The capsule wardrobe

I’ve been going on and on about this on my blog for years! Why do magazine editors insist on telling us there is a one-size-fits-all capsule wardrobe that we all want to wear? I don’t want to wear a crisp white shirt with chino’s and I’d rather skinny dip in The Nile than wear a classic beige trench coat. Nope, the problem is, they are just not my style. If you are a TRUE classic dresser then I can see how a pair of loafers and a trench coat would speak to you but increasingly, individuality is the holy grail of dressing. Smart/casual work environments have a lot to do with it and self expression is a powerful communication tool. Seeing as 80% of communication is non verbal why wouldn’t we want to tell the world who we are quickly whilst at the same time being our true selves? Also, shouldn’t the capsule wardrobe in essence be a moving feast?

The capsule wardrobe as a concept is a good idea. There is joy and value in having a tightly curated wardrobe and it just doesn’t feel right to buy tons of clothes but rather considered purchases and good cost-per-wear. The best thing you can do for yourself to create a bespoke personal capsule wardrobe that works for YOU is know your colours - be clear on what suits you AND know what cuts of clothes suit your body shape. These are things I cover in my wardrobe edit.

I think the capsule wardrobe needs to be framed differently and brought up-to-date - how about the occasion wardrobe? Think of your wardrobe in terms of the clothes having a job to do, so you have the right outfit for every occasion. I recently got bedazzled by a silver skirt in Topshop, bought it, took it home and remembered I already have a silver skirt in a different style. The one I already have does the same job as the new one so I took it back. I’m feeling smug about my restraint!!

So work out what you are doing this year and what kinds of clothes you need to do that thing in. Going to a festival? Get some sequins on board, going to Ascot? Something formal. Aiming for a promotion? Focus on getting some great quality smart/casual separates. Clothes change perceptions, your own about yourself and to others when they meet you. They also get you places. They are often a tool for teenage rebellion, to get a job, to be desirable, to tell a story of a time in history. So why are we still being fed the crisp white shirt, classic trench and loafers line? It’s a fixed mindset that feels so dated and is lessening the personal power clothes can have by suggesting we all need the same things. Importantly it masks personal style and a developed mind set.

With all this in mind, I’ve decided to share with you my summer capsule wardrobe that works for the fact I am going to a festival, I don’t work in an office so need more weekend casual style clothing and I’m in a 70’s mood because I LOVE the current 70’s vibe, also, I’m obsessed with jumpsuits. Next year my capsule wardrobe might be completely different.

  1. Sequin Dresses.

    I bought a turquoise sequin dress this week in Zara with an upcoming festival in mind also knowing I will wear it to future festivals. I love the colour, it’s unusual as sequins are usually in silver or gold. I like the fact it can be belted if I want with a nice black leather belt, also, that it isn’t fitted because sequins and a tight fit seem a step too far. Much cooler to have one or the other. I really like the fact it was £19.99 reduced from £69.99! I’ll get excellent cost-per-wear from this! I can’t find the link to the actual one I bought on Zara’s website but there were loads of them in the Oxford Street store. Zara is currently awash with sequin dresses and almost all of them with big reductions.

2. A jumpsuit. I cannot be without at least two of these in my ‘capsule’ wardrobe right now. I’m not a massive fan of pattern so these two will do nicely for me. An edgy black and a girly pink and importantly both have wide legged trousers.

3. Wide legged trousers and a pretty top. Wide legged trousers are a current capsule wardrobe essential in my book. I wear a lot of vest tops and t-shirts in the summer but I also like to look smarter sometimes so a prettier top is very useful.

4. It’s all about the one shoulder top this summer - have you noticed they are everywhere? Sticking with Sezane (because why not?) I will wear this one with cut-off denim shorts and Birkinstocks when it’s really hot.

5. I definitely need a summer dress or two in my summer capsule edit. I love these. The red halterneck dress from Mango is really nice in real life with glitter running though it which you can’t quite see in this photo.

6. Levi trucker jacket. Now this is definitely one of the most useful things in my wardrobe during summer hands down. Too hot for a leather jacket, when it’s chilly this goes over everything.

7. I’m wearing a lot of floaty skirts with trainers at the moment and really like this colour block version from Karen Millen. Also, once again, the gold skirt from sezane!

Summer seems to have finally arrived so let’s hope it stays with us until at least October!

Lisa Gillbe is a personal stylist based in London. Get in touch for more info on her styling services.