.
Red turtleneck knit jumper: I’ve had this one since I was 15, and I wear it all the time. I’ve had it for 20 years and it still looks fantastic, so I’m hoping I won’t have to replace it any time soon, but if I do, it’ll be another ribbed turtleneck.
V-neck navy mohair jumper: I like this one a lot, but it’s quite itchy so I can’t use it with short sleeves (which is most of my tops). I’ll replace it with another V-neck, but not itchy!
Black floral T-shirt mini: my favourite, I wear it year-round. On its own when it’s warm, with a long-sleeve top and tights when it’s cold.
Blue floral mini: I got this one on a whim of desperation when I was out with my then baby who decided to wee all over my clothes. I run into the nearest shop and grabbed the cheapest one-piece I could find. That was 7 years ago and the dress has been worn at least once a week since. This dress has lining, and when it need to be replaced, I will get something without lining to make it more usable in hot weather.
Dark grey floral knit mini: This is more of a cold weather dress. I really like it, but it’s now it’s in my ‘do something with pile’ because it’s a bit too short. I will probably divide the bodice and the skirt, and either add a thick waistband or just turn it into a skirt. I don’t think I’ll replace it.
Red knit dress: this one has seen me through 2 pregnancies! I have no clue what I’ll replace it with, or if I’ll even replace it at all.
8 second layers
Red knit cardi: stolen from my husband, it was too tight on him. It’s also just on the limit when it comes to size for me, so I usually just wear it open. I’ll replace it with another knit cardi.
Black waterfall very thin jersey cardi: One of my favourites. It’s great for colder summer nights, spring, autumn, and indoors during winter. Another thing that has been mended more times than I can remember. I’ll replace with another waterfall cardi, probably the waterfall version of the Canyon Cardigan by Love Notions.
Long navy jersey cardi: Another favourite. Very similar to the black one, but slightly thicker. I don’t think I’ll replace it, one long cardi is more than enough.
Long black and white thick knit cardi: this is your typical fluffy cardi, it’s awesome and I’ve had it for years. My husband got it for me to use in the very cold office I used to work at. Now I use it in the also very cold office in my house. I’ll replace it with something very similar, but made by me.
Oversized dark grey hoodie: another one I took from my husband, most of my hoodies are his old hoodies. I’ll replace it with another oversized hoodie that I will probably also inherit from my husband.
Grey Disney hoodie: this was a gift from my mum after having my second kid, and it’s really cute! It even has ears on the hoodie. But, I washed it on hot by accident and it shrunk!! It still fits, but it’s a bit on the tight side. I don’t think I’ll replace it, I only need one hoodie really.
Black wool winter pea coat: somewhat military-looking coat I got for work. It was ‘proper’ enough to work for an office, but ‘cool’ enough for me to like it. It’s a bit short for my casual life, so I’ll probably replace it with something a bit longer.
Dark grey raincoat: very useful! I’m pretty sure I grabbed this one from my husband when my old one broke. It will just get replaced with another raincoat. It’s not a very exciting part of my wardrobe, but a needed one.