How To Get Your Capsule Wardrobe Ready For Summer

…before June makes an appearance

Summer is the time that my intended capsule wardrobe starts to get a little chaotic. Winter we’re all cool. I hack it back to just the essentials and I spend the period from October to April just chilling in a handful of jumpers and shirts, straight-leg denim, pointy boots, a couple of coats and being one happy chappy indeed. During the cooler month’s I could be an extreme minimalist in the wardrobe department, I’m sure of it. However the summer is the complete opposite. I’m never as confident in my choices over the warmer months and just generally find myself trying new more weather-appropriate apparel which feels great when I’m in front of the mirror, and then generally uncomfortable or just not very ‘me’ when I wear it out in pubic.

It’s a cycle that this season I’m determined to get out of. I’ll chat through the ins and outs of that process in another post, but today is all about step one – how to prep your wardrobe NOW so that we’re ready for the summer influx. It won’t take you long and will leave you feeling oh so organised. Promise… 

Get it all out. Take every single item of clothing you own (do a big wash/sweep of your local dry cleaner prior to this) and put it all into one gigantic pile. Don’t worry about pyjamas or activewear we can deal with that later, but do make sure you have a pile for bags and a pile for shoes too.  Whenever I do this with beauty (decluttering video coming soon!) I am always rather horrified by just how much I have. If I did the same for skincare I have a feeling I might faint. There’s something about the act of seeing it all in one place cumulated together that is pretty much guaranteed to switch on something inside of you that will make you willing, ready and able to downsize.

In fact I recommend this step whatever it is that you wish to streamline – whether it be your vase collection that’s getting out of hand *gives a shady look to my Mother*, or your tool collection that’s grown from thrice-daily trips at the weekend to B&Q *gives a shady look to Mark*. Whether you’re in the mood for a clear-out or not, this step will set you up for it. 100%.

Strip it back. So you’ve got your gigantic pile. What do you do next? I’d suggest starting with your handbags and shoes as the chances are that they’re going to be slightly easier to tackle for most of us. Set aside anything that needs repairing or cleaning up in some way, pop any garments you’re no longer feeling in a charity bag or pass on to friends and family and whatever is left split into a pile for summer and a pile for winter. Anything that you feel is more of a winter wear but you might fancy wearing it over the course of the next three months (for example something like the Chloé Susannah Boot), keep it in the summer pile just incase. Now whatever is left in your winter pile is ready for storage. I go for under bed storage, although if you’re short on space I’d recommend packing your clothing into suitcases so you’re using every single crevice of spare square footage you have.

Once you’ve given your accessories and shoes the sorting treatment, it’s time to do the same thing for your clothing. Split the pile into two and place everything from the winter pile into storage. See? You kind of have yourself a summer capsule wardrobe. If you have more wardrobe space then I do, then you might feel like it’s not necessary to store items away. Maybe just moving them to a harder to reach spot will work for you. Either way it’s nice to have all your current clothing options available to you in an easy-on-the-eye fashion so you can make fashion choices without having to view all the unseasonal fluff at the same time.

Your summer staples. Before you get thinking about all the fancy stuff you want to buy – Things with puffy sleeves! Polka dots! Bows! Necklines that make you feel like you should be in a Reformation advert! First scan your current capsule wardrobe and see if there are any holes in the staples department. It’s taken me about three years to realise that a black, white and a handful of coloured and patterns camisoles are really, really handy to have. Not only do I wear them during the summer here but I take them on every single holiday that I go on. That’s a true basic right there.

Camisole love aside, go through your mental checklist of basics that you rely on throughout the summer months. For me that’s silk shirts, denim, wrap-over sandals, light jackets and occasionally the odd denim short. Tackle the foundations and add them to your shopping list, before you start adding the frills and fancy. It’s taken me a fair amount of time to get them down, but now I feel like I do – it’s time to bring on the fun stuff…

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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