Monday, May 11, 2015

Day 1: Reader Q&A - Rose

I don’t know why I haven’t done a Q&A before now.  Thank you for asking the questions that you did.  I’m really excited about answering them and it has sparked off some post ideas for me too.

I’ve decided to answer one a day.  At this stage I have twelve questions, so I’ll be posting each day until I’m done.  It’s not too late to tack a question onto the end if you have one too!

First up, lovely Rose from Australia asked:

I've become interested in capsule wardrobes like those Jennifer (The Daily Connoisseur) advocates. I know you are into decluttering and minimising, do you aim to have a capsule wardrobe? If you do, what are your essentials?

I do have a sort of informal capsule wardrobe currently, and I have done Project 333 once in the past.  I love the concept of Project 333 where you build four seasonal capsules for the year, made from 33 items of clothing (33 items to do you for 3 months).  It’s fun to see a cohesive collection that you have put thought into, and it’s easy to weed out the items that don’t go with the look/feel/colour palette so you can put them aside for another collection (or declutter).

Because it’s between seasons at the moment I’m wearing some transeasonal items and some warmer items, depending on the day’s weather.  For that reason I have not done another 333 capsule, but I do have a limited-ish number of items that I choose from.

I’ve done quite a bit of wardrobe decluttering and, if not gotten rid of, they are waiting to be moved on in my donation box anything that is:

Not a colour I want to wear
A little bit worn
I’ve never felt amazing in

You know, those pieces that you wear because they’re there but they aren’t your favourites.  I want everything in my wardrobe to be my favourite.

With underwear, I had a big cleanout just before I started Tonya Leigh’s Slim, Chic & Savvy course in October last year, and then one of the lessons was on upgrading your underwear (because everything is energy, even what you wear underneath that no-one can see – you can see it!).  I refined my selection even further and invested in some new pieces.  This included nightwear and I now have a couple of summer sets and a couple of winter sets of nightwear that I am really happy with.

Both on her course and in her public online soirees, Tonya talks a lot about ‘essence words’.  They are usually two or three words that you might use to describe, for example, how you want to feel for the day, how you want your home décor to feel, or how you want your wardrobe to feel.  For my underwear and nightwear, I decided on two essence words – sexy and sophisticated.  Having those two words in mind helped me shop really efficiently for new items on my wish list.

They had to be within my budget too though.  I knew I didn’t want to buy cheap (‘buy cheap, buy twice’ as the saying goes), but neither did I want to buy super-expensive underwear/nightwear I was too afraid to wear in case I snagged them.

Having essence words also helps when doing a wardrobe cleanout.  Many recommend a change of season as a great time to do a cleanout, and it is.  You’re looking at what you want to wear for the season ahead and you can have a go at doing a capsule wardrobe if you want to, because it's a nice clean slate.  Courtney Carver, who invented Project 333 said she found her first capsule quite random, but as she did a new one each season, found it easier to see what gaps there were.

What I have been doing, and it’s quite useful to do before you even think about creating a capsule, is to put an item I’ve worn to the left as it gets put back, whether it’s in my hanging wardrobe or folded in a drawer.  That way I can see items that are repeatedly passed over (as they move to the right) and I can either force myself either to wear them or simply put in my donation box.  A self-selecting capsule if you will.

The transeasonal clothing I have been wearing recently is in a moody palette of:


A close-up of my hanging clothes showing aforementioned moody palette

My colouring suits soft and muted tones - bright, clear colours are too harsh for me.  I’m a Soft Summer in Colour Me Beautiful world.

The essentials in my wardrobe are what I would consider my current uniform:

- Skinny or straight-fitting jeans in classic denim blue, charcoal grey or black

- A slightly dressy/fashiony top in black, charcoal, mid-grey, blue-grey, navy or camel

- Ballet flats or leather boots with a small heel

I then add a scarf maybe, and a jacket if it’s cooler.

I contributed to a USA Today article back in 2012 about ‘The Fashion Uniform’.  One of their writers contacted me about this topic as she was researching it and had come across a blog post I wrote.  I was too shy to share it with you guys at the time, but I’ve gotten over that now.  She was kind enough to post me the section the article was published in.  What a thrill!


  1. Fiona, love this as i'm trying to form a cohesive wardrobe at the moment, rather than wait until i've lost the weight - i deserve it NOW. I'm interested in Tonya's class can u add that to your question list and tell us all about it, what you learned, thought of it etc.

  2. Well Fiona thank you for answering my question and thank you for answering it today, it's my 60th birthday today!

    That was a great comprehensive answer covering Project 333 and colours and styles. Interesting to hear you talk about underwear and sleepwear, I'm very practical and need to think this through more.

    Thanks for the link to your 2012 article contribution.

  3. Love the reminder to update our lingerie along with outer garments.

  4. Great response to Rose's question....and Happy Birthday, Rose! Slowly, but surely I am whittling down my wardrobe to my favorites and in the process I am creating my capsule wardrobe.

  5. Love this blog and thanks for taking readers questions. I have always sought quality classic clothes over quantity. I like that you (as do I) favor classic colors: black, gray, bue, camel. I always think of the fabulous Parisian woman in a simple palette and timeless clothes. You have shared a lot of great tips and I am very grateful.

  6. Happy birthday Rose!

    And Jane, yes, I will add your question to the list, thank you.

  7. Happy Birthday, Rose (although by the time you view this, it may be belated.

    Since I retired in 2011, I have been trying to downsize my clothing with little success. I didn't realize that the lifestyle change would affect the way I look at myself. It took some help to unearth what my style has become and to understand the many mistakes in my wardrobe. That and I had to deal with guilt in getting rid of clothing that had cost so much. I am happy to report that I am finally on the right track. A stylist helped me to determine the clothing types that work for me in this new life. And I've learned to work with colors that flatter. As far as the guilt of overspending, I realized that it won't help to keep the clothes that make me uncomfortable, but someone else may benefit. Here in the States we have an organization called Dress for Success which helps to outfit women who are just getting into the workforce and need financial assistance. My "mistakes" are going to a good cause.

  8. The "essence words" discussion reminded me of this book -- which I bought ages ago but have never read/worked to come up with mine:


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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