A lot of fashion bloggers and YouTubers produce pickups videos and content, creating a sense that a wardrobe must constantly expand. 2018, for me, was certainly not a ‘no buy’ year. In particular, I found that long lasting pairs of jeans, which I had owned and worn weekly, became irreparable or uncomfortable. At the beginning of 2018 I wrote about moving away from skinny jeans as the basis of my wardrobe, and more towards classic trousers. I still own some skinny jeans, even adding a pair to my wardrobe, but they are no longer the basis of my capsule wardrobe. This is a direction I will continue pushing my fashion choices.
2018 was a cheap and sensible year for me, especially compared to the years when I would regularly spend £100s at a time on websites, particularly during sale periods. Furthermore, many of these additions were gifts (the printed viscose shirt, my denim jacket), or absolute essentials (such as my Patagonia Torrentshell waterproof). The summer heat and our honeymoon to Norway necessitated some purchases like swim shorts. See a future post for my write-up on what I wore when I got married in August 2018.
In 2019, having completed my PhD, I anticipate having to adapt to a changing work life, but I feel confident that my choices of items in 2018 will remain great.
The general strategy moving forward is to try and keep my clothing collection small and versatile. I am also looking at purchasing more items second-hand (like my M&S Chelsea boots), or on the basis of being an investment (such as my Persol sunglasses, which already got plenty of wear during the summer).
Outerwear (3 items)
- Topman Check Overcoat (Gift)
- Patagonia Torrentshell jacket.
- Topman Denim Jacket (Gift)
I am very happy with only adding 3 jackets in 2018, given this area used to be my kryptonite. I am still wearing and loving jackets I bought in my expansionary period, but there is not a single blazer in sight here (unless you count the overcoat!).
Each jacket fits a different situation and has its practicality. The overcoat is thinner and lighter than my camel overcoat; the denim jacket is more wearable than my previous denim jacket, which I have let go, because of both its light colour and the denim being lighter and less rigid.
Meanwhile, the Patagonia Torrentshell is one of the best purchases I have made in years. With layering underneath it is surprisingly warm because it blocks the wind, and it can confidently handle a reasonable amount of rain (it barely held up in Bergen, Norway, but then not many coats would have on a day like that). Thoughtful details like the hood having a visor, essential in heavy downpours or high winds, and the zip being able to reach or cover my chin, stand out. I would even include this shell jacket as one of my favourite items (await forthcoming article regarding the ‘best’ items in my wardrobe).
Shirts and T-shirts (5 items)
- Topman viscose printed shirt. (gift)
- Fred Perry Made in England soft lilac polo shirt.
- American Apparel red cotton jersey t-shirt.
- Uniqlo black Oxford cloth button down shirt.
- Nudie Jeans Organic Cotton long-sleeve breton shirt.
- [Uniqlo flannel shirt pictured but purchased in 2017.]
Overall I am really happy with these additions to my capsule wardrobe. I have found each item very useful. It is an interesting selection, on reflection, because each item can be viewed as entirely basic (from a summer shirt to a plain red t-shirt), or can act as statements (an all-black outfit; the fact lilac is an unconventional colour for men to wear; as layering items to provide pops of colour or patterns).
The pattern on this shirt has real William Morris vibes. It looks particularly suave when worn open over my red t-shirt, above.
Trousers (4 items)
- Uniqlo ultra-stretch dry-ex trousers in navy.
- Uniqlo ultra-stretch dry-ex trousers in black. (I have since purchased 3 more pairs at the start of 2019.)
- Uniqlo relaxed ankle length trousers (NB: I would not consider these a relaxed fit, more of a tapered fit through the thigh which moves into a straight-ish fit. Further, these don’t really have an ankle length fit on me, more like a trouser with zero break just resting on the shoe, which is what I wanted.)
- Black Topman slim stretch jeans (NB: These are definitely a slim-skinny jean). (gift)
At the beginning of the year I outlined my interest in moving away from skinny denim. These trousers have been a godsend. The dry-ex pairs have become absolute staples, while the smarter, more rigid wool-like fabric of the ‘relaxed ankle length trousers’ have been deployed for formal and ‘styled-down’ occasions, including a black tie night on our honeymoon cruise (please anticipate a future post).
Shorts (4 items)
- Uniqlo Easy Shorts (pictured on Instagram below)
- Uniqlo chino shorts in white.
- Topman swim shorts (x2) (gifted).
I highly recommend the easy shorts, which fit like pyjama shorts but have a slightly rigid fabric which makes it highly versatile.
I have toyed with the idea of white jeans or trousers for many years, but have found these simple chino shorts to be great. Luckily they were not expensive, as they already have a mark or two, which is a peril of such light coloured fabrics.
Shoes (3 items)
Adidas Terrex GTX – £72
I wear these daily while walking the dog.
These Vans slip-ons were purchased for an outrageously low price (£19!) and have, as you can see by the marks, seen a lot of use. They are a brilliant ‘beater’ shoe – you can slip them on for a quick dash outside or wear them for longer periods. I do wish I had kept them a little more pristine, but they make great shoes for kicking a ball around with the dog, saving other footwear a job.
I had long planned checkerboard Vans as an easy, quick statement piece of footwear, but they are much more of a ‘utility’ shoe for me.
The boots were purchased from a friend, and have seen plenty of wear. They could be more comfortable, in honesty, but they have been solid and stylish. They have a rich colour which pairs well with dark outfits.
These are the first in a planned series of investments to upgrade my style in key areas. I will cover my plans in the near future.
Purchasing quality sunglasses is important and a very easy way of looking good – I got these for around £100 and they are a big upgrade from my previous, cheap pair of Topman sunglasses which now live as a spare in the car.
- Eastpak The One shoulder bag, Grey Stitched with 30-year warranty (bargain of the year at £7.20 in an Urban Outfitters sale).
A bag which I use multiple times daily, so that I can keep all my dog’s walking supplies (and items like tissues) in one place, so that I don’t have to keep every jacket stocked with poo bags.