My capsule wardrobe aka the curated closet


IMG_5103IMG_5162.JPGOne day in 2017 something really good happened to me that changed my life. I discovered the capsule wardrobe concept

Now this happened out of the blue and quite by accident. But once I’d found it, there was no stopping me. I just had to make myself a  Basic 12 -Piece Capsule……….complete with accessories. And I’m telling you this story because against all the odds, I am now a ‘capsule wardrobe’ convert.
This is surprising.  I am the quintessential,inspirational sewer. There is no rhyme or reason to my sewing. If I like it, I’ll make it and I am strongly opposed to any sort of disciplinary constraints. It is rare for me to make even a matching top and bottom. I get bored after the first piece. Well I used to.

Not any more!

Enter Looking Good……every day. Style solutions for Real Women by Nancy Nix- Rice

I was completely mesmerised by this book. I couldn’t put it down. I loved it because it was  inspirational and made so much sense to me….. full of interesting pictures and ideas….detailed, realistic, colourful and contemporary.  In fact,I still haven’t put it down.  But there was something in particular about this book hat set me on a new trajectory i.e.  do you have lots of clothes but never anything to wear? YES!! That is so me. My wardrobe is bursting but somehow I always seem to be scratching around for the right jacket or the right shoes. It was taking me ages every morning to put it all together.

So I decided to try the capsule wardrobe concept….as boring and unappealing as that sounded. The theory behind the capsule is that with just 12 garments, you can yield 96 outfits!! (You can see why I was taken in)


The capsule wardrobe is created according to a formula. You start with a core four grouping of a skirt, pant, jacket blouse or shell in a basic colour. You then build on that with another 4 pieces  (2 different contrasting colours) to add say another jacket, a top and a skirt and pants. The last 4 pieces might be a skirt and blouse and a twin set…… befitting your lifestyle. Shoes and other accessories expand the wardrobe even further.

The fun part….buying the fabric

Apart from adding the accessories, shopping for the fabric was the part I loved the most. I found it so exciting dreaming up a whole palette of possibilities. I had no preconceived ideas about what I wanted so I simply looked around (for quite a while in sewing time – about 2 weeks) to find something that grabbed me. I didn’t care what it was. My only desire was to end up with a wardrobe that would double as a corporate and casual collection. This was a tall order but I figured that 12 pieces was a fair bit of work – quite a commitment so I wanted to get some mileage out of the exercise.

I finally fell for this fabric I found at The Fabric Store. I loved it on sight so it was an easy choice. I absolutely loved the citrus tone for summer and I knew the options for matching would work well for me  (at least I thought they would !). You’ll see that this fabric looks slightly crushed. That increased the appeal  because it made it a bit interesting. It was a polyester (which I usually avoid) with a very slight sheen and it washed and sewed like a dream. n love



Why mention the Sartorialist? Because I found this book in a second hand book store and I drank in every single page …….507 images of street fashion………..what delicious inspiration!


This is the assortment of fabric I choose- a mix of cottons, linens, poly and lace. I didn’t use all but it provided my inspiration. Most fabrics were purchased from the Fabric Store in Surry Hills but others I had brought home from by fabric shopping trip in London and Shanghai

The core 4 pieces

I started with a jacket, skirt, pants and 2x tops (I made 5 core pieces to span corporate and casual). I used the black linen which sewed like a dream. It was the most beautiful fabric. But probably not a great choice for some of the pieces because the fabric was a little too light weight to withstand the wear and tear that skirts and jackets are subjected to. But more importantly………..I hate black on me and I hate sewing black!!!!! So why did I choose it? Good question. In my defence, I was betwixt and between. I wasn’t sure. But black is such a good corporate standby……….unfortunately. And in that sense, it was a good choice because I have already worn it to death…….all the black. Doesn’t mean I like it!!!



New Look 6461


New Look 6344


Vogue DKNY V2923


The skirt is cut off McCalls M7279. I learnt how to fit correctly during the Palmer Pletsch tissue fitting method course last year


Lifting the black

I did quite a bit of work to lift the heaviness of the black off my face and incorporated jewellery, scarves and jackets to soften the look.


New Look 6344, Vogue DKNY V292, McCalls M7279


New Look 6344






Moving on to the next pieces- the 3 citrus pieces

Citrus!! What a joy after the black! Initially I was unsure about this colour. That is to say, I loved it immediately but I wasn’t sure about making ‘pieces’ from it. But once I’d made the jacket I was convinced. And let’s face it, there was no way this wasn’t going to lift the black. So out of the citrus I made a jacket, top and pants.


Vogue 9068  and New Look 6461



Pants are New Look 6461




And then another jacket……..

And probably my favourite piece of all. This jacket was absolutely simple and made out of an interesting piece of a waffle fabric. The fabric is quite stiff and was therefore ideal for the jacket. I have lived in this little Marci Tilton number….



And then there are the 2 dresses

The first is an old favourite…….V8786. This fabric was beautiful to work with but I felt it needed a bit more body for a dress so I lined it with  a muslin.


Vogue 8786

And of course……..a white linen Tessuti Annie


And last but not least…… a few bits and pieces


white linen pants….a huge boon


a little silk top I bought from Glebe markets





What did I learn?

  1. I love clothes more than I thought I did
  2. I’m more addicted to sewing than I thought I was
  3. I still don’t like black on me
  4. It’s impossible to find a photo of me smiling – even though I laugh all the time
  5. I absolutely loved this exercise
  6. I will do this again
  7. This post took more time than the sewing

I hope you enjoyed reading this post because I honestly thought the experience was worth sharing…….and if you did enjoy it………Im very pleased!!

Jane XX


5 thoughts on “My capsule wardrobe aka the curated closet

  1. This is a fabulous blog post of a wonderful wardrobe! I would happily steal all of it (maybe not in black! ) and you have definitely inspired me to do similar. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pingback: Partially Finished – What Jen Says

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