We live in a temperate, sub-tropical area with relatively mild winters but that doesn’t mean that we do not need some warmer clothes for about 4 months of the year.
I try to predominately buy secondhand clothes and today was no exception. We were in our local town and I popped into the Salvos thrift shop to see what was on offer.
I found this pullover which is completely devoid of labels. I do not know the brand, size, origin or type of fabric. However, for the princely sum of $5 it came home with me as it fitted and I love the colour.
It may be too short on some people but is perfect for me. I really like the fact that it does not have bands on the sleeves or the lower edge.
I will not be pairing it with the green patterned jeans which I happened to be wearing today.
This piece will fit nicely into my smallish wardrobe. I will team it with either black or dark denim jeans and one of my collared shirts or alternatively with a patterned scarf. I will just need to find something suitable.
At the end of my last blog post I said I would show you more of what I had been sewing the next day.
Well, that did not happen. Not only did I not write the post, I did
not do the intended sewing. There were other things that rated as more
important and demanded my attention. In fact, if I am honest, that is
why there are often significant gaps between blog posts. The blog has a
relatively low priority in my life as the full-time job and running a
household definitely come first.
Anyway, in the absence of any sewing, I want to share some of the recent additions to my wardrobe.
I am not keen on buying clothes online but towards the end of last
year I bought 3 tops from Covered Perfectly. This was on the
recommendation of Susan from Susan After 60
blog. The tops are made in the USA and with a buy 2, get the 3rd one
free deal they were very reasonably priced, even with the overseas
Here are the three that I bought.
Since it is the middle of summer here, these will not be worn in the
near future. I am looking forward to wearing them in the cooler weather
and also including them in the packing for our Europe trip later in the
Yesterday, I had some free time between appointments in Maleny so I
took the opportunity to check out the recycle boutique. I do have a
browse there from time to time and have bought a few things previously.
I was definitely in luck as I found this cute pair of cropped
Sportscraft jeans which appeared to have never been worn. They were my
size and fitted like a glove.
I also found a pretty sleeveless top with a cowl neckline.
Here are a few styling possibilities that I have identified for my new pieces.
Cropped jeans with teal 3/4 sleeve top.
Cropped jeans with navy tshirt.
Cropped jeans with white collared shirt.
The sleeveless top will be paired with white cropped pants, black trousers or even these green jeans.
A few years ago my wardrobe consisted mostly of black, white and red items.
More recently I have included a bit more navy in lieu of some black
pieces and the addition of some more blue and green is great, too. I am
still sticking to my theory that every piece in my wardrobe must be
able to be worn in at least 3 different ways or combinations.
I have now completed 4 months of recording what I wear each day. I began this project on 1st December last year with express purpose of trying to understand how often I wore the clothes I had and whether they were truly the best selection I could have. This has evolved a bit more to include a challenge to buy as little as possible in 2016.
I have removed another item from my wardrobe which has brought the total down to 91. It was this long, lacy cardigan which I had bought from the recycle boutique and although I had worn it twice, I found that I consistently overlooked it when making my choices.
Although it is a lovely Mela Purdie piece it is simply not me so off it went – back to the boutique where I am sure it will find a grateful owner.
We are beginning to see slight signs that summer will not go on forever, although rather than saying it is getting cooler it is probably more appropriate to describe the weather as “less hot”.
So, for the past month it has been more of the same – mostly summer dresses or shorts and tops. There has not been a lot of scope for variation but that will come.
I have now worn 70 of the 91 items in my wardrobe. The remaining 21 fall into 2 categories ‘Winter’ and ‘Special’. The first includes jackets, coats, woollen cardigans and pullovers and long-sleeved tops. The second is a lace cocktail-length dress which I wore to a wedding 3 years ago and would be my ‘go to’ outfit for any similar dressy occasions as well as 2 pairs of travel pants which are exactly that – lightweight trousers that zip off to shorts which are perfect for travel. I do also sometimes wear them at home during the cooler months.
Therefore, I am pleased to say that I have worn everything that is appropriate to the weather during the last 4 months. However, not all of it will necessarily make the cut to next summer. Having a limited selection of clothes forced me to carefully appraise whether I felt an item was really perfect. 2 pieces that won’t make it are these camisole-style tops.
They are past their best and I am not sure whether the necklines have stretched slightly or I am being a bit more discerning but I feel as though they sit a bit low for my liking. I will buy some more of a similar style but will take the time to look around and find something that is ‘perfect’.
We have been home from our holiday for 3 days now and it is over a week since my last post.
I hope you all had a relaxed and happy Christmas, wherever you were and whatever you did. We had a delightful day which we shared with our daughters and some festive food but did not over-indulge.
The other shopping I did on my holiday was a little more planned than the random collection from my last post. I went to my favourite shop in Melbourne, Rivette & Blair, where I replenished my supply of tops.
The are all simple styles and basic colours that will mix and match with existing pieces in my wardrobe.
A simple v-neck black and white tee.
The same style in plain red.
3/4 sleeve red with scoop neck for cooler days.
Both of the red ones are waiting to be ironed.
Plain black linen with pleats at neckline. This is the same style as 2 spotted tops I already had.
Finally, a loose navy v-neck top in very fine polyester. It is super light and cool.
I look forward to sharing the different ways I wear these as I mix and match with shorts, trousers and skirts.
Since I first tried the idea of Project 333 back in 2012, I have used “Project 333” as the preface for the title of all my blog posts about my streamlined wardrobe. I would like a similarly short, snappy preface that is unique to my blog posts so I will give it some thought but in the meantime I will use “Project 333”.
Tonight I want to address a question which vexes me and that is, “What is a capsule wardrobe?”
I read and hear of a capsule wardrobe, winter/spring/summer/autumn capsules as well as formal capsules and gym capsules to name but a few. Confused yet? I certainly am. Here is the Wikipedia definition.
My wardrobe has never been bulging at the seams but I have had the same issues that many other women have identified and that is the feeling of looking at a collection of clothes and feeling that you have nothing to wear. This seems to lead to random purchases which only further compound the problem. Therefore, I have chosen to carefully select clothes which truly fit my lifestyle and reflect my personality.
I live in a fairly temperate climate so have very little need for heavy coats. We do not have clearly defined seasons and generally have more warm weather than cool.
It is currently winter and the weather is as cold as it gets with overnight temperatures as low as 5C and some days when the maximum is only around 15C, however, on Sunday the daytime temperature reached 25C. You can begin to see the folly of packing all warm weather clothes away for a 3 month period.
Nevertheless, I did remove some of my true summer clothes from my wardrobe a few months ago and it is easier to see exactly what season-appropriate clothes are available.
As I have continued to define and refine my style over the past few years, I have found that I tend to purchase multiple items of the same style. For example: I have 3 identical pairs of shorts – black, white and khaki as well as a very similar pair of red ones. When I find a style that fits well and suits me, why not buy multiples? 4 dresses, 2 cardigans, 2 pairs of jeans and 2 skirts are other examples of where I have more than 1 colour of the same style. I guess it is a matter of ‘when you are on a good thing, stick to it’.
What do understand by the term ‘capsule wardrobe’? Have you tried to pare down the selection of clothes? What tips do you have?
As promised, I will share a bit more of my wardrobe clean-up.
This is an overview of the bedroom on Saturday morning before I started.
It is not looking the best as I have made it to the end of the full-time working week and now it is time to sort things out.
I mentioned in my earlier post that I removed everything from the wardrobe. I made the bed and hung up the jackets from the end of the bed before I started so that I had a clear working space.
Although one of the basic ideas behind Project 333 is to actually remove all but 33 items of clothing from your closet I had never actually done that. I believed that most of my clothes were worn year-round due to our relatively temperate climate. That is still the case and I have not limited myself to a precise number but as we are approaching our coolest months of the year I removed my summer clothes.
Here is the small pile of dresses, sleeveless tops and shorts which I will not wear again until the weather is hot. This is in addition to those items which I have specifically set aside for our trip to Singapore.
I took the time to critically examine each garment and try on a few different combinations to discover what worked together and how I felt about it. A few pieces have been taken by the local recycle boutique on consignment and a couple more gone to the op shop.
This is what I was left with. I will wear these clothes for the next 3 months with 1 or 2 possible purchases.
There are 2 pairs of trousers, a pair of jeans, 2 shirts and a jacket not shown as I was wearing them/they were in the wash. The pile of summer clothes is bagged and on the top shelf along with a couple of bags and 2 sunhats.
It is now easy for me to see what is ‘missing’ so that I can make considered choices when I go shopping.
One of the things that is obvious from my selection of clothes is that I love prints – florals, stripes, spots, checks – I have them all. I can now see that this is what has held me back from pursuing a ‘capsule wardrobe’ as many like to describe it. So many blogs and discussions seem to revolve around plain colours, neutrals and mix’n’match themes. In general terms, they also lean to what I regard as ‘wishy-washy’ colours – cream, sand, khaki, pale denim which do not inspire me. I love (and look best in) black and white as neutrals with strong, clear colour accents – red, emerald green, purple and fuschia and my clothes mostly reflect that.
There is nothing like a change in the weather to help identify gaps in the collection of clothes. After a long, hot summer that I thought would never end, the weather has turned quite cool.
My cool season selection is somewhat depleted with the departure of three tops at the end of last winter.
I had this red/white striped 3/4 sleeved one as well as two black/white ones of the same style. They were at the end of their life so I wore them to death on our holidays and then sent them to the op shop when we arrived home. However, I have yet to replace them.
I am not sure what I want so I expect I will need to make a concerted effort and have a look around. I also need another pair of trousers for work as I have one pair of black trousers.
Then there is the small matter of a coat. I have a long, navy overcoat which is over 20 years old but in perfect condition. It is more than I need in Queensland so I am thinking of parting with it and getting something more suitable. I envisage a hip-length coat, preferably charcoal grey or black.
I have been so busy at work for the past couple of weeks that I have barely had time to keep up with the basics of washing and cooking, let alone considering changes to my wardrobe. I hope to make time this weekend to look carefully at what I have and what I need.
Adding to my wardrobe may seem to be contrary to the essence of Project 333 but it is not about denial but having a small collection of clothes that you love and wear. The more I work with what I have the more clarity I have about the direction I want to take.
Last week I bought a new pair of shoes but they do not really count as they as for walking (exercise).
I did consider actually selecting 33 items to participate in Project 333 this autumn (fall) as I am in the southern hemisphere. However, I am constantly drawn to the idea of a modest selection of clothes which can be worn year-round (with modifications) as we live in a warm temperate climate. I work in an air-conditioned office during the week and live on a small, semi-rural acreage.
I tend to wear separates – skirts/trousers and shirts to the office and a few years ago I only owned one dress. I have since realised that it was not really my choice – I love dresses – but dresses that I found suitable and flattering were difficult to find. I now have 5 dresses plus a dress suitable for wedding/special occasions. Additionally, I have fabric to make another dress and am seriously contemplating buying this one.
It is identical to these two dresses I already have in my wardrobe.
Along with a plain black and two black/white dresses these could form the basis of a year-round office wardrobe. I have a red jacket that can be worn with the two existing dresses and I would make or buy a navy jacket which could go with the new dress as well as the pink/red one.
My other proposed purchase is this bag.
I found it on Friday and plan to go back and buy it on Monday. I have been looking for a bigger bag for some months as I want to be able to put my laptop in it and still have space for a few personal items – purse, sunglasses, phone, car keys. My plan is to make this the one bag that I take to work so that I am not carrying a laptop case as well as a handbag. My small black handbag will still be used on all other occasions.
By judiciously choosing the additions to my wardrobe and removing those items that do not make the grade, I am gradually creating a collection of clothes that I love and which work together in a variety of ways.
Unlike the earrings, my clothes are definitely a work in progress and that will continue to be the case. What was perfect 3 years ago is now worn out, looking a bit jaded, no longer a perfect fit or just not a favourite. I can see my wardrobe evolving to match my changing style.
Regular readers would know that I am not an advocate of shopping. Of course, I buy food to feed us and things that we use in our day-to-day lives but I am definitely not into shopping for recreation.
Every now and then I have a day like today when all I seem to do is buy. I had to go to Brisbane this morning with The Duke as we were to pick up our latest purchase this afternoon, but more about that later. It meant that I had the whole day to fill in so my first stop was Spotlight. I bought 5 white buttons for a blouse I am making and I also took some time to look at the fabrics which were all 40% off the marked price. I do not buy things just because they are discounted but I found some fabric that I am planning to use.
The white piece is linen/cotton blend and I am planning to make a summer dress for myself. I also bought some white lawn (not shown) for the lining. I am going to use this dress as the pattern.
The red is a stretch cotton (t-shirt) fabric which I plan to make a copy of a top I bought earlier in the year.
The other piece is white with black silhouettes of kitchen utensils and I am going to make some more potholders and a cover for my Kitchen Aid mixer which lives on the corner of the bench in the kitchen.
After my Spotlight expedition I went to visit my mother and we went to a large shopping centre near where she lives. Apart from having lunch there we wandered around and I checked out several boutiques and I ended up buying a pair of white, slim-fitting trousers and a blue, patterned cardigan/bolero. I did try on numerous other pieces but I am very selective in the clothes I buy and wanted to be sure that were exactly what I wanted but more on those another day.
The final hurrah was to pick up our new car after our previous one was deemed to be a total write-off after the damage sustained during the recent ferocious hailstorm.
I am planning a much less adventurous day tomorrow. I will be staying at home and hope to get some sewing done. It will not be any of the new material just yet as I have a couple of other projects that I need to complete before I start any new ones.
What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? Partying or a quiet night at home?
Over the past couple of years I have streamlined my wardrobe quite a bit. The neutrals I use are black and white with predominantly red accents. There has been a touch of blue and fuschia pink.
When I was planning what I would take on our overseas trip, I decided that the 3 fitted tshirts that I am taking would go in the charity bin before we come home. These tops are at least 3 years old and are definitely past their best.
It was an oppotunity to start planning my wardrobe for spring and summer as it will be well into September by the time we arrive home. I am thinking of a change of accent colours to purple and jade green. Coincidentally, a work colleague and The Duke both commented on how good the purple tshirt looked when I wore it last week with white trousers and a black/white patterned jacket. I already have a couple of pieces to get me started.
I bought a lightweight travel shirt last week which is also purple (although the colour is not true in the photo).
Now that I have made a decision about what colours I want for my wardrobe it will be easier to go looking just for those rather than aimlessly hoping to find something I might like.