The accidental capsule wardrobe

Heyday Judy dress - my old faithful! - and
chazza cardi
Capsule wardrobes, in my mind, go with minimalism: something that sounds like a great idea, but that I know in my heart of hearts I’d get bored of even if I ever managed it. (Do you ever look at the advice given to women in the 1940s/50s about how many of each item of clothing they needed and think about how small the number of items seems?) Somehow, though, I took very little on holiday for the week back in September, and it was fine. I feel like I’ve learned an important lesson in holiday packing somewhere along the line.

I did buy a lot before my holiday. This is more brand-new clothing than I’ve bought at once in years. My reasoning was simple: I’m fed up of looking like a sack o’ crap, and half the reason I look so awful is that very little of what I own fits well. It was time to bite the bullet, accept the gym hadn’t made enough difference in time, and buy stuff that fitted. As well as what’s listed below, I bought new, properly-fitting bras, which make a massive difference.

Anyway, let’s look at the externals – I’ve marked off the brand-new things.

Tile print skirt – new, Boden, in sale
Poppy print skirt – new, Boden, in sale
Navy/white striped linen trousers – new, Monsoon, in sale
Navy suit

Poppy print top – new, Boden, in sale
White blouse Pink T-shirt – new, M and S
Baby blue T-shirt – new, M and S
Dark blue linen top – new to me, charity shop
Red cardigan – new to me, charity shop
Heyday Judy dress

Black loafers
Black brogues
Black crossbody bag
Maybe the brogues weren't the best-looking
choice, but we did some serious walking
that day and they were comfy.
And that’s it. I travelled in my suit with the poppy top, as it was uncrushable polyester so wouldn’t look horribly shabby after a plane trip, and the jacket would’ve taken up too much room in our one shared suitcase anyway. The T-shirts were a compromise; I’d wanted navy and red strappy tops with built-in bras from Bravissimo, but they’d shifted to their winter range by the time I went in and I’d have had to mail-order the colours I wanted. I’m not a T-shirt wearer, but these aren’t awful, just not really my colour or shape. (They’ll be going to India next year nonetheless.) They both went with both skirts, or with the trousers, and the red cardigan went with pretty much everything, and could also have served as a top on its own if I’d needed it to. (It goes with lots of my winter stuff too, and might just represent my best £6 spend of the year.) I’d rather have had navy shoes and bag, but as I hadn’t found navy loafers and brogues before going away, I decided it was better to keep the accessories black.
Tile-print skirt, chazza top and cardi. (At the Origami Museum.)
As you can see, it’s not vintage, nor mostly even pretending to be, but I did enjoy the break from my usual wardrobe. We returned to autumn, and I am revelling in my tweeds and vintage brooches again, and, wierdly, hankering after more gothy stuff, though Halloween could be to blame for that. I ordered a dress covered in witch doctors from Lindy Bop today. Not going to be slimming down to a capsule wardrobe full-time any time soon...


  1. Like you I enjoy my minimal selection when I'm travelling but nothing beats a maximalist wardrobe when you're home - the possibilities are endless.
    You did a brilliant job with your packing, all three outfits look colourful, well put together and eye catching. No sign of the dreaded Brit abroad holiday staples, beige cut off trousers, ill fitting vests with bra straps on show or Crocs for our Mim.
    Your choices might have been modern but they look timeless and stylish. The tile print skirt is particularly lovely.
    Your witch doctor dress sounds ace! xxx

    1. I can't wear beige - it's too close to my skin tone - and there's no way on planet earth I'd be caught wearing shorts in Spain. The very mark of the tourist! I've still got that Gen X hatred of visible bra straps, so the Bravissimo tops are the answer to all my prayers. I miss the strappy tops I wore when younger, but I'd rather go without than have visible bra straps. (Don't get me started on people who wear bras with *backless* tops. Looks horrendous.) The Spanish tend to dress pretty smartly, and I like to fit in. People rarely think I'm English; I've had 'Irish', 'Dutch' and 'French' to date.

      Now planning my wardrobe for India - I'll probably order a job lot of kurtis from Utsav!

  2. Perhaps not vintage, but there's a "classic" feel to your outfits-skirts and cardigans never really go out of style. Boden does great prints, and that poppy skirt is no exception. The tile print is rather exceptional as well.

    I like the brogues with your skirt-it looks fun. I am NOT going to the Lindy Bop site to look at that dress. Resisting...resisting...well maybe a quick peek. Have a great weekend.

    1. Yeah, I do have very streamlined taste. I like simple shapes. Prints are what I have the most problem with; I really don't like a lot of modern prints. Boden and Seasalt are my modern faves on that front, as so many of their prints have a retro look.

      Bloody Lindy Bop only went and released their Halloween collection today - GRRR! Though I'd still have chosen the witch doctors anyway, 'cos they're so green.

    2. I went and looked! Haven't purchased yet. Yet.
      I'll wait until they do an anthropologist print to go with the witch doctors ;)

  3. You are obviously much better at packing for your holiday than I am! Even if we go by car and I have oodles of place, I still end up taking the wrong things. I don't even manage a temporary capsule wardrobe! I love both skirts - such great prints!- and the Judy dress too, and I think that every girl should have at least one red cardigan in her wardrobe! xxx

  4. That judy dress is gorgeous. I agonize over what to take on holiday and always take things I don't wear!

  5. It's good to have a change, Mim, and I loved how you put the outfits together; they look so good on you. Very chic!

    I particularly like the tile print dress; the colours are fab. What beautiful hair, both colour and texture, you have.

    I'm very intrigued by the witch doctor dress - hope we get to see you wearing it!

  6. You did really well with the tricky task of packing. The Boden skirts were excellent buys, you look very put-together. I find comfy footwear for walking all day to be the hardest bit, it's worth perpetually keeping an eye out for suitable shoes in various colours. I want a tan pair of brogues/loafers to fill a gap. I look forward to seeing a bit of Mim the goth over Autumn!


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