This year’s weather has been erratic and here on the French Riviera is no exception.
After a summer that broke heat records, suddenly things have got very wet and cold even though I have moved hundreds of miles south.
I still believe making a seasonal selection of clothes is worthwhile, but I also realize we may have to have backup items if we find ourselves in unlikely temperatures and use layers to give our wardrobe flexibility.
Most of the new items I purchased were in the sale (mid December 2022). Obviously several items in my wardrobe are no longer available.
I’ve added links to retailers where items are in stock. These are affiliate links so if you click and buy I will usually get a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support. At the end of this post I’ve put a grid of some of the clothes. You can roll over an image to get the price. But this will likely be the full price so click through to get the latest discounts from the retailer.
Showing it like it is
As always I keep these try-ons authentic. I’m short, square, overweight and 73. My pics are of a real woman not a photoshopped model because I believe we need more images of older women in the media otherwise we’ll lose confidence in how we look. Why should we be invisible once our bodies start to change? Vive la difference!
Apologies however for the poor quality of the photos. Where I’m currently staying lacks a long mirror so I needed to take phone selfies which don’t work well at distance. I told you this was all about the real!
The Capsule Wardrobe basic recipe
I set my ‘recipe’ out in this post several years ago and, if you follow my blog, you’ll know that I’ve followed those rules every season since.
That means that instead of wondering every day what I should wear, I’ve got just a few items hanging ready and I select from those. Everything else gets put out of sight so I don’t get distracted.
I like to have three, perhaps four bottoms. Plus around nine or so tops, depending if I include lots of layering items.
I add footwear, accessories and jewelry and hey presto! I’m sorted for the next three months.
Dressing for my lifestyle
I adore party clothes and elegant dresses but I simply don’t need them more than a couple of times a year. So I don’t include these usually. I lead a simple life and, in general, socializing is a very casual affair.
If you work, or love to go out in the evening, or if you’re dating, your capsule wardrobe will look very different from mine. But it doesn’t need to be larger. It’s all a question of sticking to the plan.
Something old, something new, something recycled and something you adore!
There’s no need to buy a whole new set of clothes to make a capsule that you’ll love wearing. I try not to wear anything I wore a lot the season before so it has time to recover. And I try not to wear too many of the same items that appeared in my previous winter’s wardrobes. That’s just to keep getting dressed more fun!
Second-hand items and a few new clothes
Three months ago my Fall wardrobe was determinedly recycled, using charity shop purchases alongside clothes I already had in my closet. In fact I don’t think I bought anything new at all.
This winter capsule includes several new items mixed in with some charity shop second-hand garments. And of course I reselect some things I already own. Life would get boring if we always wore the same set of clothes, after all.
If you like my poncho take a look at the great ponchos and ruanas available and how to style them.
Use color to make the wardrobe look new
By varying the color palette each season I find I can re-wear clothes successfully. Each season I choose a base color, a secondary color and a small amount of a third color to add a dash for extra interest.
My base color this winter
I’ve deviated a bit from my usual three colors. I wanted to buy a jacket and trousers in velvet. You see this fabric everywhere this season and it can be dressed up or down.
I’d intended to buy these velvet items in dark navy, as that’s a base color I often choose. But, within my price range, I simply couldn’t find what I was looking for. So I went for black.
So this winter my base colors are navy and black. It used to be impossible to wear these two next to eachother. But for several years now that style taboo has disappeared.
My second and special colors this winter
My secondary color is mid blue – from sky blue to denim blue.
My pop of color comes from one top in orange and one in bright red. Not the same color but as near as I could organize this year!
I count my white and off-white items as neutrals or non-colors and I include some things in shades of white in just about every wardrobe.
My winter capsule wardrobe bottoms
- Navy cotton-mix straight pants – bought for $8 from a charity shop in Wales a few months ago.
- Straight leg denim jeans, traditional cut – bought a couple of years ago.
- Black velvet straight leg pants – new from marksandspencer.com UK velvet pants link. US velvet pants link
My winter capsule wardrobe tops
- Navy cotton rollneck – new from Boden. Rollneck top UK link. Rollneck top US link.
- Orange patterned mock neck – new from marksandspencer.com. M&S rollneck UK link. M&S rollneck US link.
- Ivory cashmere mock neck sweater – bought from boden.com a few months ago. Boden cashmere UK link. Boden cashmere US link
- Cream sleeveless knit jacket bought from marksandspencer.com last Spring
- Grey poncho bought from White Stuff a couple of months ago. You can find similar in most stores.
- Blue cardigan from M&S. M&S cardi UK link. M&S cardi US link.
- Red cardigan bought for my summer 2021 wardrobe from broraonline.
- Black velvet button-less jacket – new from M&S. Similar jacket UK link. Jacket US link.
My winter capsule wardrobe footwear
- Navy washable ballerinas by Allbirds, bought eighteen months ago and washed and worn lots since then.
- Tan indoor flats bought years ago, rarely worn.
- Nike sneakers
My winter capsule wardrobe accessories and jewelry
- Tan leather belt bought about a year or so ago
- Tan pouch-style clutch purse/shoulder bag – new from local supermarket
- Leather shopper bought locally a couple of years ago.
- Large silk scarf -new but inexpensive from?? can’t recall!
- Small red neckscarf from broraonline bought almost two years ago
- Navy polka dot scarf bought for $2 from a charity shop summer 2021
- Heavy and lighter gold chains that I’ve had for a few years now
- Gold hoop earrings from local supermarket
- Multi-color earrings new from local supermarket
Your turn to re-organize your closet
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how one older woman organizes her wardrobe so she always has something to wear whatever the day or the weather.
Why not make your own capsule? It will thin out your closet so you only keep useful items you actually enjoy wearing. And it will unclutter your morning by making it so easy and quick to decide on an outfit for the day ahead.
If you need help I’ve written the Mature Style Course to take you step by step from too many clothes but nothing to wear to a slimmed down wardrobe of wearable favorites.
I urge you not to rush out and buy lots of new things until you complete the basic lessons. Then you can make the right decisions within your budget and cease feeling guilty about overspending or bringing home outfits you never wear.
The course gives you lots of styling advice along the way too. Most of the lessons are short videos with extra text aids.
Get ready for the new you in 2023.
For more about roll-neck sweaters and top read this post: Best roll-necks for women over 50.
If you enjoy seeing try-ons look back at previous winter wardrobes:
Capsule wardrobe winter 2021 at 72
Hi, I am also short, 5’2” and 141 pounds. I have found at 78 that my waist has thickened making it impossible for me to be comfortable in jeans or any wide elastic waistband pants. I have three pair of winter weight slacks that allow me to breath sitting down! I am disabled so do not have a social life other than visits with girlfriends. My husband also likes a casual quiet life so I am lucky there. I took you advice last year and have stuck with shades of grey or navy slacks and leggings, added some new on sale soft knit tops I found online in light grey, light blue and one that is a salmon pink which was a miss. I was blonde but now have mostly white with silver streaks. My tops fall low hip so I can wear them with my leggings. I live in Colorado, USA and usually our temperatures are in the 50s F. But we have already had subzero temperature S and tomorrow our high is 16 F. degrees! I will be wearing fleece bottoms and top! Due to allergies I can’t wear wool or cashmere. But fleece does nicely and not near as expensive. I enjoy your Wardrobe suggestions very much. Enjoy France by the sea. I have the Rocky Mountains.
Hi Sydney in the Rockies (or nearby)! Yes fleece is such a nice fabric to wear and it drapes really well. I guess you have snow now. Wow! Joni x
I am short, 5’0”, chubby and 80 yrs old. I live in the Central Valley of Northern California from which I can see the snow covered peaks of Mt Shasta and Mt Lassen. Just a little mountain competition with above poster. She probably wins.
Anyway, I really like your latest capsule. I am particularly fond of red white and blue. My extra color is green. My problem is that I have too much stuff and can’t make up my mind about what needs to go and what should stay. Before Christmas, I took three blouses and styled them. The three outfits were perfect for any holiday occasions I attended. I also have a dressy slacks and jacket I could have worn if needed. It was wonderful to have what I needed ready to go, so I get why a reasonable sized wardrobe is a good thing, a timesaver and allows me to look put together. I’ve been working on it; I just need to persevere.
Hi Gail in Northern California! It’s such a good feeling to slim down your wardrobe for the season isn’t it. Everyone of our age has too much stuff. For some odd reason we keep it all ‘just in case’. But we shouldn’t feel bad about getting rid of items. If we donate them there are so many women who would pounce on those items as ‘perfect’ for their wardrobe. Joni x
I loved your capsule wardrobe. I learned about capsule dressing this past spring trying to buy comfortable clothing for my trip to Europe in early fall. After having one of the high end clothing stores match colors to my complexion, height, ad age and a gorgeous price of $5000 for a complete capsule, I thought I can do this. I went home, looked in my closet and decided what I was keeping and was going to be donated. I has so many colors that I always felt that I didn’t have anything to wear. I donated a lot of my good clothes after deciding what to what colors I would establish for my base and which I would use for my accent color. I chose gray, brown, black, and off white. I kept only the scarves that matched. I am 5’2″ tall, weight 125 lbs, and am 74-years-old. I often shop at thrift shops, but very selective at which ones, because they have named brand clothes that don’t look old and tired. I did keep my two Christmas scarves because they match and I like that festive look. Thank you for sharing, it’s nice to know that at our ages we can still look sharp. BTW, I live in Minnesota so we have a lot of different temperatures, but all my clothes fit those, too.
Hi Virginia in Minnesota. I wish I lived near you so I could dive into those shops where you donated clothes you decided not to keep. I love the fact that one person’s ‘never again’ is another’s ‘fits right in’. Well done for constructing your capsule. Send pictures via the newsletter perhaps? Enjoy the new streamlined you. Joni x
I was so coveting your red and white slim-fit floral top, and, phenomenal luck, I found one at Macys. It was on sale for $19.99. Mine has 3/4 sleeves, which I actually prefer.
I had high hopes for starting my closet organizing after my last post, but instead, I came down with a nasty case of Covid. I am fully vaccinated, but I still feel terrible. At least today I managed to shop at Macy’s from my bed.
Poor you Gail. Get well soon. Joni x
I found a slim fit, floral top in a true red that is almost identical to yours. It was on sale at Macys for $19.99. I know I will get a lot of use out of this item.
I had planned to make more progress on purging my wardrobe, but I ended up spending the holidays in bed with Covid. I am starting to feel better now. Happy New Year.
I made one comment above. When I tried to comment again, after “submit”, my comment just sat there waiting for approval, and finally disappeared. I tried again today and after a few hours it disappeared. What am I doing wrong? Regards Gail
No worries Gail. Your comments are all coming through. Joni x
Lol! You know all you ever wanted to know about my red floral top! Sorry about all the duplicates.
I’m just the same..I notice that occasionally my replies get duplicated when I think they haven’t been recorded. Joni
My first color is navy, secondary is a range of lighter blue and my pop of color is red. Same colors as yours, but unique to me. I spent time this afternoon trying on stuff. I took pics of outfits that I liked.
As I mentioned, I have a ton of stuff. I decided to empty my ironing/mending rack and build my capsule on that piece. That way, I can work on and use my capsule and take my time organizing/purging the rest.
I am pretty sure I won’t need to buy ANYTHING for a long time! Wish me luck.
Wow Gail. You’re really getting sorted. Well done and ‘bon courage’ as they say here in France. Joni x
I have gotten most of it done. When I started to feel better, I went to my closet for something to wear and I didn’t remember that I had cleaned out my closet. I thought someone had moved or stolen my clothes. lol!
My red and white shirt arrived from Macy’s and I love it.
So far, I am enjoying my pared down wardrobe.
Great to hear Gail! Jonix
Hi! I’m brand new here. My (stylish) Mum died at 56, and I realise that for the past 36 years, I’ve not had a strong female role model. So now at 66, I’m most comfortable in separates, jeans, tops, hoodies, fleeces, trainers, flat shoes/boots. Mum never owned a pair of jeans or trainers!
The idea of creating seasonal capsule wardrobes excites me as I have more clothes than I really need, and which I keep in hope I’ll eventually lose the weight and get back into them – like that’s going to happen🙄
I’m planning to list what is in my wardrobe and drawers and have a go at making a trial capsule to see how it could work for me. Exciting stuff!
One question, though – you don’t mention underwear or nightwear. Is that left to the individual’s needs and preferences?
Hi Helen. I’m as excited as you are about your setting off on the capsule wardrobe trail. Do a bit every time you have half an hour to spare. There’s no rush. But separate out immediately everything that you could not get into right now. You don’t need to throw them away – heaven forbid – but you need to clear the closet so you can take an honest look at what you’ve got and then what you probably need to buy. And if in three months those other clothes still don’t fit take them to a charity shop. I buy lots from charity shops. Joni x
I am wearing my red and white floral shirt, half-tucked with dark jeans and red belt and red light weight puffer vest. I look like Joni! Well, she is a little younger and thinner than I am, and probably wouldn’t wear quite as much red at once, but red is definitely my color.
All I had to do is look in my paired down closet, and there was my outfit. So easy!
I am going for a drive with a girl friend to look at the fruit trees in bloom and then to someplace casual for lunch.
Hi Gail. Your comment made me lol! Sounds like the kind of day when it’s worth getting dressed up, even casually. Good for. Joni x
I’ve just discovered this website. while looking for some ideas to refresh and reduce my wardrobe at 70. What a refreshing and honest approach. Thank you. I’m so looking forward to seeing your spring and summer looks.
Hi Heather. It’s great to hear from you! Joni x
My winter capsule was a great success. I always had something ready to wear. I find that I am dressing better when I am at home with only my dog and cat to admire me. I have had fewer “Phyllis Diller Days” this winter.
By now, my closet is pretty messy, but in my location, it’s time to plan a summer capsule. We skipped spring this year. It will be nice to start out with a perfectly neat, color organized closet again.
Thank you, Joni, for all your work on this project.
Hi Gail. It’s so exciting to hear about someone who is trying to restructure their wardrobe. Well done you! Joni x