Remember my spring capsule wardrobe?

Well, if the weather this week is anything to go by, I think it’s safe to say that Scottish summertime has not only arrived, it’s also left again, so I figured it was probably time to take a look at how I got on with the spring capsule. You know, like I said I would in my original post, and then completely forgot to do? Yeah, that.

(Speaking of my original post, if you’re new to this blog, you might want to go and read it first, because when I say “capsule wardrobe”, I don’t mean it in the conventional sense of a capsule wardrobe, where that’s ALL you’re allowed to wear for however long. No, my capsule wardrobe was more like… I’ll just let you read the post, shall I?)

Here’s what I learned from my (non) capsule wardrobe..

what I learned from trying to live with a capsule wardrobeThe first thing I learned is something that really surprised me:

I could totally live with a capsule wardrobe.

I know this because I pretty much DO live with a capsule wardrobe – and a much smaller one than the one I put together for spring, too.

There are virtually NO opportunities in my life to “dress up”. Seriously, none. It’s rare for me to go anywhere “fancy”, and even if I’m invited to a party, or a dinner or something, it’s almost always casual. So around 3/4 of my closet is absolutely useless to me at any given time, basically, and the dresses and skirts in my spring capsule were hardly worn: not because I don’t like them, but simply because this spring was way colder than I’d anticipated, and most of those skirts and dresses don’t really work with thick black tights. (And even if they did, who wants to wear woolly tights in May? Not this girl…)

I have too many dresses… and yet not enough dresses.

I’ve come to the conclusion that dresses aren’t really great items for a capsule wardrobe (or not one that I put together, anyway!), because there’s only so many ways you can wear them, isn’t there? I mean, sure, you can wear a cardigan/sweater/jacket over the top, or maybe a shirt underneath, depending on the style, and you can obviously wear them with different shoes, but it’s not like you create a radically different look by doing it, is it? Dresses are basically an outfit (or most of an outfit) in themselves most of the time, so think I’d need to fill the entire capsule with them if I wanted to keep things interesting: as it is, I find skirts a lot more versatile, which I guess is why I have so many of them!

I need to start buying clothes in darker colours

A spring capsule wardrobe should technically be really easy for me, because I have tons of clothes in light, bright colours that should be perfect for the season.  The problem with that, however, is that if you were to flick through my closet, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d never visited Scotland in my life, let alone having lived here for all of it. Our weather just isn’t right for light colours, most of the time: it’s normally cold, wet and gloomy, and while we were lucky enough to get SOME warm, dry days this spring, that’s definitely not the norm, and you’d really think I’d know that by now, wouldn’t you?

When I started putting this capsule together, I knew I wanted to include a few pairs of trousers: I wear a lot of cropped pants at this time of year, because they keep my legs warmer than dresses/skirts, but still allow me to wear fun shoes with them, but the majority of my collection are white – or mostly white.  I have white, off-white, white-with-black-spots, white-with-pink-flowers, white and blue gingham, gold… all of which I love, but all of which are totally impractical on days when it’s either raining, just about to rain, or just been raining. Which is most days, really.

Likewise, more closed toe shoes

Again, you’d think spring would be the perfect time for peep toes and sandals, but, again, you’d be wrong. One of my biggest issues when it comes to building a wardrobe is that I much prefer spring/summer clothes to autumn/winter ones… which is unfortunate, because we don’t really GET the kind of springs and summers in Scotland that those clothes are designed for. I’ve never been able to resit buying them, though, so the vast majority of my shoes are sandals, or other open-toed styles, and I just don’t get the chance to wear them very often – not even in spring. Early spring was a particular challenge here, because there were quite a few times when I had the PERFECT pair of shoes for the outfit I was planning to wear that day… but they’d require me to have bare legs with them, and that just wasn’t an option.

I need more than one item in each colour.

I wrote about this particular revelation in this post, but it’s just not enough for me to have a grey sweater, say, as part of my capsule: really I need about five grey sweaters, all in different shapes and styles. As I said in that post, going forward, I think it would make more sense for me to use the capsule purely as a kind of formula, rather than as a set number of specific items: so a grey sweater would stand for ANY grey sweater, a black dress would mean ANY black dress… and so on.

A capsule wardrobe makes life a helluva lot simpler

Stating the obvious here, because I know that’s why most people decide to start one, but I really do find it refreshing to not have to think so much about what I’m going to wear every day. I know that probably sounds pretty weird coming from a sort-of fashion blogger, but while I do enjoy putting outfits together, I also find it quite freeing to be able to just get up and get dressed without having to give it too much thought. Who knew?!

It has changed the way I think about my closet

I know some of my readers have been quite annoyed about this, but since I started to get into the idea of building a wardrobe of basics, I’ve been finding myself much less inclined to buy clothes I know I’ll hardly ever wear. I haven’t sworn off shopping altogether, obviously, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop being tempted by the lure of an amazing dress, but I AM finding it much harder to justify those random purchases, and these days I can get weirdly excited over things like basic sweaters and pairs of blue jeans: WHO EVEN AM I?!

I probably won’t do a summer capsule

When I put together my spring capsule, I had the vague idea of doing one for each season, but as the freezing cold spring wore on, I quickly came to realise that we just don’t get enough SEASONS here to require a different wardrobe for each one. After two weeks of glorious sunshine, for instance, we’re now into our third day of fog (I’m sitting at the window as I write this, and I can’t even see to the end of the street…): the heating’s on in the house, and the temperature’s more “mild winter” than “start of summer”. Damn. So I might do another capsule for autumn/winter, but for now I’m pretty happy with things as they are. For now

17 Comments
  1. I have booked marked this and a few of your other style posts for when this next baba makes it’s appearance and I’m back in my normal clothes 🙂

    Also this: “I know some of my readers have been quite annoyed about this, but since I started to get into the idea of building a wardrobe of basics, I’ve been finding myself much less inclined to buy clothes I know I’ll hardly ever wear.” All I can say is people have little to get annoyed about if the fact you are changing your shopping habits is upsetting them. While I wish I could say that I can’t believe that people would actually tell you that something like this is annoying them but I’ve seen it happen too many times.

    1. To be fair, “annoyed” is probably too strong a word: no one has been really rude about it, but I’ve had a few people say they’re “relieved” to see me wearing dresses again, and on the more casual outfits I’ll often get people saying they “miss the dresses” or that they “hope the casual phase isn’t going to last too long” or whatever. I think they’re probably trying to compliment my more usual style, which is flattering, obviously, but it does make me feel a bit like I’m letting people down, or disappointing them by dressing more casually!

      1. Having said that, I’ve just remembered a comment I got on Facebook a while back from someone saying they were really disappointed that I’d “stopped” wearing dresses, because that was the only reason they followed me, and now I just wore jeans all time time. I scrolled back through the archive, and the post they’d commented on was literally the first one in weeks that hadn’t featured either a dress or skirt: I was so confused! (And also quite disheartened to think that the SECOND I tried something different, someone was going to complain about it!) Then there was the person who commented on a casual outfit saying they wished I’d worn a prom dress or something instead – I was standing in a pile of snow at the time! I do think some people think I’m obliged to dress in the way they find most interesting, as opposed to dressing for my lifestyle, which is what I’ve been trying to do lately!

  2. While I enjoy the posts that contain beautiful dresses, the casual outfits are the ones I especially appreciate. They relate more to my life and my wardrobe. Though they are causing me to think I need more cropped pants in my life…. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I think the casual outfit posts are interesting too.

    1. Thanks, I’m glad you like them! I think it’s just one of those cases where I can’t please everyone: some people prefer the dressier outfits, some prefer the more casual ones… at the end of the day, though, they’re real outfits, so I have to wear whatever feels appropriate at the time, and hope people will understand that the outfits have to work for my life, as well as for the blog!

  3. While I enjoy seeing the posts with dresses and skirts, my life and job are very casual (I’m a Segway tour guide, so often work in shorts and sneakers!) so I love the fact that you’re now mixing it up with jeans and more casual wear! I have been to Scotland only once, but have it on my list to visit again some day, so I love getting the glimpses into your country, weather and all 🙂

  4. Even though I’m a relatively new reader, I enjoy all of your outfits posts, whether dressy or casual. Keep doing what you’re doing! This is your blog, after all, and it should be reflective of your lifestyle. Having said that, I’ve often thought of myself as living a split life, with dressier work clothes during the week and mostly comfy and casual on the weekend, so I like seeing the mix. Also, your style in general is so similar to the things I like, I just find inspiration in all of your outfits.

  5. Imho, your casual outfits are just as interesting as ‘dress&skirts’ ones, simply because you have a way of mix&matching that makes interesting even a plain outfit composed of jeans and a grey sweater, there’s always an element of interest which makes the outfit interesting, be it a shoe, the shape of a sweater, the color of a pair of trousers, a red bag… So all I can say about the people who have told you they prefer your dressier looks, is that it’s their personal taste but it doesn’t automatically mean that casual outfits are more boring… And to the rude facebook user, honestly I can only say that people have a right to their own style, and if you don’t enjoy casual outfits you can just skip them and wait for more skirts? Preferably without making it sound like you’re somewhat entitled to demand that the blogger appeals to your sartorial inclinations? I mean, it’s so easy it should go without saying…
    On a brighter note, I really love your little collection of Petite Bateau marineries! I recently discovered I have an outlet of this brand near my home, and tried on one of their ‘striped long sleeved tops’, which are described all over the internet like the excellence in their category, and I can definitely attest that the fabric is a nice thick cotton, like I rarely see in low cost shops these days. And they fit amazingly, especially in the sleeves (in many low cost sweaters/tops the sleeves are super tight and cling to my arms in a very uncomfortable, unflattering way).

  6. I am adoring your capsule posts. I have my own inadvertent capsule wardrobe in that I buy a ton of things and never really wear them and have realized that my style leans more towards the simple classic than it does trendy, so I’m slowly working towards buying those pieces instead of the more trendy things. Basically I just want to live in all the stripey tops, sweaters and oxfords and good jeans there are and nothing else. But instead when I go shopping I get distracted by oooh this looks neat and then I don’t buy any of what I should and when I open my closet it doesn’t have very much of the things I actually want to wear.

    Mana
    Fashion and Happy Things

  7. Ah– please, please, please keep focusing on stuff that works for your lifestyle and your CLIMATE. I live on the eastern shore of Canada, and while it’s not all igloos-and-skiing, it’s certainly not “ooh, open toed shoes in the Spring, how glorious” (Spring? It’s not even 10 degrees outside right now and while everything is lushly green, it’s lushly green because we haven’t had sun in a week, just rain and fog). I love my home, but it’s occasionally painful to see seemingly every blogger I like either living in California or dressing like they do.
    Also, I came to similar conclusions about my Spring capsule wardrobe. I was excited about “Spring” colours, but honestly, mud and rain do not work with suede heels and white Capri’s (one wonders why I even have such things). I would personally absolutely love to see “Spring” feeling clothes… that can be worn in the parts of the world that don’t really get sunshine and roses until July.

  8. Hi Amber,

    Just stumbled across your blogs and am really enjoying reading your back posts, do you have any suggestions where I can get a nice pair of black Capri pants in the UK? I also have far too many summery things that don’t get worn so I’ve been searching for something more practical!

  9. If you ever had the inclination, I’d love to read about how you would make a year round capsule wardrobe that would be as flexible and convenient as the usual capsule wardrobe designs, suitable for all UK weather conditions, and stylish too!

    Much though I love all of the wonderful seasonal capsule wardrobes on pinterest, they just don’t work for the UK IMO. Our seasons are just too muddled.

  10. Hmmm, funny how people think you owe them something!
    Really, I like both. I like to see all the dresses and skirts and super cute shoes. They are probably not what I am going to wear – I have to be quite a bit more corporate. But they are fun, interesting and aesthetically pleasing. But I also love the more casual posts, because here are things I might wear on the weekend. And don’t be offended by practicalities – they too are aesthetically pleasing! So I enjoy both sides of your style.

  11. Great post! So many bloggers post pretty “capsule” wardrobes for pinterest, but you never really hear how they actually worked out.

    I love all of your outfit posts, dresses or casual. And as someone who’s trying to find a style of her own, your a big fashion inspiration. However, I have the opposite problem weather wise! I could probably incorporate your wardrobe ideas into mine for maybe a month out of the year, at most. The rest of the time it’s hot hot hot! Hahaha Thanks for the great blog!

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