My Summer Style Wishlist

ethan-robertson-134952-unsplash
Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash

Summer is by far the season that I get the least excited about – at least, in terms of putting outfits together. What can I say, in Scotland, Summer can be a fickle, fleeting phenomenon – and I don’t mean to sound negative about it, because honestly it’s fine, I love where I live, but it does make all the ads full of women with bare legs in March hold a lot less interest for me. On the flipside, Scotland actually had an incredible Summer last year *gives standing ovation* and I was woefully without appropriate warm weather clothes to wear. This year, normal service seems to have resumed – it’s 8c and raining as I write this – but I’m really not interested in adding much to my wardrobe just for the sake of ‘Summer vibes’, nope, I’m basically working off a lot of what I wore last year in the heat… just layered with tights and jackets!

There are a few things I’m on the hunt for – regular readers will know that I shop almost entirely second hand, and so it can really take a while, and a fair amount of rummaging, to find exactly what I’m looking for – so I keep a running list. Also, because of the second hand thing, I can’t link to exact styles, but I’ve made some little Pinterest boards to show the kind of styles I’m inspired by!

1. Belts

I used to belt basically every outfit that I wore. When I was about 17-19 no look was complete without a waist belt – boho dress, oversized shirt… tee and jeans…. yup. I definitely got more than a little carried away and after that I sort of put myself off the look altogether, BUT, I’m coming back around to it.

I’m definitely wearing more simple, flowing pieces these days and it’s nice to have the option to pull them in at the waist – at least on days where I’m not eating more pizza than any one human being should.

I’m also a lot more into wearing belts with my jeans – whether or not they actually need one – because I feel like it can really help a simple look feel a bit more polished and intentional. I bought a sort of western style one from ASOS (before I gave up fast-fashion) a couple of years ago, and I really love it, but it might be nice to have a little variety – maybe a brown one, maybe a more ornate one – just a few different options to play with.

Luckily, I feel like belts are fairly easy to come across in charity shops… although I do feel like Kenny may be spending a chunk of his Summer punching holes in them for me!

 

2. Long flowing cardigans or outerwear

Okay, so, I’m petite – I’m 5’2″ – and I’m also built fairly slim, so I’ve always had it in my head that I want to wear more fitted, neat pieces to draw attention to my little frame, and to try to not completely swamp myself in fabric. There probably is some logic to this, erm, I mean, maybe, but I’ve also become aware more recently that I carry most of the little height I have in my legs, and my torso is really quite compact. Add to that the fact that I have a big bust, and favor high-waisted jeans and there’s kind of a lot going on in my lil torso space – in particular, I sometimes feel when I wear my tight, leather jacket that it just adds so much, not even bulk, but “clutter”, to my top half.

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be turning my back on my leather jackets or blazers any time soon, but I would definitely like to explore some sort of longer outerwear options, too. I have a couple of long wool coats, but even in Scotland those aren’t ideal Summer clothing, and so I’d like maybe a couple of lighter options – or maybe one really long cardigan and one long duster-jacket or similar.

Length-wise, I feel like sort of the longer the better really! Somewhere between my knee and my ankle would be ideal, and in terms of style, well, I’m just gonna see what I can find – if I find an amazing statement piece, I’ll work with that, if I find a stunning simple cut, I’ll work with that too.

 

3. Long dresses and skirts

This sort of ties in with the point above re: squished little torso,  but it’s also because over the past, I dunno, year or so, I’ve gotten rid of all my little skater style skirts and dresses – I wore them a LOT so it’s sort of left a gap in my wardrobe. Why did I get rid of them? I just wasn’t reaching for them anymore. While I firmly believe that people don’t have to dress a certain way based on their age, I just know that I, personally, started to feel a bit uncomfortable in those short, flippy skirts.

In terms of styles of what I’m looking for, I’d say that really I’m open to trying most things – different materials, lengths and cuts – but the one thing I would really like is for them to be versatile. It would be nice to be able to wear them with bare legs in the warmer months, but also, to be able to put a long sleeve top underneath and wear it with some tights and boots during the other 10 months of the year. I can’t really bear the thought of finding this perfect dress and then only being able to wear it on a rare, sunny day.

So ta-dah, that’s my fairly short Summer style wish-list for this year. I’m actually quite proud of myself with this one – I feel like the three items I’m looking for all sort of make sense together, and I can see why they would fit well into my wardrobe longer term, and not just because they’re “on trend” this season. I would love to hear what you’re looking for this Summer? Or have you already found any warm-weather gems! Let me know down in the comments below!

 

 

The 15 Items I Wore Most Often in Spring

Oh, I’ve been excited about this post! I’m a bit of a data and Spreadsheed fanatic and one of the things I’ve loved most about using a Capsule Wardrobe system is tracking the “wear count” of items; being able to see what I’m *really* reaching for over and over again, and let me tell you, it’s not necessarily the things I think I wear “loads”.

image of all 15 items and the title

One quick note before we just jump in – I’ve listed a cost per wear for each item, because I find that so interesting (for my own wardrobe, and also for other people’s). However the cost per wear is worked out simply for the number of wears I have listed – so, every time I’ve worn it since I started this system in March. Of course, some items I’ve owned for a long time before this and have worn plenty of times before starting this project, so of course, their cost per wear would be lower – but I have no way of estimating that so I’ve just stuck with this simple method because I still find it interesting, I have however, put a (!) after the names of items that I owned and wore before starting this project, so you can differentiate them if you’d rather ignore that cost per wear data or whatever.

So here we go, the 15 items I wore most often in Spring 2018!

small, cross-body, black leather bag

1. black leather cross-body bag 
Wear count: 27 
Cost: £4.00 
How I obtained it: charity shop
Current cost per wear: £0.15
While on one hand it would be easy to look at a piece like this and think, yeah, it’s fairly easy to see why this is such a work horse – and I mean yeah, it’s a simple, wearable black, leather cross-body bag, so in one way, it’s no surprise to see it top the list, but on the other hand… I only thrifted this bag in March, so what on Earth was I doing *before* I owned it? Have I just gotten really lazy in using it all the time now?

black, skinny jeans

2. black Molly jeans
Wear count: 24
Cost: £45.00 
How I obtained them: birthday present
Current cost per wear: £1.88
Another fairly predictable entry here, however as I mentioned in this post, my sister gifted me these jeans for my birthday – and having owned many of these jeans over the years, both of us were disappointed in the quality of our most recent pairs. So frankly, in some ways I *am* surprised to see this particular pair on here as I really wasn’t sure they’d even hold together for this many wears! They are still going strong though, thank goodness, though they’re definitely fading faster than previous pairs I’ve owned.

black snood

3. black snood(!)
Wear count: 23
Cost: £8.00
How I obtained it: old fast-fashion bought on sale 
Current cost per wear: £0.35 
This fact that my third most worn item for Spring is a thick, black scarf is probably a good way of describing just how late Spring hit Scotland this year! Still, I wear this a lot really, it goes with everything and because it’s a snood it doesn’t slide of my neck or try and strangle me, which is always a plus!

grey, converse hi-tops, well worn


4. grey tie-dye Converse hi-top(!)
Wear count: 22
Cost: £14.00
How I obtained it: second hand store
Current cost per wear: £0.64
I’ve walked my way through a LOT of Converse shoes since I started wearing them when I was about thirteen. This pair has been no exception, these have been a staple for me since I bought them second hand last Spring, sadly though, they are starting to fall apart a bit now… still, not giving up, I’ve known Converse to hang in there for a good while after they reach even this stage.

black leather chelsea boots

5. black leather Chelsea boot(!)
Wear count: 22
Cost: £38.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion bought full price
Current cost per wear: £1.73
Another item I’m not at all surprised to see on here – if anything, I’m just most surprised that my Converse came in ahead of them! What can I say, I love these, they go with everything and they actually fit me super well, which, with my size 2 feet, is definitely a novelty for me!

faux leather jacket with studs

6. black faux-leather jacket(!)
Wear count: 21
Cost: £12.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought on sale
Current cost per wear: £0.57
I love the look of a leather jacket when it’s used to create some contrast in styles. I love pairing mine with smarter button-down shirts, or more flowy, silky type items – it just adds that sort of a tough vibe, which I freaking love. I have owned this jacket for years and years, and given it was fast-fashion bought on sale, it has held up incredibly well… thank goodness, because I can’t imagine being without it!

black rain jacket

7. black rain coat(!)
Wear count: 19
Cost: £30.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought on sale
Current cost per wear: £1.58
Another slightly scary depiction of the Scottish climate! This jacket may not be super stylish but it gets the  job done and fits in reasonably well with the rest of my outfits, and plus, it definitely beats getting soaked while out running errands!

black leather belt with detailed silver buckle

8. black leather belt(!)
Wear count: 14
Cost: £16.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought full price
Current cost per wear: £1.14
I’m surpised and happy to see this so high up on the list! I bought this last year (fast fashion before I made the commitment to stop doing that), and I sort of regretted the purchase – not because I didn’t love it, but just because for a long time I had zero idea how to style it! I made the effort to try it some different ways, and now it is literally one of my favourite pieces.

grey zip-up sweatshirt

9. pale grey sweatshirt(!)
Wear count:14
 How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought full price
Cost: £15.00
Current cost per wear: £1.07
I’m honestly surpised to see this on here (so surprised in fact that I went and double checked it)! I really felt like I hadn’t been wearing super casual stuff like this very much since starting my Capsule system, in fact, I strongly considered not having a sweatshirt like this in my core capsule at all! Looking at my Spreadsheet though, I think the reason this made its way on here, was because I wore it a lot layered under my leather jacket, in the long (long, long) time before Spring hit and it wasn’t warm enough for the leather jacket on its own. It’s interesting though and definitely an item I’ll be keeping an eye on.

sterling silver lightening bolt necklace

10. silver lightening bolt necklace
Wear count: 14
Cost: £12.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought on sale
Current cost per wear: £0.86 
This is an interesting one for me to see here because for quite a long time I’ve had no idea what was happening with my jewellery – how much did I own? Did I actually wear it? And so seeing this simple, silver piece being worn so much gives me an indication of what my style *actually* is, and that can only be a good thing as I decide what items to keep going forward, and even further down the line as I try to decide on new purchases.

black faux leather studded bag

11. black faux-leather studded, slouchy bag
Wear count: 12
Cost: £2.25
How I obtained it: charity shop
Current cost per wear: £0.19
I only picked up this bag in late-April – so it’s clear it’s been a pretty much instant hit! Again, a bit like the smaller back in the number one position of this post, it’s kind of weird to think what the heck I was doing *before* I had this bag in my life. It’s great because it’s one of those bags that can hold a lot but because of it’s slouchy shape, it doesnt look over the top or huge if you just don’t fill it very full. I love the studs too – a nice hark back to my teenage, mosher roots and that style I love so much.

light wash denim mom jeans

12. Mom jeans
Wear count: 11
Cost: £5.00
How I obtained them: charity shop
Current cost per wear: £0.45
I’m so happy to see these here on the list, because when I got them in March, having worn only skinny jeans for literally more than a decade, I felt so weird in these! Just getting used to the different silhouette seemed impossible, and so many times I put them on and took them off again before I left the house. I’m so glad I made the effort to actually try them properly as now I love them so much – I love the different silhouette they create, the very different style; not to mention the nice thick denim and ACTUAL FRONT POCKETS.

cambridge satchel cross body bag purple

13. Purple Cambridge Satchel bag(!)
Wear count: 10
Cost: £70.00
How I obtained it: bought new, on sale
Current cost per wear: £7.00
Honestly, I’ve had this bag for almost 18 months at this point and wore it so, so much before this capsule system kicked in (or really before I got the other two bags mentioned on this list) that I think, as much as I love it, I was happy to have a break from it for a little while. Definitely excited to bring it out more in Summer though with some of the colour palettes I have planned.

cosy black wool-mix cardigan


14. long, black cardigan(!)
Wear count: 9
Cost: £28.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought full price
Current cost per wear: £3.11
Again, so Spring-like, no? What can I say I love how cosy this is and the sort of slouchy vibes it gives off – it’s maybe not quite as oversized as I wish it was, but hey, it is so comfy and warm!

charcoal wash denim dungarees

15. black dungarees
Wear count: 8
Cost: £14.00
How I obtained them: second hand
Current cost per wear: £1.75
This is a crazy one to make the list (well, I mean this is what passes for crazy in my life), seeing as how I only found these in a second hand store in mid May! I have wanted dungarees for years and years and I couldnt believe when I found this pair, second hand and for such a great price! The only reason I haven’t worn them any more, is simply because it’s been too hot here recently (things I never thought I would say about Scotland)!

So there we go, that’s the 15 items I wore most often in Spring! Am I surprised? What have I learned?

  • One thing that jumps out at me, is that there are no “tops” in here. There are sweaters and coats, but no t-shirts or the like, which shows that I wear my practical items like a rain jacket so much more often than any one t-shirt I own. Historically though, I’ve always put the most time and effort into shopping for cute blouses or well-fiting tees, and seeing this data is helping me realise that actually, I would probably be better spending that time and effort on smaller – but arguably more key – categories like shoes and bags.
  • The other fairly obvious thing, I think, is how monochromatic this post is! The only bit of colour is the Cambridge Satchel bag, and even then, it’s a very subtle, wearable colour – not exactly what you’d call a “pop” of colour. The thing is though, I don’t wish it was different for me. I think this post reaffirms for me that I reall do favour wearing black and grey and that’s worth keeping in mind as I go forward, especially when it comes to choosing a new core item like a rain jacket – sure I’ve always wanted a yellow one, but actually, I’ll probably feel more comfortable in a black number!

And so that’s that, Spring is gone and Summer is here, and I’m very excited to see what I end up wearing most this season!

What about you? Do you track your item wears like this? Even if not, what did you reach for most in Spring? Was it super late arriving where you live too?

Starting to Plan my Summer Capsule!

I’m so excited to be sitting down to write this post, partly because I’m so in love with the capsule wardrobe system and the community that surrounds it, but also because I’m so excited that summer, and hopefully sunshine, is on the way!

It’s a little bit funny that the Summer season is the first I’m really documenting on here, because Summer is by far the season I find least inspiring – style wise. In theory, I can think of a lot of cute Summer outfits, but living in Scotland, the reality of our weather often means a less-than-typical Summer wardrobe is required. Typically we get a week, or maybe two if we’re lucky of actually “hot” weather, and the rest of the time the weather floats around between warmish, rainy and downright chilly, so it makes it harder to choose 10 items to add onto my core wardrobe that will actually be usable for most of the Summer season. In the end, I don’t have a crystal ball, so I’ve basically decided that I’ll do my best to choose workable pieces, but if I guess wrong with the weather, then I can always switch pieces out if I need to – the capsule wardrobe system is designed to make my life easier, not to add stress to it after all!

Inspiration and Concepts

Like I said, I have less fun researching Summer style than I do with any other season – but I have put together a Pinterest board, and after skimming past 3000 images of women wearing denim shorts (I wish, but just really not an option here, at least 360 days of the year!), I was pleasantly surprised with a lot of the outfits that were coming up.

//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js
One thing I love about using Pinterest to search for inspiration, is how organic a process it can be. I don’t need to have any ideas in my head when I start; just type in generic terms like “Summer outfits”, “casual outfits” and such, and just pin whatever appeals to me, then, after I have a good amount pinned I can go through the board I’ve made and try and distill the essence of what I’ve pinned into a few concepts. This time around I feel as though the concepts inspiring me for Summer are:

1. Long, flowy dresses and skirts
2. Earth tones instead of black and grey
3.  Less knits, more button downs and blazers

1. Long, flowy dresses and skirts.
I think because I’m short I always thought that it would a) be a nightmare to find long dresses or skirts that would fit me and b) that if they did, they’d drown me and I would look overwhelmed by them. But recently I’ve been stepping out of that comfort zone and have discovered that actually… I quite like a maxi-length dress! They’re surprisingly practical for me too: if it is pretty warm here in Scotland then I can have bare legs, without too much on show, but, if it’s chiller here then I can wear some cropped leggings underneath the skirt and nobody will know, genius!

What I really enjoy is when more delicate, flowing pieces are mixed with either contrasting materials – like a heavy denim – or a contasting style – like a graphicc tshirt layered underneath.

2. Earth tones instead of black and grey
This one actually surprised me when I started to see it crop up on my board, as usually I’m all about the black/grey/white colour (or should I say lack of colour) scheme. But more and more I saw outfits that maybe still included full length jeans or long sleeved sweaters – which are things we definitely still need during a Scottish Summer – but because the outfits included a lot of beige, or khaki or camel they somehow seemed so much lighter than if the bag, the shoes, and the outerwear had been black.

3. Less knits, more button downs and blazers
I have to admit, I hate feeling cold! I really find it distracts me from whatever I’m meant to be doing; be it working, walking or talking to someone, if I can feel a big draught in at my neck, or if I have goose-bumps all up my arms I’m pretty misreable! Because of this I definitely opt for a “better safe than sorry” approach to dressing, and generally finish any outfit I put together with a big cardigan, jumper or sweatshirt. All of this is fine, but it does make my outfits a bit one-note. This Summer, I’d like to break away from this mold and use different items for layering – such as oversized button-down shirts, a denim jacket, or blazers.

Specific Pieces


In terms of specific pieces I’ll be looking to add into my capsule (either from pieces I already have in storage or from a charity shop), I’ll be aiming, as usual, for about ten – give or take a couple, depending on how things go. I don’t yet have a clear idea of exactly what I want the pieces to be (I’ll do a full post later walking through the whole Summer capsule when I have all my decisions locked down), but here are a few things I’d like to add in.

1. denim jacket
I had been combing the charity shops for some time, looking for the ideal denim jacket – but despite coming across quite a lot of jackets, none were right for me! Then, randomly, when clearing out my mum’s closet with her she decided to get rid of her denim jacket, saying she’d worn it so much about 15 years ago, but basically hasn’t touched it since! It’s a great fit and wash of denim for me, and knowing it was my mum’s makes it even more special to me somehow. A denim jacket is such a strong, versatile piece for Summer – I’m so happy to finally have one to add in here!

2. sandals
I actually don’t own a pair of sandals at all; as I discussed here, shoes are a bit of a nightmare for me, but I feel like I really want one pair of sandals to wear on warmer days – even if I’m still wearing jeans and a long sleeved top, it could be nice to add that Summer vibe with some shoes. I don’t have anything specific in mind yet, but let the charity shop hunting commence!

collaged image showing my red wrap dress

3. long wrap dress
when I was going through Pinterest I think I pinned more wrap dresses than anything else! It’s a style that’s flattering on me and I just really enjoy wearing. Luckily, I have a thin, Summer type wrap dress tucked away from a previous year – time to dig it out and see how it works with other things in my wardrobe.

4. oversized button down shirt
As I mentioned above, I really want to get use out of some of my button down shirts, as layering pieces and not just stand alone tops. I have a couple of oversized options in storage (actually just the bottom drawer of my dresser, but “storage” sounds more organised somehow!), so no need to bring in anything new here, it’s just a case of seeing what will work best with the other options I pick out.

Leopard print converse shoes

5. another pair of trainers
Kenny and I love going out for walks around the city, particularly on Summer evenings. While I do have one pair of Converse in my core capsule, I think it’s probably worth adding in a second, just to let me have a bit more variety and flexibility. Like almost everything else I’ve listed so far here, I already have a couple of pairs in storage (this time, “storage” means: under my bed), so again, no need to shop – bonus!

So that’s 5/10 slots where I pretty much know what I want to choose, but that still leaves 5 where I’m not sure yet! I’m tempted to have a look in the charity shops for another long dress or skirt – but, I want to see how many different ways I can find to wear my current one before I buy anything else like it. Also not sure how many “Earth tone” items I own, but again, I’ll have a good raid of my closet before I hit the charity shops, not least because I need to decide what kind of specific pieces I’m looking for – it would be no use buying 4 camel blazers after all!

That’s all for now, I’ll be back soon with a detailed walk-through of the pieces I’m choosing to include. Let me know down in the comments below if you’re planning a capsule wardrobe for the new season – I’d love to hear what’s inspiring you!