The essential breton stripe top

wardrobe essential breton stripe top alexander wang

T by Alexander Wang breton stripe top

You only have to look back as far as my first outfit of 2016, to see how smitten I am with the classic breton stripe. This has been one of those quintessential pieces of my wardrobe for years now, and one that I reach for when I am at a complete loss over what to wear.

My favourite is generally a white base with a navy blue stripe – this seems to be the least harsh (and most flattering) for me – paired with a simple a-line skirt and some low heeled pumps.

As the second in my ‘essentials’ series, I’ve made a short video featuring a few of the ways I style my breton stripe tees, which you can check out here. How do you like to wear yours? x

Pretty in pink

topshop pink tie waist trousers outfit style
topshop pink tie waist trousers outfit style
topshop pink tie waist trousers outfit style

Everlane ryan muscle tank, Topshop tie waist trousers (also in khaki!), Charlotte Olympia panda flats, Proenza Schouler PS11 satchel

By now, I think you all know how much I love my neutrals. But, I’m determined as ever to make 2016 the year that I ditch relying wholly on neutrals, and add a little bit of that missing spark back into my wardrobe. So, it all starts with these pretty petal pink pants (try saying that ten times fast!) which I picked up at the end of last year. I’m definitely the type to pare it back a little bit – baby steps – so at the moment my favourite way to wear them is with a simple white tank, or a charcoal cashmere, and a spicy pair of flats.

There are a few more ‘vibrant’ or ‘playful’ pieces currently sitting in my wishlist, that I’m hoping to add and incorporate into the mix. As much as I love having such a focused wardrobe, sticking to just neutrals day in and day out can start to feel a little tired. It often seems like there’s a misconception that a capsule wardrobe is by definition boring (or timeless – depending on how you want to look at it), but it can be as colourful or as neutral as you want it to be. These pants are just the antidote I’ve been looking for, and I think they’ll really help to liven things up a little once we start transitioning into Autumn.

On another note… I’ve been trying to take a few steps to live a little more mindfully in 2016, and while I don’t have any resolutions as such, I’ve been instead working to achieve some small short and long term goals.

I recently decided to take on the 30 day minimalism challenge, after being inspired by one of my favourite YouTubers. I’m four days in, and my house is ten items lighter, and I have to say, I’m enjoying the incremental approach. Parting with just a few items each day seems like a much smaller task than taking on an entire room at a time (although there’s benefits to this approach too!). I’ll be giving you all a download of my experience once the 30 days are up, so here’s crossing fingers that I can see this challenge out to the end. Wish me luck!

One two step

shoe collection embellished charlotte olympia

Never wanting to put a foot wrong, I’ve always had what some might call an obsession with shoes. Most nights when I’ve lost myself within the depths of the internet, it’s usually as a result of some wishful – shoe – window shopping, which as you can imagine, can end up being a bad thing for my bank account.

While I love a good heel as much as the next girl, anything particularly vertiginous is generally reserved for the odd evening out. I’ve taken to giving my feet a break, opting for comfort over style most days. In the summertime, my Opening Ceremony sandals seldom leave my feet, and as it cools down, it’s generally a toss up between my Acne Studios Jensen boots, or my Charlotte Olympia kitty flats (as battered as they are).

I’m certainly not racing to count the number of shoes I have sitting in my closet, but my latest video, sharing my shoe collection, does the work for me. What it doesn’t show? My wedding shoes, and the three or so pairs that I snapped up as an early birthday treat to myself…

Selecting a colour palette for your capsule wardrobe

wardrobe minimal capsule colour palette

image source; vanessa beletic

Early on in my first capsule wardrobe challenge (a blast from the past if there ever was one), I quickly grasped the importance of a cohesive and carefully edited colour palette. This has since extended through to the entire contents of my wardrobe, creating a solid backbone of core items and complimentary accents, with an occasional pop of colour (cliché, I know!) to keep things interesting.

There are several different rules you can use for building a colour palette, however the simplest, and easiest to navigate, is to select 3-4 main or neutral colours, and 2-5 complementary or ‘accent’ colours.

Using my own wardrobe as an example (and not my capsule), my main or neutral shades are: white, black, grey and navy; and my accent or complementary shades are: blush pink, cornflower blue, and the occasional smattering of cherry red.

wardrobe minimal capsule colour palette

As you can see, this makes for pretty easy early morning dressing, maintains a cohesive look and feel overall, and clearly defines aesthetic values. I do tend to favor the more neutral side of the scale (mostly as it is timeless), although you could just as easily start with a base of plum, evergreen and black, if you were so inclined (not my best colours, unfortunately!).

Can you detect a theme? The main colours generally tend to be muted – these are the backbone of your capsule; the accent colours on the other hand can be vibrant, vivacious, and as loud as you like – as long as they complement your base shades. One of the purposes of this exercise is to develop a palette which is virtually universal when it comes to remixing your wardrobe pieces.

Some of the things to ask yourself are what colours are dominant in your existing wardrobe? What colours do you most enjoy wearing? What colours suit your skin tone? All, important questions, and ones which will assist you in determining your final colour palette for your capsule.

A good place to start, is to look at the building blocks of your capsule. Which garments would you consider your key pieces, and what colours are they? Typically, I’d imagine these would be neutral shades comprising of mostly white, grey, beige and black. From here, start branching out. What garments are missing from your capsule? Is it a cooler month or a warmer one? A quick scan of your wardrobe, with these two questions in mind, should give you a fair idea of which colours you’ll want to include as your accent shades. Perhaps you like to follow trends, and a pastel winter is on the cards; or maybe you want to keep it classic a la the French, stocking up big on Breton stripes, camel trench coats, and delicate red ballet flats.

There’s two things to remember:
– No two capsules will be the same
– You should be able to put together a capsule with your existing items, assuming they are in good condition and can withstand another season.

If you’re looking for an in-depth guide to colour palettes, then Anuschka of Into Mind is your girl. Anuschka talks at length about various colour combinations, warm vs cool colours, and the virtues of keeping a streamlined colour palette within your wardrobe. Not to mention that her site is an excellent resource for anyone wishing to learn more about capsules wardrobes and minimalism in general.

Closet Chat

asos lace stripe dress teddyblake carla nano
asos lace stripe dress teddyblake carla nano
asos lace stripe dress teddyblake carla nano
asos lace stripe dress teddyblake carla nano

ASOS lace striped dress, Opening Ceremony heels (similar), Teddy Blake ‘carla’ nano

Over the last couple of years, I’ve made the odd mention about my intentions to shop less, following the principle of quality over quantity. While I’m more than a little embarrassed at how much I actually shopped in 2013 and 2014, last year’s total was a little more manageable, and a big step in finally attaining that goal. For those even a little bit curious, I ended up with a total of 56 new items in my wardrobe last year – clothing, shoes, bags and accessories – with probably just as many leaving it, if I’m honest!

It may seem cliche to some; chasing some far-flung idea of a so-called perfect wardrobe, a carefully curated selection of high quality pieces that fit well and look good – but to me, it’s been a rewarding journey. I’ve learnt to say no to myself; I’ve learnt patience; and I’ve learnt that shopping to excess is never going to bring you happiness. More than that, I’ve managed to stumble across some affordable brands which don’t sacrifice quality and fair workmanship for price.

While I’m still love a bargain from ASOS on the odd occasion – the above dress being one of my more recent finds – I’ve found that many more of my purchases this year have fallen more within the ‘quality’ camp. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve got a champagne taste on a beer budget, but I’ve found that you can find the odd gem on eBay and The Real Real without completely breaking the bank.

I’m planning on spending much of this year on a self-imposed spending ban, which, admittedly, hasn’t been going over quite as well as I’d planned (the new pair of Max Mara heels I nabbed last night are now winging their way to me). I’ve also decided to give the 5PFW Challenge another go – so expect to see a little more about that in the coming weeks.

Perhaps the one trap that I’ve been trying not to fall into, is having a completely neutral wardrobe. As pinterest-worthy as that is, it doesn’t quite add up with my own sartorial preferences. With wardrobe often being correlated with how we represent ourselves, it also doesn’t quite fit with my own personal views on how I see myself.

So, wish me luck – and here’s hoping that temptation doesn’t get the better of me!