Variations on a summer capsule

I wrote a previous post on patterns for the summer capsule suggested by image consultant Judith Rasband in an e-mail dated 30 April 2012.


Wonder of wonders, with a change of jacket and colours this is a capsule I could wear myself. So here are some comments on alternatives :
– A simple variation with a different jacket.
– For a different style, base your 6 item capsule on a wardrobe pattern with added items.
– Different colours.

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Change the style of the capsule by changing the jacket

With a softened jacket this capsule could work well for me. I might choose a cascade or funnel collar in a more drapey fabric. Especially as I’d rarely be wearing a jacket over only one light layer.

It’s surprising how big a difference changing the jacket and accessories can make to the general spirit of the group.


Drape cardigan from Jigsaw (sources of other items in previous post).

Without accessories and another strong colour this group could look rather dull and unbalanced. But that’s easily changed, and the whole capsule does look much softer. A scarf would be a quick option for brightening it up.

Though of course you haven’t got to dress bright if that’s not your style ! I’m not comfortable in strong contrasts or accent colours, but I do like the character given by interesting style elements, textures and trims.

Many jacket patterns in cascade or drape style. McCall’s 6444 (left) and McCall’s 6084 (right) are possibilities.


So make 2 jackets and 2 groups of accessories and get an even wider range of style options 😀

For related style inspiration, look at this season’s style summary pdf from Eileen Fisher.

As with Judith Rasband’s capsule, you probably won’t get 100% successful layering combinations. But still a good range of choices. In winter I would want to wear all these layers at the same time. In summer you get 3-4 different 1-layer looks from Rasband’s group (with each bottom), plus options from layering the blazer or big shirt over the other tops.

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A different starting point for 6 items

If you’d prefer a bigger style change : add a big shirt or a cascade/drape jacket to a wardrobe pattern with 5 items. These are what Nancy Nix-Rice suggests when adding “extras” to her core wardrobe of classics.

Here’s a post from The Vivienne Files about using a shirt to make many different outfits.

In another message (10 May 2012), Judith Rasband suggests a 2-piece dress which looks like a shirt-dress. Make your favourite shirt pattern, and a simple gathered or pleated skirt – easy to move in. Both in the same fabric. Add a belt to disguise the waistband.

Or choose your own group of 6 items, perhaps with guidance from ejvc’s ‘free choice’ summer 6PAC at Stitchers Guild.

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Your own colours

Rasband chose classic colours for these enduring styles.

These colours are not best for me. So generalise :
light neutral : top (white)
dark neutral : top, pants, skirt, accessories (navy, navy-white stripe)
accent colour : jacket, accessories (rust)
bright accent colour : top (yellow)

Or use the colour allocations suggested by ejvc for her summer 6PAC at Stitchers Guild. Make slimming columns of colours at the same level of intensity.

Or perhaps you like to start the other way round : make the basics in accent colour and add a few neutrals, as suggested in this post by The Vivienne Files.

Or of course if you love colour you can make everything different and use no neutrals at all, as in many current outfits 😀

At first I added a section here on this season’s colours, prints, fabrications, but that’s really a separate topic, so is another post.

Which are your most flattering neutrals and favourite accents ?

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Add a scarf

It’s easiest to test if colour options work for you by trying a scarf.

Long thin scarves which can be wound around loosely in many different ways are not too warming for a mild season. An accessory not a necessity, and very current.
Wearable with most tops and layers. People round here use them to add accents and individuality to all their neutrals.

Make it yourself – though at 2 to 2-1/2 yards/ metres long they’re fabric extravagant. Cut a 15-18 inch/ 40-45 cm strip for the scarf. Or the right width to crush down to 3-4 inches/ 10 cm of effect if it’s a springy fabric. Practice your rolled hemming, and use the rest of the fabric for a top !

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So many possibilities. And why be limited to just one of each item 😀

Most capsules are easy to extend by adding camisoles, tees, jeans. A classic knit twin set. A long ‘boyfriend’ knit cardigan. A short skirt and tights/ leggings. A sheath dress. . . Wear only these and you’ll look ‘modern classic’. Pick one or two and they’ll fit in with many styles.

On the other hand, those are all popular choices because they have few style elements so are easy to co-ordinate. If you like the clothes in Rasband’s group because they have more interesting style elements, perhaps it’s easer to organise your no-need-to-think wardrobe in terms of outfits. Instead of trying to pick a small group of items which all work as no-fail co-ordinates. Some wardrobe advisers suggest you take photos of your outfit combinations, so you don’t have to remember what works with what. Or make a written list – personally I find pictures easier.

Which are your favourite choices for summer 😀

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Links and patterns available June 2012

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Explore posts in the same categories: specific capsules

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