My capsule wardrobe for Autumn 2016

capsule wardrobe full mix and match Penny Golightly

As promised, here’s my capsule wardrobe for the coming season. It’s based on things I wear in real life during an average week, and it really works! It’s been a cinch to put together using my Five Capsule Wardrobe Rules and the extra tips you read about yesterday.

Today’s activity is to have a look at what I’ve put together, and then have a think about how you might do something similar that is more suited to your own particular lifestyle, personal style, taste and body shape.

As a thrifty shopper much of what I own is second hand or from sample sales, so it seems a bit unfair to put those exact items in the capsule wardrobe – if you see something you like there’s not much chance of being able to try it for yourself. To avoid that issue I’ve found some good high street matches instead, so it’s properly accessible to everyone.

Putting together my capsule wardrobe

The general theme: sporty, with a touch of quirky ladylike vintage. Think Audrey Hepburn in her ballet slippers, or Katherine Hepburn arriving on set with her chinos, brogues and a silk scarf.

Colours: I picked out a few colours to start with, first choosing two of my best base colours, which are light navy blue and warm dark-ish gray, but I also added some black on the bottom half because I like to wear darker shades in the colder months (even if I can’t wear a block of it next to my face). Then I picked out my light neutral colour, which is off-white, and a mid-toned neutral colour, which is a taupey mink brown. Finally there are three three accent colours: dark green, teal, and mustard yellow.

It can be annoyingly difficult to find a great pair of trousers, so I made a point of getting that right first and built it up from there. I wanted mostly plain colours, but with lots of different and interesting shapes.

capsule wardrobe collection AW2016 trousers jeans skirts Penny Golightly

From left to right:

  • Marks & Spencer navy roma rise chinos, £29.50. The most comfortable and flattering chinos I’ve ever owned.
  • Mango Soho skinny jeans, £35.99. This season’s high waist, and plenty of stretch.
  • Charcoal modal drape trousers (sorry, sold out, but lots of similar alternatives at ASOS with prices from £9.00). Easy to wear, and easy to style up and down.
  • Uniqlo black wide leg trousers, £24.90. Comfortable but also very this-season, and the crease down the front makes your legs look longer. They also have a cropped version, £20.00, for extra fashion points.
  • Uniqlo dark green midi skirt, £14.90. Flattering flared shape, not too long and not too short. Also available in black, grey and navy.

The next part of the wardrobe to be added was the tops. I feel the cold, so chose long sleeved tops, using the easy Capsule Wardrobe Rule No.5 formula: two light, one mid tone or accent colour, one dark / 2nd accent colour, and one pattern.

capsule wardrobe items tops shirt blouse sweatshirt AW2016 Penny Golightly

Left to right, top row first:

  • Mango chest pocket silk blouse in mink grey, £49.99. Hangs beautifully and can be worn open as a soft casual jacket, with nods to both of this season’s taupe and military trends. If it’s out of your price range try the non-silk £22 version at Dorothy Perkins in sizes 6 to 22.
  • Uniqlo striped boat neck longsleeve tee in off white, £14.90. Thick jersey that holds its shape, and thin stripes that don’t add too much extra colour.
  • Topshop printed pyjama style shirt, £45. Looks great with jeans, but can be added to smarter outfits. The toucan print makes me smile.
  • Uniqlo striped boat neck longsleeve tee in dark green, £14.90. A different design with more of a balance between blue and green. Several other colours available.
  • Off-white folk lace panel blouse from Superdry, £17.50. A simple top, but the feminine shape and pretty lace keep it from being boring. Most high street clothes shops have something like this available this season, so there’s something for all shapes and sizes.

Next, time for the capsule wardrobe acid test. Did every top go well with every pair of trousers? Yes, the shapes, textures and colours were all good together. That meant I could start on the shoes, making sure that each shoe looked okay with each skirt or pair of trousers.

capsule wardrobe items shoes trainers footwear AW2016 Penny Golightly

Clockwise from top:

  • Midnight navy snake-embossed SuperSkate, £80. These aren’t the exact pair I own, but they’re pretty close and I love the FitFlop quality and level of cushioning.
  • Teal Peach Point velvet ballet pump from Office, £26.00. The tiny heel is a bit more flattering than a completely flat shoe, and velvet is back in a big way this Autumn. If these sell out, try ASOS for similar designs.
  • Black mono leather Ox  All Star low tops from Converse, £49.00. There are so many all-black trainers around at the moment that there’s something for every budget, including this £14.99 leather-look pair from New Look.

Then it was time to add the jackets, followed by the bags. I decided the best colour for my main jacket would be navy, and the second would be a cardigan in a brighter accent colour. My budget didn’t stretch to a third jacket, but that’s okay because I can get by with just the two. It made sense to make the main bag navy as well, but in a darker shade.

Capsule wardrobe items jacket cardigan knitwear tailoring bag tote clutch AW2016 Penny Golightly

From left to right:

  • Navy jersey jacket New Look, £20. A nice light shade of navy and very relaxed and easy to wear.
  • Mustard yellow cardigan by Red Herring at Debenhams, £14.40. Cheap, cheerful, and in the sale. Plus it can be worn buttoned up as a v-neck sweater, making a bonus top with a different neckline.
  • Faith navy tote bag with black trim, plus free bonus clutch bag inside, £35. Yup, two bags for the price of one, including a fun little one for going out after work. What’s not to love?
  • Cassidy colour block bag by Accessorize, £27.00. Big enough for work stuff but not too big, and a nice mix of green, off-white and indigo. Adjustable strap means it can be worn cross body or over the shoulder.

Last of all, I added the accessories. I picked two colour pop items with my brightest accent colours in them (yellow and teal), one patterned and one plain. The third accessory contains my base colours (grey, navy and black) without looking too dark or heavy.

Capsule wardrobe items scarf necklace accessories AW2016 Penny Golightly

From left to right:

  • Silky scarf from Promod, £26.95. A great colour pop of yellow, but the other colours mean it isn’t too overpowering. Can be worn draped as in the picture above, or rolled and tied as a vintage-look neckerchief.
  • Teal Rio v-shaped fan necklace from Oliver Bonas, £19.50.
  • Hurricane abstract print scarf by Studio Hop, £15. Great for layering, good mix of base colours.

Can you see how you could build lots of different outfits out of these? How would you start matching them up?

Come back tomorrow for some real life examples of how I’ve been styling them.

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  1. Looks really handy with the pictures. I am gonna do the same with my items, without spending a penny.

  2. Hi Patricia, the pictures really help me to start visualising things so I’m glad that you like them too. Great to hear that you’re ‘shopping in your wardrobe’ – very thrifty!

  3. Hiya – I really like this concept – are you going to do the same thing for winter ?

  4. Hello Adrianne, thanks for commenting and glad you liked the article. I’ll definitely do another one for winter if there’s enough interest.

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