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Operation Capsule Wardrobe

You may or may not know that I'm currently a university student studying for a degree in French and German. I've just finished my second year, which means next year is my long-anticipated year abroad! From September 1st I will be attending the Université Lumière Lyon 2, and then later in the year Universität Wien (University of Vienna.) I'm super excited/nervous and there are so many things still to be sorted out, but one in particular is occupying my thoughts, and that is what clothes am I going to take with me!
I can never take my whole wardrobe to uni as it is, it's just not logistically possible to cart everything down to London and back each term, and I'm going to be even more limited when living abroad. Therefore, I've accepted that I'm going to have to curate a, perish the thought, capsule wardrobe. I've never been into the idea of a capsule wardrobe. Sure it might work for other people, but my tastes are too eclectic, and I like shopping too much, to streamline my wardrobe down to just a few "key" pieces. I'm going to have to get over myself though, and get on with creating my own.
Of course this is not a task to take lightly, and I am approaching it with my planning head on:

So, firstly, the main idea of a capsule wardrobe is that everything complements everything else, so everything can be combined to make numerous different outfits from a limited number of individual pieces. Therefore I've decided that, because I'm going to Lyon for winter, and so I can include items from my existing wardrobe, I'm going to stick to a colour palette of black, white and grey.

This isn't a strong enough direction on it's own though, I need a trend or theme to work off too.
I've decided that for winter I'm going to try and channel a grungy, gothic 90s kind of vibe. I've been slowly adding grungier elements to my wardrobe, like black maxi skirts and Doc Martens and I've started to really like the aesthetic.

I watched the 1996 film The Craft for the first time last week, and it's great for grunge clothing inspiration.
The Craft screenshot grunge style clothing fashion
The Craft screenshot grunge style clothing fashion
The Craft screenshot grunge style clothing fashion
The Craft screenshot grunge style clothing fashion
I like the maxi lengths, oversized jumpers, over-knee socks, crop tops, the 90s skater-dress shape and gothic jewellery.

Of course I'm not going to completely rip the whole grunge look straight out of the 90s. It's about modernising the look and adding elements that complement my existing wardrobe.

I love how Hannah Clayton has modernised the grunge look using unexpected fabrics and dying techniques.
Hannah Clayton Hannah Sea grunge graduate collection
Go and read the post about her work on Style Bubble for a more comprehensive look at her wonderful graduate collection.

Alexander Wang's Autumn/Winter '10 collection has a 90s gothic vibe too. I love all of the velvet. I'm a big velvet fan, in fact my very first post was about velvet. (Yikes, that's from 2007!)
Alexander Wang Fall Autumn Winter 2010 collection velvet
I think some form of velvet dress is definitely going to find its way into the year-abroad wardrobe. And a pop of blood red colour too maybe.

This is all a bit of a word vomit/ramblings falling straight out of my brain post. There'll be a lot more "grunge" posts to come over the summer as I try to work out how to pair down the aethetic, mix it in with my existing wardrobe to complement my style, and come up with a "complete" wardrobe that fits inside one (large) suitcase! Eep!

Film screenshots were taken by myself, other images from Stylebubble.co.uk and Style.com

EDIT: Sarah at Silence Sweetheart has done a great post comparing the new Alexander Wang resort collection to 90s films.

13 comments

  1. Hi! I am going on my uni year abroad in Sept/Oct too! (to Wuerzburg,Germany). I am definitely having a dilemma in terms of what clothes to take. So glad I read this post, a capsule wardrobe seems to be the way forward! (Although I fill a suitcase when I go on holiday for just a week, let alone a whole term/year.)

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  2. You can't go wrong with a bit of 90s grunge! Don't forget the round shades and dark plaid shirt-perfect for every weather!

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  3. capsule wardrobe reminds me of Gok Wan...
    Am very jealous of your year abroad!! Not so much about not having a huge wardrobe at my constant beck and call....

    xx

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  4. congrats dear!
    I do think you should incorporate some colors too:)

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  5. i need velvet in my life tooo
    x x x

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  6. Ooooh The Craft! SUCH a good film!

    It's funny how trends kind of sneak up on you - I've never really been a big fan of 90s fashion, in fact I'm pretty sure I've previously said that I thought the 90s was the worst-dressed decade, but all of a sudden I'm really loving maxi skirts & dresses, Doc Martens and anything slouchy and oversized, DAMN YOU FASHION! xxx

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  7. Ah I'm totally digging the fact you've got The Craft as a current inspiration. Being selective with clothing is definitely the hardest thing when it comes to packing. I would suggest instead of going for boring old staples choose items which are multi-functional, oh and obviously a few statement items so you can still feel sparkly and awesome.

    Cheers for the mention btw, I appreciate that you liked my post, I just wrote another nineties-inspired post today (it's in the air!) which might be of interest if you're looking for more nineties inspiration!

    Sarah

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  8. The Craft is a great movie. Well, it is quite poor... But that is half the attraction!

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  9. thanks for your comment! :) cool blog! x

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  10. Oooh this new direction sounds fab, I tried and failed to bring a capsule wardrobe to New York though I guess the shopping my be slightly different where you are. I think a few accent colours would be great to add, like red, green or navy and you might find that your style changes/develops gradually while you're there. Can't wait to see how.

    Kb from I Want You To Know
    xx

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  11. Aaaah The Craft! I loved that film - I totally wanted to be a witch after seeing it (for about 5 mins, then realised this was a bit silly). Just found your blog - you've got such a fresh sense of style! I like how you've chosen a colour palette for your wardrobe and now the grunge theme alongside.

    Also you're going to STUDY IN VIENNA! I'm epically jealous!! Vienna is so, so beautiful: have a wonderful time there :-)

    Siobhan

    listerinekiss.blogspot.com

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  12. I love the movie The Craft. My friend and I used to watch it all of the time. I used to like to act like Nancy in the scene where she thinks she's flying.

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