This week I thought we’d take it back to basics and have a look at what I would consider the items that could help with a spring capsule wardrobe. I own all these pieces. Not these exact ones, as some I’ve had for years and years, but a version-of. I did try to get it down to 10 pieces, but that wasn’t working for me, had to have a few new additions, like the tank top and the gingham dress in there, but the basic premise is that with these 15 pieces of clothing you can do a full spring wardrobe year after year.
I have to admit, I am a magpie when it comes to fashion. I love my basics, but I do still find myself drawn to something patterned, something bright, something fun, and sometimes I just want something new to make myself feel better. That’s fine. You can add to this as you wish, these 15 items can work together (as I hope to show below) but they can also be the backbone on which to build your spring wardrobe. My current favourites that are available now are listed below, I’m sure most you own items similar. I’ve also mixed it up with alternatives on the outfit pics as I like to try and cater to all budget and sizing requirements. I hope this is somewhat helpful.
1. Straight Leg Jeans (So many good High St ones, but my pick this week will be the River Island straight legs at £40)
2. Plain White T Shirt (The absolute best one I have is the Arket heavyweight T at £35)
3. Breton Stripe Top (Love this Whistles classic Breton pocket top at £49)
4. Gingham Dress (New in at Mango, this tiered Gingham dress looks good £49.99)
5. Khaki Trousers (My pick of the current bunch would be the Kin Balloon Khaki trousers at £55.00)
6. Plain Tank Top (I have this black one from & Other Stories and can recommend it as a first foray into a tank top. £55.00)
7. Simple White Trainers (Nike Court Vision Low, a slightly less chunky alternative to the Air Force 1 £60)
8. Pair of Loafers or Flats (No apologies but I’m blowing the budget here with these Red Gucci Loafers £575)
9. Decent Colourful Bag (This Coach one for John Lewis. Great colour and the perfect everyday size. £295)
10. Blue Stripe Button Down Shirt (This linen one from H&M is a classic, they do a version every year. £19.99)
11. Navy Blazer (My pick is this relaxed fit one from Modern Rarity £112)
12. Khaki Jacket (Lots of good well priced ones around, but my favourite is from Toast at £175)
13. Navy Jumper (I’d go for the Mens Cashmere at Uniqlo £69.90)
14. A Lovely White Blouse (My current favourite is this one from & Other Stories at £55)
15. Tan Leather Sandals (I’m going for this simple pair from M&S at £29.50)
OK, now that we’ve established the 15 spring items that are your wardrobe staples, let’s see how you can put them together. You could call it ‘Fashion Sudoku’, as most will work with each other. In fact, the outfit possibilities go way beyond these 6 looks, but we’d be here all week and there are Easter eggs to be eaten and sofas to be lounged upon so let’s press on…
The white blouse, navy blazer, khaki trouser, white trainer combo. It says, ‘I’m kind of smart, I’m looking profesh, yet also a bit girly but I can still walk long (social) distances in my comfortable trainers’. The colourful bag is quite often the key to making a basic outfit just that bit more interesting, which is why I think it’s worth investing in a good one that will last. See also shoes. As I’ve always said, spend your money on good bags or shoes, because you’ll never get too old or too fat for them. I realise I’m probably not supposed to even use the words old or fat these days, but sometimes it’s the only way.
1. & Other Stories Embroidered A Line Cotton Blouse
2. Mint Velvet Navy Twill Blazer
3. Cos Khaki Relaxed Chino Trousers
4. Boden Clementine Red Leather Cross Body Bag
5. Nike Court Vision Low Leather Trainers
The gingham dress, tank top, khaki jacket and trainers. I’d say the tank top/sweater vest/whatever you want to call it is THE fresh new addition to your wardrobe for 2021. I’ve obviously fully bought into this trend. I don’t know why I never thought of it before. It’s the perfect way to get more use out of your summer dresses when the weather is not quite warm enough. On the flipside, a tank top works perfectly with spring jackets as there’s no bulky sweater arms to squeeze into the sleeves. It also frees the armpits for anyone in a peri/menopausal state. If you know, you know…
1. Whistles Suri Yellow Leather Croc Cross Body Bag
2. New Look Olive Khaki 4 Pocket Shacket
3. Monki Seersucker Gingham Maxi Dress
4. & Other Stories Relaxed Wool Knit Vest
5. Golden Goose Superstar Distressed Leather Trainers
Of course we’d all love to look as effortlessly chic as Emmanuelle Alt (above). She has that elusive French style that I often try to emulate but can never quite convincingly pull off. But wearing your khaki jacket, with your straight leg jeans, blue shirt and fancy handbag will get you over halfway there, I reckon. Don’t underestimate the simple blue striped shirt. I’ve had a version of this H&M one for 10 years now and it comes out every summer. Perfect with your khaki trousers too, and even as a cover up on the beach.
Not that I’ll be in a swimming costume again this year. I bought another Boden Santorini (excellent one piece) at the end of 2019 in preparation for our extravagant holiday to Antigua in April 2020. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. I spent the refund money on a dog and 2 UK holidays that weren’t warm enough for the cozzie. Maybe next year…
1. Monki Utility Style Khaki Jacket
2. H&M Blue and White Stripe Linen Shirt
3. River Island High Waisted Straight Leg Jeans
4. Gucci Double G Small Messenger Bag
5. The Outnet Iris and Ink Marguerite Leather Sandals
Ahh, the Breton. Surely there cannot be a middle-aged lady in the land who doesn’t own at least 3 of these. For good reason. A very easy everyday wardrobe staple. Works perfectly with jeans, dungarees, khakis, prints, everything basically. I wrote a whole post on it a while back if you’re looking for more inspiration. When you’re on the hunt for a good navy jumper, do take a look at the men’s departments of your favourite shops. All of my jumpers from Uniqlo are from the men’s department because I can’t abide anything too ‘lady fit’. Same goes for T‑shirts too. Don’t come to my door brandishing a scoop neck, cap sleeve, lady fit number, I will only have to turn you away…
1. Whistles Breton Cotton Top
2. Uniqlo Mens Navy Cashmere Sweater
3. Honey & Toast Red & Navy Leather Saddle Bag
4. Kin Khaki Balloon Leg Trousers
5. Everlane Italian Leather Day Glove Pumps
If you’ve got this far, well done! We’re on look 5, only one more to go. If I didn’t already have 3 perfectly serviceable khaki jackets, I would be hightailing it over to John Lewis to buy this Toast one. Lovely colour, classic design, will last you for years. Someone asked me the other day what my go-to spring/summer jacket was. I would always say a khaki jacket just for its versatility. Like the Breton it goes with EVERYTHING, dress, jeans, skirts, you name it. The only thing it maybe doesn’t go with is khaki trousers. Double green might be a touch too much. You might look a little leprechaun-like and we’ve already had St Patrick’s Day so you don’t even have that excuse.
1. Toast Patch Pocket Khaki Denim Jacket
2. Mango Gingham Tiered Midi Dress
3. Coach Rambler Flax Leather Cross Body Bag
4. M&S Tan Leather Open Toe Sandals
Finally, the white T‑shirt, tank top, jeans and navy blazer combo. Add your best shoes for the full effect. I’ve mentioned the Gucci loafers many times before. A HUGE investment purchase I grant you, but will never ever date. They’ve been making them since the dawn of fashion time so you know they are never going to go out of style. Super comfortable. I’ve had mine since 2016 and they’ve never given me a day of trouble. Cost per wear so far, I’m looking at around £15. That would have gone down considerably had we actually been able to leave the house over the past year. Check out the ‘Shoes that aren’t trainers’ blog for alternatives at other price points.
The best plain white T‑shirt on the market in my opinion is the Arket Heavyweight T‑shirt. Good boxy fit, sleeves a good length, definitely NOT lady fit.
1. Arket Pink Knitted Alpaca Vest
2. Arket Heavyweight White Cotton T Shirt
3. H&M Vintage High Slim Leg Jeans
4. Modern Rarity Navy Double Breasted Blazer
5. Gucci Jordaan Horsebit Loafers
So, there you have it. I hope this gives you some inspiration on how to wear some of the things that are already in your wardrobe.