How to style a grey-based capsule wardrobe | Late Summer 10×10 Challenge Outfits

How to style a grey-based capsule wardrobe | Late Summer 10×10 Challenge Outfits

Yes, I know you have your doubts, but grey is a colour too and in the right combination, it can actually become an accent colour in itself, not just a neutral. Ta dah, I am finally back with my grey-based capsule wardrobe ideas for your viewing pleasure.

I know that’s pretty unusual in the sewing community, but you might have realised by now that I have very unusual tastes when it comes to colours. I like a lot of black and white and reds, navies and now grey. And I really like pushing myself to create outfits within the confines of themes.

Usually, when doing capsules (this is my 4th this year), the difficulty is making pieces work together, especially if you have prints or loads of colours. For this one, I had the opposite problem. How can I make things look interesting with just three colours to work with and all three neutrals to boot. I did get a bit of help from my trusty red accessories (scarf and earrings), but I also made things harder by only using two pairs of shoes, black and silver.

I am looking forward to showing you what I ended up with and of course,  to hear what you think.


Grey-based capsule wardrobe rules

I will quickly remind you of the rules I set for myself for this exercise (and you can read more in the post where I unveiled the items I chose).

  • This is a capsule for work – I work in an office in Central London with quite a casual vibe, so no need to wear suits & shirts. People pretty much dress however they want, but I like to keep it a bit smart, but with a bit of a quirk, for when I run into those sleek designer types. It’s perfectly acceptable to wear trainers at work, even outside casual Friday.
  • I only wore my items Monday-Friday, for two weeks
  • The weather definitely turned colder, and it rained quite hard for a few of the days
  • I chose 10 items, out of which 7 were me-made and 3 were very old well loved RTW (and one of which was refashioned by me), plus 2 pairs of shoes (a pair of trainers and a pair of low kitten heels)
  • I only wore these items outside of the house for the 10 work days. I was camping the weekend in between, so it was not practical to do it over the weekend.
  • I could wear any accessories (jewellery, scarves and bags) I wanted.

Daily outfits

Day 1

I’m wearing: Black twill denim biker jacket ( Pattern: Mona from Make My Lemonade – my review here); high-low shirt dress (Pattern: Katie dress from Sew Sew Def Magazine – my review here); kitten heel suede shoes (Marks & Spencer, similar *here)

Thoughts: One of my favourite dresses, that definitely does not get enough wear. I think that’s because of the long bell sleeves, which make a great feature of the dress, but also make it difficult to wear. The fabric wrinkles like crazy, so as soon as I put the jacket on, that was it, I could not take it off as they were a mess. Still, I think a waist-long jacket works really well. This is the first time I wore this dress with these shoes (they were the only dressier ones I allowed myself for the challenge) and it was ok, but I prefer the beige/gold ones I usually wear it with.

Day 2

I’m wearing: White jersey jumpsuit (pattern Vogue 9075, my review here) black twill jacket (see above), skinny patent belt (Marks & Spencer, similar *here), kkitten heel suede shoes (Marks & Spencer, similar *here), earrings (Marks & Spencer, similar *here).

Thoughts: I made this jumpsuit with fabric from an old wedding dress for my 10 years Uni reunion in 2015 and hardly wore it since because it was very see-through (especially in the bum area). But I really wanted to include it in this challenge, so I used some beige fabric I had in my stash and lined the trouser part. It’s not perfect and I am so happy to be able to wear it again. I usually style it with red accessories (earrings, belt and shoes), but I quite like the black version as well. Will definitely wear this again, although the bathroom breaks are excruciating!

Day 3

I’m wearing: RTW stripped jersey top (very old), midi pleated skirt (Pattern: hack of Butterick 6556 – my review here); trainers *Marks & Spencer; earrings: V&A; necklace old

Thoughts: Sorry, still not bored of this skirt. It is really becoming my wardrobe staple, and I love styling it both smart and casual. I just did not fancy wearing heels three days in a row, so I wore my sparkly trainers instead. I love the stripey top with the pleated skirt and the touch of colour. I added my big red scarf and the biker jacket to keep the morning chill at bay. Very comfy and fun!

Day 4

I’m wearing: Grey jacket (old RTW), lace and jersey top (Burda Style 02/2009, my review here), RTW culottes, kitten heel suede shoes (Marks & Spencer, similar *here), M&S earrings (see above).

Thoughts:  Quite a simple outfit, but I really like the way the black canvas showcases the grey jacket. It’s not very obvious from the pictures, but there is  a bit of a sparkly metallic thread in the fabric of the jacket. I quite like it, thought it’s a same you can’t see the sleeves of the blouse, they are quite funky (see link above).

Day 5

I’m wearing: Denim twill biker jacket, scarf (old), RTW jersey top, RTW culottes, M&S trainers (see above), V&A earrings.

Thoughts: A casual Friday outfit, nothing too special, but it does the job of being fairly quirky and comfortable. Fun fact: that scarf is the last item I bought before I started my RTW fast in 2015. I used to have a fringe, but I turned it into an infinity scarf.

Day 6

I’m wearing: Biker jacket, linen shift dress (self-drafted, not blogged), M&S earrings (see above), kitten heel suede shoes (Marks & Spencer, similar *here).

Thoughts: I love this dress, though it never actually made it on the blog. I made it on a whim in 2012 as a sort of toile, but I ended up wearing it loads since. It’s made with a fabric remnant from Ikea, it’s a sort of linen or linen-like, so quite nice to wear in the summer. Only downside, it really wrinkles. Solid effort.

Day 7

I’m wearing: white silk cami white silk camisole (Pattern: Just Patterns Kate top – my review here), midi pleated skirt (Pattern: hack of Butterick 6556 – my review here), kitten heel suede shoes (Marks & Spencer, similar *here), V&A earrings.

Thoughts: Heart eyes! I basically made this cami for this look. I so love the midi skirt with a spaghetti strap cami, perfect match. Of course, I got myself covered with the biker jacket and added the red scarf as well, as it was starting to get cold.

Day 8

I’m wearing: Grey jacket (old RTW), white silk camisole (Pattern: Just Patterns Kate top – my review here), old RTW culottes (refashioned by me), kitten heel shoes (see above), V&A earrings.

Thoughts: Another fast favourite this year, this silk cami was a life saver during the hot summer. But it really does need a cover-up for the office and this well-beloved jacket that I had for over 10 years fits the bill perfectly. The trousers I got in a sample sale ages ago and only realised they were a petite size when I got home. So instead of taking them to the charity shop, I shortened them into culottes a few years ago and have been wearing them almost weekly since. I especially love their pairing with the kitten heels. Put together, yet comfortable.

Day 9

I’m wearing: Grey jacket (old RTW), White jersey jumpsuit (pattern Vogue 9075, my review here), trainers *Marks & Spencer; metallic obi belt (old RTW).

Thoughts: As I was getting towards the end of the challenge, I had to get a bit more creative. I just did not want to wear heels anymore towards the end of the week, so I was trying to figure out how to get my trainers into an outfit that would not be too casual. So, the metallic belt + the sparkles in the jacket seemed to bring the whole white +metal look together really nicely. Only downside: it takes about 10 minutes to get out of it for bathroom break, as the obi belt is more complicated than the skinny one from previous attempts.

Day 10

I’m wearing: Grey jacket (old RTW), midi pleated skirt (Pattern: hack of Butterick 6556 – my review here), (Burda Style 02/2009, my review here), trainers *Marks & Spencer; metallic obi belt (old RTW).

Thoughts:  I had a different outfit planned for the last day of the challenge, but I liked the metallic combo so much that I decided to replicate it on a black canvas this time. I had a meeting at the London College of Fashion on that day, so I felt I need to up my fashion game. You can imagine my delight when one of the lecturers complimented me on my outfit! I had a few errands to run afterwards, so it was great running around in flats rather then heels. Win-Win!

Ideas an inspiration on how to style a 10 items capsule wardrobe based on the colour grey. 10 items into 10 outfits for work and play.

Final thoughts

This is my 4th capsule in 5 months and I am still loving the idea. I hope you are still excited to see what I get up to with my outfit planning too. It’s such a great way to reduce the stress of getting dressed in the morning!

However, I have to admit it’s really hard and time-consuming to document it all. So why don’t you just do it anyway without the blogging part, you might ask? I actually feel that blogging and Instagramming my outfits keeps me accountable. For the first time, I shot the outfits before I started the challenge, which was good to have pictures for IG. However, I decided not to wear two on the original combinations and replaced them with those from Day 9 and 10 (which I had to shoot again afterwards).

Overall, I am very pleased with this exercise. I updated one item (the jumpsuit) which was languishing in my wardrobe unloved and now it’s back in rotation. I fell in love again with the black lace top that I had forgotten about, and I made the silk cami that I know I will love for a very long time. I think the confines of a theme or colour make me dig deep into my wardrobe to find pieces that will go together and pull out things I might have overlooked or forgotten about. I also like that including pieces I LOVE like my trainers and the pleated skirt make me think out of the box about how to style outfits around them and I get even more creative. I would not have thought of pairing the jumpsuit with the grey jacket and belt had I not tried to figure out how to add the trainers to a dressier outfit.

MY TOP PICKS:

As much as I LOVE my pleated skirt + silk cami combo, the winners this time are the Light Metal  (day 9) and Dark Metal (Day 10) combos. I hope to get a few more days of summer to wear them before I’m switching to boots.

Thank you for making it so so far.

SO, DID I CONVINCE YOU THAT GREY CAN BE A COLOUR TOO? WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVOURITE OUTFIT? PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK IN THE COMMENTS.

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10 Comments

  1. 2 September 2018 / 6:15 PM

    I always love to see your 10 X 10 capsule wardrobe posts Alex! They inspire me. What you do with accessories is to the moon! I’m a hat and scarf fan – a girl just isn’t dressed without them 🙂 Belts I wear only for functionality and they hide under an overblouse. I don’t see any reason to emphasize my 0 bust, waist, hip ratio at 63 🙂 but on you they always look fabulous and you do rock some beauties! Your white jumpsuit and silver belt, your black skirt and runners were my 2 favourites for sure. Love your biker jacket too though – can’t leave that out! You suit gray. Your colouring is so lush in contrast to the gray 🙂

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      2 September 2018 / 7:22 PM

      Thank you, Kathleen! I do need more hats in my life, I need to look into that this autumn! I’m glad you agree, I too love those outfits. And the biker jacket is my fav. My sister said to me the last time I was in Denmark that it’s the only item I made that she’s seen and looks like it’s from the shops (I think it’s a backhanded compliment, but she meant well, bless her 🙂 ).

  2. 2 September 2018 / 6:46 PM

    Really love this capsule – your best yet! Perhaps it is because I have so many grey items in my wardrobe that I find this so inspiring although I often team them with blue. I really like the idea of adding some metallic accessories to the mix; can see why days 9 and 10 were your faves.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      2 September 2018 / 7:26 PM

      Thank you! It really was easier than I thought it would be. Yes, grey and blue is a combination I should definitely try it out too.

  3. gilliancrafts
    2 September 2018 / 11:41 PM

    I really appreciate that you take the time to share photos of your outfits – helps me envision the whole thing much better than just a flat-lay, for example!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 September 2018 / 9:46 PM

      Thank you! It’s really time consuming, but I love it when other people do it, so I hope it’s useful. Was it as bad a you feared :)?

  4. 3 September 2018 / 2:28 PM

    I love grey so I’m already a fan. Love your capsule and resulting looks. I’m going with 10 as my fave I think.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 September 2018 / 9:47 PM

      Thank you, I do love that one too! I would love to see you try one of those, your taste is so stylish!

      • 7 September 2018 / 2:45 PM

        You mean a 10×10? Ooh sounds like a challenge….maybe I will sometime. You’ve got me thinking now.

  5. 12 September 2018 / 9:03 PM

    I love your capsule and all your outfits!

    I only did the 10×10 once and i really struggled with incorporating the weekends so if I was to do it again I would definitely do it on 2 work weeks like you did!

So, what do you think?

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