What I Learned Wearing A Capsule Wardrobe For a Year

What I learned from wearing a Minimal Capsule Wardrobe for a year

When my workplace introduced a limited colour palette of black, white and grey a year ago, I basically stopped buying new clothes. I have bought the odd fresh t-shirt or top, and two new jumpers, but have pretty much survived this Sydney winter in the same 4 dresses, 2 cardigans, 2 skirts, 2 pairs of tights and 1 pair of jeans.

Apart from 1 new dress and 1 new skirt that I bought to start with, I really did already have a capsule wardrobe – it was just hiding in amongst all my other clothes.

what I learned when I wore the same clothes in a limited colour palette for a year:

Fewer clothes makes getting dressed so much easier

It’s true what they say about uniform dressing, there is much less to consider in the morning when all you have to worry about is the temperature and what kind of situation you are entering that day – having less items of clothing will immediately narrow down the choices you have to make once you have taken weather and context into consideration.

You will save a lot of money

If you limit the colour palette of your wardrobe, going shopping will lose its charm. You will look at half the clothes on the rack and simply say ‘not for me’. Over time, the desire to even go shopping will almost disappear.

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Spring Style: Boho Minimalism

Spring Style Trend: Boho Luxe Minimalist

I never imagined that I would be a bohemian dresser. I wear little jewellery and generally like my clothes to be embellished with simple style lines or interesting and unusual construction methods.

Lately, though, I have been drawn to Toast, Isabel Marant Etoile, Ace & Jig, Steven Alan and Rachel Comey, and a few Australian Designers who do boho minimalism really well: Fleur Wood, Lee Mathews, Morrison and Tigerlily in particular.

And I just bought my first pair of dropped-crotch trousers… and can’t stop checking the instagram of Sincerely Jules and The Luxi Look

The fact that summer is coming, planning evening trips to the beach now the days are longer and warmer, and dreaming of tropical and sub-continent holidays has definitely helped, as has a growing obsession with Ikat fabrics and Kilim textiles.

Boho Minimalist Rules

But because I am a sartorial minimalist at heart I have a few style rules for myself to keep this new luxe desire for embellishment under control.

Play with texture

Keep the silhouette simple and add detail with special fabrics, but without being overly decorative. Think linen and silk, fabric manipulation like pintucks, lace inserts, embossed and textured woven fabrics and monochrome embroidery rather than all over lace, fringing or pom pom edging.

Careful with pattern

If the print is big or small, stick with just the one item of clothing made of out patterned fabric. This one pattern can compliment the textural differences of your other garments, without being over the top.

Play with proportion

Thinking about the silhouette again, don’t assume that everything has to be voluminous, a simple oversized shift or an a-line maxi skirt in a vintage fabric with good drape can work just as well as a frou frou ruffled off-the shoulder dress. Likewise, if you choose a simple style of camisole, shirt or dress, texture or simple embellishment can still make it feel luxe. Just because you are leaning towards the bohemian, doesn’t mean you can’t keep it sedate and elegant.

Keep your colour palette simple

Monochrome layers in taupe, grey, black, ecru, dusty pinks or white, contrasting navy and light neutrals, or one to two bright colours (at most) with a neutral background.  Indigo. More indigo.

Use vintage folk accents

Use vintage items wisely, by having a minimal and possibly even monochrome outfit, but with a vintage fair isle or lopi jumper, or a blouse with embroidered or lace insets.

5 Piece French Wardrobe Update

My quest for both a 333 and a 5 piece french wardrobe this year was complicated by the fact that my work required me to start wearing only black, white and grey.

This led to a little bit of scrambling to find enough everyday basics in this monochrome palette to see me through the winter, but I did also manage to score myself a beautiful Navy Cashmere pullover from Christensen Copenhagen that is both casual and luxurious. It has buttons down the back, and I love that I can wear it as either as a pullover or back to front as a slouchy but tidy cardigan.

My pieces this year were:

Grey Skinny Jeans from Citizens of Humanity (similar)
Grey Cotton Cashmere Maxi Dress from Majestic Filatures (similar)
Black Cotton Cashmere Pencil Skirt from Majestic Filatures
Grey Cotton Pencil Skirt from Majestic Filatures
Black Silk Kaftan Top from Morrison
Black Silk Kaftan Dress from Morrison
Navy Cashmere Pullover from Not Shy
Black Alberto Fasciani Booties (similar)
Homespun Cabled Pullover from Muji
White Silk Blouse from Oxford

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5 Piece French Wardrobe

As I have got more into sewing my own clothes, I find I buy less pieces from stores.  This, combined with an overflowing wardrobe that still needs rationalising, has inspired me to plan to purchase only a few quality items in 2016.

The rules for the 5 Piece French Wardrobe are that you limit yourself to buying 5 pieces per season (two seasons in a year), basics don’t count and accessories don’t count. I am counting shoes, as I don’t really consider them an accessory. And I am counting basics, unless I am simply replacing a basic item like a favourite tshirt or one of my two pairs of jeans (if they wear out). Following this philosophy, if I am replacing plain black work flats that have worn out, I would probably consider them a basic item and not count them towards my 5. Other shoes, though… yes.

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