Summer Capsule Part 3: [Dresses & Round Up]

So I guess this is a kind of Friday Frock in disguise post. The final instalment of my capsule wardrobe! You all know I love a dress and I am finally taking full advantage of not needing 24/7 boob access. I was still feeding 2-3 times a day when I started this capsule and just took it off if I needed to feed when wearing a dress, now it’s just morning and evening so I can wear what I want. I have loved having dresses back in my wardrobe!


Denim dress // Digital print dress

This denim tencel blend swing dress was the first I bought and as my bust settles down it’s looking better and better. The Boden shift was a no brainer for a summer and holiday dress that I mentioned last week.


Jumpsuit // Maxi // Jumpsuit

The only dress that has been pulled from storage is this Gap maxi. I had it last year and hoped to wear it feeding but couldn’t in the end as it didn’t fit. It’s light and super comfortable so it’s a bit of a beater dress for everyday. The strappy tile print jumpsuit was bought when I couldn’t get hold of the Boden one, in hindsight I didn’t need it, but I’ve already worn it to playgroups when we had the recent heatwave and at £20 I don’t care about crawling on the floor!

So let’s do a little overview shall we?

I ended up with 27 pieces. (Don’t forget, this doesn’t include PJ’s, ‘loungewear’, stuff I paint or do the gardening in and exercise (ha!) kit.)

  • 8 work wear items (included in the below)
  • 10 tops
  • 3 knits
  • 6 dresses
  • 2 trousers
  • 2 jeans
  • 3 skirts
  • 1 shorts

And the prominent stores I bought from? Boden, GAP, Hush, New Look, Baukjen and Komodo – stocked in a local boutique and a new ethical brand find to me.

Here’s the whole summer capsule wardrobe 2015, en masse:


27 is just the number that works for me and I feel comfortable with. Last time I did this I ended up with 35 pieces but I included 8 shoes… so it’s exactly the same. I haven’t done that here – maybe I’ll post a selection on Instagram later today, and I forgot to shoot this top which should be included here. I’m really happy with what I’ve ended up with. I wear all of it, and fairly equally too, weather dependent. nothing feels like a waste or a splurge and my clothes seem to be striking a balance between being functional and fashionable.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and soon I will bring you a few posts on the pieces in action.

Have a fabulous weekend readers :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Summer Capsule Part 1 [Work wear]

Hi!

This week, I’m going to (finally, I know!) share my summer capsule. You can read more about my past capsule wardrobes and reasons behind it here. Its been a long time since I did a capsule, the last was in Autumn. I was inspired to start by Caroline Joy over at Un-fancy and she does 4 a year. Her seasons in Texas (and now Seattle, ) don’t quite align with ours and having lived with a capsule for almost a year, I realised I don’t need to update 4 times a year. I added a few pieces to my autumn wardrobe for Christmas, then updated a few tops for spring before the weather started to warm up. This wardrobe I’m about to share has been in effect since about the beginning of May and I plan to wear it until October. I’ll be shopping for Autumn/winter pieces in September when the new season stock comes in.

As it’s Monday, I thought I’d start with my work wardrobe. My capsule has had to include a work section for the first time this season, as I went back to work in March. I’m lucky because I dress pretty casually at work so a lot of my wardrobe is interchangeable, but I do have work staples that I use to smarten up the other pieces I mix in and that give it more of a professional edge.

I have to say, I didn’t give a lot of thought to my work wardrobe. There’s a big difference in working 5 days a week when my philosophy was that I spent so much time at work I might as well look nice while I worked, to working 3 days and just hoping you can find something without food or snot on it that’s passable and comfy and fits your postnatal body! Consequently, I pulled out a few postnatal and even pregnancy pieces and was forced to buy a new pair of trousers that fitted, et voila!

Tops/Dresses


Dress // Blouse // Chambray shirt // Shirt – Monsoon

I have quite a few nice work dresses but I don’t fit them just yet, plus when I initially returned to work and for about 3 months, I was expressing still so needed boob access. This jersey dress I bought and wore during early-mid pregnancy and it’s still flattering now, plus it washes easily and quickly, like the blue blouse that I hardly wore in my AW capsule, but has come into it’s own for work. This chambray shirt was an amazing find by my mum in GAP. I loaned one of hers during pregnancy and wore it open over things but it had a really soft fluid texture with fantastic drape, just like this one she later found for me. It works brilliantly tucked in as a shirt for my own particular style of smart-casual work wear. The remaining shirt is an old favourite of mine. I don’t usually do such blousy florals but it’s colour is bold enough and the fabric thin enough that it’s perfect for summer. As you can see, I always roll my sleeves!

Skirts/Trousers


Trousers // Trousers // Skirt // Skirt

My old navy work trousers had had very good use before pregnancy, so I intended to renew them on my return to work, but I’m not yet at my usual weight, so I held off and went to Zara for a different work pair. That was particularly demoralising (when did the sizes in Zara get so small?!) but they did have a good selection of styles in Navy trousers and I found a flattering pair that made me feel smart again. I’d say these get the most use week in week out and were pretty cheap at £24.99! Again the jersey tube skirt was a pregnancy buy that still works now as it was just a size up, and the printed skirt was a postnatal win that came from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe and I fit! Yay! The only ‘this season’ addition were these jogging bottom pants, which again, my mum found. A complete bargain from New Look, I think they were £10. They are ridiculously comfy, work for work because of the silky (but not shiny) fabric, tapered ankle and with a tucked in blouse or shirt, they look great.

I wear all of these with either navy pointed flats, or summer sandals, depending on the weather, and of course opaque tights earlier in the year.

To make the whole look a bit more ‘done’ I have a small selection of jewellery I wear for work too – which is quite nice, as I don’t get to wear much at home. I stick with a gold pair of studs and my sparkly ones, plus 2 rose gold pendant necklaces that I have. I don’t paint my nails anymore (although toenails are an essential in sandals I think,) but I do always wear make up to work. Not much, but again, it makes me feel more done and professional.

So here are my tips for creating a functional capsule wardrobe when you are a working mum. I’m making the assumption that you a. don’t want to spend much, b. don’t have much time, and c. would rather spend said time and money with or on your baby. ;)

  • Choose a colour palette and stick to it, particularly for your basics – mine is Navy and blues, obviously.
  • Make sure you have a good look through your old wardrobe and check for any keepers that still fit.
  • Choose fabrics that wash easily, dry quick and don’t need ironing, so you don’t have to get changed before you cuddle your messy baby or toddler when you get in.
  • Think about using things in ways you wouldn’t normally – i.e., tucking in a more casual summer shirt or chambray, and dressing up items like ‘relaxed trousers’ (Read:jogging bottoms) with heels.
  • Make sure you have one outfit or top and bottom option or a dress, per day you work, plus a spare, then even if you only get to do your washing at the weekend, you’ve always got something to wear.
  • Dress it up with jewellery and shoes, and have fun with those pieces as they’re probably bits you won’t wear when you’re off-duty and being mummy who gets clambered all over and needs to wear flats to run round after said baby/toddler.
  • Treat yourself to some new makeup if you’re feeling a bit sloppy or nervous about going back to work. Getting your game face on always helps and gives you confidence. ;)

Ok, I hope you enjoyed that insight and I’ll be back later in the week with my casual wardrobe, knitwear and occasion wear. Give me a shout if you have any questions and i’d love to hear about your work wardrobe and how you approach it!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Blue tile jumpsuit

Friday Frock…

I know, it’s been a while, right?

I’m still working on a capsule wardrobe basis when it comes to buying my clothes (more on that next week) but this capsule I gave myself a free pass to buy something for Bea’s Naming ceremony as it was the only occasion we had looming and I didn’t know what size or shape I would be; (The battle of the baby weight continues…)


Dresses, all Boden – SALE NOW ON!

When crunch time came last week I really struggled. I’m still quite big on top, despite only feeding twice daily now, and my waist has definitely not returned to what it should be, but I have slimmed down a lot. This leaves we with the difficult situation that I need bigger sizes to fit my top half but the bottom halves tend to then be a bit big (which is what happened with the white floral dress here,) and some of my preferred T’shirt style shift dresses still look a bit tent like with my boobs.

I ended up going for this jumpsuit which I wanted to order at the beginning of my capsule but as is often the case with Boden it said it wouldn’t be delivered for 9 weeks. In actual fact it’s been in stock for a couple of weeks now which is probably more like 4-6 weeks after when I was looking so I might actually order next time. The V-neck is flattering, its well made and cool, and I actually felt fashionable! Yay! The other two were pretty but perhaps a bit too ‘wedding’ or ‘formal garden party’ for the occasion.

As used to be tradition… do share any frocks you have your eye on at the moment or think your fellow readers deserve to hear about!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS I actually kept the St Ives print shift too – it was a tad too casual for the Naming Day party, but I love it as a holiday and summer-in-general dress. ;)

The Fash Flash: Summer capsule

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my summer wardrobe lately… the dreary March we had followed by the recent gorgeous weather means I’ve managed not to do much in the way of wardrobe updating through spring and feel I now need a whole new summer wardrobe as I’m finally ready to enjoy getting dressed again. I’m still not back to my pre-pregnancy size which is tricky as I can now get my old jeans and trousers on… but the mid section as result is not pretty, which means options for the top half are limited. I really need to put some effort into shaping up, but that’s a whole other post!


Temperley for John Lewis Tile print jumpsuit. // Openwork white blouse, Mango. // Birkenstock Arizona’s // Ash Virgo glitte sneaker // ASOS dress // Linen Tee, Zara // Dipdye jumper, M&S // Denim shorts, New Look.

I’m trying to do the capsule approach again. It definitely has flaws, in that it doesn’t allow for spontaneity, but I think it makes up for that in financial planning, not having to shop (including last minute,) and in a similar way it offers me a feel good factor in that once it’s done, I don’t suddenly stress that I have nothing to wear for a looming event, not have time to address it, and as a consequence go out feeling rubbish. This spring we had a Christening, I had a night out with the girls and a couple of other things, that were a rare chance to dress up that I now feel ready for, but I had nothing to wear. My capsule had become too casual and ‘day-time’ with no ability to dress it up so I’m keeping that in mind this time. I had cheated a bit this spring and bought 4 different stripe tops: a traditional Boden navy/white breton, 2 Gap bretons in yellow/pale grey and a thicker dark grey/cream, and a Jonnie B red breton with an overlying print. I have pretty much worn them in rotation non-stop while the weather wasn’t as warm and now I’m ready to tackle the whole thing.

As always, these posts are inspired by Caroline over on Un-fancy.com – she has a great capsule wardrobe planner that you can use but I have adapted it a little to suit my thought processes and if you are planning a wardrobe reshuffle you might want to use her planner or my list below to help you get started.

Here’s what I have done so far.

1. What have I got already?
This involved opening up my storage wardrobe and facing the nightmare of trying on my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Some things I fitted and were a pleasant surprise and I’ve dragged out a few bits that are tight but I hope will fit better as the weeks go on, as I’m still slowly losing weight. I’ve salvaged quite a few bottom half bits here: a pair of mint shorts from GAP and some printed white GAP khakis. My old boyfriend jeans fit again too and an old faithful summer shirt has been pulled out along with a couple of workwear items.

I also scrutinised the items I had already, in my existing winter/spring wardrobe, to see what I could keep. This includes shoes.

2. What do I need to plan for?
First and foremost I need to assemble some kind of work wardrobe. My work wardrobe used to be quite interchangeable with my daily wardrobe whereas they have polarised somewhat now. I wouldn’t want to wear much of it at home as it’s not comfortable enough or able to withstand the mess that Bea makes, plus my off-duty style has become a lot more sloppy!

Secondly, I have events coming up. We plan to have Bea Christened and have another Christening and friends baby birthday coming. There will likely be a couple of barbecue’s and evenings or lunches out too so I need to factor in a couple of fancy outfits, although I’m giving myself a free pass for her Christening to buy something nearer the time if I feel the need.

3. How do I want to dress?
This needed to be broken down into 2 parts, work and home.

For work, I am only there 3 days a week and lots of my work clothes are tailored so don’t fit but are really nice and I still like. The goal there has to be to get back into them, and in the meantime I’m bringing together a very small capsule of half a dozen outfits I can make do with.

For home, my overriding need is things that are practical to look after Bea in, but also feel nice in. As I wear Bea in the sling so much I think about if I’ll be able to wrap over them, and as we’re still breastfeeding, I think about access too, although Bea is hardly feeding in the day now. And I think about a few trend led pieces that might appeal to me – usually by flicking back through Erins posts – much quicker than scouring the magazines!

I also have a think about what I like to wear. Last year I LIVED in shorts and imagine I’ll do the same again and think about what I want to wear on top as a result. I also wore a waterfall aztec cardigan all the time over winter and am sad to put it away so I’ll be looking for a replacement for throwing on in summer.

4. What do I need?
Once I’ve decided what I have, and what I want, I think about what I need to fill the gaps. For occasion wear (i.e. anything that isn’t day to day at home!) I’m going to buy a nice dress and a jumpsuit. I need that cardigan and a lighter summer jumper. I’m going to invest in some basics, like a perfect navy tee and some denim shorts. As far as trends go, I’d like to nod to the folk trend with a white folk top. And my shoes need sorting out, new converse, new summer flip flops and possibly some work flats.

Lastly, looking through my wardrobe has meant I’ve been able to identify things for charity and for sale to help fund the new pieces. I always find when I go back to my wardrobe I’m able to be much more ruthless and immediately there are things that stand out that I know I don’t want anymore. I then decide if I could get anything on eBay for them and list them – so far this time I’ve made £75 so far selling old shirts, tops and dresses for £5 here and £10 there, plus a decent sum for an old bag. Its definitely worth doing and every little helps ;)

I’ll be back to share my actual capsule wardrobe in a week hopefully – I’m just waiting for the last bits to arrive. Have you done any summer shopping yet? Can I tempt you with a capsule?!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Fash Flash: Denim dresses

It has been oh such a long time since I looked at dresses thanks to feeding Bea (my style just doesn’t lean towards wrap dress or button fronts,) but summer is coming, my capsule wardrobe won’t build itself and feeds are lessening, so I’m on the hunt.


Shirt dress // Patch pocket shirt dress // T’shirt dress // Tie waist dress

I’ve always been a massive denim fan so I’m ready to jump on board the denim trend (Erin says it’s fashionable, so it must be!) so I thought I’d look for a few dresses. I found one (this swingy Komodo tencel dress) in one of the local independents where I live, but I’d spotted a few online too and thought I’d share them here.

Could you get on board with the denim trend?

Must Have Monday…

Where do you think this beauty is from then? Bright spring shade, contrast print interior, stylish swing cut with vented back flap?


Coral cotton blend jacket

Boden perhaps?

What If I told you it was £19.99?

H&M.

Kids!

My friend Alka was wearing this H&M coat at the weekend and I couldn’t get enough of it. She’s a petite lady but was wearing a (kids) size 12-14. It also goes up to a 14+ (kids size) so I reckon you could easily fit into it up to an adult size 12ish, perhaps more. I hope those of you who are bigger don’t feel excluded – that’s not the intention at all, I just had to share it as it looked so good on!

Have you got any other adult worthy kids clothes tips? (Rachel mentioned last week that adult size 10-12 can fit Bodens teenage range, meaning quite a saving!)

Happy Monday readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Triple Temptation: Breton basics


Boden // embellished stripe // woven back top

One of the things I learned by making my capsule wardrobe is that I never invest in basics. I’m always inclined to buy cheap versions and that’s if I buy them at all – I often buy all the statement pieces and am left high and dry when I need a simple pulled together item, like todays breton top. So this year I’m investing in a few quality basics and starting with the perfect breton tee. Of course Boden must be the king of the breton (or Petit Bateau?) so I’ve included their classic here. Perhaps you like a bit of glitter and sparkle? I think this jewelled version would cover the smart/casual bases for casual work to weekend wear. Then I got distracted and had to include my favourite: A plain breton front hides a denim blue woven back. 2 tops for the price of one and the easiest way to make sure your breton is never boring ;)

Have you seen any amazing examples of the breton tee I should know about?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Fash Flash: Wet Weather Style

Since I’ve been on maternity leave, I have barely used our car. Firstly I wasn’t allowed to drive post c-section and also, Chorlton has everything I need within walking distance. We also have one very old car that Pete uses to run to work and my three door car. So we can continue to re-do the house and because we don’t really need 2 cars right now, we’ve opted not to to buy a new one (as we had planned) when Bea arrived. Why am I telling you this? Because it left me in the market for a new coat. Coats are cheaper than cars.


Joules Waterproof Parka £129 // Petit Bateau Iconic Raincoat £132 // Boden Rainy Day Mac £119
Seasalt Snowdrop Coat £140 // Seasalt Dayboard 3 in 1 jacket £150 // Helly Hansen W Kirkwall Rain Coat £100

The particularly warm and dry September and most of October we have had meant I didn’t really think about my need for wet weather gear (who was I kidding, I live in Manchester!) But after getting soaked through to my skin pushing the pram back from a baby class 2 weeks ago, the search came sharply to the forefront of my mind. I wanted an actually waterproof coat, but something that also looked stylish. Perhaps unusually, I also didn’t need something super warm as I have a heavy duty waterproof(ish) parka that will be coming out in my winter capsule. This was more of a spring/english summer/autumn piece.

I actually made my first purchase (this Boat Coat) from Seasalt after being recommended their coats but I was really disappointed by how frumpy I felt in it. It just wasn’t ‘me’ and although I like lots of their coats, none really fitted the bill. Next I combed the slightly more fashion led brands like Boden and Joules and google searched, which led me to some surprisingly good looking options.


Boden Short Rainy Day Mac £110

After spotting someone wearing a lovely yellow coat I was reminded of my yellow raincoat from ASOS. Now that it’s stood the test of time and remained one of my favourite jackets, I decided it was time to invest in the real deal and purchased the yellow one above. It arrived yesterday and I LOVE it. It’s got grey detailing, playful oversized buttons, a fleece lining (not too thick, but cosy) and smart pleat detail to the back. I opted not to get a longer length as they just don’t suit me and I don’t mind getting my legs wet.

So readers, do you do rainy day outerwear? I like the Helly Hansen Mac here too for city types.

Happy weekend!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Fash Flash: Splish Splash

Before even the first day was done of my Capsule wardrobe for Autumn, I realised i had made a grave omission (for Manchester dwelling anyway.) No wet weather gear. For autumn walks they are a must but there was enough torrential rain last week to make me want to wear wells every day of the week so there is going to have to be an amendment! I’ve bought a waterproof coat (more on that soon) and am digging out my Hunters. In the meantime, here are a few I found for you guys to waterproof your wardrobes with…


Joules flower print // Dark silver Chelsea boot wells, New Look // Joules Dog print
Strap detail wellington boot, Ted Baker // Original slim zip wellington, Hunter // Studded biker wellies, New Look
SeaSalt tideline Wellies // Hunter Tall stripe wellington boot // SeaSalt Yellow deck wellies

There are styles here for fun, city dwellers and pretty prints – all the bases are covered.

Are you a welly wearer?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

25% off Whistles with Grazia


Bea Cashmere zip knit, Whistles

I wasn’t going to mention this discount this year but then, as I so often do, I decided to buy something rather last minute before the discount expires and thought some of you might appreciate the reminder! I wasn’t going to spend any money on knitwear for my capsule wardrobe (coming right up!) but every year I do always buy a great quality piece of knitwear so when I saw this one I couldn’t resist. It’s a nice change from the grey/navy cashmere I already have and ticks the box for another big AW14 trend… brights with black. You can’t immediately see but it also has zip sides perfect for breast feeding access!

Head on over to whistles.co.uk to see if theres any thing you don’t want to miss and use the code WH25AW14 for 25% Off with Grazia UK. You have until midnight 6th October – that’s Monday!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. Did I mention the jumper is called ‘Bea’?! ;)