Update your capsule wardrobe

Update your basic capsule of stylish casuals for the winter. I’m getting to this a bit late ! but these are ‘transitional’ styles.

In the current Personal Shopper section of the Eileen Fisher site, there’s a .pdf of styles for November to February 2011. This includes a “Cheat Sheet for getting dressed” with 12 items. A basic wardrobe of co-ordinates.

Oh, absolutely everything is black, except the jeans which are dark indigo. Well, let’s ignore that. . . happily we can choose our own best colours. Making everything out of the same fabric would certainly simplify things 😀 but Eileen Fisher adds interest by using both wovens and knits, with a wide variety of surface textures and fibre types.

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Three slim skirts of different lengths

”ef1-11skirts” Eileen Fisher

Three pants of different widths : leggings, slim pants, jeans

” Eileen Fisher

Not much different from the skirts and pants in the Summer co-ordinates, which I’ve already talked about.

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Sleeveless tops

Three sleeveless tops with narrow straps and different lengths

” Eileen Fisher

Again similar to the tops I talked about in the summer.

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Tops with sleeves

And two sleeved long tunics for more warmth.

” Eileen Fisher

Flared and scoop necked, different amounts of flare and different length sleeves. A new pattern needed here.

One problem with mimicking these is the flare shape. A simple solution is to lengthen and flare a favourite top pattern.

Start from something like McCall’s 6244


But if you’d rather have the work done for you, there are some possibilities.

Vogue 8542 has dropped shoulders. Easier to co-ordinate if you level the hem.


Also for knits there’s raglan sleeved McCall’s 6205.

(the neck ring is separate)

While for wovens, there’s Butterick 5390


For more visual interest, there are several tops on the Eileen FIsher main site with draped necklines, and many patterns in that style. A recent one is Very Easy Vogue 8669


Not so convenient for layering under a jacket.

For an independent pattern, there are the striking Alex and Olive tops from The Sewing Workshop.


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And one jacket.

”ef1-11cardi” Eileen Fisher

They’ve chosen a flared long cardigan with neckline band.
The text says it has a peplum, but that isn’t obvious from the drawing. A longer warmer version of one of the layers in the summer capsule.

Which is the most flattering longer length for you ? at low hip, or thigh ?

If you’re larger above the waist or the same size above and below, then the flared shape isn’t essential. And it’s easy to find patterns for straight sided cardigan jackets. Just add length to a shorter style.

Those of us who are larger of hip may need to start from a straight pattern and flare the side seams.

Also adjust the neck band to the right width and sewn down like the Eileen Fisher style, if need be and you prefer that look.

For a knit jacket pattern, there’s McCalls 6084


For an independent pattern, perhaps Christine Jonson’s Swing Jacket 519. Looks as if it would be fairly easy to simplify to a top. (Make the top a smaller size so the jacket will layer over it.)


There are several similar jackets in wardrobe patterns. Perhaps lengthen and flare the jacket pattern and alter the neck band. With small changes, these patterns could make a wardrobe quite like the Eileen Fisher one. Here are a couple for knits.

Butterick 5398


And from Nancy Zieman in McCall’s 6247


Or of course choose your own jacket style. It just needs to be long enough and wide enough and with big enough armholes, to layer comfortably over those long sleeved tops.

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Perhaps the word ‘update’ is misleading. Although the specific patterns I’ve mentioned are recent, they’re current classics rather than trendy one-season-only designs.

If you would like some ‘of the moment’ details, UK In Style magazine February issue goes for :
– white blazers,
– smock tops,
– maxi dresses,
– wild floral ‘garden party’ fabrics,
– big stitch knits,
– lots of added fringe,
– platform sole shoes with -very- high heels.

And of course I have a whole lot to say about the Eileen Fisher capsule as a whole, and how well it meets personal needs. This got much too long, so I’ve made that a separate post.

And if you don’t like planning in detail ?!
Just clarify the spirit of your capsule, as a guiding light that protects you from going too far astray. . .
Whichever way you go :
Happy Wardrobe in the coming year 😀

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Patterns and links available January 2011

Explore posts in the same categories: co-ordinates, Eileen Fisher, wardrobe planning

3 Comments on “Update your capsule wardrobe”

  1. Helen Says:

    Wonderful post, sewingplum. Thank you!

  2. I started my company based on a pattern, I think it was Butterick, that had 5 coordinated pieces. So, for those folks who don’t sew themselves, we manufacture made to order 8 piece classic business capsule wardrobes (14 pieces for the guys) and deliver them to your door so you don’t have to sew OR shop! Could be a quick solution! Visit us at http://www.perfectlypackedinc.com or call me at our toll free number. Love to chat. Donna

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