I finished the challenge just in time for Autumn.
Thank you Sterling for suggesting the challenge, and for being so enthusiastic and energising throughout. Sterling, you are legend!
And thank you to Angie and to everyone else who participated and/or commented.
The final outfit pics are below. If you are interested in the wrap up, read on. Be warned that these observations are very specific to “me”. So they may be soporific for others
My challenge was to create 30 work or dressy casual outfits suitable for high summer from a capsule of around 30 items.
I did the challenge as a wardrobe evaluation exercise. I built my capsule from my wardrobe as I went. If I was happy with an item that I wore, I included it in my capsule and tried to wear it again later, re-mixed, in another outfit. If I wasn’t, it got rejected from my capsule (which gave me an opportunity to think about why).
I wanted to focus on wearing and re-mixing what I already have in my wardrobe. To avoid late summer boredom buying. And to evaluate what could be improved as I went along.
I reached 29 items (tops, bottoms, dresses and jackets) to make 30 outfits. I have posted photos of most of them.
Each outfit was unique. No repeat combinations. So there was variety.
And I didn’t boredom buy during the challenge because I was focussed on re-mixing. Yay!
However, I did feel that some improvements could be made. These are mentioned below.
2. Plain vs pattern
My main discovery is that I tend to overstock on pattern. In summer I often rely on a formula of pattern over plain or plain over pattern (and the occasional pattern mix). It’s my way of adding interest to my outfits when layering options are limited. I love pattern and patterned items are sooo much more fun to buy than plain coloured items.
As a result, I have too many patterned items and too few solid coloured (non-black) items to support them. In particular:
* I don’t have any dressy, solid coloured (non-black) bottoms for summer at all. So all my patterned tops can only be worn with black skirts or my one pair of black pants, unless I pattern mix.
* I do have a few nice solid coloured, non-black tops, but probably not enough to support all of my patterned bottoms.
The first issue is the biggest problem because I figured out that “patterned top over black skirt” is a look that I only like to do about once a week. This means that my many patterned tops are not getting enough wear.
You can see this in my capsule numbers below. I did not repeat any of my patterned tops (apart from stripes, which are easy to pattern mix).
So my highest priority for next spring/summer is to introduce one or 2 solid coloured (non-black) bottoms into my wardrobe. I am probably going to aim for skirts, not pants, because of my issues with overheating.
3. Work vs dressy casual
There was a lot of crossover between my work outfits and my dressy casual outfits. That’s a good thing as far as maximising wears go.
However, certain items (eg my lined pencil skirts and A-line skirts) feel quite structured and “work” like and, as a result:
*not festive enough for some evenings out eg birthdays and date nights
*not casual enough for some day time non-work occasions
I could use:
*A casual summer skirt of some kind that is not black. I am thinking white denim, cotton, ruched jersey or a jersey wrap. The other possibility is culottes in a natural fibre.
* A summer dress, not in black, especially for date nights. I already suspected this but the challenge was confirmation. I have many social occasions in January and I really wanted something more special to wear than workwear. I have been on the hunt for a summer dress for 2 years now. I have given up for this season but will re-launch the search in spring. I may have to increase the budget.
My capsule consisted mostly of black, white, blue, dark green, teal, olive, aubergine and dark red. I used tan accessories quite a bit.
I was happy with these colours but I would like to gradually introduce more rich earthy colours like caramel, rust and bronze.
I don’t need any more black, unless to replace or duplicate an essential.
I enjoyed my 2 midi skirts the most of all items. They feel like a fresh silhouette for me and are comfortable and breezy in the heat.
Personally I prefer midi skirts with shorter, hip length tops that can be worn untucked. Untucked helps with the heat and gives a more relaxed look that is my style preference. As a bonus, the same shorter tops also work with my A-line skirts and pencil skirts. Those tops should be a priority for me.
I do not need any more long, sleeveless, tunic style tops for use in the long over lean silhouette (in summer my long over lean is long top over tube skirt). I wore that silhouette only once during the challenge. And while I still enjoy wearing it from time to time I have enough tops to work with there.
5. Accessories, shoes, bags
I feel like I am pretty sorted here. The challenge made me focus on changing up shoes, bag and accessories wherever possible. And I did a bit of a stocktake of my jewellery collection and wore some neglected pieces. All good stuff.
I particularly enjoyed wearing scarves during the challenge as a third piece and for sun protection and insulation when needed. I have come to the conclusion that summer weight scarves are actually more useful to me than winter weight ones.
There were a few rejects along the way:
*pants that made me too hot (I need to insist on natural fibre in summer pants or stop buying them)
*a denim skirt that was a bit tight (off to the holding zone)
*a few patterned tops - not worn for the reasons mentioned at point 2 (I need to be careful about adding more. I suspect I boredom buy these.)
1. Black ruched skirt (Metalicus)* 6 wears
2. Blue abstract patterned silk top (Saba)
3. Green silk knit top (Trenery)* 3 wears
4. Black and white floral asymmetric skirt (Sportscraft)* 5 wears
5. Black ribbed cotton top 2017 (Uniqlo)* 5 wears
6. Black and white floral silk top (David Lawrence)
7. Black and white jacquard A-line skirt (David Lawrence)* 2 wears
8. Black and white striped top (Veronika Maine)* 2 wears
9. Black, white, tan, pink and blue floral pencil skirt (Portmans)* 2 wears
10. Teal blue cotton jersey wrap top (Veronika Maine)* 2 wears
11. Dark green floral skirt (Jacqui E)* 2 wears
12. Dark blue cotton top (Uniqlo)* 2 wears
13. White cotton top (Uniqlo)* 3 wears
14. Wine sleeveless top (Selected Femme)* 2 wears
15. Black asymmetric midi skirt (Ann Demeulemeester)* 4 wears
16. Olive green wrap top (Dorothy Perkins)* 2 wears
17. Black and white striped casual skirt (Country Road)
18. Black pencil skirt (Cue)* 4 wears
19. Black wrap top (H&M)
20. Red floral silk top (David Lawrence)
21. Blue purple and white dark floral skirt (Portmans) *2 wears
22. Black wide leg pants (Cue)
23. Black 90s vest/waistcoat
24. Black silk high/low dress (sportscraft)
25. Red drapey top (Metalicus)
26. Tan patterned asymmetric top (Zara)
27. Olive patterned top (H&M)
28. Black and white striped jacket (kookai)
29. Blue linen jacket (Zara)
I am pleased to have done this evaluation. I can go into next spring/summer with a plan!