outfits

Cold Weather Capsule (My Ten Item Wardrobe)

skirts, tops, coats and accessories are laid out in a grid showing possible outfit combinations

Have you ever heard of the “10 Item Wardrobe” by Jennifer of The Daily Connoisseur? The principle is to create a seasonal wardrobe consisting of ten core items- tops, bottoms and dresses- which form the staples of your wardrobe. Then to these pieces you add layering cardigans, t-shirts, leisure wear, shoes and accessories. It’s not so much focused on having a certain number of items, like a capsule wardrobe often is, but rather on choosing items which can be easily dressed up or down, and layered or simplified as you need them to.

Over the past couple of years I have been seeking to create two capsule wardrobes; one for warm weather and one for cold. We have four distinct seasons where I live, so there isn’t a large amount of crossover between my warm and cold weather clothing items. As I have been curating my capsule wardrobe/ ten item wardrobe, I have not been focusing too heavily on making sure I have a certain number of items, but rather on the versatility and “mix and matchability” of each piece that I have. I’ve added a few new items in the past year, so I thought it would be fun to see them all laid out and how they work together.

Firstly, for the core pieces, I have four skirts, though one of these will soon be headed out and one may be brought in.

a row of skirts- peach floral, brown plaid, black pleated and brown houndstooth

A lightweight peach floral gathered skirt, a brown and black houndstooth patterned 3/4 circle skirt, a classic black wool pleated skirt and a brown plaid 3/4 circle skirt give me plenty of options. I have plans to add in another tan/ivory/black plaid skirt, but I have to finish sewing it first! I also will be removing the peach skirt, because it’s a bit too lightweight for snowy weather. With our warm fall and winter, I was able to get quite a bit of use out of it this season, but since we got snow this week, I think it’s time to pack it away.

As for tops, I have a few different categories and you will quickly see that this is the larger part of my wardrobe, which makes sense because tops take more wear and tear than bottoms.

a row of pullovers: a black and white leopard print, chocolate brown, black and gold stripe angora and black with dot detail

For stand-alone sweater tops I have my favourite off white and black leopard print with 3/4 sleeves, a chocolate brown mockneck (it’s not as red in real life), a black and gold striped 3/4 sleeve, and a black 3/4 sleeve with french knot detail at the neck.

a row of blouses and tops- a cream embroidered camisole, a black cardigan, a green cardigan and a black and cream lace cardigan

An off white embroidered camisole is a good layering piece, and I also have three cardigans that I wear tucked in like pullovers: one in black with a v-neck, one in green, and one short sleeved with lace detail. The green one is new-to-me this season.  Those are all of my “Core Pieces”, except for one more I will mention in a minute.  You can see that I have more than just 10 pieces!

Now, for the additional pieces, I have more casual tops which, to be honest, I probably wear more than the other dressier ones. It all depends on the situation and whether I need layers or not.

row of tshirts in brown, green and black

For t-shirts, I have a short sleeved brown, a 3/4 length sleeve green, a 3/4 length sleeve draped collar oxblood/brown and a short sleeved black. All of these are new pieces I added this year to replace some others that had worn out. The t-shirts are casual pieces which dress down my wool skirts, and I like to layer them with cardigans too.

cardigans and a blazer in brown, black and green

For layering I have several cardigans and a tweed blazer. The blazer and the brown cardigan are new this year, but the black and green are old favourites. Adding layers completely changes the look and the function of an outfit. You can make it dressier by adding a blazer, or cozier by adding a cardigan.

Moving on to outerwear I have four main coats, though I predominantly wear the trenchcoat for warmer days and the camel coat for cold days. The other two dressy coats I wear occasionally to church etc.

four coats including a black trenchcoat, two black dressy coats and a camel wool coat

I actually have more shoes than this (most of which I have had for 10 years or so) but I didn’t feel like taking a photo of every pair. All of my winter shoes, except one, are black or brown and I have a variety of casual and dressy boots as well as a few dress shoes. Some have heels and I wear them only on Sundays, but my low heeled boots are the ones I wear day to day. I used to buy a lot of high heeled shoes, but my feet don’t like them now, so I mostly wear my brown boots on the right, which I have had for 11 years!

winter shoes and boots in brown and black

Then it’s time for accessories! I have more than these pictured, but didn’t want to photograph everything, or we’d be here a while.

purses and hats- brown structured leather, soft green leather and wool berets in a variety of colours

These are my most worn, for example; the satchel on the right is my everyday purse. Accessories are really where you can change up your outfits, and are not necessarily season specific, so they are an important component of your wardrobe. Some accessories I wear are purses, scarves, berets, tights, jewelry, hatpins, hats, gloves, fur collars etc.

scarves including cashmere ones, a blanket scarf, a lightweight taupe one and a silky one

Now I mentioned another “core item” earlier, and this is it… my navy dress. The reason why it is lonely down here and not with my other core items, is because it doesn’t go with anything else in my wardrobe except these navy heels, and my navy purse.

navy silk scarf, navy dress, navy structured purse and navy high heeled pumps

When I sewed this dress I thought it would be one of these background pieces that you could dress up or down and pair with many different accessories, but it really doesn’t go with anything else! So it just hangs out with my other few navy accessories which still make it an excellent and easy go-to outfit.

But to get back to the capsule wardrobe items that do play well together…

All of my main pieces are easy to mix and match and I can get a fairly good amount of combinations from them. I’m not a mathematician, but if I was, I could figure out the number of unique combinations and I’m sure it would be in the hundreds.  If I added in all of my accessories, I’m sure it would be in the hundreds of thousands. I always used to want to have a large wardrobe with many pieces to choose from in all colours, but I’ve realized over the years, it’s much nicer to have several pieces that work well together and are easy to accessorize. Not only does it make it easier to dress in the morning, but also easier to shop and launder and maintain.

Here are just a few quick outfit combinations I came up with.

First up, my black pleated wool skirt paired with off-white and green accessories. I think I’d wear sheer black or patterned tights (such as polka dots) and for jewelry a short chain necklace and either my silky or woven taupe scarf. My leopard beret would add in some nice texture and pattern as well.

an outfit grid consisting of a black pleated skirt, embroidered cream top, green sweater and leather bag, black ankle boots and a black trench coat

Another green and off white combination. Because I don’t have a black purse, I struggle with which bag to pair with an outfit like this, so either go with this green one, or a tiny clutch if I don’t have to carry much. I would pair this with sheer hosiery, and for jewelry, my pearls.

an outfit grid with a black dress coat with fur cuffs, a black wool skirt, a printed sweater, silky scarf, green purse and mary jane shoes

Now for my houndstooth patterned skirt. You can’t tell in the picture, but in person the brown has a bit of a green undertone, so I’ve got the green purse back in. I’d probably do sheer beige tights and maybe a pin on the lapel of the blazer. 

houndstooth brown skirt outfit grid with a camel coat, brown shoes, a blazer and green purse

For something completely different, here the skirt is paired with black accessories. I’d pair this with sheer beige or black tights and for jewelry a pendant necklace and a hat pin.

brown houndstooth skirt paired with black accessories and coat

Now for a splash of pink, I’ve paired this peach skirt with a casual brown top, gingham scarf (which does coordinate in person, I promise!), a green bag and brown shoes. The coat doesn’t match very well, but it’s what I have, and I wouldn’t be wearing it inside anyway. I’d pair this with sheer tights because the skirt is so lightweight.

peach skirt paired with brown top, brown shoes, green bag and gingham scarf

For the next outfit with the peach skirt, I did the opposite and have all brown accessories and a green top. I’d wear stud earrings and a pendant necklace to finish it off.

peach skirt outfit with a camel coat, green top and brown accessories

Finally, here is my plaid skirt, which goes the best with most of my clothing pieces, so I did four outfit combinations. I originally did three combinations, but since I started writing this post a couple of weeks ago, I found another top!

First a monochromatic look in shades of brown. I’d wear sheer tights and for jewelry do just earrings since the collar takes the place of a necklace.

brown plaid skirt paired with camel coat and all brown accessories and top

Next, an outfit with a mix of black and brown accessories; I have no problem mixing brown and black together, even in leather.  If I wanted this outfit a bit dressier, I could switch the satchel for my top handle brown bag. I would wear black or “hint-o’-black” (which is more of a brown/grey colour) tights with this look, and if I wanted to add a hat, I’d pick my black beret and add a hat pin.

plaid skirt outfit with brown and black pieces paired

Here is a more casual outfit with a mix of predominantly black accessories. I would wear a long pendant necklace with the drapey top, a hat pin, black tights and as for purse, I would probably wear my satchel. I’ve been wearing this outfit basically on repeat this winter, since it’s so easy and comfortable and perfect for a day out running errands.

brown plaid skirt paired with taupe and black accessories and top

And finally an outfit with colour! When I started writing this post a couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I was on the lookout for some pink and taupe tops, and I have since found one! This top pairs really nicely with my plaid skirt and brown accessories. Again, I have paired it with the top handle brown purse, a brown scarf and brown shoes, with my camel coat. For jewelry I’d probably do earrings and skip a necklace.

a plaid skirt paired with a pink turtleneck and brown accessories and coat

Well, there are ten outfit combinations to start with, and I didn’t even feature all of the pieces I have in my wardrobe.

I’ve noticed that my colours change a little bit with the seasons; in summer I predominantly wear blue and brown, but in the winter I predominantly wear black and brown! Almost all of these outfits were just a blend of black and brown, with the occasional splash of green and pink. What can I say? I love neutrals! However, I still would like to add some blush pink, taupe and off white to bring in a bit of lightness, and have been actively avoiding looking at black when I’m shopping. Black is chic and versatile, but wearing it head-to-toe is a bit overwhelming for me. As I wrote about in this post, it’s nice to hone in on your signature colours and shop from there. It’s been so helpful when shopping to immediately skip over the pieces I know won’t look good on me and won’t coordinate with the other pieces in my wardrobe. I’ve also got small swatches of fabric of my two brown skirts, so when I’m shopping I can easily see whether the pieces I’m looking at will coordinate with them or not.

The problem with wearing “slow fashion”, though, is that it is also slow to find new pieces. However, I know that there will always be those pieces that I “need” to fill a gap in my wardrobe, and it’s alright if it takes a while to find the right ones. The nice thing about building a capsule wardrobe is that it isn’t static, things are always changing, just as we are, and it’s OK to add and remove pieces as you need them.

So, other than wanting to add in a bit more colour than I currently have, I am really happy with how my capsule/ ten item wardrobe came together this year. It’s nice to be able to put together outfits without overthinking it, and I like the direction it gives me when shopping.

Have you ever heard of the 10 Item Wardrobe? Do you like to have a capsule wardrobe? What are the predominant colours in your closet? And, do you have a seasonal wardrobe, or do you wear the same things year round? 

a group of accessories including hats, gloves, jewelry, collars and clutch bags

In Memory of the Lilacs

holding a bunch of lilacs

No, I have not cut my hair again- these photos are from 2019 when I was growing out my pixie- but I never posted them. I don’t know why. I think at the time I wasn’t really happy with how they turned out, however, looking at them now I think they turned out all right. When I came across them a few months ago, saved in a folder, I pondered whether to share them here, even though they aren’t current. It’s kind of strange how the internet is so momentary, isn’t it? It’s all about the here-and-now, and things go out of date so quickly…anyways I decided that I wouldn’t post these, but would just take some new photos featuring the lilacs…

So, why am I posting them here now?

lilac hedges covered in blooms

Well, unfortunately we haven’t had a very many blooms this year, and the flowers that we did have were very spindly and small. It’s really too bad because this is my favourite time of year, and my favourite photo backdrop. I think that our lilac hedges need to be pruned, so we are going to do that and hopefully that will coax them to bloom profusely next year! And in the meantime, I will remember these gorgeous lilacs fondly.

woman wearing a striped off the shoulder t-shirt, tan skirt, parasol and high heels in front of a lilac hedge

As for this outfit, I actually don’t own this striped top anymore. I always wanted to try this style out and was excited when I found this one at a thrift shop, but discovered that the off the shoulder cut was a bit annoying to wear. So, I parted with this top, but I still have the skirt, purse and shoes, and they are all in regular rotation. Don’t you love it when you have things in your wardrobe that always just seem to work?

woman holding a parasol in front of a lilac hedge

holding an envelope style white and tanclutch

a lilac hedge covered in blooms

Well, I hope that wherever you are, you have been able to enjoy some flowering shrubberies of any variety, and hopefully next June I will be back with some new photos with this hedge!

woman holding a black and white lace designed parasol

closeup detail of a drop pearl earring

hedge covered in lilacs

woman twirling in front of a hedge holding a lace parasol

Strawberries and Sundresses

strawberry season, feature image

Summer is out in full force, which means that the garden is growing nicely, we’re beginning to harvest already… and I am ready for falltime! I am definitely not a summer person; when the temperatures start rising, I start looking for a cool, dark place to hide.

picking strawberries

Anyways, I mentioned in one of my previous posts, that I was really starting to run out of clothing to wear for casual days at home, and with the advent of summer, I was really lacking on clothes to wear for these hot summer days. This fabric has been sitting in the stash literally ever since I was a child-  my mom received it from my aunt when I was little. I had always planned on making a long, dirndl style dress with it. I envisioned something like Molly’s blue dress from “Wives & Daughters”. Well, after about five years of that plan, I decided it was about time to sew the fabric up, and into something I could actually use and wear “now”. A peasant style dress is one of the easiest styles of dresses to make, and is so perfect for hot days, especially when it’s made out a lightweight chambray like this, so after managing to squeeze all of the pattern pieces onto the fabric I had (with only a few small scraps left over) I went ahead with the plan.

vintage colander filled with berries

harvesting strawberries

This dress is made off of a pattern from an old dress I had.  I have made it before like this, but this time around I wanted to try and make it similar in style to this dress I used to have (sadly the fabric on that one wore out). I at first sewed up the dress with a drawstring waistband, with the idea that it could be loosened or tightened for comfort. Well…that didn’t turn out so well. It ended up veeerrry frumpy, and the shape it gave was certainly not an elegant “Jane Austen heroine” one. So, I had to take it back apart and then, after tossing about several ideas, settled on putting in a waistband, but sewing elastic channels in the back to give it a shirred look. This ended up with exactly the shape I wanted. It fits perfectly and the little bit of elastic makes it super comfortable! The dress pulls on over the head, and the neckline is gathered with a drawstring, rather than elastic, for a more historical look. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, and I definitely plan on making up another version of this dress. I’ll just plan to put a waistband in rather than try something new, next time. If it works, don’t try to reinvent it right?

back detail of peasant dress

Of course, when your new dress is covered with a pattern of strawberry vines, you have to take photos of it in the strawberry patch!

We’ve had a lovely abundance of berries this year, though we’ve lost some some to the voles, and some to mould (because we’ve had so much rain this year). But, there have definitely been enough for treats and fresh eating, and even some to freeze for winter- aren’t fresh strawberries in July the best?

How has your summer been so far? Do you have a garden; either a plot or a pot? What do you like to wear during the summer?

holding vintage colander of berries in the garden

handful of strawberries

strawberry picking

in the strawberry garden

picking berries

walking in the garden

bowl of berries

Seasons

vintage styled vogue 1044 summer dress and straw hat

I’ve been been stuck in a creative block lately. I look back to last year when I was blogging weekly and posting frequently (if not daily) on Instagram. And here it’s been almost a month since my last blog post. I feel like I just haven’t gotten back into the swing of things. And I wonder why something that gave me so much enjoyment last year, is such a struggle now. I think perhaps I’m just going through a season right now; there’s been stuff going on in my personal life, and it’s not that I don’t have time, I’ve just given myself the permission to take a step back, and take a break. I don’t want something that is fun to start being a chore.

But even though I haven’t been feeling particularly inspired to write and blog and share lately, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been having fun with my wardrobe. I’ve still been experimenting with my clothes, and enjoying my summer wardrobe, and working on sewing one of the pieces from my #makenine list, even though I haven’t been documenting it all.

straw-boater and vogue 1044 summer dress

I’ve been going through a different season in my style lately too, and have been drawn to a more subtle and subdued palette lately. I’ve put some of the clothes that I used to wear in regular rotation to the side, as they just aren’t feeling very “me” lately. As much as I like bold vintage prints and styles, I feel more like “vintage mixing” right now. Most people would probably still look at my clothes and think that they are quite vintage looking, but to me they don’t feel authentically vintage, but more modern with a touch of vintage, and I’m enjoying styling my clothes this way for summer.

andrea shelley earrings-and-straw boater

You all know that I’m an avid thrift shopper, and that I don’t buy very many new pieces, but I recently purchased this new straw hat, and these black pearl earrings. I’ve been drawn to classic, feminine styles lately, and both of these pieces felt very fresh. I love how they go with my existing pieces and add a bit of variety to my current wardrobe, such as this dress, purse and shoe combination which I’ve worn before. This is one of my favourite summer dresses, so I’m happy it’s the season to wear it again!

This boater is one that I saw in the window of a local shop, and popped in to check out…and then ended up buying the next day! (Placing items in shop windows really does work!)

andrea-shelley- black pearl earrings

And these lovely gold and pearl earrings are ones that I bought at a handmade art show. The artist is Andrea Shelley Designs. I saw the earrings, walked around the show thinking about them, and then came back to her booth to get them. Well, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was really going to get them, but there were some other ladies looking at her jewelry- and when they picked them up, I felt that anxious “No, don’t buy those!” feeling, so that sealed the deal. (And those ladies bought some other items, so Andrea didn’t lose out on a sale!) She describes her jewelry as “minimal and feminine”, which is just what I am liking lately. I also just bought some of her tiny pink pearl earrings, and I’m excited to wear those soon too.

Well, look at that. I just said I was feeling a creative block, and here I have written an entire post. I’m not going to promise that I’m going to be posting regularly again….but I do have some other outfits, so we can always hope.

straw boater

summer-floral dress vogue 1044-and-straw-boater hat

vintage button ring

apple blossoms

vintage summer floral style vogue 1044 dress and straw boater

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl, the artyologist

How is it already the end of October?

This month has just flown by for me, and has been a rather strange month too. I had every intention of posting these pictures on the Thanksgiving weekend (Oct. 8), but a combination of burning my right hand (which made typing difficult), getting a head cold that lasted forever, and then work and other engagements, has delayed me. . . and here we are now at October 22!

This is one of my favourite outfits and photoshoots of late. The photos were taken on the thanksgiving weekend, which also happened to be my birthday weekend! (Apparently I am claiming the whole weekend as my Birthday weekend, not just one day. . .) I was at first a little disappointed that the leaves had already turned brown by the time we were able to get these photos, but as it turned out, the colour palette worked incredibly well with the sepia tones of my outfit. The outfit is an amalgamation of some of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe-  I pretty much picked everything that I love to wear, and put it all into one outfit, because it’s always nice to wear something “special” on your birthday!

birthday outfit, the artyologist

Well, that’s really all I have to say, but if I try and think of something else to write, I am afraid that this will never be published. Sorry that the blog has been a bit boring lately, I’m a bit out of practice. . . I am hoping to get back in the swing of things, and post more frequently again.

Hope you are all having a happy October!