Summer good byes and the summer good buys. The lessons learnt from walking down the path of this year’s summer wardrobe. I’m still trying to navigate this capsule wardrobe journey!
A heavy heart is writing this post. I’m a true summer girl, especially now that I’m living in Canada. I can’t even talk of the winter here!! I am a much happier person with sun-kissed cheeks, denim shorts in the wardrobe and white wine always in the fridge to quench the thirst. But I can tell that this year’s summer chapter is coming to an end. It’s been a bloody good one and I have throughly enjoyed my summer ’15. Always grateful for my summers to be shared with my kiddliwinks, family, friends, trips to the beach, swimming in the pool and the staff at Zara summer sale!!
So with the ending of a chapter comes the new beginning. Fall style and trends are flooding the magazine covers, blogs and store windows. It’s the New Year of the fashion industry. But I thought before I delve into the Fall scene, it would only be right to reflect on the Summer wardrobe. As a ‘shopaholic’ girl on a mission to create the individual capsule wardrobe……well, let’s face it, it won’t be a capsule one for a while. Easy tiger. Let’s go for a slimline one for now (wardrobe only, not the waist following this summers wine consumption!!) So here is my summer wardrobe edit. I’m looking at the greatest hits of this years wardrobe. Fingers crossed, this will catapult me into a wise old world of learning about myself, my style, my shopping habits and what is a success in the summer wardrobe. I am fully aware that I also need to reflect on what was wrong on every level and how I will learn from this. Starting with….never consume more than two Magnum ice creams in 20 minutes. I don’t recommend it!
The summer style I gravitate towards
As soon as the sunshine comes out and encourages the pale washed out British pins to appear, I find myself gravitating towards a boho relaxed style. I’m a huge fan of embroidered pretty white tops. Also if you shove a tassel on it, then I’m sold! Anything that defines pretty and simple. Love a little boho touch to add summer vibes to my simple everyday ‘uniform’ pieces. A firm favourite of defining what your seasonal style is, has always been graced with the magic of Pinterest on the ipad. A few minutes (yeah, right!!) of pinning summer style pics always reveals the consistency of style themes and what you truly love. This way you are far from the pied piper influence of shop windows or beautiful editorial ads. My summer style boards still are graced with the likes of Kate Moss, Poppy Delevingne and Sienna Miller. Though I can’t resist a French classic worn by the French vogue editors and anything designed by Isabel Marant.
To sum up my summer ’15 style passions; Let’s talk, boho fringing, distressed denim, A line mini’s, pretty French influenced white embroidered tops, a bloody good stripe and lots of red Lippy!
My Summer uniform
Am I the only one to indulge in new season trend items but on many true summer days, end up resorting to what I can only label as my summer uniform? I found this summer that it was a natural progression to wake up, drink coffee, referee any little boy wrestling matches and grab my uniform before setting off for the day trip. This uniform has been pretty consistent over the years. A true signature of comfort with the sunnies and a dash of red lippy for ‘feel good’ factor. My new summer clobber was mostly let out of the wardrobe on the days we had more time or if I was heading out to meet friends in the evening. I feel there needs to be room in the summer edit for both the trend transformer pieces having their moment along with the timeless classic uniform pieces. All of which are to truly reflect who you are and what you love, as opposed to carbon copies of magazine ads or someone else’s Pinterest board.
Tee’s, tanks and tops are always in my comfort uniform colours of white, black, grey and striped. What can I say? They work for me. They ‘talk’ to the other pieces and accessories in my wardrobe. Job done. Effortless dressing because it’s all there and all works together. Pretty much like my beloved summer dinner of kale salad, calamari and sips of white wine. It works for me but am fully aware we’re all different. My husband thinks he’s in the dog house if I serve this up for him!! Focus on what works for you and just bloody enjoy it.
The ‘uniform’ tops paired with my beloved cropped denim jeans or denim boyfriend shorts and I’m good to go. Various different washes and levels of distress to them. My denim shorts are perfect with a little statement jacket & strappy sandals for drinks with friends at a bar or Haivainas and a Panama on the beach with my kiddliwinks. If I spill wine or ice cream down them, all is good, shove them in the wash with my kids grass stained (just rolled down a hill x5) gear . Done and dusted. Easy breezy uniform pieces.
The Summer dresses
I love to throw on a pretty cotton dress for the hot summer heat wave oven roasting turkey days as I’m developing my glorious glaze! Every year at the beginning of summer I unpack the summer dresses and wonder, when the hell am I going to wear them? When August hits, they are all I wear! My ‘ go to’ dresses are always a light denim dress along with a black jersey maxi dress or short skater dress. Easy.
Sunshine accessories for the summer outfits
The accessories are always the straw fedoras or Panama’s with a textured bag or clutch. I have a serious weakness for sandals in any shape, form or colour to add to the equation. Sunnies in various shapes and colours. I also make room for the current key trend accessories or jewelry piece to add a Cheery hello!
The summer trends greatest hits of 2015
Summer ’15 trend winners for me have been the culottes, jumpsuit, fringing, bandanas and off shoulder tops.
Graduating from the summer school of analyzing my wardrobe
As a capsule wardrobe virgin, I’m learning a thing or two now. Grab a glass of vino or a cup of tea, maybe even the last Magnum ice cream hiding behind the frozen veg in the freezer (my kids would never think to look there, ah ha!!). I’ve learnt some serious lessons that I thought I’d share in case they can be any use to you or you can adapt them in any way for your approach.
Buy in the moment– I have sometimes bought summer items ahead of time. This could be a serious end of season sale item bought in the previous October that I think I will wear next summer as the trend will carry on the following year. This could be a ‘retail therapy’ item that I bought on a very snowy day in March and ordered as it lifted my day a little as it made me think of any hope of the future days ahead of the winter season. These methods have never usually worked out for me. Most in fact, end up on eBay or at the consignment store. The only exception would be a replacement ‘uniform’ piece, e.g denim shorts or new white tee. It seems by the time summer rolls in, I have formed other ideas in my head of the looks I’m chasing after that season.
Know what you love and then pause before buying Experience has taught me to ‘hold my horses’ before running out of the house screaming like a mad woman until I have reached the store and have that ‘must have’ jacket in my hands. I am the first to ‘ooh and ahh’ over the ads or divine images on the new arrivals page of beloved shopping sites. But what I am trying to do now is pause before I buy. My new approach is to continue selecting all my wish list items and dropping them in the online baskets. Then I try to honestly decide if this is something that I truly do need or will wear for the season. What are the outfit combos? How many times could I wear it? Cost per wear value? My eyes will always light up at the new arrivals section as if I were a 5-year-old in Toys R Us! But a pause button can be jolly helpful at times. Suddenly the dozen versions of the same jumper I already have, are strikes off the list along with the Paloma Faith inspired shoes that will not be of any use in walking to the grocery store to buy milk. Yes, it could be risky – I have had my fair share of the ‘perfect jacket’ that caught my eye, then after it sold out in a week, it was never to be seen again except on Instagram where it would torment me on a weekly basis. But this is usually a little easier to deal with than the hassle and fuss of selling some clobber on eBay because I just got carried away.
Think about who you are – and focus in on the pieces that reflect you. They are the ones that are most likely to be the gold medal winners. As a misplaced Brit, I am fully aware that the style I’m drawn to is often quite different to the style around me. That’s ok. Be who you are and celebrate it. Every once in a while I get the raised eyebrows and the comments (another post, another post regarding the bitter people we all have in our lives) who bloody cares?! Do you adore the textured pieces? the colourful items, the unique pieces, items with an edge or is simplicity the key. Stay strong to who you are. I’m a believer that style carries more gold stars than fashion will.
Trust your gut – the number of times I have loved something, bought it, put it on, thought about it, thought about it some more and then struggled to find outfit combos. Is this a keeper…no!! I need to trust my gut. The items that I buy and don’t want to wear straight away (season depending of course) are clearly not as beloved as I believed they would be in the store fitting room. A capsule wardrobe needs to have items in that are loved and treasured not items that hang waiting for the right occasion.
Be functional – and by this I don’t mean buy your wardrobe pieces from a bloody Outdoor camping survival shop!! Always look in the wardrobe for the multi taskers. I discovered this a couple of months back as needed a cover up for the beach. There are beautiful kaftans and ‘beach’ dresses in the stores but I honestly needed something that could face the splash of the water, sand and the ice cream drips. I flogged my gap shirt dress to death this summer that I recall bagging in a sale for $30 and I wore it for the countless pool and beach days. Threw it on over my bathing suit and flip-flops. Easy to change into and throw in the beach bag. I was drawn to it initially for its Scandinavian style stripes and simple style. Great over skinny jeans and ankle boots. Has a lovely weight to the cotton and looks great for the sand and the street plus it saves pennies for the things I really want in the wardrobe as opposed to the garment I need for one month in a year.
What’s your climate – I say this as I am fully aware that living in two different countries and their summers, your climate can be very different. In Canada, I need to remember that the snow depressingly but realistically doesn’t go until April. The month of May sees the grass and a bit of sun. Then all of a sudden June delivers 25c with August delivering government heat warnings and keeping pets and kiddliwinks indoors at 38c! My spring wardrobe is pretty much non-existent. It sees the light of day for barely a month. So therefore pennies are not always worth splashing out on a range of spring clobber but a sweet summer dress for the heat warning days is! Think hard about what wear you will get out of your wardrobe – this helps selecting the pieces in a better light.
Online is easy, but hard– as a working mum, I find the iPad and a cup of tea at 5am a very enticing way to shop. I’m sure I’m not alone in this twilight shopping time zone, I can surely count on some mums out there with little bambinos calling out at all times of the night. There are some pitfalls to the online shop though. Learning from past mistakes, I have to try to visualize what it would look like on me versus the size 4 model with beautiful straight black hair and gorgeous olive skin. I have to visualize what it would look like on my shape, height, hair colour, hair style, and skin colour. Some of my fave stores in the U.S. but not in Canada, will deliver to me!!! But I have to be bloody sure as I cannot return items – or if I can, it’s a costly return postage fee. There are definitely some items from Madewell that are hitting my eBay listings soon. Beautiful items but they just look odd on me. Lesson learnt…move on!
Double edge sword coming up….step out of your comfort zone occasionally – writing this as some trends are easy to hold your hand up for and others are not. This spring & summer has been big for culottes. I wrote a post regarding them and their style a while back now. My initial thoughts were scary ones as my comfort zone is completely conditioned for skinny jeans. I subjected a close friend to sitting on my bed whilst I paraded around in from of the mirror which left us with identical puzzled faces. But after I published this post I had couple of lovely helpful comments from style savvy bloggers back home in the UK. These very ‘real’ lovely dolls, Michelle at Myfashionable40’s blog and Sue at susiesoso blog, made me question if I should dismiss them just quite yet. They thought they worked for me. Alas, I kept and love the culottes now. They have been great for chillier summer days and have varied my summer look from the usual suspects in my uniform dept. So I think although it’s important to remember who you are and what your style is, never be afraid to get outside opinions. Instagram is brilliant for this. I have seen fab women post pictures of fitting room outfits asking ” yes or no?
Beware of sellers remorse – I’m a fan of the ‘one in one out’ rule. But recently I have been experiencing some serious sellers remorse. I’m not advocating you become a pack rat with a ton of stuff. But don’t sell anything out of season as you may turn to the eBay pile (if it’s still with you) and throw it on. Did this a couple of times this summer with gladiator sandals. I’m going to try to only sell items half way through a season once I have really got to grips with if I will wear it or not. This philosophy would mean I would still have my ash jalouse stone boots, Bella Freud for Jaeger blouse, vintage embroidered top and Kate spade ‘eat cake for breakfast’ clutch lesson learnt!! Grrrrrrrr
The happy summer outfits that have been worth their weight in gold this year are:
The beach and pool outfit that saw me through a good chunk of the summer day trips.
Love the style and practicality of the straw fedora, shirt dress, Havaiana flips flops and good old denim shorts. All of them happy to get wet and sandy at the beach without the worry of ruin.
My love for linen tees continues. They wash well (I put them on the handwash cycle on the machine for extra care and so they don’t touch the pond-drenched fishing trip kids shorts!) and always wear well. I love their drape and they just work so well with my denim uniform
This summer jacket has received compliments in abundance. It is a late addition to the summer wardrobe on account of the fact that the blue embroidered jacket Zara had as part of their summer campaign was a huge success in Europe and sold out immediately. Sadly, I never actually spotted it on the Canadian shores but this gem arrived in all its glory on my doorstep as soon as I spied it as part of their early fall collection. Gorgeous jacket that works perfectly for chilly summer days without the heavy feeling of a coat. It’s cotton and folds up nicely into any bag when the sun needs to kiss the shoulders!
The pretty white boho top
This gem is a huge part of my summer wardrobe and I will always justify bagging more at the end of the summer sales. I dress them down with denim shorts and sandals and dress them up with skinny jeans or leather skirts. The simplicity and understatement of the embroidered white cotton top just hits the spot for me. I recall even toying with the idea of having a white cotton embroidered wedding dress at one point. Recently I saw beautiful wedding pictures of a stunning bride in a white cotton Isabel Marant dress. I completely understand and applaud the love of white cotton simplicity – can be so much more. Bring on the summer white cotton embroidered tops!
Lessons learnt that I shall be taking with me into Fall’15
My action plan at the moment is to pin like crazy on Pinterest to really establish what I love for Fall ’15. A latte and an undisturbed flick through Porter magazine will help form a magical list of styles and looks I envisage for me and my current wardrobe. Later in the day, with a glass of vino and my note-book & pen, I can dissect what is in my current fall wardrobe and where there are any gaps? Or if there is anything that I didn’t wear last year and no longer feel any love for. I have a wish list of items from Zara, Mango and Topshop. I just need to sit on this for a little while longer to make sure that I still ohh and ahh over the pieces when I catch a glimpse of them on the iPad. What I’m really trying to remember is:
We need to dress in what we love, things that make us go “ahhhhhhhhh”.
We need to dress in just a few items that wash & wear happily.
We need to dress and then go out to play – life is too short to do otherwise.
It’s good to be different from the crowd – go against the grain.
We need to laugh and smile more – it’s the best thing we can wear that day.
Maybe this will work…maybe not? But it’s a learning process. Good bye summer, it’s been fabulous xx
Do you dare access? Who wants to fess up to the success buys as well as the silly buys? Maybe you are already a pro at this and can give me some tips! Maybe we should just make a cup of tea and flick through the Pinterest images . That’s enough analyzing for one day xxxx