Capsule wardrobe AW 2020: Lockdown edition
The weather is getting cooler and it’s definitely time for a wardrobe refresh, so I’ve been putting together a brand new 20-piece capsule wardrobe for AW 2020. However, my requirements are somewhat different this Autumn, compared with 2019. As coronavirus levels are rising around the UK it’s looking increasingly likely that many of us will be staying local or staying home a lot more over the next few months, but what’s a girl to do if she wants something just a little more elevated than all-day pyjamas or style vortex tracksuits?
When the top catwalk designers were putting together their ideas for the upcoming AW 2020 collections and shows, Covid-19 didn’t even exist. To compensate for this I’ve taken some of the best designer themes and trends, plus a decent dose of streetwear influences, and made them a little more comfortable and easy to wear while avoiding heading directly into slob central territory. I never thought I’d look at every outfit I put together during a season and ask ‘can I do sit-ups in this?’ as one of my main criteria for success, along with ‘is it Zoom-friendly?’ but here we are.
This latest capsule wardrobe is based on things I wear in real life, which includes second hand, vintage, past season and upcycled items as well as new. However, that’s not especially helpful for you if you want to put your own version together, so I’ve picked out some similar things you can find right now in the shops. You may also already own a few wardrobe staples that will be a perfect fit.
As always, I’ve used my tried and tested capsule wardrobe rules to make sure you can mix and match all the main items. You can wear any top with any of the bottoms, each jacket or cardigan goes with each top, and every pair of shoes goes with every one of the bottoms. Let’s have a look at the 20 basic pieces today, before going on to style a few outfits up and down.
Tops, blouses, knitwear
There’s a good mix here between comfy and cosy, and more fashionable or feminine touches, helping to put plenty of variety into your outfits.
From left to right above, we have:
- Long sleeve crew neck oatmeal top, V by Very, £15.00 | Easy to wear, easy to mix and match. A white shirt or off-white roll neck jumper would work well here too.
- Neppy stripe jumper, Matalan, £16.00 | Another light coloured top, this time with a simple stripe for some added interest.
- Brown ruffled print blouse, Mango, £29.99 | A rich colour with a chic, feminine print and shape. Another dark floral or paisley blouse would work here too if you already own a favourite one.
- Green flannel checked shirt, Uniqlo, £24.90 | Warm, cosy and catwalk inspired. Get an extra look out of this top by wearing it open as a casual jacket.
- Black puff sleeve jumper, George, £10.00 | A sleek, versatile piece with a gathered shoulder detail for an updated look.
Trousers and skirts
As promised, you can mix and match these trousers and the skirt with any of the tops, and then style your day’s outfit up or down from there. This gives you 25 basic combinations, and you should be able to use jackets, shoes, bags and accessories to create different looks – even a complete beginner should easily be able to make at least 50 unique outfits for different occasions.
In the picture above we have:
- Black jersey straight leg trousers, M&S, £15.00 | A step above wearing your yoga pants around the house all day, a pair of jersey trousers can be dressed up or down more easily. Black suit trousers or jeans would work here too.
- High waist straight leg Blair jeans, River Island, £40.00 | A darker wash for autumn and winter, and this season’s most versatile cut.
- Khaki Tencel cargo joggers, M&Co, £15.00 in sale | Comfortable, practical utility trousers. If they don’t have your size try M&Co’s alternative version for £25.
- Smart brown checked ankle length trousers, Uniqlo, £24.90 | A relaxed fit for smart or preppy looks. For even easier wear, try their wide leg check trousers.
- Black flared midi skirt with pockets, ASOS Design, £18.00 | Channel the 70s catwalk trend with this casual mix and match classic. Also available in their Petite and Curve collections. For something a little more edgy, try a faux leather a-line midi.
Jackets and accessories
Add an extra layer for warmth or style, and use accessories to add interest to simple tops or tone down your busier looks. The jackets are chosen to go with all the tops, however the accessories don’t each have to mix and match with everything because you don’t want to end up with things getting too samey.
- Black jersey blazer, Dorothy Perkins, £30.00 | Comfy as a cardigan, but with a little more structure so you look smarter in those endless online meetings. Any black blazer, cardi or jacket will do here.
- Black and ecru coatigan, Next, £48.00 | Clearly catwalk inspired and perfect for cooler days or running errands.
- Tortoiseshell ring necklace, Dorothy Perkins, £12.50 | A pretty little 70s-influenced pendant for a low price.
- Dark floral khaki scarf, Promod, £19.95 | Pops of colour and an interesting, feminine pattern.
- Unisex brown scarf, ASOS, £10.00 | A base colour to calm down busy outfits. A khaki or taupe scarf would work here as well, if you already own one.
A distinct lack of heels this time around as I’m finding myself drawn to more practical footwear; getting stuck in endless supermarket queues and walking more and more to avoid public transport will do that to you I suppose. Mind you, if I start wearing Ugg boots all the time then someone do please come over and stage an intervention because that’s a dead giveaway it’s all gone swiftly south chez Golightly…
- Stone leather trainers, Mint Velvet, £89.00 | Comfy and stylish, which – let’s face it – is not an easy combination. Any off-white trainers, hi tops or other lace-ups would do here.
- Soleflex black leather biker boots, Matalan, £32.00 | Sometimes you just need a pair of stompy boots to remind yourself that once upon a time in ancient history we used to be able to do rock and roll stuff like go to gigs. Also great for sulking at home and running out occasionally to the post office. A flippin’ bargain too.
- Chai leather ankle boots, Fitflop, £120.00 | These have comfortable soles that feel more like trainers when they’re on, but still look nice and smart. I tend to only shop here during sales or when voucher codes come up so keep an eye out if you want this same pair. Any low heeled brown or tan ankle boot, chelsea boot or western boot would work here, if that’s what you have at home.
By the way, if you want to throw a midi dress or jumper dress or two into your capsule wardrobe, these footwear choices should work with most styles.
Well, this is a weird category for AW 2020, isn’t it? I’m all about the practical shoppers and rucksacks right now, and nothing much else is getting a look in so this is perhaps not an area to spend too much money. As for cute little ‘going out out’ bags, I’d say forget it for a while and look for something midsized that can hold a spare facemask and a bottle of hand sanitiser as well as your usual bits and bobs.
- Black textured hobo bag, George at Asda, £18.00 | A roomy shopping bag for running all your errands.
- Taupe saddle bag, V by Very, £25.00 | Fits the bill nicely for something practical and medium sized that still looks attractive.
Coming up next I’ll be putting together a few outfit ideas with this 20-piece capsule wardrobe to show you how easy it is to mix and match the clothes for different occasions. See you soon for some fun dressing up and dressing down, according to your mood (whether that’s lounging stylishly on the sofa, or making an extra effort on Zoom).
WOW – I love this! Very helpful. Can’t wait to see your outfits.
Thanks Jackie, the outfits are on the way. Stay tuned…
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