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: