An email I quite regularly receive from readers is about capsule wardrobes. Although they don’t call it that, they usually just go WHAT THE FCUKK AM I SUPPOSED TO WEAR?!?!?!!? in the subject line and then say something like “I wan this emerald green jumpsuit and patent leather boots but I dhitnk I won’t wear them?!?!! Esther HELOP!”
They invariably reveal that they have two children under 5 and have slightly lost their way when it comes to getting dressed. The emails most often come in at around 9.20pm.
I am sympathetic. The armfuls of inappropriate shite that I bought when I was pregnant or my kids were really small, (because they’re still little), beggars belief.
I skipped over that stage where you get yourself white t-shirts and comfy jeans and smart/casual shoes and went straight to Chelsea slapper via crazed Instagram fashion person – and never had anything to wear.
But then I really thought hard about it and packed loads of shit away and started all over again. No pattern, not much colour. Simple things. Just normal stuff I could put on and feel okay about.
That, I suppose, it what a capsule wardrobe is. There are many shops who will try to sell you a capsule wardrobe – “Buy better, buy less [but first buy this, yeah]?” – but I look at these Seven Easy Pieces or whatever and think “That is too floaty, that looks dry clean only to me, that hem will get caught in the car door. Next!”
I have written before about essential wardrobe pieces – sorry, “pieces” – but I think I may have kind of thrown the subject away. So ALL next week, I am devoting The Spike and my Instagram (@esthermcoren) to the subject of the capsule wardrobe.
Not that I don’t love receiving those emails! Keep them coming. I also kind of get a thrill out of the idea of creating this, like, army of Spike clones.
Liz B says
OMG this IS so me! I do have two under five and feel like fashwan left me behind in 2013 when I had my first, doesn’t help that we have seen a major silhouette change in that time from skinny to boyfriend/girlfriend/mum/whatever jeans (maybe they were around before then but could legit ignore at that point!!). My youngest is 15 months and the baby weight is off so it really is time to do something about it but I don’t have a fcking clue…just keep bulk buying cashmere v necks from Boden and skinny jeans from H&M 😆😆😥
LIZ STOP!!!!!! Do not buy anything before you have read my guide!
Liz B says
I will stop 😆 With a three and 15 mo old I am not sure there is much point having cashmere anyway!! Urgently require knitwear instruction; have decimated knitwear collection in the last six months. Shrunk two, left lovely ME+EM gray wrap cardigan in Greece (sob and even that was 3.5 yrs old) and beloved light grey Jaeger jumper has finally died in its sixth year. Situation is DIRE.
wrap cardigans are totally over anyway, good thing you left it in greece
So excited for this. Last week I chucked out and re started my t-shirt collection from scratch so I’ve made a start…
Anna that is absolutely correct! Together we are going to build you a killa wardrobe x
Can’t WAIT for this. I’m fairly stable after my second but for a while there after number one I only bought knee length wrap dresses from Boden when I’m clearly a boyfriend-jean-white-trainer-navy-overcoat girl. I look back at photos of myself (complete with odd mum bob haircut thing??) and I don’t recognise myself at all. It’s v odd. Am due number three at Xmas so will be collecting advice and saving tips to avoid another car crash in the new year!!
if you’re a boyfriend jean white trainer navy overcoat girl I have little left to tell you, but stay with me next week anyway!
3C Style says
Can’t wait to read you!
Great idea, looking forward to it already 🙂 When I went on holiday we had a lovely large wardrobe and I hung up all the clothes I’d taken with me and realised I’d created a capsule wardrobe! It was such a revelation that I had a major clothes sort out when we got back home.
I think I may love The Spike even more! A whole week of capsule wardrobe info??? Perfect.
(Sitting here in jeans, converse and white t-shirt)
Can you give some fashion advice to us over forty women? I am so worried about looking mutton that I haven’t bought anything for ages.
Heather I will do my best! I advise such incredibly plain (as in non-muttony) clothes that they ought to work on anyone. And I am nearly 40 myself so better start working on ideas x
You know we’ll all be glued to this. It’s the blog equivalent of “Get in, loser, we’re going shopping”.
I recently accepted that I both look and feel best when I wear black, khaki, navy, denim blue, so that’s pretty much what I do now except a couple of colours I know suit me that I throw in for a bit of, erm, colour. Life is so much easier now I’ve stopped buying shitty weird patterned items and trying to make orange happen for me.
Cindy yes. I have little left to tell you, but stick around anyway x
I have no children but still very excited about this!
Clare! Stick around! Children are NOT mandatory!
Yes! With two under three I feel so lost. I don’t much care about looking “fashionable” persay but have a desperate desire to look “modern”. I am getting out my wallet now.
Let’s DO this xxx
Thanks for the Tom Hardy pic 😍
so welcome x
You read my mind. Stop me buying skinny jeans and Breton tops. It is MADNESS. I think with a 3yo and a 1yo i just don’t have time to think about what to wear, so default to last time I had capacity to make considered decisions in that arena (circa 2013…).
Also any advice on work wear… I know, I know DULL, but I might as well be dressed like whatserface in Working Girl (though that may well be the height of fashion for all I know).
Rhian I will do my best but I have not been inside an office since 2007 so I am also out of date
Esther, I’m giddy with excitement about this! I was trying to find your previous post on what to wear the other day. Was it on Recipe Rifle? Anyway, I look a mess. My jeans have holes in them from crawling around after three children, there are moths in the house that have got to my nice jumpers and I just need something to make me feel vaguely with it as I approach 40. It has only just hit me how much I wasted my twenties and early thirties by dressing in a dull and too old way, like a really cut price Kate Middleton (although she does seem sweet and I want to be her friend). Now I feel rising panic that time is running out.
Could I make a dull request for some budget options? It turns out three children are hugely expensive and we have no money once I’ve blown the weekly budget on Ocado. Also things that avoid the horrendous bottom flash, flesh spillage from the waistline of trousers and jeans that happen regardless of size.
Thank you!! xx
Nicola I never ever recommend anything expensive anyway! do not fear. We will sort you out
So, I currently have a solution to clothing… But it’s a bad one. I wear nothing but breastfeeding dresses, teamed with the jojo waterfall cardigan. They don’t look bad and the selection is so limited I waste very little time shopping. And it is actually Esther’s fault that I am still nursing a sixteen month old… My first (like Kitty) slept like a dream. My second: like Sam. My son’s saving grace, however, is that he requires only 3 mins at the boob and he is back asleep. Stories of Sam waking up and simply refusing to go back to sleep have terrified me into what is now approaching extended breastfeeding. Soon enough, I shall be in the daily, defiantly telling the world that I feed a seven year old… And it’s all because of Sam.
omg!!! you are going to give me nightmares
Elena I did the same and they both gave up quite easily at 2, no problems weaning at all. One slept very well after that in fact, the other still a bit erratic but much better.
So you needn’t carry on until 7 unless you really fancy a permanent spot on the This Morning sofa xx
That is good to know- I can’t remember what an unbroken night is like! It’s been so long. I’m kind of planning to stop at 2 (except when people tell me it’s gross, which makes me want to go on and on and on).
Looking forward to this but please don’t ask me to ditch my (whispers) 8 bretons…..
Such GREAT news! I have bookmarked your previous posts on the subject and visit them every time before I buy a new item. Can’t wait for more!
looking forward to this, please spare a thought for non-skinny women with lovely, but generous breasts……..thank you!
Sharon this is me too. so don’t worry…
This reminds of Sezane-white-boot-gate mid chicken pox misery! So powerful is the pull of an inappropriate buy that I still sort of regret not getting them. I am a hopeless case.
This is the answer to my prayers – thank you!