I dream of a perfectly curated capsule wardrobe! I dream of walk-in cupboard space, you know one of those big American style wardrobes, a whole room that is Pinterest worthy and all stunningly organised! Having an empty nest has given me the added bonus of a 'dressing room come spare room' but I'd still like to do more, it is very much a work in progress. In the meantime, I am slowly decluttering my wardrobe, selling on Vinted, donating to charity and keeping only what I love.
Creating a capsule wardrobe is a fantastic way to really streamline your clothes and build a versatile collection that you can mix and match and love every time you go to pick an outfit.
There are so many benefits to a capsule wardrobe, especially for women over 50.
The benefits of a capsule wardrobe
Keeping things simple - as we age, our lifestyle and priorities change, a capsule wardrobe makes it easier to choose outfits and reduce the stress of knowing what to wear. We can choose outfits that suit our new lifestyle whether it be retirement, more travel or easier comfort for time with grandchildren.
Quality over quantity - with a capsule wardrobe you can really focus on investing in high quality pieces, the timeless styles that fit well and will last longer.
Effortless style - a well-chosen capsule wardrobe means that each item of clothing complements the others, making it far easier to pull together different outfits saving time and effort!
Confidence - as our figure changes in midlife finding the right fit for our new body shape will give a real boost to self-esteem. Now is the perfect time to treat yourself and focus on you.
Organisation - the less you have the easier it is to keep track of it all, when you buy new clothes you are less likely to end up with duplicates, just how many pairs of black jeans do I actually need?
Environmental impact - this is a big one, as we move further away from 'fast fashion' and reduce the need for excessive buying, we are also contributing to the environment. And of course this also has a benefit on our bank balance, with a more thoughtful shopping experience we are only spending money on the things we know we will wear and love, no more impulse buying! Another thought here too - how about hiring some key pieces, like evening wear for example?
Your personal style - we can really use our capsule wardrobe to focus on buying clothing items we know suit us and work for our lifestyle. Our capsule collection can be refined over time to only contain things that align perfectly with our personal style.
Travel - I am not the most efficient packer but keeping to a simple colour palette for my travel wardrobe is one of the joys of unpacking at a new destination, an uncluttered wardrobe full of timeless pieces and great choices to suit your holiday.
Easy season transition - many capsule wardrobes can be adapted to suit the different seasons, a summer dress that can be worn with a leather jacket in the autumn or a favorite pair of jeans can be worn all year.
Flexibility for special occasions - I hate having to go out and buy an outfit specifically for a special occasion, I am much happier if I already own the perfect dress or trouser suit, it is an easy way to ensure you always have the right outfit, you can mix and match more elegant pieces with relaxed options depending on the event. Women's dresses no longer have to be worn with heels, we can dress up or dress down with trainers for example.
The beauty of a capsule wardrobe is its adaptability, finding different ways to make it work for you and your lifestyle whilst feeling comfortable and stylish every day.
Questions to ask yourself when you declutter your wardrobe
Before you go rushing out to buy your capsule wardrobe, first of all it is a good idea to declutter and organise what you already own! There is a high chance you can tick off many of the items listed below. To make the decluttering process less overwhelming, try to ask yourself these questions as you go through and look at everything you already own:
Does it fit? If not can it be altered?
Have I worn it recently? If you've not worn it in the last year then it probably isn't worth keeping (unless it is a special occasion piece).
Is it in good condition? If it is looking a bit tatty then let it go, if it is a high quality item, can it be repaired?
Does it work with my personal style? Don't hang onto things that suited the best friend you were with when you bought it!
Do I feel confident wearing it? You have to love wearing it, if not let it go and only keep what makes you feel amazing.
It is versatile? Can it be worn across different seasons, and with several other items you already own to create several outfits?
Does it have a specific purpose? Don't keep something because it might come in handy one day!
Is it still in fashion? Let go of trend items that now look outdated.
Do I have duplicates? If you have ten pairs of black skinny jeans for example, only keep the ones that fit perfectly and look great.
Does it spark joy and make you feel happy when you wear it? No? Then into the charity bag!
Am I keeping it out of guilt? If it was a gift or an expensive purchase, let it go now, you want a capsule wardrobe full of things you chose.
Does it work for my lifestyle? Will you have an opportunity to wear it? I no longer keep high heels, I never wear them!
Am I keeping it 'just in case'? See high heels above, there is no point in me keeping the heels just in case.
Is it comfortable? This is so important to me as now, as older women we are no longer prepared to accept wearing things just because they are in fashion.
Do I need as much as I have, is my wardrobe overwhelming me? Less is more, the more you have, the less you can see what is in there.
Is it right for the current season? I tend to store my out of season clothes, like my holiday dresses and bikinis or heavy knitwear, not everyone agrees with storage but it works for me.
The goal is to create a wardrobe filled with pieces you truly love and that serve you well. Remember, decluttering is a gradual process, and it's okay to take your time to make thoughtful decisions about each item.
The perfect items to have in your capsule wardrobe
All these suggestions will work for a summer capsule wardrobe or for the cooler winter months too
Classic white shirt - adjust to suit your style, I am not keen on an oversized shirt but I love an ivory satin shirt or white blouse.
Simple t-shirt in a neutral colour - white always works! And everyone loves a breton stripe too!
Knitwear - choose a jumper and a cardigan in the best fabric you can afford - a cashmere sweater if possible, keep the colour palette simple.
Denim shirt - for a casual look with white jeans, or double denim, or a denim shirt works well with black too.
Silk blouse - for dressier days and special occasions! If you are investing in silk, consider visiting your local pre-loved boutique.
Dark denim jeans - always look smart, give a classic look and can be worn for more casual days too.
Black trousers - ideally a tailored pair and black denim, I prefer coated or waxed black denim as I find it attracts less dust and pet hair.
Skirt - in a neutral colour, in your favourite, flattering shape.
Black leggings or jersey trousers - for easy days at home, workouts plus they are great for adding boots and going out for a walk!
Shorts - back in style this summer, don't be afraid to wear shorts whatever your shape or size.
Little black dress (LBD) but it doesn't have to be that little ... a shirt dress, a wrap style, a jersey fabric but choose the right cut for your figure and you will always have a go to chic look.
Midi dress - perfect for wearing with white trainers, sandals or boots.
Maxi dress - for casual holiday style or dress up for a special occasion.
Trench coat - for in-between weather and off-season, a trench coat is worth making one of your investment pieces.
Classic wool winter coat - always a wardrobe essential, get the length right though, you want as little fabric as possible between the bottom of the coat and the bottom of your dress.
Denim jacket - yes even mature women can rock a denim jacket, choose dark denim or coloured denim as opposed to faded or stonewashed.
Black blazer - or another neutral colour.
Lightweight jacket - ideally a shower proof utility style.
White sneakers / trainers - shop around for comfort (try Adidas, Hotter Shoes, Air & Grace, Vionic).
Ankle boots - and long knee-high boots if budget allows - so many more shops are offering calf sizes now it is easier to find the right boot.
Flat shoes - something a bit smarter than a trainer - ideally a neutral colour ballet flat.
Sandals - for holidays and summer days when we get them!
Classic heels - although these days I would lean more towards a wedge espadrille in the summer or a heeled ankle boot in the winter.
Silk scarf - or the best alternative you can afford! Perfect to add a pop of color!
Statement jewellery - a necklace, simple stud earrings, and a classic watch.
Cross body bag - in a neutral colour, I wear my silver and cream cross-body bags the most and an animal print cross body bag is a fabulous neutral too!
Tote bag - for days when you need something more practical. Again a pre-loved boutique can be good choice for investing in a designer bag.
Sunglasses - a great way to finish off an outfit.
Fedora hat - I love a neutral colour and adjustable style with SPF protection. Consider a wool fedora hat for winter too, they look super stylish.
Nude t-shirt bra and matching briefs - a well-fitting bra and high leg briefs are the best foundation for your body shape, comfort and confidence. Get the underneath right and your clothes will hang better and be more flattering.
Special occasion lace or satin set - enjoy picking out something gorgeous and sexy, but you don't have to compromise on comfort. Visit your local lingerie boutique for a fitting and advice.
Shapewear - I tend not to bother these days, I have enough confidence in my body now that I'd rather be comfortable but I do find good underwear and the addition of a slip can really add to the hang of a garment.
Slips - full slip and waist slip - in my opinion essential! But not everyone agrees, wear in the winter for added warmth and wear in the summer under an unlined dress. Great to help with static too! My recommendation is the Cool Comfort range from Marks & Spencer, available as a waist slip or full slip in lots of different lengths.
The ideas I have shared are only meant as a guide, not everyone's lifestyle is the same, so if you never wear heels or don't need evening wear then adapt to suit you. The most important thing is that you have have the beginnings of a capsule wardrobe you love. To get it right takes a long time and I am certainly not suggesting you should only have these items in your wardrobe .... I for one will have lots and lots of different pieces, at the last count I had over 100 dresses (yes slightly embarrassing) but the aim is to move towards a more capsule approach to your wardrobe that you can allow to evolve.
Finally ... consider pre-loved for buying and selling
Get to know your local pre-loved boutique (my favourite is Vintage & Vogue) and follow some of the best online pre-loved accounts on Instagram too. You really can pick up a bargain capsule piece ... think preloved Mulberry handbags, silk shirts, or silk scarves, a special occasion dress or an amazing blazer.
Sell your unwanted items on Vinted or eBay. I prefer Vinted for ease of uploading and quick downloading of the postage label. My only frustration is that you need to keep the price low, it seems that things only sell at a bargain price. So if you have better quality items, another reason to find your local pre-loved boutique and arrange to sell through them.
What do you think, do you already have a capsule wardrobe, or are you working towards one? I'd love to hear from you, let me know in the comments below.
Shopping (affiliate links):
Cara Fedora in Wheat from Creative DeZigns - get 10% off using FIFTYFAB
Wide Leg Jersey Trouser
Vest Top in Black
Cream cross-body bag and coordinating strap from Amelia Rose Accessories
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about health, menopause, fitness, beauty and style with a focus on the over 50's.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my 50s. I started this blog in 2016 with the purpose of helping other women at this stage of life. I’m delighted that my blog has grown to over 13k visitors per month. Visit my Work with Me page and request my Media Kit for details of product reviews, blogging services and social media content creation.
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