Here’s what I’ll be wearing now it’s summer 2022 here in the west of France.
I hope that showing a real person, not an enhanced photo-shopped image, will give you a realistic idea of what silhouettes and clothes look like when we older women wear them.
What is a capsule wardrobe?
This is a closet management idea. Instead of keeping all your clothes available all through the year you select a few that go together well to provide you with all the outfits you are likely to need for the season.
A couple of years ago I wrote an article outlining exactly the steps I personally use to choose a seasonal capsule. You can see my capsule wardrobe recipe here.
Each season I construct a capsule wardrobe rather than just raking through my hangers wondering what goes with what each morning. I found the first one took a while to put together but now it all goes pretty fast.
As soon as the new looks and shapes and season’s colors come into the shops or online, I’m looking out for the few items I want to buy to update my upcoming wardrobe capsule. I never just browse aimlessly looking for anything that fits or that takes my fancy.
What I consider when putting together this summer wardrobe
As always my lifestyle, my personal style, my body shape and my budget are the main things I take into account when planning what to wear for the season.
Lifestyle: I’m retired, living in the countryside during the summer months. I have a very relaxed social life and only occasionally go to fancy restaurants these days. Life tends to be lived outdoors from July through September here. I still enjoy sightseeing in our lovely stone villages and attending the village fairs and outdoor evening meals that take place in the village squares in my region.
I like to work on my blog, I enjoy reading and walking through the shade of the woods with my little dog.
If your life is more urban, if you work full or part-time or if you enjoy going to more up-market events, then your capsule wardrobe will be very different from mine.
Know your personal style
I’m what I term a classic casual. Easy to wear clothes, nothing too eye-catching, nothing high fashion, go-anywhere type of outfits.
You need to have a clear idea of what your style is to make the right choices when you put together your wardrobe. If you’re more stylish than casual then build a set of outfits that reflects this. If you like to stand out from the crowd then go for it. No need to wear navy if fuschia is nearer your personality.
This wardrobe is my style. Yours will likely be different.
Use the free Style Quiz to understand your personal style if you’re not sure. There’s a link to it below every post (on mobile) or in the right hand sidebar (on your laptop).
Dress for your body shape
If you’re tall and slender you’ll make very different choices of outfits. Because I’m short, square and 25% overweight my choices are more limited.
So here you’ll see me combining layers in the best way I can find in order to draw attention away from my least attractive body areas. So no short shorts because I now have a lot of cellulite on my inner thighs. No tight tops because I have fat on my back and a big waist.
By contrast I try to emphasise other areas. So wide longish shorts that make my lower legs look narrower in contrast. Wide-cut loose trousers where the exact shape of the hip and thigh are less noticeable than with skinny pants. And most of my tops cover the upper arm, or can be worn with another layer if I want to switch to a more modest look.
Dress well on a small budget
This year, more than most, we’re all worried about the cost of living.
A capsule wardrobe can help you to spend less. I want to look forward to wearing items I haven’t been wearing recently or haven’t even seen hanging in my closet recently. So each season I rearrange clothes into a new plan, changing colors perhaps and just buying a few things to update the look or add seasonal interest.
For this reason in my list below of exactly what I’m wearing this summer I add details of which I’ve bought new and how long I’ve had others.
Sometimes we feel we can only look lovely in clothes fresh from the store. But these days, both for the planet and for our own need to make ends meet, we have to shelve such thoughts.
I hope you find some ideas for making your own capsule wardrobe among my choices. If you want some step-by-step help to start your first capsule please take a look at the Mature Style Course. It will help you with putting together personal style and body shape outfits. And it will show you how to sort your closet so that you can incorporate as many of the clothes you already have before thinking about filling the gaps with purchases. At no stage will you get that awful overwhelm of seeing all your stuff on the bed and wishing you’d never started the project!
The course is taught through more than 20 videos and various text chapters. Some you can do faster than others, it depends on you, your style, your closet and your budget. So take a week to make that new wardrobe for next season or do a bit each week until everything is just so. It’s up to you. There is no wrong way.
My color selection
I’ve chosen navy as my base color. I have lots of it and its an easier to wear color than beige or black when you’re older.
For my secondary color I’ve chosen white because that brings a freshness and summery vibe to the wardrobe. White tops especially don’t last looking sparkling for long. I usually buy at least one fresh white top every summer.
For my accent color I’ve chosen little touches of two colors this season. A little pink and a little pale blue/blue-green.
Three bottoms that work with all the tops
- Navy linen pleated shorts (M&S no longer stock but similar from Boden USA)
- Navy linen straight tapered pants from marksandspencer.com
- White linen wide trousers (similar at M&S) Similar at J Crew.
To get at least some sunshine on my legs I’ve got knee-length linen shorts in navy. I bought these last summer and I found them really useful. They have a sort of vintage vibe which I quite like. They come, like the navy pants, with a tie belt which is very much on trend. Sadly, my tummy is just too round to wear the belt as a tie this year. So I’ve substituted a woven belt to add a bit of interest and definition at the waist but which doesn’t stick out so much as a tie.
For times when I’m out and don’t especially want to show my legs, plus the evenings when the midges are biting, I’ve included ankle-grazer linen pants in navy.
I bought these for my Spring capsule this year and I’ve worn and washed them lots. Again they have a slightly 50’s look with their tiny side vents and just above ankle length. Sometimes I fold them up to be a bit shorter to give a different, more sporty, style. However, looking at my photo shoot I think they look better kept at the natural length.
To dress up or dress down, I’ve chosen a pair of white linen trousers that keep me beautifully cool. These featured a couple of years ago in my first summer try-on. Even then they were years old, I believe.
With jewelry or a pretty top they can be worn for an evening out. Otherwise they are just easy-to-wear everyday pants. With wider pants everywhere this year I was glad to have them in the back of my closet.
Eight tops that work with all three bottoms plus two dresses
- Pink tee shirt from johnlewis.com (only delivers to UK)
- Pale blue tee shirt from zara.com
- Blue linen-look tuck front blouse from cachecache.com (France only)
- White cotton flutter sleeve top (similar at Boden usa)
- Olive and mixed colors linen sleeveless top from bibico.com
- Short cotton cardigan from boden.com (no longer available, this year’s model at Boden USA) Similar at Talbots
- Navy cotton sleeveless jacket from vibs.com (only delivers in France)
- Cream sweatshirt from zara.com
- Striped tent dress. Similar at J Crew
- Navy cotton shirtdress. Similar at J Crew
I like to have a selection of sleeve lengths, especially in summer.
I enjoyed wearing pink this Spring so I’ve included my simple round-neck pink tee in my summer wardrobe. It softens the navy and white theme.
My other round neck tee is a blue-green one I bought for last Fall. I love the gentle color and it has washed well. With its short sleeves it emphasises the shoulder line to balance out the width of the pants and the shorts.
I love pale blue and when I saw this blue linen-look shirt with a tuck at the waist I knew it would work well with my other clothes for summer. We’ve been making that small central tuck for a couple of years now when wearing a top with jeans or pants so this style continues that look. It adds fullness the the front so any fat around the waist is somewhat disguised.
I like three-quarter sleeves. Being short, long sleeves can sometimes be too overpowering, whereas a little skin on the lower arm tends to make short women look taller and slimmer (oddly!)
My other new pull-on top has white flutter-sleeves. Although this sleeve doen’t cover all the upper arm and its poor tone, it does focus the eye on the wider shoulder line. As I’ve said above a (seemingly) wide shoulder works with wide pants this year.
Last year I bought a linen square-cut top in olive. This color is my one ‘I love it so I’ll wear it’ choice. I love the wide cut so that even with my shape it stands away from the waist. It will look good with the cream sweatshirt I’ve included as a top layer but won’t work with my other two top layers. But a capsule shouldn’t stop you from wearing at least one item you really like, even though it doesn’t quite fit in to the scheme.
The short blue-green cardigan adds a bit of variety through its pattern. It’s cotton and I can wear it alone just as a top, or I can hang it over my shoulders to give me two parallel lines down my front – slimming. And of course I can pop it over any of the tops (except the olive one) if the weather turns cooler or the sun goes down.
I bought it two or three years ago, very inexpensively, in the Boden sale. It’s never been quite right for my previous capsules but I love the color and was pleased it made it into this summer’s choices.
The very short cardis we’ve been seeing for the last few years are slowly dropping out of fashion so it was also a bit of a ‘now-or-never’ decision!
I was looking for a shortish kimono-style top but left things a bit late and couldn’t quite see what I wanted. But my local Vibs (French, on and off-line) store had this sleeveless jacket. It’s got the straight-cut slightly wide back I wanted and I know it will look good with jeans in another season too, so I bought it.
One of the joys of making a capsule is that you always have in mind your color scheme so you don’t get distracted by finding the perfect item but in a color that, once you get home, you realize doesn’t really go with anything.
Finally I’ve included my beige shortish sweatshirt that I bought new last Fall. It’s all about structuring the shoulder line now that I’m wearing wider pants. The color looks relaxed against the navy pants but actually looks good against the white too.
In Spring I bought the bag and a few other items from an interesting little boho boutique in a nearby tourist town. At the same time I bought the navy striped tent dress.
I rarely wear big wide dresses as I’m a bit more of a classic than a boho style. But I am carrying a lot of extra weight these days and this style – what I’d call craft boho – is so forgiving. The cotton fabric and the minimal styling all add to the ease of wear in hot weather.
I tried to find a mid-calf length shirt dress but had no luck. Everything was just too long or too short. So I decided to include a supermarket purchase from 4 or 5 years ago in navy cotton instead. I wanted something I could wear on its own, done up over a tee or open over a top and pants. Again I was looking for a way to minimize the width of my waist and hips. In cooler weather I might have bought a long cardigan.
So this little number has been washed and worn many many times. It may not look as good as if it were new but it fulfills its function. And I was pleased not to spend any more money.
Footwear, accessories and a bag
- Flat washable ballerinas
- Canvas sneakers
- Silver and blue necklace
- Gold hoop earrings
- Pink knotted hairband
- Fabric and plaited straw bag
I decided on a pair of navy knitted ballerinas I’d bought at the end of last summer. They are so comfortable and, heavens be praised, washable.
I bought new from the local supermarket a navy and white pair of espadrilles. The only problem with espadrilles is that the canvas backs soon slip down and you’re forced to give up on them or use them as slippers. So I liked the look of these with their elastic straps. Seeing them in the photos though, I’m less keen. A bit clumpy, what do you think?
Finally I’ve added my white canvas sneakers from Spring.
Flats are more popular than heels these days so why bother unless we are off to a smart evening out. Which, let’s face it, I very very rarely am!
Here are the Allbirds flats I’m wearing. They are, without doubt, the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. Machine washable, natural, no need to wear toe socks either. Lots of colors. I’ll be getting more!
I bought the simple silver and blue necklace from a craft jewelry shop locally and the bag and pink headband came from that boho boutique I visited in Spring. They all cost very little. I’m hoping to buy a new leather bag this autumn so was keen to make do with what I’ve already got for this summer.
Let’s pack the rest away
In addition to these clothes I’ve got a couple of sundresses/cover-ups and swim suits for the pool and scruffy old clothes for gardening. I have a warmer cardigan rolled up in case the weather turns chillier in September. And a rolled up pair of denim jeans for the same reason.
Everything else has now been carefully stored away so I only need to pick out items from a single rail of clothes for the next three months.
Have fun creating your own looks without spending a fortune this year.
If you’ve enjoyed looking at these photos why not look back at some of my other capsule wardrobes. If you type capsule wrdrobe into the search you’ll see the last two or three years of my try-ons. Here are recent ones:
Capsule Wardrobe Winter 2021-2
The navy striped dress looks fabulous on you.
It would be interesting to see a summary as to what you wore the most, what you didn’t find so successful & why, at the end of the life of this capsule.
( From far away in New Zealand where we are in the depths of winter. )
Hi W, That’s a good idea! I’m always looking for things to write about. Thanks for the comment Joni x
Love!! Thx for being your own “model”.
Hi Edna. We need to see more older women. We haven’t disappeared, just got older after all! Joni x
So pleased to find your blogs! I’m 94 years old, and not ready yet to dress like an old woman. My daughter is coming to help me get rid of things in my closets that I never wear, and to help me organize a capsule wardrobe. Thank you for your guidance Joni! JoAn, Eugene, Oregon
Hi JoAn. It’s soooo much nicer to work with someone on your wardrobe. Have a good day together! Joni x
Great article & showcase!
Thanks Cathryn. Joni x
From New Zealand. The last photo on left the navy long line tunic looks great on you. Yes, the navy esparadrilles a bit heavy on you. Love the knitted ballet flats!!
Thanks for your feedback Imm. I may be popping those espadrilles into the charity shop this summer! Joni x
Thank you for the wonderful ideas. Over 70 here, too. I still want to look smart.
Hi Rita. Glad to be offering content you like. Joni x
I enjoyed this , found it helpful and will be looking for more of your posts.
So pleased you found the post useful Sherry. Joni x
I really enjoyed your capsule idea. You look great! I too will be 71 this year 2023. Clothing is a thought more so to blend and camouflage the gravity that has taken place/over..
I also loved your choices. Comfort is a issue for me and all looked very comfy. Thanks so much.. I learned alot!!
So pleased you found the article useful Terri. Joni x
Thanks, Joni! Good advice and great ideas, as usual. On a personal note, it’s good to see you are doing well. Try to stay cool! It’s quite hot in America as well. I’m looking forward to cooler weather!
All the best!
Thanks Su,I hope you are well too. Joni x
Such a wonderful read! It is as though I were.writing this about myself. It is so nice to see a woman of my age, 73, being so confident about her life and her body. Please continue with information. Enjoy this summer exploring your countryside. It is very hot and sticky here in Stuart, Florida.
Stay safe, Kathleen Sisk
Hi Kathleen, Yes, in Florida our temperatures probably look like chicken-feed! Enjoy your summer too and thanks for the comment. Joni x
Wonderful article! Thank you! But I kept waiting to read and locate the wonderful purse you are sporting! Is that only available in France? BTW, I loved your Mature Style Course!
Hi Alla, So pleased you found the Mature Style Course worthwhile. My purse…I picked it up in a sheap and cheerful independent craft/jewelry/boho clothes shop locally. It cost me approx 12 dollars! Part of my cost-saving measures. It looks the sort of thing you could make at home with a bit of nice fabric and a straw pre-made top/handles. I bet Pinterest has got a how-to for that. Best wishes for the summer. Joni x
Everything about your blog strikes a personal note with me, especially at this point in my life journey.
I do believe that I create a capsule wardrobe without even realizing that there was a name for this system. I am shorter today than I was even 10 years ago. This reduction appears to be happening in my mid section, resulting in a thicker waist. I love wearing a simple column of color, topped with an open shirt. I am careful with accessories and find myself wearing my hair much longer. In the summer hear it’s such a great option to pull it up for the day and sometimes popping on a baseball cap for a quick, easy, out the door option,
Thank you for addressing all things to consider when building our wardrobes. Including the concern for increased heating costs this coming winter. So many blogs simply promote unlimited spending.
Hi Jan, Yes we’re old enough to know that even though it’s fun from time to time to buy more expensive new clothes, we’re living in a world where we have to be more careful. I like your idea of a column of color, a lot! It would allow you to get creative with hair accessories/caps or even neck scarves. It could be ideal for square people. I’m going to look into it. I might copy your idea for an article here, if you don’t mind. (I’ll credit you). Joni x
Dear Joni I can’t believe you’re over 70.
you’re looking so good, it must be the Mediterranean diet and red wine .
Although I’m a completely different shape to you I’m always excited and inspired to read your blog.
My doctor told me a few extra pounds at our age is not a bad thing!
Keep up the blog and thank you for keeping me interested in fashion even at the grand old age of 76.
Hi May, Thanks for the morale-boosting comment. It’s always so good to hear from readers – makes it worth writing after all. Keep safe over these hot days. Joni x
Once again your capsule resonates. Here in the most temperate Australian state, we usually have warm summers with a few weeks of far too hot. I saw an end of summer season linen/cotton dress on H&M website. Colour, 3/4 sleeves, length & price fit our retired fixed income budget. With one pair of white linen pants, new comfy white sneakers my spring & summer 22/23 will be complete. All my clothes now mix ‘n match & fit in with my semi-rural life. I Like each of your garment choices. Weight-wise, have you seen Lucy Wyndham-Read website? A Brit, she has loads of do-able diet & at home workout plans. I discovered her last October & my fitness, body tone, & new liking for 15-20 minutes exercise daily is a boost for this 75 years young woman.
Hi Cimmie all the way round on the other side of our planet! It’s great you’ve got your capsule organized, well done you! I’ll take a look on H&M for that dress you mention. And I’ll find LWR website too. Thanks for the ideas, Joni x
Just discovered your blog and you and I have about the same figure ,same height but I’m 83. Love the capsules you have done.
During the pandemic and we were locked down here in Canada, my hair got longer of course but showed grey around my temple and side burns, the remainder of my hair was a dirty blonde. Prior to the pandemic I had highlights. I debated letting the grey take over but then decided to get highlights again. Now I’m wondering at my age, do you think I should go with the flow and let grey flow in.? I was born blonde and always have been but the dark blonde looked so blah. My granddaughter says she likes my blonde hair. I have some wrinkles but don’t want to look like I’m trying to be young with the blonde hair. Would like your opinion.
Hi Virginia, I’ve been thinking about your comment. It’s difficult to know what would look best without seeing your face and especially your colouring. In general it’s a good idea to continue adding highlights as you let your natural colour grow through. Perhaps ask your stylist to show you more silvery blondes than you usually choose. I do think grey hair looks beautiful on older women but I’m not a fan of the grey part(ing) so I’d personally go for silvery-blonde highlights through your hair from root to tip, perhaps adding fewer each appointment as the grey gets more pronounced. Joni x
Hi Joni. I have just discovered your blog and am so happy to see a woman of my age (71) height, and shape, not to mention the same coloring, looking so fabulous, relaxed, and up to date. I’m in the process of a wardrobe overhaul : eliminating items which are either too formal or otherwise inappropriate, and aiming to end up with a closet filled with “classic casual” clothes I can wear for the foreseeable. Thank you so much for the inspiration.
Great to hear you are finding this blog useful Ludmila. Narrowing down a lifetime of clothes is quite a task but if you think in terms of each season that helps. Just go slowly and never- EVER – pull everything out and heap it on your bed! I know shows on TV do this but that’s just entertainment. Do a little sorting whenever you get half an hour free. If you want step by step help click on the Mature Style Course in the header menu, by the way. Joni x
Hi Joni. I am 51 and finding my body shape changing with menopause. I have found your approach to planning your wardrobe
in small seasonal capsules practical, inspiring and stress reducing. There are some clothes I own that I now have to reluctantly accept are not wearable anymore. Its much easier to face that gradually. I really like the way you strategically plan out what you need to fill in gaps or respond to your current lifestyle and stick to that – bar a random love item. Now I try everything on and figure out what works and what gaps need filling. I like that you make sure you have variety of colours and styles within your plan. Of the clothing blogs I follow, yours has been most helpfull to me. And the most uplififting and inspiring creatively. I have tended to buy one top that fits, in multiples, out of desperation in my changing shape and then get bored. I can see from watching your wardrobe evolve that I am better off to look more widely throughout the year and enjoy the creative process. Instead of the joyless approach I had resorted to. Everything changes and I can still enjoy what I wear.
hi Kathryn. So happy you are finding my posts interesting. Your comment made my day! Joni x
I have large hips, most clothes that fit my hips are to big for the rest of me!
I also have over-large hips for my size, Lee. That’s why I almost always wear separates. I buy a different size for my tops and my bottoms. I’d love to wear more dresses but I simply can’t because of the different sizes. Joni x
Joni, love every thing about your blog. So relatable. I am 74 and meet bimonthly with many of my high school friends. I can’t wait to send this article to them. My capsule wardrobe is very similar to the blue and pink you pictured. Thx for sharing. Jeanne.
Hi Jeanne. How lovely to have kept a circle of friends who have known you through thick and thin. Glad you like the blog! Joni x
It is now February of 2023 but I am in SW Florida so summer continues! I noticed that you are still wearing sleeveless tops and dresses but your arms appear to be much firmer than mine. My shape and weight are still pretty good but my arms are a wrinkly mess. Sadly my lovely sleeveless sun dresses and shirts have been given away. Loved your capsule concept but don’t know if I have the energy to do it!
Hi Rebecca. I do wear short sleeves in summer but I’m careful when and where. If I’m with friends of my own age I don’t mind showing my upper arms. But if I’m with younger people I tend to be more discrete.
By the way you don’t need to do your whole wardrobe in a single mad clearout. Take it in small steps and do one thing well every time you have a clear 30 minutes to yourself. Joni x
I really appreciate your ideas on clothing choices for over 70 gals. The comment about being selective with short sleeves is a winner, why not wear them around my peers? Yes !
Hi Maryanne. So pleased you find what I write about interesting. Joni x
All these looks are terribly frumpy. It is not because you are French you know how to dress !
Hi Solange. I do these try-ons to show women how they can rethink their wardrobe without simply buying more and more clothes. My capsules work for me, but they are not right for many other people – you included. I’m a simple single person who likes comfortable classic clothes. You may be much more classy or prefer tailored items, especially if you live in a city or go out to evening events. I am illustrating a process, not suggesting these clothes will be right for you. I only add links because when I stopped ,people asked me to say where I bought things from. I am overweight so you can’t expect me to look sleek! I want to present an authentic older woman to my readers and, being overweight and short, I am pretty typical of women born just after the war. There are lots of other blogs showing different styles, many are smarter. So you just need to find someone with the same personal style as you! Joni
Late to the party – that’s me!
I have just discovered your website and I love your selections in this post. I appreciate your explanations on why you chose the garments and all the photos of you wearing them.
I do like your espadrilles, and the fact that they have open heels, definitely not clumpy!!
I am now going back to catch up on the posts I have missed!
Thank you 😊
Hi Geraldine. Lovely to hear you like the blog. Joni x
Hi Joni, I just found your page – yesterday on Pinterest. I like the idea of a capsule wardrobe but I’m still at a place where I have tons of clothes; warm weather cruise, cool weather cruise, formal and daywear, Canadian winter, spring, summer, fall, gardening, beach… At 55, I’ve got health problems that leave me home/bed bound quite often so I’ve got a collection of nice pajamas and nightgowns, lounge sets. It is painful to wear anything tight across my chest (like a bra) and across my stomach which can distend several inches at times, especially it seems, when I’m out. Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis have swelled up my knees so that the shape of my legs isn’t very attractive anymore and my feet are also affected so that I have to wear specific types of shoes that are hardly attractive either. It’s a challenge. Thankfully, I’m 5’10” and there’s some room to spread things out. All that being said, my go to is long flowy dresses, kaftans etc. I did follow your link to the M&S flowy linen pants and bought navy, white and chambray in the tall size! I have lots of tunics to wear over them which hides a great deal of “fluff” and as they’re elastic waist with a drawstring, they should get me through the “puffy” days. Now to take a long hard look in the closets and start editing. My girlfriends always appreciate when I go through this process and I enjoy seeing my clothes on them. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve been looking at the summer bins about to replace the winter bins and now is the time to go for it! And I sew, so I’ve lined up a friend to help me reset (ahem) my mannequin and grow her up to a size where I can make some adjustments to some items I’ve bought oversize to fit my shoulders properly. And I’ve got some beautiful linens to make into items I’ve had in my mind for a while. Sorry this is so long, but again, thank you for all the work you put into your blog.
Hi Krystyne. You sound like you have really made some good style choices and are ready to thin out your closet in line with these. Great news! Joni x
Thank you for sharing! You look wonderful and “real”. Looking forward to seeing more of your posts.
Hi Elena. Glad you found my blog interesting. Joni x
As the seasons change, we all need to reconsider our current wardrobes and needed updates, as well as our changing shapes and lifestyles. Some of us will need to make major changes, some will only need or want to tweak their wardrobes to update their wardrobes. The most important things to consider when deciding what to keep or toss are our height, weight, body shape (and its shortfalls), our lifestyle, and our activities. Our clothes should make us look and feel our best and be comfortable to wear. As we choose our clothing, we also have the opportunity to be creative and to find our own special look or style. My wardrobe might not appeal to or meet the needs of another person, but if it fits my budget and makes me happy, that is what counts!!! Personally, I enjoyed this article.
Thanks for your feedback Lin. Joni x