Autumn capsule

My Not-So Capsule Autumn Wardrobe

Author: Lauren Coleman

I’ve gone on and on about the benefits of a capsule wardrobe (packing to go away is a doddle, there’s less laundry, no more rash purchases and it’s far easier to get dressed in the morning) but with three under my belt I have to admit I feel a bit restricted by the 37 items rule I imposed on myself.
So I have a rather shocking announcement to make for my September. I’ve decided to go down the not-so-capsule route. I know! Dreadful behaviour.

At first I felt I’d let the side down. You know harping on about the capsule in the blogosphere and then breaking all the rules. I then I realised this is just about clothing and not a form of punishment. Time to get a grip, become more flexible and figure out what really works for me in day-to-day life.

The Thing About Coats and Shoes

You may remember I’ve been following the principles of Caroline from Un-fancy, donning 37 items per season. (The image in the slider above is taken from the Un-Fancy fall section). Now under Caroline’s regime all accessories are exempt from the quota but shoes and coats are part of the allocation. This is fine in summer; I’ve worn a leather jacket a couple of times and footwear has consisted of a couple of pairs of sandals, a pair of strappy heels and one pair of flats. However as we head towards Autumn I have a longing for a bit of variation. I’d like a parka, a gilet, a leather jacket, a faux fur coat, a bit of leopard AND a camel coat in my wardrobe. Over the years I’ve built up a collection (bar the camel coat) so it seems daft not to wear them. I’d love a shearling coat too and a khaki cocoon jacket and wouldn’t say no to a cape either but let’s not go crazy. This is an opportunity to adapt the capsule wardrobe approach, not bag myself a credit card debt.
I’d like to wear a pair of boots in grey, one in black and to hell with it, one in brown too. Not a collection of Imelda Marcos proportions but enough to feel like there’s some sense of diversity.
To sum up I ditched the coats and shoes from my allowance and worked towards getting thirty other pieces in my wardrobe instead.


The Office/Home Split

I’m now in the office an extra day and have to admit my usual mix of clobber just isn’t appropriate for my smart-casual workplace. I’ve put pen to paper and worked out around fifteen items can work for my office wardrobe and the same again for working from home and playing around. Items aren’t mutually exclusive, for example I’d wear a polo neck for most occasions, and would wear my knee length leather skirt out for dinner and to the office, but it’s stopped me from buying another slouchy tee when I really need a smart dress.


Switch the Season

The flipping weather in Blighty is hard to predict. I don’t want to put away my denim shorts just yet but equally I know I won’t be wearing them in November. Therefore I’ve allowed myself a couple of pieces which I’ll be switching for other items later in the season. Those shorts will be packed away to make way for a thicker knit when they hit the shelves. Yep technically it’s just adding another item but I’ll be a whole lot warmer.

In summary, it’s not too crazy a shake-up. I’ve still gone through the usual process of getting every item out of the wardrobe, trying it on, binning, charity bagging and eBaying unwanted garb. I’ve still been pinning to my boards, reading up on the fashion blogs and flicking though the glossies. I’ve scoured the internet and hit the shops for a few new wares. I’ve probably bought less items for this season than the three previous capsules but by setting the new coat and shoe rule I feel I’ve got far more to play with.

Roll on Autumn. I’ve got a new leopard print coat to wear.

Any capsulers tempted to change it up? Have you broken any ‘rules’? Anyone previously been put off my a capsule but thinking they might adapt some of the principles?


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Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
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16 thoughts on “My Not-So Capsule Autumn Wardrobe

  1. I read unfancy too and I think it would be a lot easier to capsule in Texas than in the uk. Like you say our seasons change so much and we can freakishly warm days followed by blizzards!
    It would be wasting money not to use your full range of coats 😉

  2. Great post! Every time you’ve (or any other of the many blogs that have mentioned it) mentioned a capsule wardrobe I always feel guilty that I can’t do with less, so it’s good to hear a voice that is questioning this a bit.

    I always prune back and try to edit my accessories/clothes/shoes each season but need more than the 37 things!

    1. Thanks Caroline. I felt exactly the same as so many other people seem to manage with less. I think it’s all about finding out what works for you x

  3. I live in Texas and can tell you that we get just as crazy a range in weather as the UK! The temperatures can change from over 25 degs to 10 degs in a few hours sometimes!
    I will admit though that a full range of coats isn’t really necessary. I’ve had the same coat for the 6 years I’ve lived here and it still looks brand new, I only seem to wear it on trips back to the UK and the few days in January when it does actually get cold. I’m slightly jealous of your collection… 🙂

    1. Oooh Jen that does seem quite extreme! I didn’t realise Texas weather was like that. Love that your six year old coat still looks brand new 🙂 x

  4. You’ve not failed in my eyes Lauren, you’ve just added to and put flavour into the rules… which can only be a good thing?! I agree wholeheartedly about the coats and shoes. There is no way the UK autumn and winter can happen in just 2 coats. One of my entire groups of friends are the ‘school gates’ and muddy walks crowd… from October through to at least March we only ever see each other in coats. I could get away with wearing 1 jumper for the whole of winter and no one would notice but I really need a good outerwear range. In fact, as I am particularly nesh, I have been known to apply layering to my coats and on a chilly day have been seen in 2 at once. I can’t bear being cold.
    I’m still loving the capsule wardrobe and the novelty hasn’t worn yet but I do have a cheat section for party clothes and smart workwear. There are a few dresses I only might possibly need for a la-de-da meeting and otherwise I’m in my comfy wardrobe so they don’t seem worthy of being one of my 37.
    Maybe there needs to be an additional UK allocation of 10 outerwear items… or they can be counted as accessories. And shoes… well I did the school run in my gladiator sandals this morning but give it another week and I’ll probably be drenched and in wellies. 9 pairs for a season which will include flip flops AND snowboots is a tough challenge.

    1. Nesh! I love that word Amanda. It makes me miss home though 🙁
      I agree let’s have a specific UK allocation for coats. Apparently it’s going to be in the minus’ this weekend but we’re having a heatwave the week after. Multiple options required!

  5. Ah, rules are made to be broken!
    Plus there are so many variations on the capsule wardrobe. 333 project only allows 33?!?! Stuff that!
    I don’t count coats or shoes either! I have too many…
    I love the freedom a capsule wardrobe gives and how hard you have to make the clothes work. I won’t buy anything that won’t go with at least 4 other items.
    Then I’m guaranteed not to have the ‘I love it but have nothing to wear it with’ issue I was always suffering with previously.

    1. Alice I very much like the sound of the 4 item rule. I’m probably following this already without realising but it’s a good idea when you’re tempted to buy something new.

  6. I’ve never included coats in my capsule, partly because, like you, it’d be totally boring to only have one or two coats the whole time you need one in blighty (10 months of the year??) and partly because my coats are in the downstairs cupboard and I’m too lazy when I do my new capsule to go hoike them all upstairs!!

    I’ve got two capsules at the moment, one for work and one for play. There’s some overlap but not too much and I think my work one will not get switched around so much, maybe a full review twice a year and some new accessories every so often. It’s mostly black anyway!!

    I’m much more relaxed about the ‘rules’ than I used to be now I know what works for me and what doesn’t.

  7. I like the idea of the capsule wardrobe but as I have an office job requiring quite smart clothes there’s not much cross over with my casual wear so not so practical! Maybe a slightly relaxed rules version would work though. I have so many clothes I love though so I just don’t know how I’d whittle it down (I may well have 30 or so dresses alone… Oops!).

  8. I have been forced to live in a capsule state for the last 4 months thanks to my growing baby belly… i can say with absolute determination that my fall/winter wardrobe will have nothing capsule about it, i can’t wait to go wild in the aisle as soon as i can wriggle in to those size 10s again – watch out retailers!!! (however, i am doing a huge sort out as the spae in our new home is TINY compared to the expansive walk ins we have become accustomed to in Sydney and New York over the last 6 years… the UK has no idea how to do wardrobe space!) Enjoy your winter collections x

  9. I soooo needed this article in my life right now! Thank you! We recently moved from a tiny flat in london to a house and most of my clothes had been in strong meaning I hadn’t seen everything together for four years. My sister and sis in law kindly took on the task of unpacking my clothes and it is official, I am a total hoarder who has no outfits to wear! From now on instead of buying random items I plan to buy ‘outfits’ almost like when we were little and my mum would take my sis and I shopping for an outfit for an occasion. I need to stop buying cheap bits and invest in quality. Thank you!!!!

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