Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Building a Capsule Wardrobe: where to start?

You've decided to build a capsule wardrobe - maybe a late New Year's resolution? - with the hope of becoming even more stylish in 2016. You've seen the fashion bloggers extolling the virtues of capsule wardrobes, declaring that you only need 33 (Project 333), perhaps 16 (4x4) or maybe just 10 items of clothing to look incredibly chic every day. You're keen to have a go, the only problem being: where do you start?

You could start by purchasing one of the many books describing how to build the definitive capsule wardrobe, though some of them aren't that inspiring or even well written in my opinion, having downloaded a few from Amazon. A better (and also cheaper!) way is by visiting one of the numerous fashion blogs, my favourite one being The Vivienne Files.  Take a look at Janice's 4x4 wardrobes by clicking on the link and then choose your favourite colours from the many options. You could also start by reading this post and then the following ones that I'm planning to write on the same subject.

My advice is to first identify your personal style, lifestyle, body shape and your most flattering colours before you think about what your capsule should contain. What's the point of rushing out to buy a chic jacket if it's not something you will wear regularly, the style is wrong for your shape and it's black, which is a colour that makes you look washed out and haggard? Don't worry, I'm not having a dig at you.  Read this post of mine and you'll see exactly what I mean!

Here is a good example of a capsule wardrobe, which I found on Polyvore. Tullewhimsy has created this French capsule wardrobe with simple, stylish pieces that can be mixed and matched to create many different outfits.
At first glance this capsule suits my personal style and a few years ago I might have been tempted to buy similar pieces, however I now realise why it wouldn't work for me. The most obvious reason is that there is too much black and white so the colour palette is far from ideal. Take a look at the high heels - I'm an over 60 woman with a mainly casual lifestyle, so they would just sit at the bottom of my wardrobe. Either that or I'd cripple myself the first time I wore them! The white pussy-bow silk blouse is far too fussy and girly to suit me and the black mini dress on the left may have looked good on me when I was in my teens and twenties, but not forty years later. My capsule wouldn't need both a dress and a skirt anyway as I usually live in trousers, worn with a colourful top rather than black or white. You may be the opposite and your ideal capsule might have three skirts instead of trousers plus several dresses. You may also love black and white and look fabulous when you wear them. My point here is that we are all individuals and the ideal capsule wardrobe for one person is probably anything but for another person.

At this stage, having identified your personal style and thought about what clothes will suit your lifestyle, it's time to decide what colours will form the basis of your capsule wardrobe. You've probably guessed from looking at the example above that these should be neutrals. If black is too harsh on you, navy and grey may be more flattering. If your colouring is warm like mine, dark brown and camel may be your best choices. Decide on two dark neutrals and one light neutral, all of which should go well together, and then (here comes the fun part!) choose a couple of accent colours that flatter you and that will also go well with your neutrals. 

Here's another example of a capsule wardrobe, which I have just created on Polyvore. I've used warmer colours (brown, camel and cream), which I know would flatter me more than the black and white shown above. 
I mentioned choosing accent colours, especially if you aren't so keen on monochromatic outfits. For the top capsule wardrobe, my personal choices would be a bright blue and red, although I realise that black and white aren't my best colours. For the bottom capsule wardrobe, which would suit my colouring far more, my accents would be coral and teal. You of course may have totally different ideas of what items to include in a capsule wardrobe and which colours would look best. 

My personal style recipe is "colourful casual chic with a little bit quirky and a Parisian influence". The emphasis is on casual and colourful, however I aim to look elegant and chic. This may explain how my wardrobe a few years ago contained all the colours of the rainbow and lots of different styles. My lifestyle, now that I've retired, is perfect for my personality and my style, with most days spent blogging, walking the dog, shopping and meeting friends for coffee or lunch. We do have the occasional dinner out or celebration lunch to allow me to dress up in an elegant and chic way though!

In my next post, now that I have identified my personal style, given some thought to my lifestyle and chosen my best colours, I will select the first few items to include in my capsule wardrobe. Do let me know your personal style and/or favourite colours so that I can give some different examples.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

My Word for 2016: Future

Do you use facebook on a regular basis? If so, maybe you have seen friends posting the results of (to give a recent example) entering their name and clicking on "next" to find their word for 2016. You may even have tried it yourself, as I did! 

Of course we realise that this isn't exactly scientific, but I decided to see what word it would give me for 2016. As you can see by the title of the post, my word was "Future". Apparently I will make new connections and find a lot of happiness. This word will guide me through the year of 2016. It will support me in my daily struggles and situations that may appear hopeless. This word will always show me the silver lining so that I won't ever need to worry. As I commented on facebook, wealth would have been good but I'll settle for happiness!

My first reaction on being given the word "future" was that it wouldn't be an appropriate word for me. I believe in making the most of the present. Not looking back and regretting the past, and definitely not looking forward and worrying about things that may never happen. 

However I gave it a bit more thought and could see how "future" might be a very helpful word for 2016. I have decided to try an anti-inflammatory diet in the hope that it might ward off arthritis, after my doctor told me that I have arthritis in my jaw. This may not have an immediate effect, but hopefully it will improve my overall health for the future. 

I have also started doing a daily shiatsu facial massage, which I'm hoping will show positive results in a month or so. Why not take a look here at an example of giving yourself a facial massage? I am using a video, which assures me that it will prevent wrinkles - in my case I already have them, but I'll be happy if it will prevent more wrinkles in the future! I am also starting a body toning routine, which will supplement the walking that I do every day to keep fit. I have learnt that it can take time to see results from any fitness programme, so again this will be something for the future.

Beautiful Paris
I will be visiting France in 2016. We are going to Bordeaux at the beginning of March to celebrate my husband's birthday and we will also be meeting friends there, which will be great. Talking of the future though, I hope to visit Paris in 2017 to celebrate my 70th birthday, so I will be planning this in 2016 and definitely looking forward to our future visit.

Many of my posts are about fashion for over 60 (and particularly petite) women. Over the last 12 months I've learnt a lot about what colours, shapes and styles suit me. My capsule wardrobe is developing and I expect it to develop further over the next 12 months, so that eventually I will have a wardrobe consisting of clothes that I love and that love me. My capsule wardrobe is a work in progress, however I am hoping that some time in the future you will see a far more stylish version of me on my blog.

To summarise: 2016 will be a work in progress for me, definitely living in the present but at the same time working towards a happier, healthier and more stylish future. Have you picked a theme for 2016? If so, please share it with us.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Winter capsule wardrobe for Project 333

My autumn capsule wardrobe worked really well, however winter has definitely arrived so I need to retire a couple of short-sleeved tops until it's time to think about my spring capsule. For any new readers, the idea behind Project 333 is to limit yourself to a maximum of 33 items of clothing for the next 3 months. It may sound limiting to some of you, however if you choose your 33 items wisely your capsule wardrobe should prove to be versatile and far from boring.

Even in sunny Spain it's a lot colder during the winter months, so I rarely wear dresses or skirts at this time of the year. I've included four neutral bottoms in my winter capsule: grey trousers, navy denims, chocolate jeggings and sand trousers.

To create a column of colour (to help me look taller and slimmer!) I have included a navy cardigan, grey jacket, navy and grey jacket, brown cardigan and sand cardigan. I can't resist a bit of colour though, so you will also see a red cardigan, an olive one and my hero cardigan, which is shown in the last picture.

Now to a selection of tops to go with the bottoms. This is where I break away from the neutrals and have a bit of fun with my winter capsule. True there is a chocolate brown top, however the lace sleeves add some interest, and the olive top has sequins round the neckline, but as you can see I've also included blue, purple, red, lime, teal and orange. You may spot some striped tops too: I never can resist a striped top!

I like to show off my mathematical skills, so I've calculated that there are 16 tops and 4 bottoms in the capsule, which gives 64 different combinations. Don't forget that there are eight cardigans and jackets, so this increases the possible permutations, although admittedly not every top, bottom and jacket goes together. It's clear though that I can wear a different top every day over a two week period, so there's no need to become bored with my capsule. Remember that I can use those all important accessories to add even more variety to my wardrobe. 

Talking about maths, there are only 32 items shown here: this allows me to introduce a dress if we're invited somewhere smart or a wildcard in case I find something special in the January sales! Finally, two puffer jackets, a burgundy coat and my new copper trench are shown below: these should cover me for all types of weather and all occasions.

If any of you have been thinking about having a clear out of your wardrobe and/or building a capsule wardrobe that will give you plenty of variety, why not start it now? Click on this link to find out more about Project 333. I should admit here that I do bend the rules, as I don't include accessories, jewellery or shoes in my 33 items, but trust me: my wardrobe is definitely a lot less cluttered and more organised than it was before I started Project 333!