AW14 Capsule Wardrobe update

So, a little while back I told you all I was going to have a go at making and living with a capsule wardrobe for Autumn and I’ve been working on it ever since. Thats right, it’s been the best part of a month! I’m probably guilty of over obsessing about it but there seemed at times to be a lot of pressure on getting the items in my capsule wardrobe right. After all, if I am to do it properly then there will be no bailing out and reaching for my larger wardrobe upstairs when I feel uninspired. Why be so harsh on myself? Well, the more I’ve thought about it the more the idea of living with less appeals and I want to see if I can crack it for future seasons. It means less time wasted shopping (which I truly don’t enjoy as much any more,) less money wasted on disposable fashion and less wasted clothing in my wardrobe. I reach for the same pieces day in day out, so why not be more considered and edit out (or not let in in the first place,) those unused or seldom worn pieces?

I’m 99% there now and I’ll be sharing my capsule next week, but for now, I thought I’d share some of the thought processes and decisions I’ve made so far. Just to recap – the whole process is inspired by Caroline’s blog minimalist fashion blog un-fancy.com where she documents her outfits from a 37 piece wardrobe.

Post-natal specific ideas…

I need way more tops than bottoms – to cater for those leaked nappy/dribble/full on puke moments without washing 3 times a day. They also need to be washable and (I may yet be foiled on this front as I have oped for quantity over quality,) good quality items as holding a baby close all day results in pulled necklines and creased fabrics 24/7.

Bottoms are harder to find while my waist is still AWOL so I might as well choose fewer pieces that work for me now and be more creative on the top half. As a result you’ll see I have upped the number of tops in my capsule and scaled back the bottoms.

Breast feeding clothes get easier… I have found quite a few *smug face* normal tops that have buttons or zips in handy places to help with feeding, but equally I will never be a cardigan fan so I have embraced the idea of lifting my top/jumper instead as winter is a-coming and I love knitwear.

My shape is changing rapidly, mainly around the middle, going from mum tum to flatter, then just fatter and wobblier then before, so that has been a big consideration in the pieces I choose – both flattering my shape for now and giving thought to how it will (hopefully) continue to change.

General thoughts

It’s hard to make a capsule wardrobe with colour. I got half way through my wardrobe planning and realised I had a sea of grey clothes as the top image shows. Whilst I love grey as a neutral, a few weeks in and I’d be totally bored of it. It also didn’t give any nod to the current seasonal colour trends to keep me feeling up to date and I had no pattern in there either. Cue a re-think.

I also found it really difficult to plan for the next few months (Sept-Dec) in the middle of the Indian summer we have just had. I factored in a couple of lightweight knits but just couldn’t comprehend autumnal days and winter temperatures. Now the weather has changed it’s brought my need for heavier layers sharply into focus and I’ve found it much easier to plan.

Shoes are really hard to narrow down! I don’t consider myself a shoe fiend but I do have quite a few pairs and know how useful they are to change the feel of an outfit. Joggers with heels? Date night. Joggers with trainers? Urban cool. Joggers with brogues? Hipster. However, I’m resisting heels and going for practical choices and trying to think about what colours work – so I don’t end up with a brown and a black pair of boots if one will work just as well.

Money and get out clauses!

Just in case some of you are wondering how much I’m spending on all of this, I’m allocating myself a budget of £500 and I want this wardrobe to last me until January. That may seem like a lot but I would normally spend at least £100 a month (although more often cumulatively like this) on clothes and once complete there will be no shopping until the next wardrobe. I’ve also used every discount code and voucher I could find (always more abundant at the start of the season,) to keep costs down. And as a result of ally he clearing out, I’m also selling some clothes and shoes on eBay for the first time ever – I’ll let you know how that goes!

Lastly, I’m going to allow myself a get out clause. In case of a very cold snap I’ll allow myself to switch 2 tops, 1 pair of shoes and one pair of bottoms or coat if I need to.

I’ll be sharing my full wardrobe plus links to where everything is from next week. Are you trying the capsule? Do any of my thoughts ring true with you or have you made any modifications?

Have a great weekend readers,

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Post Natal Style Dilemma’s

I’m tempted to follow that title with ‘what style?’… I certainly feel like I’m in the fashion wilderness right now. I know lots of women simply don’t care what they wear after a baby because they are too tired/sore/busy to even think about it and I totally get that, but for me, feeling well dressed (not necessarily smart,) is what helps me feel good about myself. With a new and different body, the biggest eye bags I’ve ever had and a slightly hazy and emotional take on life due to tiredness, cheering myself up with my wardrobe was something I needed to do.

Unfortunately for me and lots of other new mamas out there, it’s flipping difficult. I’ve got a double whammy of factors to consider, not just the mum tum and my still rapidly changing shape, but the soreness I’m still feeling post c-section. I’ve no waist to show off right now, and lots of things I would normally choose to sit lower on my waist or hips are too sore to wear for long or at all over my scar area. Fortunately that is improving day by day. Then when I find something that works for these issues (like my beloved t’shirt style shift dresses,), you can guarantee it doesn’t work for feeding in too. And don’t get me started on ‘breast feeding tops’ – the majority are dire, or simply not my style.

All of this led to a mini melt down (on my long suffering husband,) about how unattractive I was feeling and made me realise something had to give. I had been wearing old tee’s and tops (that didn’t fit,) my maternity jeans (no longer flattering,) and leggings (whilst breaking the cardinal rule by combining them with tops that didn’t cover my bum.) I’d been feeling even more morose as I realised that I couldn’t even shop the new season due to my changing shape and feeding restrictions. Whilst trying to save money on pointless purchases that I thought wouldn’t be needed for long, I was actually making myself unhappy by consigning myself to ill-fitting, inappropriate clothes!

By happy coincidence I happened to stumble across a blog on capsule wardrobe planning (Un-Fancy) which really speaks to me right now. I’ve talked before about packing for holiday and making sure you have pieces that work together by choosing a similar colour palate, then they can be combined in loads of different ways, so the idea of a capsule wardrobe wasn’t new to me. And giving it some thought has been a real eye opener…

I’ve realised for the foreseeable future my shape isn’t likely to change massively. I may or may not loose weight secondary to breastfeeding, but of my friends who did BF, I’d say more kept their ‘insurance blubber’ (what I call the extra pounds many women carry post baby that insures their breast milk against possible improbable cake famine,) for the duration that they fed, than those who were fortunate enough for the pounds to fall off. I’ve also realised that my usual ‘style’ isn’t that conducive to having a tiny baby. I need clothes that are comfortable to sit/lie/roll on the floor in, that wash easily and quickly, that don’t have hazardous embellishment on that might prevent me cuddling 24 hours a day and that are forgiving to my new shape. Oh and my favourite garment, the Dress, is pretty much out. Aside from that, I love the idea of having an edited selection of pieces that I can quickly get dressed from, feel good in and spend time on my life instead of fretting about how I look. And there’s the small matter of money – this way I hope I’m striking a happy medium between not spending anything and feeling rubbish about myself, and splurging on a wasteful short-term solution.

Some of the items I already have that will work for AW14…

So with Caroline’s blog and theory as a guide I have decided to create a capsule wardrobe for the next 3-4 months. It’s not an ideal time to start as I often find the weather in the UK is transitional in September and October, with as much chance of a crazy day or week of warm weather as freaky frosts, so it will be a tough job. As my circumstances are likely to change (I do hope I’m not wobbly and BF forever!) I don’t want to spend a fortune on this and Caroline champions using items you already have in your wardrobe for some of your capsule wardrobe. I’ve been surprised at how much of my wardrobe I can use already when I had a good look at it all. As you can see, I’m sorted for knitwear and found that I have historically invested in wardrobe classics and staples but I’m lacking in everyday jersey pieces. I’m using her tips to clear out my wardrobe (and the boxes and rails upstairs!) and find what is still good for me. I need to let go of things that I’m never going to fit again (hello wardrobe of 2009!) and get tough with the things I won’t normally ‘throw’ because I feel bad getting rid of clothes that aren’t technically ‘worn out’. Who am I kidding, I don’t throw the worn out stuff sometimes!

So over the next week or two I’m figuring out my capsule wardrobe for September to November/December, starting with the pieces I have and figuring out where the gaps are. When it’s all finalised I’ll share it here with you. I really want to start doing some what to wear posts again too so I will do some kind of periodic posts on the outfits I’m getting out of my wardrobe.

So readers, have you ever created a capsule wardrobe? Do you think you need one? or are you struggling with your wardrobe after a baby? Give me a shout with your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS, let me know how much you spend per month by completing the poll below…

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