One subject that I always seem to be reading about is the “Capsule Wardrobe”. This wardrobe is built around a few essential, classic and timeless items. Google this term and you will find hundreds of articles and variations of this collection of clothing.
My wardrobe is full of classic and timeless pieces. But I can’t pare down. I just can’t!
It didn’t hit home for me until one of our Atypical60 friends, Angelin2014 (you know her ladies—she gives great replies to the blog posts and is a great friend of Atypical60), wrote about this subject in her blog, Age Is Just A Number. (click on the name of the link to read!)
Reading her two posts about the capsule wardrobe got me to thinking. Should I pare down to a capsule wardrobe? Hmmmmmmm.
Well, SHOULD I????
And for me, the answer is that I probably should pare down to this minimalist wardrobe, but I don’t want to. I love the clothing that I have. Many of the items, I’ve had for years. I try to do a seasonal weeding and place summer clothing in plastic bins during the winter and vice versa for the summer. But the way the heat index is still at an all-time high, it looks like my summer clothing will be sticking around for a while.
But as much as the thought of a capsule wardrobe is enticing, I like to think of myself as a person with Capsule Brands. It’s true. I’m loyal like a dog.
It’s true. I’m loyal like Chippy. He’s into my clothes too. When I was taking a photo of my tee shirts, he tried to eat one of them.
These are the brands that I can trust. They are the brand items that I will have for years. I just about rely on these brands because of the quality, the construction, the feel, the fit and they never fail me. I’m a minimalist when it comes to brands. I have few.
Let’s have a look at the brands and what I love about them.
J. Crew. Ain’t gonna lie. I love J. Crew and J. Crew Factory. In my opinion, both are interchangeable. Sometimes I can find better quality at Factory while most times, J. Crew is the place to shop. Ordering clothing online is no issue either because the shipping is quick. The online customer service is freakin’ stellar!!
May I present the latest addition to my J. Crew blazer collection? The Double-breasted Dover. It is such a rich, intense dark navy that it can look black. The lining is beautiful. Striped and almost looks like a club tie. I love the collar popped (Hey. I was in my 20’s during the Eighties. OK?) A bit longer in length and less fitted than the Schoolboy, it will look stunning both on job interviews and for casual wear. It’s a winna!!!
The Schoolboy blazers—God knows I have more than enough of them, are my winter staple. If I want to make a pair of jeans look polished, the Schoolboy is worn with them. And—even though J. Crew discontinued (the story of my life) the Schoolboy, another version that is just as good, if not better is available at J. Crew Factory.
Two blazers in this photo are NOT schoolboys. One is the chambray with the ruffles. The other is the wool camel Regent blazer. All others are either from J. Crew or J. Crew Factory. And there’s more!
The plaid schoolboy I purchased last year at J. Crew Factory.
Other Jackets—the Lady Jackets are a dressier option, but boy—Crew’s blazers and jackets have always been top quality for me.
What a difference a new phone makes–huh? This black Lady Jacket from J. Crew is another favorite-I’ll have to get a better photo with my new phone at some point!
Rather than pare down, I build up.
99.9 percent of my sweaters are from either J. Crew or J. Crew Factory. It’s to the point that I’m just not comfortable in any other brand. Call me crazy—but I know what I like when it comes to sweaters and I feel J. Crew knows me.
Same with skirts. I am in love with the Number 2 pencil skirt. Timeless and always looks good.
Three Number 2 Pencil skirts. Both sweaters are also from J. Crew. That yellow skirt is one of my favorites. Wool. Beautiful fit. I love it!
Now—that’s not to say that everything from J. Crew is perfect for me. I have an issue with Crew’s jeans. For some weird reason, the brand’s jeans just do not fit me well. The rise is either too low or, if higher, just looks odd on me.
No big deal because after years and years of searching for the perfect fitting jeans, I found them last year at Nordstrom Rack. AG Jeans. Yes. They are on the pricey side but at Nordstrom Rack, the brand can be found for a fraction of the price. I’ve also discovered 1822 Denim Jeans which I purchased at Marshalls but are also available at Nordstrom Rack.
I was introduced to AG Jeans last year at Nordstrom Rack and I now have five pairs. I LOVE this brand!
The fit. The different washes. The cut. These are perfect for a curvier shape and AG’s jeans hold their shape after a long day of wear!
AG Jeans. J. Crew Breton striped shirt. J. Crew Schoolboy blazer. I’ll get to the shoes later on in the post! I’m pretty much a Capsule Brander!
It so wonderful when you find that brand of jeans that fit so well!
Here’s another Capsule Brand look. AG Jeans. J. Crew shirt. Repetto ballet flats and Rondini sandals. I don’t stray too far from my favorites!
Can I just say that I’m also very loyal to Old Navy for their tee shirts? The Old Navy Fitted Tee is one of my very prized basic possessions. Might I add that I have a penchant for the white crew neck fitted tee? I am telling you that this tee is everything and a bag of chips! I’ve written about this tee many times. In fact, I was so upset when ON discontinued this shirt I wrote to them and now it’s back—even if it is only back online!
I kid you not. This is just a small number of the fitted white tees from Old Navy. I hoard them. Notice the ones that still have the tags on them. The need to be ironed. And when these tees get old and stained and wonky looking, I rip them and use them as dust cloths. Multi-taskers these shirts be! See Chippy’s paws at the top of the photo. He was ready to snack on some cotton!
Word to the wise—for a truly fitted look, order a size down. I size down from a Medium to a Small and the fit is so beautiful under a blazer or cardigan sweater. This tee is currently selling for $8.00 on the Old Navy site but watch for sales when you can get the shirt for five bucks. You’re welcome!
Old Navy’s Tee Shirt dresses are another item I have plenty of. And their jersey swing dresses– I’m telling you when Old Navy has a winner—they hit gold!
My most-worn dress this summer. I’m still wearing it. Ten bucks at Old Navy. I went back and bought four more!
Shoes are another item that I’m brand loyal with certain styles. You are all well-aware of my love for Rondini for sandals. Even if I don’t make it to St. Tropez, I can order this brand online because I have the measurements for the custom-made fit. Honestly, these sandals are the best value for the money.
Check out how well these mold to my feet. I stand with my weight toward the inside of my legs you can tell from the sandals. OMG. I love my Rondini sandals so much. My Capsule brand for sandals. My ONLY brand for sandals.
The cost? Comparable with name-brand sandals you can find at higher-end department stores. But the difference is that the sandals are custom fit and made. All leather and they wear beautifully. The sandals mold to your feet and they wear better with age. It’s become a tradition for me to treat my feet to a pair each summer.
Repetto is another brand I’m loyal to because the ballet flats fit my narrow feet beautifully. I have three pairs of Repetto’s and am in the market for a new pair, preferably in navy. These shoes wear well and I only purchase them if I happen to be in Paris during the winter or summer sales because the discount is deep!
Repetto is another favorite brand! Perfect for my narrow feet, they make my foot look pretty!
Loafers anyone? The only brand of loafer I will put on my feet is Bass Weejuns. Don’t even try to get me into another brand because I won’t do it. I’ve been wearing Weejuns since my days at St. Patrick Grammar School. That’s a lotta years. I love my Weejuns!
My beloved Weejuns. I still lean toward the old, worn, pair to the left!!!! It would be a sin if I wore any other brand loafer!
I’m not brand loyal, nor is any one heel within the confines of my Capsule brands. I think it’s because the right heel is so hard to find.
I stick to what works—even with heels!
I did have a brand of heel that I was somewhat loyal to. It’s because the heels had the perfect pointy toe. The perfect height of the heel. And beautiful toe cleavage. The brand…Ivanka Trump. Hey. I know, I know. I have no idea if her shoes are still sold because everyone knows how I feel about her daddy. If her shoes are still sold, I would never purchase another pair. But, I spent good money on the shoes that I do have, so I’ll just wear them until they fall apart—much like…. um.umm. I’m gonna be good.
There are two brands of bag that I’m encapsulating. Longchamp and Nat & Nin. I’m especially fond of the leather Longchamp bags because, like Nat & Nin, the bags are soft and pliable. I love me a buttery soft bag. If you are in Paris, you can make a stop at Sophie Sacs on Rue du Rennes where Nat & Nin bags are sold at a discounted price, or you can visit the Nat & Nin boutique on Boulevard Beaumarchais.
Leather Longchamp bags. All but one were purchased at deep discount. The red one was a birthday gift from Bonaparte!
Left side: Longchamp’s Le Pliage. This brown bag is so worn and so old but I can’t stop using it. I love the color and when we are away, it doubles as a beach bag. Multitasker! To the right is the Planetes tote also by Longchamp. This bag is filthy! I love the orange and I use it mostly in the fall and spring. I’ve lent this out to friends and co-workers because everyone just loves that color!
I haven’t used this travel bag yet, but I got it at CDG this past summer on sale. I can’t wait to use it. It’ll hold a house for cryin’ out loud!
Remember this deal I got? The cream-colored Longchamp weekender at CDG for 43 euros? I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth with use!
See how well my Repettos go with the Longchamp bag? Now you have an idea of how brand loyal I am!
My nat & nin bags. Yes. I have three of the same kind in different colors. These bags are like butta. And they are unstructured which is what I like!
One of our friends and readers, Lidia, was in Paris and sent me an email about Groom Paris bags. I swooned. I. Literally. Swooned. There are some strong feelings stirring inside me because I know that if I get my hands on one of these bags, they will be a part of my Capsule Brands. I had a dream about their website last night. Who does that??????? I do.
This. Bag. I. Covet. And I did not know this brand is sold in five stores in the USA. In Florida, San Francisco, DC, and Oregon. Oregon??????
So, I may be a few miles short of a capsule wardrobe, but these are my capsule brands. And note—I am not sponsored by any of these brands. There is no click and bait. These are brands that I love and trust and I also buy EVERYTHING on sale!
Brand love. J. Crew Factory blazer. J. Crew Tippi Sweater. Gap (not AG) jeans and Bass Weejuns. There’s not much going out of my comfort zone here!
Old Navy Tee. J. Crew Scarf and Loft Jeans (This photo was taken before I discovered AG Jeans)!
J. Crew has sales all the time and so does Old Navy. You can usually get a good deal on some of the Longchamp leather bags during Nordstrom Anniversary Sale—but my favorite leather Longchamp bag was purchased at Nordstrom Rack. You gotta search! In addition, I’ve gotten great deals on Longchamp travel bags at CDG airport in Paris. Same with Repetto.
Rondini never goes on sale—but it’s fine because the price for the custom fit is everything—and Rondini’s staff is incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and nice!
How’s your brand loyalty? Do you have Capsule Brands? Do tell!
I can’t stop thinking about the song “Brandy” since I’m writing about brands. Remember this trinket of greatness? Looking Glass and Brandy!
Lookin’ gorgeous, Catherine. Thanks for this wonderful share. I’m partial to Hilfiger and The Gap. I find these staple brands don’t go out of style. I do veer off though. I’m guilty of collecting too much. I do cull my wardrobe with every season change too. I like the J.Crew items you have and they remind me a little of THilfiger. Love the schoolboy/girl look still, at my age.
Hi Lisa! Oh. The schoolboy/girl look is a staple for me because I wore uniforms to school. It left a lasting impression –uniforms. Talk about a capsule wardrobe!! Thanks–I’m glad that you enjoyed a bit of my Capsuled brands!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!
Max black jeans at TJ Max/Marshalls. Puffer vests from Old Navy/gap. Birkenstocks! Swing tops from Belk/New Directions.
Hi Peggy! Those Puffer vests!! Surprisingly, I never thought swing tops or dresses would be flattering, but boy was I wrong. I love the swing tops too and Old Navy has some really nice ones!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
Hi Catherine! Thoroughly enjoyed (and ooooogled) your Capsule Brands. Thank you! You look dynamic and stunning. Your flat-lays give me some outfit ideas to be sure.
I have neither capsule wardrobe or brands. Still adjusting to an “inspired lifestyle” ;-). Mostly knit pencil skirts, camisole tops & chiffon tunics for the Summer, switched out with knit tunics for Winter. Living in LA is a wee bit different from your NJ for Winter especially. But! I do have two antique fur stoles for when it gets “really cold”… 40s to 50s.
Hmmm… maybe I do have a Capsule Brand. I always have a pair of Dr Scholls original sandals. Have worn them since 1974; thrilled they’re still made or I’d be barefooted.
Hi Beverly!! My son, Jake moved to L.A. last month. He is adjusting beautifully and is enjoying career and weather!! I’ll have to plan a trip out there at some point!
LOL — I only WISH I had my original Scholls. I have a pair that I purchased last year and they don’t have the wooden sole. Oh I remember the bruises I used to get on my ankles from the wood hitting me when I tried to run in them. And those sandals DID make our legs look nicer! Those and the stoles are a mighty fine start to a capsule!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
Hi Catherine. Do you mind if I ask you how tall you are? I’m thinking of ordering some Old Navy Tee Shirt dresses and swing dresses online.I’m in New Zealand and haven’t dealt with Old Navy before but as I’ve seen you wearing them in photos it would give me an idea of length. Like you, I just can’t pare down and have to store clothes at the end of the season as my wardrobes just can’t cope!! You’ve also convinced me that I’ll have to ‘invest’ in some school boy blazers.
Hi Bev. Oh. I don’t mind at all. I’m a hair under 5 feet 6 inches. Even with the weight loss, I’m still most comfortable in a size L in the Tee shirt dress. The swing dress is a definite Medium. Those blazers. I’m not kidding. I wear them as outerwear during the winter if I have to go from car to grocery store or car to office. I cannot stand the cumbersome feeling of coats!!! XXOXOXOXO!!!!
Thanks Catherine. I’m a smidgen under 5 feet 4 inches so should work. And also thanks for letting me know the sizes you get. Totally with your love of blazers. We have reasonably mild winters, go everywhere by car, not much chance to get cold. But, in saying that, I love the look of coats. Bought one last year. Have worn it once!!!! It’s a classic design,black, won’t date, purchase justified!! 😂😂Have a shopping trip planned today. A denim jacket’s on the list………I’m blaming you for that! So glad I stumbled across your blog and instagram. XXOO
Oh. No problem Bev. Sizes are so diverse with brands. Old Navy isn’t consistent. I will take a size Small in the fitted Tees, yet wear a Large for the Tee shirt dress!! I think you’ll be fine wearing the same size as me. Ugh. I have a few coats that basically hang in the closet unless I’m going somewhere at night or if I know I’ll be outdoors in the colder weather. For now, I’m sleeveless. It was 85 degrees when I got into my car a bit after noon!
Have fun shopping!! Try to get a denim jacket with a touch of stretch because it’s more comfortable–especially when driving!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Can’t do it either! Pare down that is. I’m not particularly brand loyal, M&S for jeans, bras and knickers and mostly charity shops for anything else, where I’ve bought some great high end brands. Is Nordstrom Rack an outlet branch? Haven’t been to the States, for approx 20 years and miss the shopping that I did back then on a regular basis when I was a flight attendant. I still have some of the towels I bought at Sears and one t-shirt from Banana Republic! I love that Groom bag, but does it have a zip? xxx
Hi Fiona! Nordstrom Rack would be the equivale.nt of a Nordstrom outlet. The prices are great on MOST items but there are some items that are made for Rack and aren’t as good. But as far as underwear goes. I’m not brand loyal. I’m sale loyal- I can’t stand underwear anyway!!!! That Groom bag is crazy gorgeous. I have no idea if there is a zipper and I don’t even care–it’s the shape and the look that is driving me into lustfulness!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!
No, don’t have any brands per se, as I’m such a cheapskate and frugal shopper (!) although M&S Per Una features a lot in the UK charity shops and I do seem to have quite a few of these items in my wardrobe. Have to tell you (!) only two days ago I was the Toulouse branch of Galaries Lafayette where I bought a pair of their own brand jeans (they were a great price). I looked around though and my mouth watered at the high-end brands, but no, oh no, way beyond my purse. Anyway, as I stood in the queue to pay for the jeans I spotted Longchamp! Ooh I thought, Catherine gets some of her bags there. Ambled over and had a look. Oh wow, beautiful, but same thing – way beyond my budget. Will look out for sales over in the UK (I would imagine they must be in Harrods) and just definitely keep my eye out for a good price. They’re lovely bags.
You’re looking good and very best in the job hunt – so sorry to hear, but you’ll find that job, definitely! xxxxxxx
Hi Penny! Welcome home. I was drooling over the pics in your last post, BTW! And the hat. I like your hair too–it looks a bit longer and it is extremely flattering! Yeah. Galeries Lafayette has some very expensive stuff–the one in Paris is overwhelming. The one in Cannes is more manageable but a lot smaller. But, my dear, you ARE Capsule Brand loyal. To thrift shops!!!!!!!! And that’s even better!!! XXOXOXOXOXO!!!!
Cathe, you pretty much wear my idea of a perfect wardrobe. I love all of it! Unfortunately for me, a too large bust and an abdomen destroyed by 8 major surgeries don’t allow me to comfortable wear a lot of those pieces. So believe me when I say, I really enjoy watching you wear them! Xoxo
Thanks so much Lori!!! I like to keep it basic, simple and classic!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
You have that Jackie O style that I love!
Great wardrobe — and fun post, Catherine!
Thanks Claudia!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!
Oh, thanks for those kind words, Catherine! I woke up this morning to find I have had ton of views on my blog, thanks to you! I feel like a viral sensation!!! XOXOX
Well, I may be doing a capsule wardrobe, but I´m not a very loyal person. From time to time I think I find a brand I love, like Trashy Diva when I was into retro vintage, but I´m fickle. I´m always finding new favorites, which is why I NEED a capsule wardrobe!
As for jeans I just re-discovered them and buy the cheapest I can find. And that fits, I might add. Being a curvy girl I have a hard time finding a good fit. Lots of stretch is usually what I end up with.
Hi Angelin! Oh..I’m so glad that you got a lot of views!!!! LOL. I recently found two jean brands that work very well—but I’m not loyal yet. The jeans are 1822 Denim and AB Democracy. The jeans are inexpensive and fit my curves VERY well!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
Oh no you don’t missus!!! Don’t you join that capsule wardrobe thang! I love the idea – the concept, and like many good ideas, you can borrow from it and adapt from it – but the wholesale adoption of someone elses “good thing” will never work from anyone else. I love the idea, truly – I am happy to Pinterest away loads of articles and images and the idea of things going and mixing and matching, fabulous… However – I love the idea even more of a curated wardrobe, now that I think is what you actually have, things that go fantastically well together, but also that you appreciate and love and care for, that is much more what I aspire to as it has resonance and meaning and is something you put together over time and with thought and deliberation. I also get concerned about the idea of people having a great big cull and getting rid of things before they are ready to go (I am all for parting with things when it is time), afterall why is that seen as a good thing? I don’t think it is really all that it is cut out to be in terms of ethical or whatever, it is more important to buy things that you will enjoy and wear and take care of – just getting rid to fulfill a fantasy wardrobe idea (and I believe for most of us it really is a fantasy) doesn’t mean we have the capsule lifestyle, lives are messy and we don’t live in perfect capsules afterall, no – enjoy what you have and keep inspiring us!
Juliet. We are on the same path here! I get upset when people get rid of clothing. Donating for a good cause is one thing but culling to get rid is another. If I didn’t save clothing, I would have run out of things to wear a long time ago–LOL!! I like your choice of words with curating. It’s true. Wardrobes should be curated and can be built upon. The capsule wardrobe is for some and for others it isn’t. I’m of the “isn’t”–and I’m glad you are too!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
Well I don’t do capsule wardrobe either, I am not a minimalist. But I am a kind of uniform girl as well (yes like you Catherine, catholic school, for some years but not all years fortunately). Am I brand loyal? Only for shoes, at least some pairs: Charles Jourdan vintage (because the brand does not exist anymore, I mean the real one, before the brand was bought by … americans and quality and style went down, down, down) and Carel. I am faithful to this brand as I like the styling, quality and comfort of the shoes. I like your style as well, it really does suit you. But the most important for me is to find something that fits: you see, I am 4,11″ so it is really a challenge to have nice clothes. So often I look to middle range brands, with good fabric (NO plastic ever, which means no synthetic or polyester or whatever made from petrol) and, as often as I can, no garments made in China or worse, made in Vietnam or whatever cheap country the cheap brands are getting the clothes made from. You see, in France, we do not have that culture of second hand or charity shop (shame for the latest actually) so whenever I travel to the London, I try to go the charity shop of TK Maxx to find good bargains, if I need something. That’s the reason why most of the time we are buying clothes full price, even the cheap things from H&M or the horror that is Primark (never been there, too much cheap shit for my taste). In winter you can find me with a skirt, often bright coloured, or black trousers, fancy black or bright coloured tights, with a cashmere sweater and a fancy jacket (velvet, wool, coloured). I bought some clothes from Ebay US by the way as it is easier to find some Petite clothes: I even have a JCrew wool yellow plaid jacket which I really like. By the way, could you explain the difference between panthyhose, nylon and the like? I was really confused to read that there is a difference between all this. For us tights, or collants, are tights whether chair (what you call “nude) or black. But, unfortunately, more women tend now to forget the tights and stay bare legs (even in winter!) or wear socks.
PS: I sent you several email but never had answers, was the address correct?
Hi MB. First–I’ve been having a hell of a time with my email the past week or so. I may make the switch over to gmail for good. But for now, my verizon is working so if you can resend, that would be great!!!
Here in the States, we are more of a fast-fashion country. Everyone wants to stay “on trend”. One thing I admire about the French is that the quality of the clothing IS superior in many ways and during the soldes the discounts are tremendous. You also have more choices in fabrics. Here, boutique shopping can be very pricey. Which is why so many shop at larger department stores. I’m glad you don’t have a capsule wardrobe–your taste is too colorful!!! Please–email me I should have no issues!!! XXOXOXOXO!!!!
Oh and I love Angelin2014, that is another lovely blog – its pretty cool how this wee community of like minded souls is developing isnt it (and her capsule wardrobe read is great)
Isn’t she great?? I love her blog–did you read about her trip to Paris? I felt like I was there. I am almost finished with the page of bloggers I read and vloggers I watch. It’s a very eclectic listing so when you get the chance, hop on over to the page!!! XOXOXOXO