27 September 2020

5 things I've learnt about my wardrobe this year!

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Advance warning that this is a wordy one.......peppered with outfit of the day shots from this past week.

Topshop dress - alternative here

Ok, let's kick right off with possibly the biggest learning - Less is More. I have found that less stuff does actually mean more life. One of my goals this year was to reduce my consumption (in fairness - lockdown did play a hand in this).  So far I've halved the amount of clothing I purchased last year. I started properly experimenting with a capsule wardrobe during winter 2019. Winter is an excellent time to trial a capsule because if you are anything like me you will likely have some kind of uniform that maybe goes a little bit like this - jeans, chunky sweaters and boots with a nice coat. With my lifestyle winter doesn't allow for a lot else so no wonder that with my first attempt at a capsule I felt like I'd got it off to a tee! But it's a learning curve and each season comes with it's challenges. I have to say though that this autumn having less to choose from has made getting dressed a bit more spontaneous which has really taken the drama out of choosing an outfit - a game-changer if you have a deadline time you need to be out by the mornings. It's a win-win as I've found I have more time to do the things I think I never have time to do! It's actually helped me achieve a couple of my other goals for 2020 as well. One such target was cutting down my scrolling time. Now that my wardrobe is smaller it's more cohesive and it all works together so I no longer feel the need to continually trawl through Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. I don't want to be lured into buying stuff I don't really need. Which is great because I'm not lured by the new season temptations! I have enough. I am enough. No more chasing that next must-have thing. I am finally buying with intention - another goal I can check off!

Biker jacket, past season - alternative here
H&M dress, recent but sold out online - alternative here

Lesson no. 2 With a capsule wardrobe there isn't one formula that fits for all. Please tell me I've not  been alone in pouring over Pinterest looking for the perfect version of a capsule wardrobe to base my own on? All of our lives are different so the perfect capsule is going to look different for everyone. You need to take into consideration what suits you and your 'style personality' and possibly more importantly - your lifestyle. Let's face it - a crisp white cotton shirt probably isn't the best thing to wear to crawl around at soft play and a classic black court shoe is a definite no-no for a stroll around the park......both of those items are in every perfect Parisian capsule wardrobe planner! Not all of the perceived classic items suit every wardrobe either. My own case in point here - having spent years trying to find the perfect white t-shirt it's turns out it's just not one of those pieces in my wardrobe that I tend to reach for - it just doesn't spark joy for me.......give me a stripe any day! Another quick caveat - don't get too hung up on the number of pieces for your capsule either - especially when you are starting out. Going from the choice of your entire wardrobe down to the prescribed 30 odd items can be very daunting. I would aim for between 30 - 45 without including shoes and accessories. That's a good amount to play around with until you can really drill it down to what you actually end up wearing - which brings me nicely on to........

I set myself a little exercise with my capsule - throughout September I decided to post on my Instagram grid so by the end of the month I have evidence of what I do actually wear - at a glance! You could always keep a diary of what you wear if you don't fancy taking an outfit photo everyday. What exactly are your wardrobe staples.....those things you wear time and time again? I will using my information once I've done a little postmortem to plan my next capsule and any future purchases. In the long term I will be continuing to reduce and refine my wardrobe - keep on reducing my consumption and spending less and less on my wardrobe year on year. My big challenge for 2021 will be to do a low buy year. Not sure what that will look like yet - whether is will be a budget set or one item a month, we'll see. The purpose is to have more money in my pocket to tick off more experiences on my bucket list!

HM dress, no longer in stock - alternative here
Arizona Loves sandals 
Arket bag

These leads nicely into lesson 3. Someone asked me recently which items do I prefer to splurge on and which things do I tend to always pick up on the High Street. My initial reaction was to say (no surprise - my standard line....accessories maketh the outfit) shoes, bags et al! But a couple of weeks later I still find myself pondering on that question. The thing is, I am as happy in a pair of £9.99 leopard print hi tops from New Look as I am a £300+ pair of Golden Goose trainers.......and I get the same amount of wear out of both. What I do know though is that there is no point in buying a pair of £300 of trainers unless you are prepared to wear them everyday. Back to that old adage - don't save your expensive stuff for best! And going back to something I touched on up thread - buying with intention. With a lot of talk around sustainability at the moment we often see the quote 'buy less buy better'. However as my lovely mate Gail pointed out a few months ago if you buy from a High Street fashion retailers with the intention of wearing an item 30+ times it's not the same as buying a dress to wear on a Saturday night that is never going to see the light of day again (and will  most likely end up in landfill). That's my definition of fast fashion. Another thing I try to do is steer clear of spending money on 'trend' pieces. The chances are that the items that are all the rage now - I'm looking at you large collars and sleeveless sweaters as you will not be featuring in my wardrobe this time next year.......things I will tire of easily. No more one season wonders for me! It's just all about making considered purchases - wherever they come from - whether they are brand new or preloved. Buy with purpose. I'm making that my mantra. 

Zara dress, past season - alternative here
Golden Goose trainers

Lesson 4. Stick to a colour palette. Not particularly groundbreaking I know, but crikey what a difference it makes. It doesn't have to be all neutrals - though I've found that has really worked for me. But just pick an accent colour or 2 to lift your neutrals (my accents have been my stripes and leopard prints). Your wardrobe just 'flows' better when you keep to a few shades that really suit you and make you feel happy. It really does take the stress out of getting dressed when everything just blends well together.

Preloved M&S mac - alternative here
Joseph shirt, past season - alternative here
Gap jeans, ancient - alternative here

Last but not least - lesson 5. I have realised I'm not great at styling skirts. I just don't reach for them often. So I've given myself another little project - to try and style my cream pleated skirt and my leopard print skirt in as many ways as I can in order to get more everyday wear out of them over the next couple of months. I'm up for the challenge! Is there anything item of clothing you find tricky to style ? I'd love to hear!

I probably spend way too much time thinking about clothes in the grand scheme of things - however there is no doubt that they are our armour and definitely - for me anyway intertwined with my wellbeing. I actually derive a lot of pleasure organising my wardrobe. It definitely has helped me in this weird year of 2020.

The next stage of my autumn capsule is coming up - what a difference a week makes! Time to start reaching for the sweaters and jeans isn't it!

Back soon, Michelle x



  1. I love your blog, so refreshing to see someone thinking about what they actually need. I stopped buying clothes from October to May this last year and haven't missed it. I spend evenings making up new outfits out of what I've already got. Thanks for your inspiration

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment Gill. It's totally inspirational to me that you stopped buying for 10 months!! #lowbuygoals It is fun to create new outfits out of what you already own isn't it!

  2. Excellent words Michelle, I am sick of people posting all their gifts whereas with just a little thought you can create many outfits from a capsule wardrobe. Lockdown has made us realise hopefully you don’t need so much stuff

    1. Thank you France. I did actually get very caught up in that world of influencing and it did actually fill me with anxiety to the point that it literally did make me sick! It was just so out of alignment with my values. It was a really hard cycle to break. However we grow through what we grow through and I definitely feel I'm on the right track now. My lovely friend Jenny has encouraged me to write about my experience as an influencer which I think would be great therapy......I may well share that on the blog too!

  3. This is so well written Michelle and I totally agree with your message; it's so easy to allow ourselves to get sucked into buying the latest 'must have' even when our wardrobes are already jam packed. Lockdown has definitely brought me to the conclusion that I should make more effort to use clothes I already have. Thank you for such a great post x

    1. Thank you Carrie. I've just watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix and it was pretty shocking as to how much the algorithm is manipulating everything we see online! The advertisers now exactly what to show us and how to keep us engaged. No wonder we get so sucked in! You are spot on though - we should all be making more of an effort to make the best of what we've got and I do hope that becomes a long term effect of lockdown and the majority don't revert back to their usual shopping habits x

  4. Fantastic post with excellent points!

  5. Anonymous27/9/20 15:51

    I loved reading this entry and was inspired by it that I have started taking notes on a capsule wardrobe. I buy far too many clothes especially since I started Instagram. I don't need them and don't wear a lot of them so a capsule wardrobe is a great idea. I would love you to expand on this if possible. When you say 30-40 items that's everything right for all seasons? xx

    1. Thank you! Lovely to hear that you are thinking about trying a capsule wardrobe. I am still testing out the capsule and playing around with the amount of items. It's quite a challenge with the weather in the UK! I did an interim transitional summer to autumn for about 6 weeks and I will be carrying over some of those pieces into autumn The temperature has really dropped in the last week so some warmer clothing is needed. I'll change over a few more pieces mid-November for a winter capsule which I'll likely be in until March 2021. It's just about keeping the choices down - I store the pieces I'm not using until I'm ready to wear them again so I can actually see the woods from the trees in my wardrobe if that makes sense! xx

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  7. Another excellent blog Michelle, very thought provoking and achievable. You’ve come so far since your influencer/instagram break and it really shows that you are enjoying writing this blog and sharing your advice to help others. You’ve got a great mindset when it come to clothes/style and we are very lucky that you like to share!