Let me be very frank with you this week. Our Arbiter of Taste (self-appointed) Jane Anderson has got a problem. (Well, she's got a lot of problems in fact, but I'm narrowing it down for us all).
She's going on holiday and hasn't got any clothes to take. She wants a "Capsule Holiday Wardrobe" as she gets easily overwhelmed by too much choice (and I'm sure we can all sympathise having been to that destination), so she thought she'd turn her troubles into a Blog, and resolve them there. Only the troubles escalated with the particularity of her requirements, and she has only managed to get a couple of Capsule Items before melting. (She has actually melted with shopping stress so I'm kinda taking over whilst she gathers herself. It's what sisters are for ;-)).
So...capsules. Capsules are, as all you fashionistas know, a small, neat collection of classic garments which can be mixed and matched with ease. Thus you can have a 'Spring Capsule Wardrobe' or maybe a 'Weekender Capsule', etc. And they are supposed to make your life easier so you can get on with living it and not worry about what to wear - like a pre-selected menu. In this Blog we, of course, wish to curate Jane's Holiday Capsule Wardrobe.
Jane's holiday is, she tells me, "divided into 3 parts, including a beach on a very hot Croatian island (Vis), a humid and probably wet national park (Plitwitzer), and capital city (Zargreb) all in ten days. 'And the funny thing is", she says, "I've got nothing to wear!"
I asked Jane which of her current clothes she could take with her. She looked hassled and said "Ancient crumpled skirts; a high neck black cotton lycra vest from a shop called Knickerbox, so old that the chain no longer exists; and everything else seems green or brown or both - in fact my partner calls them The Clothes of Bog." Years of experience (at being a sister) have taught me that the best thing to do during these conversations is pass no comment. So I didn't. And as you can see, I'm still passing none. Nothing at all. Schtumm.
Jane says she has 5 Basic Requirements:
1. key items must be interchangeable for any destination or occasion
2. everything has to be made of fairly natural fibres e.g.cotton
3. nothing should need to be ironed or washed or mind being squeezed into a Ruck Sack
4. one item must cover arms and chest "as I’m not keen on lathering on the sunscreen" http://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/sunscreen
5. and, and this is no easy task, everything must fit my longer than average body and flatter than average chest
Before melting, Jane had already found three rather lovely items; and here they are...
But she still needs:
Denim mini skirt; Denim jeans; a Bikini; a Sunhat; a cotton Tunic that covers arms and chest; a cotton Skirt; a mixture of patterned and plain gathered Tops and fitted Vests. And, naturally, everything has to work without a bra...
So, here is the Loose Capsule Holiday Wardrobe I suggest (with apologies in advance for the free, hippie slant this will have, as I am of course Chief Freedom Fighter here, and possess very little taste).
First up, here is an excellent denim skirt from Miss Selfridge which buttons trendily down the front, and is go-with-everything black and a classic.
Then, a wonderful Tori Praver black bikini with ruffles and a highish neck-line to hide and flatter the chest area, and a self-tie at the back so it doesn't have to be so tight it restricts your lymph.
Ta-dah! An amazing Korean-style waterproof/sunproof/possibly even jungle-proof (ye Gods!) sun hat for just over £6 - and it comes in cream too.
And now a top or tunic I'm actually obsessed with and have to include. It's long-sleeved, cotton and from Free People, called (wait for it and sorry for being a hippie) Moonphase Printed Mini. I know. Swoon! It will cover arms, has drawstring and pattern to chest, is totes dream city and plenty long enough.
Speaking of length...Long Tall Sally has just the long-line vests needed to layer under tops. Different colours to choose from and two for £19 as well.
Here's a beautiful skirt from ethical website Gather and See. It's called Desine skirt (£30 in the sale), is 100% cotton and has a colourful pattern to match most shades of top!
And here's a simple white cotton gathered Marc Jacobs top, currently in the sale at just under £100. (I know, but should last forever, has blouson effect to facilitate free and easy bra-free style, will fold up nicely into your back pack and... think of all you saved on the hat!).
Lastly, I want to pass on a closely guarded secret of my fashion world. Only cos you're stressed and you're my sis, y' know. Let me introduce you to the Most Flattering and Hardwearing Jeans I've Ever Worn. These are by Won Hundred (a Danish company) and come in an optional 34 length (just for you Daddy Long Legs!).
And there's The Loose Holiday Capsule for you. Done and dusted. Practically packed into your bag, along with a little bottle of lavender oil....y'know - for destressing :-)
PS: More tops for bra-free holidays at Shop The Tops (in case you didn't know!)
Bonnes Vacances xxx
Karen, Chief Freedom Fighter