Late Summer Capsule Wardrobe | How to choose your items and a quick formula

Late Summer Capsule Wardrobe | How to choose your items and a quick formula

It’s been a very busy summer, so I could not take part in the Style Bee Summer 10×10 challenge when it took place at the beginning of July. But you remember how much I enjoy these style challenges, building capsule wardrobes and pushing my wardrobe limits. I have already done 3 of them this year, starting with the official Spring 10×10 Style Bee challenge, plus two Me-Made-May ones (one and two). So I did not want the official summer time to end without trying to put together another 10 items capsule and have a play.

Unfortunately,  or maybe, fortunately, the ultra hot weather we’ve been having in the UK seems to have moved on now, as I really would have struggled to choose 10 high summer items that actually worked together. With an average around 20-21C, I think it will be more of a transitional capsule, that should see me well into autumn with a few small tweaks. I am also excited to show you a few new items that have not made it on the blog yet but also to dig out a few pieces that I haven’t worn in a while.

How does a 10×10 challenge work

In a nutshell, the rules for a 10×10 challenge are very simple: choose 10 items, style them into 10 outfits and wear them, and only them, over 10 days. You can choose whether to do an entire week or just workdays. You can also decide whether to include shoes, but accessories, like bags and scarves, do not count. Read more on the Style Bee blog.

For this challenge, I am going for weekdays only, as we are going camping over the bank holiday weekend and there was no way I could figure out how to include hiking and camping gear into my 10 items. I have chosen 10 pieces of clothing, with a 30-70% ratio between self-made and RTW items. I usually have a free reign in the shoe department, but this time I have selected two pairs only, although they are not included in my capsule per se.

How to choose the 10 items for your late summer capsule wardrobe

When putting together capsule wardrobes, I usually start with a central theme: a colour, a central piece, an event that will be taking place during my 10 days. Then I use a bit of a quick formula to figure out what type of items I will need to make the 10 outfits come together. I sometimes already have a few outfits that I love in mind and I try to recreate new ones with the constituent items.

The theme for this capsule was ‘GREY’. This is because I have two grey summer dresses that have yet to feature in one of my capsule projects and I wanted them to be at the heart of it. I gathered more grey items and added black and whites as my neutrals, and so I ended up with my 10 items.

In general, I try to choose more separates than dresses, as they are easier to mix and match. I usually go with a formula of:

  • 3 bottoms – skirts, trousers, culottes, shorts
  • 3 tops – blouses, tops, shirts, T-shirts, camisoles
  • 2 layering items – cardigan, jackets, blazers, vests, coats
  • 2 all in ones – dresses, jumpsuits
[ctt template=”1″ link=”aav86″ via=”no” ]What to challenge yourself with a 10 items capsule wardrobe? Check out ideas for pieces to choose and a quick formula that would allow for most combinations in this blog post from Alex at[/ctt]

This should allow for enough combinations to last for 10 days. For example, if you just take the tops & bottoms, that’s 3×3=9 outfits, as well as the all-in-ones plus layering options, that’s another 2×2=4 outfits. So there should be plenty of options to get you through the challenge. This time I switched one bottom for one all-in-one as I really wanted to include a jumpsuit along my two grey dresses.

Later summer 10 pieces capsule wardrobe: how to choose your items with a quick formula and ideas for a grey, black and white theme

Late summer capsule wardrobe – my 10 items

1| LACE AND JERSEY TOPBurda Style 02-2009 #114

I had almost forgotten about this top, as it lay buried in my summer wardrobe drawers. It’s a great wardrobe staple, a bit of an elevated black basic top.

2| SILK CAMISOLE – Just Patterns Kate bias top (yet unblogged)

Fresh off the sewing machine, this one and I’m IN LOVE! I already wore it loads in the summer heat, just loving the coolness of the silk against my skin.


A very long lasting top that gets an incredible amount of wears. I’ve had this since about 2010, and it’s showing a bit of wear, but no way I’m parting with it any time soon.

4| CROP WIDE LEG TROUSERS – RTW (refashioned by me)

Very old pair of RTW trousers that I got in a sample sale, but only realised they were for petites only when I got home. They were knocking about the house for the while until I thought to shorten them a few years ago and turn them into culottes. They got loads of wear since.

5| MIDI PLEATED SKIRTButterick 6556  in heavyweight crepe back satin

I think this skirt needs no introduction. I made it in May and wore it loads this summer. It already featured in my Me-Made-May capsule wardrobe, and I pretty much want to wear it with everything. I am looking forward to new ways to style it.

6| LINEN SHIFT DRESS – Self drafted

This is a very old self-drafted make, from about 2012 that never made it onto the blog. The fabric is from IKEA, believe it or not. I tend to reach out for it quite a lot in the summer, but this year the fact that is was fully lined made it less fun to wear it in the heat. That’s why I feel it deserves its own feature so it got included in this capsule.


This is the first version of my now TNT Vogue 9075 jumpsuit pattern. It’s recycled from an old wedding dress that I had ordered off eBay when I was making my own sustainable wedding dress. It turned out to be jersey, so not suitable for what I had in mind, but I found another use for it. Unfortunately, it did not get a lot of wear because the bottom part was really see through, so it always made me feel a bit indecent. I took it apart before the challenge and added some beige lining from a piece of jersey I had knocking about so now that bit is sorted. I can’t wait to wear it loads in what’s left of the summer!

8| ASYMMETRIC SHIRT DRESSSew Sew Def Katie shirt dress

This is one of my favourite makes. It was last year’s birthday dress and my entry in the Sew Together for Summer shirtdress competition. I don’t wear it very often as it wrinkles like mad and more often than not, I can’t be bothered to iron. But when I do, it makes me feel like a million bucks. 

9| DENIM BIKER JACKETWear Lemonade Mona Biker jacket

Another piece that has no need for introduction. My most worn item ever, it literally goes with anything. I think it passed the 30 wear test a few years ago and still going strong. It’s my go-to piece, along with my RTW denim jacket, from late spring to early autumn and it was a no-brainer to include it.


I’ve had this blazer so long, I can’t even remember when I got it. Must have been 2006 or so way back when in Romania. It’s still one of my favourite smart casual layering pieces and it goes great for both smart casual and casual. I was super happy that I could include it as another grey piece in this capsule.


11| SILVER TRAINERSMarks & Spencer 

I got these trainers earlier in the summer and I feel like I did not get out of them since. I wore them to work, for walking around at Silverstone and even for a bit of hiking in Finland. I love how comfortable they while being a bit dressier than regular trainers.

12| SUEDE KITTEN HEELS – Marks & Spencer

A great pair of every day low heels that are comfortable and dressy. 

So here we are, my 10 pieces to be styled into the 10 outfits. Keep an eye out on my Instagram feed for daily outfits this Monday to Friday and then again the following week. The reveal and conclusions on the blog to follow shortly.





  1. gilliancrafts
    20 August 2018 / 5:07 AM

    I think I may have broken out in hives when you said the theme is “grey” – UGH! NOOOOO! But of course it’s all going to lovely lovely and chic and elegant on you, and I should not judge based on my own horror of neutrals! Looking forward to heading how this capsule goes!

    • sewrendipityalex
      20 August 2018 / 7:33 PM

      Ha ha, I can see that! But grey is a colour too, right? I feel that if I put it next to black and white, it actually does feel like accents rather than a neutral. Hope you won’t be disappointed with my outfits.

  2. Donna
    20 August 2018 / 5:09 PM

    And, I said. “Yay to Grey!” A lovely neutral that goes well with so many colors or with black and white. As Gillian said, you will show us how elegant this capsule wardrobe will be.

    • sewrendipityalex
      20 August 2018 / 7:34 PM

      Thank you for the vote of confidence! I’m really looking forward to what you think on the 30th for the reveal :).

  3. 21 August 2018 / 12:21 PM

    Nicely done Alex, I really enjoy your capsule wardrobes and love the themed approach

    • sewrendipityalex
      30 August 2018 / 8:13 PM

      Thank you Sue! I do hope I’m not boring all my readers, this is the 4th one this year :).

  4. 30 August 2018 / 2:31 PM

    Thank you Alex, I find a capsule wardrobe deeply satisfying yet haven’t yet achieved one of my own! 🙂 I really like the simplicity of your formula, and it could easily be applied to another colour palette. Until I create my own capsule, I will live vicariously through you 🙂

    • sewrendipityalex
      30 August 2018 / 8:14 PM

      Thank you! I do hope you will find my approach useful when you do decide to go for it. BTW, it really is easier than you think, and very liberating!

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