My year-round 40-item capsule wardrobe (that is not just neutrals and basics)

I’ve been dressing using a capsule wardrobe for almost a decade now. 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 clothes 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 and a small bag of shoes. This way of doing it takes longer, but I find it more sustainable and also helps me save money.


My lifestyle

I’m a work-from-home freelancer who home educates two children (aged 9 and 10). 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 and I can perfectly fine not leave the flat in 3 or 4 weeks.

My style

I like comfortable, casual clothes with a hint of 80’s grunge. 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. Right now I’ve got red, purple, blue, and green. But I’ve gone through stages where I used pink, orange, beige, turquoise, and yellow. I may add in some turquoise or orange soon, but I haven’t made up my mind yet.

Where I get my clothes

If I buy clothes, I get them mostly second-hand from charity shops. I also sew, crochet, and knit.

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 (like fabric for art). 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 buying second hand, then making something myself (from deadstock or second hand fabric or yarn), and after that buying new.

I also get a lot of clothes gifted by family and friends, because they know I prefer to give clothing a second (or third!) life and that I can fix things if needed.

The clothes

I’m terrible at taking photos of clothes, so I found images of similar products on Amazon so you get an idea of what my actual clothes look like. 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!

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.

Please note that the links are all affiliate links to Amazon, if you buy something from it, I will get a percentage that I will put towards the improvement of the website.

16 bottoms

Casual knee-length bright blue skirt: mine has massive pockets and is super comfy, I use it mostly when I’m out and about.

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.

Dark grey leggings: Very comfy and they have massive pockets. I wear them way more than I should.

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.

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.

Purple slim fit trousers: I love these, I’ve had them for years. I’ve put on weight since I bought them, but because the fabric is a little bit stretchy they still fit.

Paisley blue jeggings: one of my newest acquisitions. They’re very comfy and definitely stand out! I love them and use them loads.

Dark blue skinny jeans: your basic skinnies that go with everything.

White jean skirt: this one was longer and smaller (as I’ve mentioned I’ve put on weight), so I made it shorter and with the bottom bits I made side panels. Was one of my favourites, and it still is.

Green corduroy mini: (the one linked in khaki, I couldn’t find one that looked the same in cord) this was a longer skirt that I cut into a mini. I mostly wear it over leggings or tights.

Grey trousers: these are stretchy but look good enough to pass for dress trousers.

Check light blue skirt: stretchy and very comfortable, the longest skirt I have. I’ve had it since secondary school.

Winter floral mini skirt: this used to be a T-shirt dress, but the top got stretched out.

Chiffon blue floral mini: another one that used to be a dress, in this case the top got stained. I like it so much better as a skirt.

Cropped white jeans: got them on sale from Debenhams right before they went out of business. They are quite thick but comfortable and have little gem stones stuck throughout.

Green skirt: I got this from a friend. It used to be a dress that was very weird, so she gifted it to me knowing I would be able to do something with it ot the fabric.

16 tops

Blue backless long-sleeved top: I got this one as a present from a friend when I turned 18 (I’m 36). I love it. It’s very comfy and works for a nicer day out because it has some sparkles and no back, but I can also use it at home. I will probably not replace it or replace it with another statement top, it’s a very unique item.

Purple paisley tank: a more statement piece that matches everything in my wardrobe. I wear it loads. 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.

Long tight purple tank: similar to above but form fitting. Not a big fan of the tightness, I find it quite constricting when doing more active things but it’s alright for more relaxed activities.

Thick checkered blue flannel shirt: hand-me-down from my dad (it was too small for him). 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.

Sleeveless black cotton shirt: leftover from my office days. It used to be tight and have short sleeves, but I took those out and added some crochet panels on the side to make it more comfortable and casual.

Sleeveless white cotton shirt: another one from my office days. This one had long sleeves, and got the same treatment as the black one.

Blue floral cami: more office wear I modified. I added crochet panels on the sides and around the collar.

Long-sleeved purple knit tunic: a nicer-looking top that is my go-to for parties or dinners (which I go to about twice per year). Very comfy and I use year-round as it’s not too thick.

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 cry when it breaks, I love it.

Thick grey crochet jumper: recently made by me, I didn’t use a pattern. This one of really thick and warm. If you knit or crochet, the hook I used was a 7mm/K size, and the yarn is a chunky wool/acrylic blend.

Lilac jumper: a basic jumper, but comfy and a cute colour. I present from my mum.

V-neck navy mohair jumper: I like this one a lot, but it’s quite itchy because I am very sensitive to wool, so I can’t use it with short sleeves (which is most of my tops).

Long sleeveless plaid green shirt: thin fabric but it had long sleeves with made it too hot for summer, so I got rid of those. I can use it as a shirt or a tunic, but it’s too short to be a dress.

B&W pattern flowy top: mine is cropped at the front and long at the back. Very fresh for summer.

Long sleeveless chambray shirt: very similar to the green and red one, but in a different fabric. Another one I’ve had since my teen years, it got a bit tight in the bust after I had kids, so I opened the sides and added one of my crochet panels.

Grey fleece: not very exciting but utilitarian. I wear it at least once a week year-round. I’m pretty sure this one got stolen from my husband.

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.

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.

Long navy jersey cardi: Another favourite. Very similar to the black one, but slightly thicker.

Green knit cardi: very old, from when I was in secondary school. Also very comfy and the perfect thickness to work year-round.

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.

Oversized dark grey hoodie: another one I took from my husband, most of my hoodies are his old ones. I’ll replace it with another oversized hoodie that I will probably also inherit from my husband (there’s a white, blue and green one I’ve got my eye on).

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 now casual life, but I make it work with layers.

Dark grey raincoat: very useful! I’m pretty sure I grabbed this one from my husband when my old one broke (seeing a pattern?). It’s not a very exciting part of my wardrobe, but a needed one.

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