When it comes to a capsule wardrobe, your focus ought to be on everything being quite plain, not dry-clean and a good fit.
Don’t give any of your clothes an excuse not to be worn. When I open my wardrobe I always hesitate over anything that a) needs dry-cleaning b) is tight c) is in anyway slightly the wrong fit or size d) wacky.
You may look over some of the following recommendations and be boggled by their boringness.
But I am here to tell you that this is not boring! This is CAPSULE. There is no such thing as a “boring” item of clothing, only a boring or frumpy way of wearing it. If you don’t have any of these items, get them. If you have them but they are in any way shabby or old or worn out, replace them.
In no way am I saying that you are never going to dress excitingly or madly or fashionably again. You are! You will! You will have your Studio 54, white patent-boot, jumpsuit fabulosity.
But life isn’t just about Studio 54, it’s also about doing the school run or visiting friends or having breakfast with your kids in a cafe without feeling like something that got caught in a drain. This is the answer.
1 T Shirts
You need 2 white t-shirts and 2 grey t-shirts. And that, I reckon, is all. Plain as you can – no gold pineapples on the front, please, or diamante round the neckline. Just plain old t-shirts. You can add colourful accessories and glittery shit if you really want later (more in another post).
I get my t-shirts from Hush, because they are a good length, great value at £27 and don’t cling at the middle. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t look good in a Hush t-shirt.
The sizes at Hush are very generous – I am a size 12 on top with quite big boobs and I take this T-shirt in an XS! If any sizes are sold-out, just hang on for a re-stock as they always get more in.
Remember, 2 grey and 2 white. Don’t suddenly go mad and get a turquoise one, thinking “Esther is just wrong.” Turquoise is not capsule.
T-Shirts are a bit like jeans in that every body shape has their go-to shops for favourites. PLEASE – leave a comment in the comments box if you have a favourite T-Shirt, where it is from, how much and what kind of shape you are for the enlightenment of fellow Spikers.
I have done a lot of research on this and the perfect merino crew neck wool sweater is by Uniqlo. Merino wool doesn’t bobble or pill, it drapes and falls nicely and these are cut not to cling. I have three of these, in camel, navy and grey, all in XL. Three is slight overkill, just because I love a crew neck sweater. If you reckon you look better in a V-neck, get V necks.
The two shirts I wear most often is a khaki one from H&M and my denim “Keeper” shirt from J Crew. I’m assuming that you’ve already got a check shirt in there somewhere, so apart from that, these are the only extra ones you need.
I occasionally come across people who insist they are not a “denim shirt” sort of person, and if that’s the case, then any chambray or pale blue blue/white striped shirt will do.
Make sure the shirt is slightly too big it ought to be in no way tight or fitted. Check for stiffness of fabric, which will add bulk. You want this to fall nicely and have no hint of starch or crackle to it.
People may bang on about how brilliant a “crisp white shirt” is, but that’s more to look at than to wear; I’ve got a “crisp white shirt” and it sits crisply on its hangar and very rarely gets worn.
Baujken shirts are good.
There is this blue and white striped one:
Or this Coco shirt:
J Crew does 2 denim shirts, the Keeper and the Always, both sold out just at the moment -but they will restock I guess towards the end of summer and they are worth waiting for.
I’m delighted that H&M are still making my army green shirt. It’s pleasingly long, so you can tuck the front in and leave the back open, or wear it open over something. It’s very tactile and drapey and I wear mine all the time with a shitload of gold jewellery and a scowl.
Relax – I am not going to make you get rid of your Breton. Keep your Breton! Buy another one! There is nothing wrong with Bretons or stripes in general. The problem comes with wearing them every fucking day with the same pair of fucking skinny jeans. No capsule wardrobe would be complete without a standard Breton. I have 3 for different moods and I also have 2 sleeveless striped tanks.
This looks to me like a really good one from John Lewis
Or this one. Weekend by John Lewis is actually very brilliant quality – I have a sweatshirt from there I have worn for 5 years and if I ever lost it I would, well, lose it.
If you want something a bit longer, this one from Seasalt via JLP will do the trick.
Don’t be too clever with the colour way, just go for simple dark blue on white, it looks best.
A plain black swing camisole top like this one from TopShop comes in very handy. I mean, they’ve made it impossible to see what it looks like in this photo, but it looks like a decent one to me. Remember I said BLACK, don’t get a purple one.
And that’s it! I told you you’d worry it was all “boring”. But stick with me and it will all make sense in the end.
Tomorrow: Trousers and skirts.