PURCHASESWhile I no longer stick strictly to a one-a-month clothes diet, doing so for years has so refined my closet (okay, it mainly reinforced my pickiness) that I now quite naturally apply a one-in-one-out system of replacement buying. Therefore, these do not in any way constitute a 'capsule' wardrobe.
Clarks black ankle boots are a straightforward swap for my clapped-out black Victoriana lace-up booties from 2008, while the Topshop Boutique leather jacket updates a much girlier collarless Armani version from twelve years ago. The tan riding boots are something I've been searching for for a few years -- I never expected it to be so difficult to find just the right pair of flat, mid-tone yellow-brown ones that weren't shapeless pull-ons, but weren't prissily fitted either -- eventually it was Duo Boots (good Italian leather, custom calf sizes and a local fitting room!) who came to my rescue.
Most of my bought-new clothing comes from high street shop COS, which is one of the few...actually pretty much the only one that offers natural fibres, clever design, quality construction and legit high-street prices [i.e. not £100+ Whistles blouses, lovely though they are]. This season, I chose a filmy, drapey, funnel-neck ivory silk shell, and a silk/cotton print shirt offsetting romantically murky tones with a boxy mannish shape and (signature COS this) small collar -- ridiculously versatile wardrobe staples both.
The navy spotted collared blouse comes from UK brand Oasis, which has been undergoing a wee renaissance in the last few seasons -- this is a great example (triple collar, whimsical print, gold buttons up the back) of their retro girly chic. It is 100% polyester, but a reasonably 'good' poly, which I'd take any day over a cheap silk or flimsy viscose. [It helps that Oasis have frequent -- it sometimes seems weekly -- offers of 20%-30% on a rotating selection of items, as well as the usual seasonal sales and discounts on asos et al. I don't think any of their stuff is worth full price, but slashed down to the lower end of the high street, they are very reasonable.]
Some designer bargains: I rescued this black, cowl-necked Nicole Farhi fine knit pullover from a Selfridges sold-as-seen bin for £19.99. Darned the tiny hole at the edge of the left cuff with some cobweb cashmere, and am now wearing it to death, sometimes back to front (there's a lovely crossover detail at the back). The wool midi skirt is by Celine(!) and a rare £25 charity shop steal [Londoners will know just how rare], in the most luxuriant tightly woven wool, lined in silk. It weighs more than anything else in my wardrobe, including coats, and is faultlessly sturdy -- I would eyeball this as early '90s(? do we think?) and the outside looks brand new.
The leather skirt is a proper indulgence, from T by Alexander Wang (well... Liberty's 20% off £a lot is still £a lot) but in exquisitely soft leather, and again exactly what I had been looking for to replace a burgundy pencil skirt that had finally given up the ghost after ten autumns.
The hardest part of a clothing diet for me has always been dresses. I treat shoes as primarily functional, always neglect jewellery, skimp on the skimpy lingerie thing, and my heart rate is entirely unaffected by bags... but my insatiable appetite for dresses pretty much cancels out any money I might have saved on the other fripperies combined.
I have been suspiciously restrained this year, which may yet end in a boxing day sale binge.... The long-sleeved silk print dress from Comptoir des Cotonniers was a sensible planned purchase to replace an embroidered tunic [technically kameez] from Pakistan which had developed an endearing habit of raining beads in its dotage.
The COS (again) ombre shift dress (a sheer layer over a more solid linen underdress, with a giant stonking white zip all the way up the back :D) recently went on sale and dragged me off the wagon. Some of you might remember my pinning this after trying it on in May, congratulating myself for not buying another dress XD
These pieces might seem entirely 'autumnal', because for colder winter days I just add more and thicker layers (silk slips, thermal polonecks and tanks from Uniqlo, merino tights) and having bought a coat last winter, won't need to shop for one again for a good few years. The rest, of course, is knitwear -- which I mostly make myself, of which more in part 2.