How to take a capsule wardrobe from casual to evening

Editor’s note: A big, big reward about writing and publishing this blog is that I get to follow readers’ style journeys. Jo has blogged here before about not being invisible after turning 50. She’s back with us today proving once again that style does not come with a use-by-date. It’s a personal thing. It’s about working with your personality and lifestyle to create a wardrobe that makes you feel fabulous.

Are you like me and frequently look in your {rather too-stuffed-full} wardrobe before deciding that you have absolutely nothing to wear?

Yes? Maybe? Rather not tell?

It does take a lot of courage to pare down a wardrobe to the bare essentials, and as generous as I like to think I am, I’m afraid that Salvos is not the recipient of Jo’s garments as frequently as they should be.

ZigaZag

Night or day, what do you reckon?

Yip, I’m a hoarder. And worse still, I like looking at the clothes in my wardrobe and gently stroking them saying: “Your day will come my lovelies, but not today. Nope, today’s not quite good enough for you.”

Stupid, I know. And then they go out of fashion, or I put on weight, or I just fall out of love with them because I’ve looked at them so much.

So when Airflex* contacted me to suggest putting together an outfit from casual to evening, using the same shoes and a handbag with different clothes, I decided that a challenge was good and that I would take it one step further and create a minimal, skeleton wardrobe that would take me from day to night in various situations.

OK, I didn’t chuck out much.

But I did re-organise!

And much of that subsequent know-how is due to Nikki’s style tips and encouragement not to let your look become dated. Thank you Nikki.

Anyway, in stepped W. Lane, with some clothes*. W. Lane used to be Wombat, and it’s a clothing store which perfectly suits my age demographic – mid life, not too tank-top-teen but not too grumpy-granny either – nope, exactly spot on for a 50-something who likes to look fashionable but without any pain, ahem, like lying on the floor to do up zips for instance. Neither do they deal in droopy hip hugging waistbands {over which my perfect caesarean pouch tends to none-too-neatly sag}.

So here’s what I came up with. I hope, dear Styling You readers, that you won’t laugh {too much} and that some of this I did get right.

Jo Castro, ZigaZag

I decided to work a lot of items around this W. Lane, peach, rose print dress which is perfect for a West Australian summer.

For day time I teamed it on the left with Airflex shoes – Sequel wedges in taupe; a scarf my sister bought me in the UK; beads from a friend in South Africa; and a hibiscus, linen-tab sleeve jacket from W. Lane.

For the night, on the right, I ditched the sensible trotters and put on some tarty toe-peeping sandals, added a Charade platinum/gold bag from Airflex and a peach shirt that has a lovely sheen. Around my neck is an heirloom necklace my hubby gave me B.C. when he was still trying to win my favours.

Jo Castro, ZigaZag

A dress like this can also be worn with higher wedge shoes, which meant my lovely watermelon wedges found their place, and a larger day bag {into which I can fit my blogging paraphernalia}. I particularly like the length of the sleeves on the W. Lane jacket because they hide my upper arms, but being linen and lightweight the jacket’s not too hot to wear as a sun cover up in the daytime, and it’s just right to slip on in an air-conditioned restaurant. The scarf adds a touch of colour, and hides a decolletage in a more formal situation.

Jo Castro, ZigaZag

In these pictures I’ve put on some old comfy walking sandals and my leather bag which contains my iPad, and heaps of other handbaggy-blogging-type stuff. I’ve added some cheapo beads from Bali around my neck, and the same peach shirt as a cover-up. The dress looks a bit dressed down, but perfect for everyday wear. The platinum/gold bag and the taupe wedges make it look more jaunty and formal in the right-hand pictures, don’t you think? In the middle picture are just some of the summer colours at W. Lane.

Jo Castro, ZigaZag

But that’s not all. I do love versatile clothes. At the back of my cupboard I found this green, tassly scarf with tiny beads and sequins, which I adore, but hardly ever wear. Lo and behold it perfectly matches the green in this dress, and makes a lovely shawl if I want to dress up the look for night time. The Bali beads also seem to match in well. Back to day wear on the right and it’s teemed with a useful green rucksack that I bought at a market in Albany.

Jo Castro, ZigaZag

And now for something completely different. Three different looks with one pair of indigo cut-offs and a navy, striped tank as the basics. I think the left is definitely day wear, the right night time and the middle could serve both day and night. The long droopy earrings go from day to night perfectly.

Jo Castro, ZigaZag

Still keeping to the theme of miniscule wardrobe, I’ve teamed the tank top with some gorgeous coral pyramid cut off pants {should I tell you, these are pull on, and so so comfortable?} I think they look good for day, on the left and for night, on the right with that hibiscus jacket again. Note the same shoes have been brought out again, but Airflex also do these slinky heels which I reckon would look nice with this look for night time. My daughter told me that dingle-dangle accoutrements down your back are on trend, so she tried this look out with one of her long necklaces for a night time look. What do you think?

Airflex, Jo Castro, ZigaZag

Some mid-season Airflex styles in shops soon.

How does your wardrobe work from day to night? Can you adapt what an outfit you’re already wearing or do you start from scratch?

* In accordance with my disclaimer policy Jo was gifted some items by Airflex and W. Lane for editorial consideration. Other items are from her own wardrobe.

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Jo Castro is a freelance writer from Western Australia. Her Travel and Lifestyle Blog, “ZigaZag“, encourages people to ‘live for the moment, love adventure and do something awesome.’ As a fifty something mother with two grown up children she refuses to let her style become old or dated and will not wear purple, just yet.

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  • Life Images by Jill

    Wow Jo you really have shown us how to go from casual to formal to night with just a few small changes. I wish my wardrobe was so versatile – it certainly isn’t – and I envy women who can do this with a few basic pieces and different accessories for completely different looks. I think I am a bit like you, hanging onto things I might wear again, or worse still, I might fit into again, one day….. They say a change is as good as a holiday, and with these clothes you could be on holidays!

    • Johanna at Zigazag

      Hanging onto things that might fit ‘one day’ is one of my vices, too Jill! Truth is, if we threw those items out, we’d probably never miss them and we’d be done with the guilt associated with them too! Thanks for popping by today :)

  • Paula

    Hello Jo from a fellow West Australian :) you look lovely!

    • Johanna

      Hello Paula! And thank you x Nice to meet you over here in QLD! Let’s meet up in WA. Where are you?

  • Kathryn

    Wow Jo, you look great in these outfits! The dress looks great on you, in all its iterations. It looks great for any occasion. But I especially love you in the tank top and cut off pants. Suits you so very well!

    I know exactly what you mean about adoring the clothes in your wardrobe without ever actually wearing them. And then handing them on with tags still attached. Sigh. A habit I’m really trying to ditch though!

    To go from day to night? If I’m going out from work, which is sometimes the case, I’ll just take my jacket/cardi off and maybe add funkier earrings and beads and refresh my make-up.

    • Johanna at Zigazag

      Hi Kathryn, I’m glad that you relate to adoring the clothes in your wardrobe without ever actually wearing them! I’m not alone then :) I laughed about you heading out with the tags still attached – been there done that too :) Like your day to night tips too, and thank you so much for your lovely comments.

  • http://www.redlandcityliving.com/ Janet from Redland City Living

    Lovely Jo – that dress is a winner – I think it could be an Everywhere Dress, something I posted about on my blog not long ago! I do love it with the splash of green for something different, as well as with the coral, watermelon and nude accessories. Might just have to go shopping at W Lane myself …

    • Johanna at Zigazag

      Thanks, Janet! Yes, that dress is definitely one for all reasons and seasons (except probably deepest darkest winter), and everyone should have a dress of similar easy-going ilk. I hope you have some happy shopping at W Lane one of these days too :)

  • Lisa mckenzie

    Great post Jo,I am not yet in my 50s but heading there fast .You are a great example of how a woman should look,chic and not granny like and not like your are wearing your daughters clothes,I think all your looks are lovely especially the dress ,but I am a dress lover so I may be a bit biased!
    I usually start from scratch ,but I can change the look if I have to,just add wedges and different jewellery and maybe a jacket and I am good to go.I have culled my wardrobe quite a bit since Nikki’s style challenge and have got rid of things I am not going to wear and am happy with what is left,at least there is things in my wardrobe I WILL wear and I hate the trying on and discarding that takes way too long.

    • Johanna at Zigazag

      Hey Lisa, thanks for your lovely comments. I * so * know what you mean about the time it takes to ‘try on and discard’ when you’re getting ready to go out ;) It’s such a time waster. I can imagine how much more streamlined your decisions are after following Nikki’s style challenge – well done you!

  • http://www.redcliffestyle.com/ Rachel from Redcliffe Style

    My wardrobe makes it easy to go from day to night if necessary. I would prefer to start all over but I don’t have to if pushed for time. Great post!

    • Johanna at Zigazag

      Thanks Rachel :) I think you’re a very stylish lady and I’m sure you have a lot of cool ‘tricks’ to take your clothes from day to night.

  • http://www.mdkaos.blogspot.com/ Mummaducka

    I tend to shower and start again, with night time clothes, perfume and makeup. But my shoes and bags might do double duty sometimes.

    • Johanna at Zigazag

      Hi Mummaducka, yes it’s always nice to have time to do the whole glam, re-do for night time isn’t it – makes you feel sort of freshly pressed ;) Shoes and bags that can work hard for themselves are such good investments I think.