Capsule / Basic wardrobe for Autumn/Winter

(65 Posts)
HandMini Tue 06-Aug-13 19:45:04

So, I had DD2 in February. I also had a massive clear out of 90% of my wardrobe because it was all rubbish.

I'm now going to splash some cash on a new wardrobe, as I'm back to pre-baby weight and size and I have nothing to wear other than some shorts and tshirts.

So, would love the Stylers and Beauters of MN to tell me, what do I need in my start-from-scratch A/W wardrobe. I'd love a list of basics to create a capsule wardrobe, or advice as to what the trendy pieces / shapes will be.

I'm blonde/brown haired, pale skinned, size 10. I'm not at all trendy, so err on the side of classic boring


Suburban Tue 06-Aug-13 19:53:33

Can I join? Had DC2 in April. Very nearly back to pre preg weight and have nothing (pregnant last year, on a serious house moving budget the year before).

So far I have bought some indigo jeans, a wool jumper from French Connection and a patterned blouse from Levi's. Hope someone comes along with some good suggestions soon. I need boots, coat everything!

Awakeagain Tue 06-Aug-13 20:01:54

I'm back to work after havin ds last year, have muddled through summer with a few new bits (we never have this much summer normally) so am doing the same, just done a huuuuggggeee online shop at Dorothy Perkins (and got some sale bargins) used the discount code shop15 for 15% off full price items and found another for 15% off all order and both codes worked together

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 06-Aug-13 20:08:27

Zara have some lovely coats coming in but I was mainly looking at the wool ones. And I know from my own baby days, that a wool coat was not really terribly practical. For standing in parks, walking with prams etc I like a warm coat - I bought the barbour arctic parka a couple of years ago and its seriously warm and cosy.

I like ankle boots like every other person at the moment. I'm after some black ones a bit like the Marant dickers to wear with dresses and skirts and opaques. They also work well with skinnies. And get teh sheepskin insoles from ebay to add toastiness without having to wear uggs.

In terms of tops - am presuming you're not really wanting dry clean only wink I'm rather liking the long sleeved under shorter sleeved layered look - so this over a top perhaps.

I'd go for a couple pairs of decent jeans/trousers. And then various tops - perhaps a cashmere jumper if funds allow and some thinner merino ones you can layer over long sleeved tops/heattech for when its really cold. M&S had got some nice looking cashmere jumpers in a lovely khaki colour for £65 and uniqlo always do good cashmere too.

And a couple of day dresses although I find these difficult to find personally.

And of course scarves. I'm also after a faux fur/shearling gilet which adds glamour and warmth.

Suburban Tue 06-Aug-13 20:30:49

Thanks Mrs CB really like that J Crew top. I have the Barbour Article Parka too, it is toasty but didn't leave my back from November til March not sure I can face it again quite yet. Will look at Zara online for coats. I fancy sometching a bit more fun.

What did you get in Dotty P's Awakeagain?

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 06-Aug-13 20:35:40

I am half contemplating getting another down coat this year - perhaps in navy because like you, my barbour ended up surgically attached to me and I got a bit bored of it.

The aigle cuckmere is a fab winter down coat- and it's navy!

Suburban Tue 06-Aug-13 20:50:48

Mmm I just want something that doesn't make me resemble the Michelin man. Do like the Cuckmere though.

I am contemplating these boots for wearing with rolled up jeans. Not sure though.

HandMini Tue 06-Aug-13 21:12:18

Oh you good good people, just been to have a bath and now I have a starter for 10.

So, it sounds like I need to coats because I'll be back at work / going to smarter things from October. I will look for:

- a wool coat from Zara
- a cosy parka type coat for toddler/baby towing three days a week. The Barbour Arctic looks nice online other than the belt...does it really cut you in half.

Definitely getting something like the jewelled J Crew short sleeve - that is very me as I think it looks quite basic and conservative but the jewels funk it up. How many "nice" tops like that should I have and how many basic Gap kind of long sleeve Ts?

HandMini Tue 06-Aug-13 21:13:52

Do I have to buy ankle boots if I want to look trendy?? I know I am hopelessly out of touch but ankle boots look scarily too hip for me to handle.

HandMini Tue 06-Aug-13 21:15:58

Wow, J Crew is lovely. Is it all online or can I go there in person? Thought it was in the States only.

AlohaMama Wed 07-Aug-13 00:27:23

Can I join in? Dc2 born April, returning to uk after living abroad and spending 5 years in shorts/strapless dresses and flip-flops.

Have similar fears re ankle boots. Used to love my knee length ones, easy and warm, but everyone tells me that's not OK any more.

Someone on another thread recommended putting me together blog here. It has great advice on building a wardrobe from scratch and I've found it really helpful.

Hopefully Wed 07-Aug-13 06:15:25

Ankle boots really aren't scary. If it all feels a bit much, start with something not-too-alarming like a pair of slouchy biker boots that are more low calf than ankle, and don't have the formality of some of the smarter chelsea-type ankle boots. I have to wear flats when I'm child-wrangling, and I've found it hard to find flat ankle boots that work for my style (anything remotely classic/brogue/chelsea boot style looks horrendous on me, I have absolutely no classic side!).

I would start by going through your wardrobe and ruthlessly weeding out what fits and what doesn't (if you're losing baby weight, don't necessarily chuck the non-fit stuff, but physically separate it in your wardrobe so you have a 'right' and a 'wrong' bit), then work out what you need to add to what's left to make a mix'n'match capsule wardrobe - try pinterest for ideas for capsule wardrobes. Sticking to a slightly limited colour palette (easy if you know your colours, otherwise just pick a palette you fancy) makes mixing up outfits an awful lot easier.

I am also a huge believer in thermals, as I hate wearing big bulky coats in winter, and I've found that thermals mean I can quite happily get away with something much lighter. Good for inevitable standing round park/school gate. Bog standard M&S thermal tops and leggings, or Icebreaker ones if you're feeling rich. I got through last winter with a felted wool biker as my winter coat thanks to judicious application of thermals!

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 06:23:09

Gosh what haven't I ordered!
Jeans - straight and boot cut (2 for £25) both in fail safe indigo
2x long sleeves tops/jumpers that have a few sequins on - bit more exciting than just a hoody and ok for with jeans and boots and ds
Knee length flat tan boots
Numerous pairs of ballet flats to try on in a selection if colours
I have already got a pinky purple Tshirt material top with sheer lace detailing across the top so have ordered this in black
A navy top with a few beads on the neckline (looks a bit dressier)
2xvests think I got mocha and a red/pink one
Work trews in black and Grey - a selection to try on, some will go back but I've always done ok with dp trews
Some other sale tops too

Ordered 2 sizes in many items my Patel will be huge

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 06:23:24

Parcel not Patel ?!?

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 06:27:04

Am loving the parka too
Not sure I can afford that just yet hmm

HandMini Wed 07-Aug-13 08:52:25

OK, I need to add ankle boots to the list. I just fear they'll cut into leg line and make my legs look even more tree trunk-esque.

I'll also get some thermals. Love the thought of a down gilet (is that completely off trend?!) And could get away with a light/thin one if I had thermals on. Saw some nice ones in Uniqlo.

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 07-Aug-13 09:02:14

If you go for ankle boots in a toning colour with the jeans you wear, they can be very flattering. I wear indigo jeans a lot and have a couple of pairs of navy ankle boots.

I also now quite often wear my jeans on top of the ankle boots rather than tucked in - and find that flattering too.

Much as I love the stone colour ankle boots, they're just too leg shortening on me.

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 09:17:21

I love ankle boots but think they don't do anything for me, like the idea of navy with jeans, might have to look for them
Feel my nice tan boots with a heel will be no good for chasing ds about!

Think if you'll be outside playing, walking, visiting the park so good boots are a must!
(I did buy hunter wellies just after ds was born as I vowed to walk every day! It didn't happen)

GeekInThePink Wed 07-Aug-13 09:20:19

I haven't braved the ankle boot just yet either
I've got skinnies in indigo, and a nice dark denim
An oatmeal v neck merino jumper from uniqlo

Tan knee length boots

That's it so far!

Suburban Wed 07-Aug-13 09:23:16

I am going to try ankle boots with rolled up straight jeans to see if they are kinder to my calves. I also need some durable but not hideous flat boots for our mega pre school run if anyone sees any.

Awake that's some haul. When does it arrive? Please link anything great. I have lived in a Dorothy Perkins dress this summer.

this is the blouse I bought. Good for feeding. Am going to get some thermals thanks Hopefully to wear under this kind of thing for the winter.

snowlie Wed 07-Aug-13 09:23:43

Down gilets from uniqlo are not very warm - depends which part of the country you live in and how much you feel the cold and how long you spend outside. I wear thermals and my North Face Arctic Down, which is both waterproof and warm, not terribly elegant but I don't think down coats are.

HandMini Wed 07-Aug-13 09:27:17

Would people recommend Uniqlo or M&S (or somehwere else) for merino?

Also my gut instinct would be to buy plain jumpers and tees in grey, navy or black. If I'm trying to be more on trend less boring are there any key colours for A/W?

I think I read on here that black actually suits very few people, so perhaps I should steer clear.

HandMini Wed 07-Aug-13 09:29:39

Would these hit the mark - brown ankle boots from Dune?

I think my straight leg jeans would be going on the outside of these. I don't really wear super skinny tight-ankle jeans.

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 09:33:24

I do straight leg jeans as my legs are too fat for any skinny jeans, they do me do me fine!
I'm mn on my phone but will try and link on comp later

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 09:34:44

Love those brown dune ankle boots!!

HandMini Wed 07-Aug-13 09:37:31

Yay, thanks Awake - it took me about 45 minutes online to find a pair that I thought might be both on trend and not make me look like a complete berk.

BeingMoreDog Wed 07-Aug-13 09:44:34

I love the boots suburban linked to - just wish they were a different colour! Slate grey, leather ankle boots are what I'm looking for if you see any around. I already have navy desert boots, but these are less practical as they're suede and I'm too lazy to look after them properly.

I plan on wearing slim/straight/not too skinny jeans with ankle boots and uggs. I have the HIDEOUS merrell coat for keeping warm, so am looking for a navy or grey wool duffel or pea coat.

Will also stock up on thermals - but aren't they really sweaty? The thought of polyester makes me itch! And then I have a couple of boden slouchy merino knits from last year. They're not that flattering (think sack of spuds), so looking for non-slouchy alternatives.

Will also need non-feeding bras as am determined to wean dc2!

rootypig Wed 07-Aug-13 09:49:52

OP I am also on an ankle boot quest - they're not scary I promise, they make winter so much more bearable, you'll wonder how you did without them!

The Dune ones imo will look ratty quite quickly. The suede, and the detail. PlusI think you need brown to be darker if it's to be neutral ie o with blues, greys, blacks.

Would you consider something like this? With one lovely toasty socks inside?

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 09:50:57
rootypig Wed 07-Aug-13 09:51:12

being M&S have a navy pea in their Autograph range, it's already in shops.

BeingMoreDog Wed 07-Aug-13 09:51:22

What do y'all think of these flat boots? in grey?

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 09:53:49

i have a navy gillet from republic of all places from a few years ago

have just found a joules one in a sale but only size 18 left (its creamy/white so probs not that practical)

i find my gillet ok with a good jumper on and scarf hat etc

BeingMoreDog Wed 07-Aug-13 09:59:43

I like the colour of this pink zara wool coat, but double breasted feels too stuffy on me. Would just make a good change from all the black coats around and hide the baby vom nicely.

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 10:08:20

try h&m for coats
i have a good coat stock from previous years but got a fushia pink wool one from there for £25 full price

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 10:09:56

cream gillet on a different site but i would probably order a 14 to fit over a jumper

bunnymother Wed 07-Aug-13 10:10:32

I saw this down filled coat in Zara last week and will be ordering / trying it soon as it looks great in RL (pale silvery). Having missed out on the Barbour Arctic Down last year, I wanted something like it. This jacket doesn't have a belt, too, which I actually find annoying (I have a North Face that has a belt):

The Uniqlo thermals are wonderfully warm, especially under cashmere (there is still some sale stock available from Pure Collection, from where I just ordered a round neck jumper). They aren't hugely long in the body, though (I am a size 10 and wear a S), so you might need a long line vest underneath it if you wear low rise trousers.

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 10:15:50

loving the down filled zara coat
i teach so need a good playground duty coat that is also nice

bunnymother Wed 07-Aug-13 10:22:16

It looks good, doesn't it?! Last winter's down jackets from Zara had lots of cheap looking hardware and fiddly belts, and this one doesn't have that.

The other thing I thought I would mention is that I am now on the hunt for silk / wool or silk / cashmere scarves as that's the fabric composition that I find has both sheen, softness AND holds its shape. My viscose and modal scarves look a bit, err, limp after a few hours.

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 10:38:18

i think the discount code i used for even more discount was DPINT on dorothy perkins

have found a local joules outlet store smile so will be checking that out for some bargains, not got from there before so not sure on sizing

Not well up on this capsule thing, but here's what I have to begin with:


1 padded warm navy parka with fake furry lined hood.
1 Zara wool 3/4 length wool coat with gold buttons (love this to bits).

Taupe suede boots (like the Dickers, got them at Office)
Black leather Ambush boots (a few yrs old and still perfect for me).
Patent almond toe courts with ankle strap.
Chanel-esque cream and black slip on flats (do have 1 inch block heel tho).

2 lightweight roll neck tops to go under jumpers for layering (H&M, old).

1 white cable wool jumper (Hobbs)
1 Grey Boden must have thing in wool.
1 APC maroon lambswool jumper.
1navy La Redoute cashmere jumper.
1 Navy Uniqlo merino jumper.

2 long cardi's from Zara (black and dark grey).
2 shorter cardi's in white and black from Monsoon.

1 heavy silk APC dress.
1 black fit and flare knee length dress, Topshop (old).

1 Grey wool pants, loose fit from New Look (very old and nice, trust me!).
1 Very old vintage wash Baxter jeans from Topshop (when they still made them perfect). These fit like boyfriend jeans now.
1 Pair of Leigh skinnies, dark vintage wash, Topshop.
1 7FAM Roxanne jeans (I hate these now).
1 pair patterned skinny pants from H&M.

That's it. Oh, and a strong brolly, 2 woolly hats and a pair of thick gloves.

I would like a few more jumpers.

Oh, I do also wear crossover stuff from the warmer months (under my coat!) like blouses, pretty tops and the odd shirt.

I forgot to mention my skirts:

1 maroon cord mini (H&M)
1 Dark denim knee skirt (a line) from Oasis.
1 Navy skirt (apc)
1 grey wool tweed skirt (apc).

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 12:48:23

gringringringringringringrin My parcels (all 3 of them) have arrived from dp's never have I been so happy to see my local Hermes delivery man

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 13:09:18

:-) boots are. Great fit for chunky calves gringringrin

suntodayplease Wed 07-Aug-13 14:53:03

Watching with interest, due in October so hoping a few pairs of skinnys with ankle boots and a couple of loose knits from Baukjen will see me though until I'm down to fighting weight. But I will really need a new coat. I've lived in a perfectly practical and quite nice down coat for the last few years but its black, and I've realised I really don't suit black, so I'd like something similar in navy. I tried the Barbour one mentioned up thread but it was too short on me, dissapointed as it was warm without being too bulky. Any other suggestions? Will check out the Aigle one too.

Hopefully Wed 07-Aug-13 16:00:34

Being I don't find thermals sweaty at all, and I am, ahem, a reasonably sweaty person. Obviously if it's baking hot you get a bit toasty. I think mine are mixes, not pure poly, and the merino thermals I have are amaaaaaaayzing.

I need some more fine knitwear this winter, I think. I do a good line in chunky/long knits, but actually often they're no good for under a coat. I feel a pinterest board coming on.

AlohaMama Wed 07-Aug-13 17:21:11

Love those tan boots awake

I recommend thermals too. Definitely worth getting quality ones from an outdoor shop as you tend to get the warmth while still being thin enough to fit under most clothes. I reckon I can loose one layer on top by wearing thermal bottoms.

Love the zara down coat but I'd worry about such a pale colour getting dirty. If anyone sees one in navy or dark grey post it here! I've seen nice ones by outdoor brands but twice the price! I have just bought a nice trench for autumn so just need something warmer. I also have a brown leather blazer style jacket. Would that be v unstylish now? I've been out of the country 5 years so am trying to catch up!

HeyLuciani Wed 07-Aug-13 17:53:00

If you're after thermals I'd recommend the M&S Heatgen thermal tops - they're thin and really good for layering. They have vest, short and long sleeve versions. They usually come in a good range of colours, although you might have to wait until a bit later in the season for the full range. I am a very cold person so spend quite a lot of the year in these - have even worn them under dresses for winter weddings/events blush and no one can tell!

RosieLig Wed 07-Aug-13 18:38:02

Reading this with interest! For those that have the Barbour Artic Parka- how did you find the sizing? Thanks.

RosieLig Wed 07-Aug-13 18:41:13

Ps icebreaker do amazing merino non itchy layers. I have a few of them and they're a godsend.

Awakeagain Wed 07-Aug-13 18:45:19

Aloha, I saw the boots and envy them straight away, would've been most upset if the fit was rubbish
Trawled shop upon shop for my tan boots with a chunky heal had them reheeled and resoled (carpet at school wears it down loads!) so I can have them again last winter after missing them so much whilst never taking them to get done!
I do love a good boo

carlywurly Wed 07-Aug-13 18:56:56

On the days I don't work I live in my white stuff or fat face gilets with Breton tops, slim leg jeans and boots with a big cosy cashmere scarf.
Or short denim skirt, thick tights and boots. I have loads of casual knits and cardigans plus long sleeved tees to layer up with.

I'd get 2 decent pairs of jeans
2 skirts
4 long sleeved tees - white, black, grey and something cheerful
Long and short boots
Casual and smart coat
4 or so plain ish jumpers
A couple of pretty patterned or more detailed tops for going out
A couple of vests for layering under knits.
Nice accessories like scarves and jewellery smile

carlywurly Wed 07-Aug-13 18:57:36

Try places like Great Plains for good quality basics!

finlaysmum12 Wed 07-Aug-13 19:43:25 lovely stuff,merino, cashmere. lambswool etc.

go via for a discount too.

finlaysmum12 Wed 07-Aug-13 19:47:38 lovely stuff,merino, cashmere. lambswool etc.

go via for a discount too.

HandMini Wed 07-Aug-13 19:48:25

Wow, such great lists. Am going to get shopping. Thanks so much ladies.

BeingMoreDog Wed 07-Aug-13 19:50:07

Great list carly.
And some great boots in mink too

CatsWearingTutus Thu 08-Aug-13 07:01:11

I think, once you've chosen your colours, a great place to sart a capsule wardrobe is with one of these cardigans's-Supima-Fine-Gauge-Cardigan/P_20740,en_GB,pd.html?cgid=5728 and the matching short sleeve top in the same material. This is a hugely versatile set that can be worn together or the cardigan looks great over a crisp white shirt or a coordinating dress. The ss top can be worn without the cardi inn warmer weather. All combinations are great with neutral skirts or trousers or coordinating patterned ones and can be dressed up or down. Quality is good, too.

AlohaMama Thu 08-Aug-13 07:11:20

Oooh I like those boots too. In fact Next seem to have a fairly decent selection. I need to see what is in my local shop though, I don't do shoe-shopping on line.

After reading this thread I decided I needed a down coat too, but don't think I can do a light colour, so I have just treated myself to a black Marmot down parka this one though i bought it in the US so was much cheaper. Hoping this will be a good investment for many cold winters to come!

With that and other recent purchases this is my capsule wardrobe (based heavily on advice on the putting me together blog

- 3 jeans (2 skinny, 1 straight)
- 1 skinny grey jeans with teensy black polka dots (more subtle than it sounds!)
- skirts - want 1 or 2, neutral colour
- dresses - want 1 jersey wrap dress (currently BF-ing) in grey or navy, plus 1 other dress in other colour or pattern
- Need few more tops including a patterned shirt/blouse
- 3 cardigans - grey, green, royal blue
- 2 jumpers - need 1 wool, 1 other
- Coats/jackets - now have Black down jacket, Beige fitted trench coat, Brown leather blazer
- Shoes - need to buy knee length brown riding boots, flats in neutral colour, 1 pair heels (I like these ), and 1 pair of ankle boots
- Accessories - planning on sticking to mainly neutral (navy, grey, brown) and block colours (teals, greens, blues and dash of orange/coral) for clothes and then livening things up with more interesting belts, scarves and necklaces.

I'm hoping some of these gaps might be filled by what I already have, but my winter clothes have been in storage at my parents for the last 5 yrs while I've lived abroad so I can't remember what is there, or how dated it is.

If anyone sees any nice jersey wrap dresses, please link!

Any suggestions of what colour ankle boots to get? I don't know whether to get black (if I get brown knee highs) or if something else would fit better with jeans and grey trousers?

And am I right in thinking that there seem to be quite a wide range of skirt styles in fashion right now? I am seeing lots of different hem lengths, and a mix of pencil/a-line/pleated etc.? Am hoping this is true then maybe some of my older skirts will still work.

finlaysmum12 Thu 08-Aug-13 16:56:09

these look nice for the price?

Awakeagain Thu 08-Aug-13 22:05:13

Aloha I normally find Zara and mango good for dresses many different styles
Haven't had chance to look yet though
Mango outlet also great for 'basics' that will keep if not too trendy

AlohaMama Fri 09-Aug-13 00:43:33

Those M&S boots are a good price for leather, I'll have to try them on. Will try to find a zara & mango to look at too.

celticclan Tue 13-Aug-13 12:02:09


Flicktheswitch Tue 13-Aug-13 12:07:14

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Flicktheswitch Tue 13-Aug-13 12:09:45

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