But I said I didn’t always agree with some of the well known advisors on this topic.
There seem to be two schools of thought. The first is often found on Bloglovin – Fashionistas and stylist-girls who say things like “Everyone must have a LBD. A pair of deep, skinny jeans. A white shirt. A navy blazer…etc.” And the other school of thought which is “choose a basic colour scheme eg black, white and teal, include a bit of pattern and texture and produce lots of separates”. Anyway there are several formulae out there, and if they work for you then do go for it.
I dislike the first – the classic list – because it is predictable and assumes everyone suits an LBD or skinny jeans – which is evidently not the case. I dislike the second as it is usually so formulaic that it looks like you have gone to one high street shop eg. Debenhams and bought a whole set of clothes from one rack. Unimaginative and dated.
So, having had a bit of a go at conventional answers to this question, I will stick my neck out and try to answer Hila’s question.
I have entered the SWAP. I don’t know what I am doing as I have never made a capsule wardrobe before. That’s not going to stop me though?. I gather the first thing I need to do is decide on my colours. I can’t seem to settle on anything so far. Still there are 6 weeks to go yet. Can you recommend resources on how to create a capsule wardrobe? Thanks.
I am going to make a few assumptions here.
- Hila needs to comply with the SWAP rules
- She maybe thinking of a work based set or an off duty set, or a combination – whatever decision she makes will affect the capsule. Hila has a part time job, but she is also a young mum with five kids so a capsule has to work for her lifestyle.
- Choosing colours can be helpful and you do need colours which work well together
- I know something about Hila as I follow her blog. I haven’t met her in real life and ideally a capsule is designed for a real person, according to their wardrobe personality, body shape, colouring etc. I have shown how I do this with Gus.
- I will therefore provide a tentative or illustrative plan. Hila is a gorgeous, a competent seamstress with lots of drive and ambition who will certainly be able to run with this if I get her started.
- Please add your two penn’orth.
The best way to think about a capsule is to imagine you are packing a small suitcase to live your life as you live it now. In other words if you only had 11 items (plus underwear, gym clothes, shoes and accessories) what would you pack?
Bearing in mind the SWAP rules I would choose:
4 bottoms, 5 tops and 2 overs (or variations on this such as 4 bottoms, 6 tops and 1 over, etc).
This first decision on garment types is affected by the SWAP rules and how you like to dress. I am a jackets person, and I know Hila likes a nice jacket. But some people prefer cardigans. I generally plump for layers as I feel the cold, but others prefer to a more streamlined look. So Hila – think this through in terms of your personal style and preferences. Hila writes:
“I want to make it a spring /early summer capsule. A couple of pieces that can be worn for meetings. I can wear smart casual for work in general. I work part time and am involved in quite a few committees (PTA, school governor). I also have to take kids to their classes (swimming, music, sport, etc). Around that time of year there are school productions to attend and I like to wear something (extra) nice to those.”
Now the SWAP rules allow the tops to be a dress, or the bottoms to be a jumpsuit. I would probably choose one dress because there are occasions when a dress is nice and provides a pulled together look. Ideal for those productions etc, but the problem with a dress is that you can’t keep turning up in the same one. With different accessories, a jacket or cardigan it can look different. But generally I would not have more than one dress in a capsule as it is less flexible than a top and skirt. You could even make a top and skirt/trousers in the same or matching fabric so they can be worn together to appear as if they are a dress/jump suit.
By sticking mainly to separates you get the maximum number of dressing and style options.
The SWAP rules specify that a certain number of items need to go with certain other items. Of course this is the core of a capsule. My “cheat” on this is to ensure that everything can be worn with everything else, but to define that fairly widely. It means, for me, that your clothes all have a coherence, and that you have or can develop a personal style. Hila more or less knows what she likes to wear and what suits her, adopting a classic style, but with a twist. But note that Hila is also natural – her hair is greying slightly and is not straightened, she wears flat shoes and avoids make up. So this gives her room to amp up the outfits and colour a bit.
So how do we make sure that everything goes with everything else?
- Stick to one colour group – Hila in all these photographs is wearing bright-cool colours. It is fine to include as many colours as you like in a capsule wardrobe, so long as they harmonise with each other. Less colours may work better for a tighter look and easier outfitting, but I would definately bring more pattern in if the colours are limited (eg navy and light pink). For Hila these palettes would work well
- Red, yellow and navy
- Black, white and turquoise
- Emerald green, shocking pink, red and orange
- All white with just brightly coloured accents and accessories
- Several patterned fabrics with the same background colour eg black, navy or white
- Colour options are almost unlimited – sticking with bright-cool colours (which most flatter Hila’s own colouring) I would include both deeper and light shades to get a good contrast
- As she is slim and fairly small keep the patterns medium to small (as above)
- Stick to one silhouette – Hila has a very good, semi-shaped, athletic figure and and looks best in closely fitted clothes, and flared skirts with some length in them
- Use the planning time to put together patterns and fabrics and sketch or use photoshop etc to design your collection.
- With 11 items I would consider at least one standout statement piece. But you also need a few items that can play second fiddle eg jeans, white T shirt.
- Use slightly unusual accessories to make your outfits come together eg colourful shoes, belts and hair styles
I don’t know if this is helpful Hila. To everyone else, please comment if you disagree or have other suggestions.