Confession time: this was meant to just be my Autumn Capsule Wardrobe. But then, you know, mid-November(ish) rolled around, and suddenly, all that Pumpkin Spice I’ve been consuming religiously started to taste a little stale. Is it time for some citrus-and-spice, deck the halls with festive glory? Not just yet. But, if you’re craving something a little cozier than you were just a month ago, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to my Autumn/Winter capsule wardrobe.
Second confession time (no, I am not Catholic, SHOCK). This is not technically a ‘capsule’ wardrobe.
It seems like everyone — and I mean everyone — is doing a capsule wardrobe these days. Sometimes it means 12 items; sometimes it means 212. It’s become a catch-all phrase for ‘wardrobe,’ rather than the streamlined, specific-number-allowance item list it was intended to be.
For ease and clarity, I am using the word ‘capsule’ in this blog post. But what I really mean is mindful. No, this round-up is not all I have. No, it’s not all I’ll wear this Autumn/Winter. But what I have in this Autumn/Winter capsule wardrobe is the bulk of what I’ll be wearing (or similar) this season, whittled down to a cohesive collection of:
- Mix-and-match pieces
- Everything that fits my personal style, and
- Almost everything from sustainable brands
And if you’re still confused, don’t worry: a whole blog post about what I mean by Mindful Wardrobe, how I do it, and how this differs from a Capsule Wardrobe is coming soon. Until then, just assume it’s like a Capsule Wardrobe, but less strict, more fluid.
Recently, I’ve been paying more attention to what I like to wear: not what I think I’ll wear sometimes, but what I actually pull on to get dressed. And the answer? Jeans, a sweater, and boots. Every. Day. This outfit combination is the reason I love dressing for the cold seasons so much. It’s the reason I feel justified needing more sweaters than what’s on this list (I’ll put some other recommendations below). And it’s the reason that, sometimes, I feel like the most boring dresser alive. I’ve been wanting to branch out a bit with my style — which is why I included a couple of (somewhat) affordable but trendier pieces, like snakeskin ankle boots (I know what you’re thinking: how very un-capsule of me!).
But, hear me out: 1. Capsule does not mean boring and 2. I recently spoke to my fashion trend forecasting, stylist friend (Que Sera Sahra) and asked her about whether snakeskin will crumble into passé. “I bought my snakeskin boots 5 years ago,” she explained.
“This style isn’t going anywhere.”
What’s in my Autumn/Winter CapsuleWardrobe
Note: this does not include heavy winter gear (I live in San Francisco, after all), nor does it include loungewear / pajamas (which is my favorite category and deserves a capsule all on its own).
With a few key purchases over the past few months, my jeans selection is pretty much done (although still wistfully waiting for the perfect straight-leg, high-waist, stretch jeans. Sigh). These ones by Khaite* fit so well and are so comfortable — I sized down to a 27 (from my usual 28-29). I know what you’r thinking: white jeans on a WINTER capsule, what moon have I come from? But, as much more fashionable people than me can attest, dark sweater + white jeans + ankle boots – fear = winning combination for winter.
I consider anything that is silk and on my top half a ‘dressy top.’ I found this wrap one by L’Agence on Poshmark (I feel better about making a non-sustainable purchase when done this way — even though the top is 100% silk), but I also have this Sezane silk blouse*. I whip one of these babies and tuck into jeans for date night. (Tip for Sezane: I always size down to a size small).
GOLD EARRINGS* // GOLD RING*
If you saw my Autumn Wishlist post, you know I’m all about the chunky gold jewelry. I have not bought either of these items — yet — but they are on my wishlist/Christmas list. I’ll be doing a whole jewelry post soon!
Loafers are my go-to for San Francisco not-so-wintery weather. Yes, these Gucci loafers* linked here are expensive. Are they sustainable? No. Are they worth it? Yes. Because they are such good quality, and such a classic style, these are a decades-long investment. And the most sustainable practice of all is investing in high-quality, lifetime pieces. Because I also like having a brown pair, I’ve been eyeing up these croc leather loafers from Everlane* — you know I am all about the croc leather.
I have one word for you for your next winter knit: TRADLANDS. I could have featured almost every one of their knit pieces for my Autumn/Winter capsule wardrobe (like this Fisherman sweater* — I may get this later in the year). Well-made, sustainable, this company produces some of the best quality knitwear around. In fact, I am wearing the cardigan I featured above* right now. It’s part grandpa, part chic, and all cozy-snuggly-vibes. And considering San Francisco’s winter is essentially just extended Fall/Spring, it’s the perfect layering piece for the city.
I have been wanting a plaid blazer for quite some time, but I found it hard to find a sustainable one that 1. I liked 2. With a good cut. I had just about given up the search when this Everlane blazer was launched. I have just ordered it, so unsure about fit yet — reach out in the comments if you want to know about sizing!
Polène bags are some of the best mid-range bags on the market. They look so much more expensive than they cost, and they are truly wonderful quality. I haven’t bought this Numero Sept Mini one yet (I have the Numero Un Mini from earlier in the year), but considering I don’t have a black bag (insert the world’s smallest violin), this is on my shopping list.
I also recently used some store credit and bought a Loewe bag from Tradesy. Using pre-owned designer bag sites like Tradesy is one of the best ways to own designer (i.e. often unsustainably made) goods without causing more waste.
Disclaimer: I have more than just this one cozy sweater. In fact, I have a few: the Sezane Solan chunky knit*, the Finisterre Oates Jumper (GREAT quality for the price, and sustainable!), and a Doen sweater I purchased off Poshmark. And I want more (like the Luisa Sweater from Reformation*). You can never, ever go wrong with a cozy, chunky sweater. I will be living in these all winter long.
DRESSY WATERPROOF ANKLE BOOTS*
I had my eye on the Acne Jensen boots for years, but I also recognized that, in terms of keeping my wardrobe streamlined, I needed a dressier boot that was also waterproof. Aquatalia is great for that, and these were the only ankle boots I toted around in rainy London and Scotland.
PATTERNED ANKLE BOOTS*
As per intro above, I often feel my casual-meets-classic style can feel a little — bland. Sometimes, you just need something animal print. And as much as I’d love to just spend $30 on a fast-fashion dupe considering they’re so bold, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Enter in: my favorite boot ever, Everlane’s boss boot, in a snake print*. Hello, sweater and jeans made fun again. (I would also go for these Loq croc boots if I wasn’t trying to, you know, not spend all my money).
BLACK SKINNY JEANS*
Is there a capsule wardrobe alive that doesn’t include black skinnies? My favorite pair is from sustainable denim brand DL1961*, whom alongside AGOLDE and Re/Done make my favorite denim thus far. These ones are very skinny, almost legging like, but still sit solidly in the denim category. Tuck one of the chunky jumpers featured above into these high-waisted skinnies, and outfit complete.
As I’ve rambled about in almost every post, I am not a dress person. I find them hard to fit my frame, and I never know how to style them. No exception with sweater dresses, until this year, when I decided the sweater dress plus knee-high boot combo is the ultimate break-the-winter-rut outfit. In addition to the on above, my birthday outfit of choice was this black sweater dress by & Other Stories* (I wear a Medium). Not particularly eco-friendly, but made of 70% wool keeps you warm and will last longer than acrylic.
If you’ve been dying for the MaxMara cashmere camel coat* that costs as much as I’m worth, meet the Philou Coat by Rouje. It’s almost identical for a fraction of the price. (And yes, I may have been completely influenced by PrettyLittleFawn on this one). Be warned: I ordered my usual size 38, and it is huge. I wish I had gotten a 36. It’s very long on us short gals (5’5″ over here), so may not be for you if you’re very petite.
Okay, I lied: I did include loungewear here. But that’s because — if you are of the ‘work from home’ variety as I am — cashmere loungewear (that matches) is essentially my formal work suit. This set (top / pants) from Poetry is quite expensive, but it’s made from recycled cashmere, making it the most sustainable option you can find. (Disclaimer: I do not own this set, but I dream of it). My other favorites are from State Cashmere*, Naked Cashmere*, and NADAAM* (sustainable!).
The purchase I have yet to make, but will be for this upcoming winter for a trip to Tahoe (San Francisco doesn’t get cold enough to warrant something so furry). But if you read my Autumn Wishlist post, you know this is the item I’m most wanting from the Autumn/Winter capsule. My favorite ethical/sustainable choices are the Sezane Isae*, Reformation Barlow Coat* (when it comes back in stock!), and the Outerknown Woodland Sherpa Coat.* Which is your favorite?
I used to hate turtlenecks: the itchy, choke-hold feel around your neck, feeling like a Steve Jobs impersonator, the fact that your mother always insisted you wear one in the cold. Anyone feel me here? That is, until I realized they could have buttons on the shoulder* and look insanely chic.
KNEE HIGH BOOTS*
See description of sweater dress above. I plan on buying these Dear Frances knee-highs during the (hopeful!) Black Friday sales. Yes, they are expensive, but Dear Frances makes the kind of boots you never, ever say goodbye to. If you’re looking for a cheaper (and still sustainable) option, the Bastille by Matisse* are a nearly perfect dupe. And if you’re highly tempted by the Dear Frances and think an rocking image could nearly tip you over the edge — look no further than to PrettyLittleFawn.
This skirt by Reformation may seem summery, but paired with the turtleneck or cozy sweaters above (and some ankle boots), you have yourself a perfect Autumn outfit. You can see this in full action from this Pin (direct from my Autumn/Winter Capsule Wardrobe board). I bought mine off Poshmark, without knowing how it would fit, and the Size 8 is perfect. It’s longer on my 5’5″ frame than on the model, which is why it’s great for winter-time, but know that it hits lower than shown if you’re short.
*Links indicate affiliate links. This means, if you choose to purchase the product linked here, at no additional cost to you I will make a small commission. Considering this post took me close to 9 hours to put together, it is very, very appreciated. Thank you for supporting sustainable brands, and thank you for supporting this blog!
What’s on your Autumn/Winter capsule wardrobe list? Anything you think I missed here? And, as always, any additional items you can recommend, please let me know!
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