The nights are drawing in, and it’s time to put together a brand new capsule wardrobe for Autumn and Winter 2019. Hurrah! This is one of my favourite parts of the year where I get to take my jumpers and warmest boots out of storage and do some mixing and matching, and maybe treat myself to a few new bits and bobs. It’s worth thinking it through: a well curated capsule collection is relatively small but it works hard for you, allowing you to create many different looks and outfits while potentially reducing your carbon footprint and also saving you money. What’s not to love?
If you’re putting your own capsule wardrobe together for the first time this season, you might also like to read my five basic rules for beginners for some foolproof ways to ensure success.
Themes, colours and influences
My latest 20-item capsule wardrobe for AW2019 has some great basic pieces, plus a few nods to catwalk influences such as 90s grunge, heritage checks, the animal print trend and dark florals. As always I find it easiest to go for a general theme, which this time is ‘smart-ish casual with a bit of retro’, to keep roughly the same tone throughout and make mixing and matching much easier. The dark neutral base colours are black, mid-wash denim and chocolate brown, and the light and medium neutrals are white, ivory and beige/camel. My three pops of colour are purple, burgundy and burnt orange.
As always, many of my clothes are old favourites, or they’re second hand, upcycled or vintage. However, I’m aware that this isn’t very helpful if you’re trying to put something together yourself, so I’ve picked similar high street items that you can easily get hold of in case you want to replicate some or all of the looks.
Capsule wardrobe AW2019 tops
Here are the five tops, with plenty of different shapes, textures and shades to create variety and interest. There’s one light colour, two colour pops (burnt orange and purple), a printed shirt and a dark base colour. Normally I’d have two light shades and one less colour pop but many of the recent trends are for darker clothes so I’ve made an exception from my usual rules, just this once. The most important rule is that each of the five tops needs to go with each of the five bottoms, which they all do.
- Burnt orange tiger print jumper by Blue Vanilla, £24.00 | Buy here.
- Ivory printed relaxed fit shirt, Marks & Spencer, £19.50 | Buy here.
- Black jersey shirt with burgundy pattern, Matalan, £12.50 | Buy here.
- Purple cable jumper by Land’s End, £25.00 in sale | Buy here. Also available in v-neck and petite styles.
- Black wool-mix co-ord belted cardigan top, H&M, £19.99 | Buy here. This is part of a nice two-piece set you can put together to make an informal ‘little black dress’, but any black v-neck cardi can be substituted.
Capsule wardrobe AW2019 trousers & skirts
There’s something for everyone here with mom jeans, wide leg trousers, slim fit cords, straight leg jeans and a comfy co-ord skirt for mixing and matching. If you don’t get on with a certain shape or cut there are plenty of high street alternatives available, so feel free to adapt this to your own shape or preference, or swap for something in a similar colour that you already own.
- High rise ankle crop jeans in medium wash, M&S, £19.50. | Buy here. Basically one of the most comfortable and flattering pairs of mom jeans around with a bargain price tag, cut to just skim the tops of your autumn ankle boots. Or visit a second hand shop for a 90s vintage version.
- Wide fit straight leg dark brown check trousers, UNIQLO, £25.00 | Buy here.
- Slim leg berry cord trousers, M&Co, £22.00 | Buy here.
- Black vintage slim leg jeans, H&M Conscious, £24.99 | Buy here.
- Black wool mix co-ord ribbed skirt, H&M, £17.99 | Buy here. The other part of the matching set which looks especially good when worn together, but any black midi skirt could be used here.
Capsule wardrobe 2019 jackets, shoes and boots
Either of the jackets can be mixed with any of the tops, and all the footwear can be mixed and matched with any of the bottoms for maximum versatility. This makes it so much easier to style up lots of different looks, even if you’re in a hurry getting ready on a dark morning.
- Straight black longline blazer, La Redoute, £31.20 in sale | Buy here. Smart, but not too formal, this mixes well with anything.
- Chunky lurex cardigan, Falmer, £22.00 | Buy here. The tiny sparkle of metallised thread adds a touch of glam.
- White Candy lace up trainers, Topshop, £29.00 | Buy here. A crisp white pair of trainers to mix with skirts, trousers and jeans.
- Black chunky lace-up boots, New Look, £27.99 | Buy here. An easy way to give your outfits an edge.
- Cognac brown heeled python print boots, Promod, £49.95 | Buy here.
Capsule wardrobe bags and accessories
There’s one main bag, a chic goes-with-everything take on the backpack, and a smaller one for minimalist work days or going out. The accessories include one in a base colour to calm and balance busier outfits, and two to add a pop of colour at the neckline (each with a distinct style, one feminine and one casual). Many outfit combinations don’t need a large accessory, so this is the only category where the items don’t have to mix and match with all of the tops.
- Bordeaux red neat handbag, Promod, £19.95 | Buy here.
- Sustainable black Judy backpack, Accessorize, £35.00 | Buy here.
- Joules ‘Ferne’ light brown check scarf, £29.95 | Buy here.
- Amethyst longline pendant necklace, Boden, £50.00 | Buy here. This necklace adds a feminine touch without trying too hard.
- Bordeaux and burnt orange scarf, Promod, £12.50 | Buy here. A near-perfect mix of all the colours in this capsule wardrobe, this is great for pulling an outfit together.
Now let’s look at all 20 of these items together to get the big picture. Is anything catching your eye?
I’ll be back soon with some outfit ideas if you’re looking for more inspiration.
Can you see how you see how easy it would be to start styling these pieces up and down? What would you put together to make your first outfit?