Autumn Skeleton Wardrobe

It's nearly the end of Autumn, so before we descend into the winter chill and start pulling out coats and boots, I thought I would share my skeleton wardrobe (ie, all the clothes I possess) for that awkward shoulder season, where it is a little chilly, and you need layers, but not coats. Again, I don't have many individual pieces of clothing, but they cover all my stay-at-home mum needs, and make quite a lot of different outfits. My rule for buying clothes is always buy the first (and mostly the second) piece in a neutral, then your whole wardrobe always goes together. Eventually, by the third or fourth piece, I sometimes add colour, but clearly, not always.

First of all, the basic layer, long sleeve tops (well, actually, the first layer, here in Tasmania, is the singlets, shown here in the summer wardrobe, but I haven't shown them, because in winter, you don't ever see them, so they count as underwear). These tops go with every other piece I own. I wear the blacks with the skirts. The top on the right is more 'dressy', ruched and a bit fitted, with a lovely draped neck.

And the pants. There are four pairs, and yes, you can count, I'm wearing one pair. Last year I only had two pairs, a boot cut, and a skinny jean, but then the lovely Lucinda gifted me with two pairs, and doubled my pants collection. Even better, one of them is a soft black moleskin pair, so that gives me a whole different look. So exciting!

The two rib knit turtlenecks I wear with all the pants, and often with my snuggy padded vest, which hardly makes me feels like I am going snipe shooting at all...

I do have a number of cardigans, because a Tasmanian autumn is all about layers. Very chilly mornings and evenings, sunny afternoons. Yes, it is divine, and you should all move here right away.

Look! A colour that is not black! The cardi on the right is my favourite of all time: merino with pearl buttons. It must be about ten years old, and has a number of darns. At my grandpa's funeral recently, my brother, who was standing behind me, informed me that what I fondly believed to be invisible darning, actually isn't. Thanks hon! I need a new one.. but where is there another perfect black cardigan? The stripey sweater in the middle is a recent experiment. I am not keen on sweaters, but this is a thin one, and has so far been acceptable.

And look.. more cardies. My thoughts are that a cardigan can change the whole look of what you are wearing, and if you swap a couple of scarves around as well, you look like you have a lot more outfits than is actually the case. The black one is quite long, with a dippy-down front (technical term). I wear it with canvas sneakers for casual, or high heel ankle boots and a silk scarf for formal. The other cardi is a thicker, moss stitched number, which looks especially yummy with red shoes and my one red necklace.

Three jackets. The one on the left is a light linen, that I also wear in summer, and it goes with everything, including the skirts. The denim I only wear with the skirts, to avoid that awkward double denim thing.. and the middle jacket is a heavier drill that I wear all winter.

Here are the scarves that I wear with nearly everything. There is also a lighter grey, which is featured in the summer wardrobe... I think it may be in the washing basket..

Two posh frocks, from summer. I wear them all year round, with the lovely black cardigan in winter, and sometimes a pashmina as well with the dark green. Because really, I have never been to a very formal event in winter that isn't indoors and heated.

And shoes.. what can say? They are shoes..

But, oops, I just realised I forgot the skirts. I distinctly remember getting them out of the wardrobe and photographing them... but I must have deleted that one... Well, if you want to see the skirts, there are two, in the summer wardrobe, and in autumn I wear them with black footless tights and ballet flats.

Again, I have a pair of trackpants and tops for, you know running walking reasonably fast in (inflexible clothing rule - trackpants are only for exercising in. Or, at a stretch, picking up milk from the corner shop on the way to, or on the way home from, exercising. No other public outing of trackpants will be permitted). So excluding trackpants and pyjamas, and including shoes, scarves and tights, I have 34 pieces of clothing for autumn.

Things I would maybe add one day if they magically present themselves to my attention within about five minutes of walking into a shop - a classic trench coat. A white linen shirt. A thin charcoal V-neck sweater. Some formal black pants. One day they will come. Until then, I will get by with what I have.

Are there any autumn classics that you love that I don't have? What are your super versatile pieces that you can't live without?


That looks like a simple and practical wardrobe that covers all bases. Trying to pare mine back too thinking of the 80:20 pareto principle. PS I like your red shoes! PPS What size are you re the more formal black pants? I may have work pair almost new but not suited to the season I find myself (ie school run/hausfrau/chook wrangler/park visitor etc)....
Judy said…
I agree that it is so much easier having neutral colours that match with everything.

I live in denim, but have been planning to ditch the denim after reading an article last year. It basically said that manmade fibres, like the lightweight walking trousers, can out-last denim many times over, which saves on resources and money in the longterm. Not only that, because manmade fibres are lightweight it reduces the transport costs of shipping the material around the world to get sewn in one country, dyed in another and packaged somewhere else (it makes no sense but is common practice apparently).

In addition the biggest energy consumption for clothes is the washing and drying process. Lightweight clothes take up less space in the washing machine, and hold less water, meaning that the manmade materials can dry superfast, whereas heavy jeans take ages.

If all that isn't enough, denim is apparently known as 'death cotton' in survivalist circles. This is because wet cotton doesn't keep you warm, whereas some materials like wool, will keep the wamth in even when soaking wet.

I'm going to miss my jeans though :(
Jo said…
Hi Michelle, thanks for your lovely offer. I'm hearing you on your current lifestyle - very similar to mine. I imagine I wouldn't wear the black pants that often, but on the odd occasion, it's good to have the option! I'm an awkward size between AU 8-10, we'll say 10 to be on the safe side!
Judy, i am such a jeans person, wear them every day, but you are right, there are lots of environmental issues, and they wear so quickly. Once they get that light patch around the knees you can't really wear them for 'formal' any more. I go to the same shop and buy the same two pairs in the same sale every year, which is so wonderfully easy, but I would like to explore some other options. Corduroy?
I borrow a pair of my daughter's microfibre hiking pants when we go camping, and they are a good weight, and both warm and cool, but are they available in proper pants styles?
Maybe elegant wool slacks? Then I would need a twinset and pearls... you see, it gets so difficult once I leave my pants comfort zone! I need help!
Anonymous said…
Jo, I feel the same sense of awe and anxiety looking at your autumn wardrobe as I did looking at your summer. Awe at how organised, how coordinated you are and awe at even getting clothes down to this level. My anxiety is that I don't think it is even possible for me: what about different moods, different occasions, need for different colours.

Thank you for the kind words. I think I might be able to answer your trench coat and white linen shirt desire. Not that I buy friendship or anything!

Your blogging friends seem to be stepping up so you can avoid the shops! More time to read and garden!
Jo said…
Oooh, goody, I love my blogging friends! I am also in awe of people who can shop and dress well, and who do colour with style and panache. My wardrobe is what it is in sheer self defence! That being said, for years I had many clothes, bought in desperation, and rarely worn, cluttering up my wardrobe. I feel much better that they are gone, and I never really have the sense that I am just 'getting by'. There is always something to wear each day that looks nice, if a bit samey sometimes. Also, not working means no one judging my wardrobe on a daily basis!
Heather said…
I wish I was preparing for Autumn. When it starts to get cooler here, I love pulling out my cardigans and sweaters. I live in some sort of jeans every single season. Right now, I'm looking at my skirts, shorts, and tank tops in dismay. Summer is coming where I am, and I feel more comfortable covering myself up than showing off what I've got.
Jo said…
I do love autumn, and snuggling in warm woolies, and I am with you on not being terribly keen on summer. It was one of the deciding factors in out move to Tasmania from those hot places north of us.
Sorry Jo they are a size 12. Will have to find someone else to rehome them. Sure you will find a lovely pair. Good sales come end of winter maybe for next year?
Jo said…
Michelle, thankyou so much for the kind thought. And yes, that is how I generally plan my next purchase - 6 months in advance, so I don't have to go to the shops any time soon..
Jen's Busy Days said…
Hey Jo, I have a few items in my wardrobe that I hope to fit back into some day that may be down in your size range. If I haven't made it down to a smaller size before we move north I will send them your way so they aren't wasted. I love my black coat that has a tailored look to it but I am not so sure I would use it much in Qld anyway.

My wardrobe looks a little samey too. As you pointed out in your summer wardrobe post it does make it easier to replace items when something wears out.

Best wishes
Jen in NSW
Jo said…
Moving to Qld! Goodness, you guys just seem to keep heading north. Where will it end!
Thankyou for such a kind offer. I am so lucky to have so many enablers of my shopaphobia!
All the best for your big move. Thinking of you. xx
Anonymous said…
Inspiring number - starting to realise how unminimalist I am compared to how I think I am! I did an audit recently, total on everything was well into the 300s
Jo said…
Sarah, I am liking your blog! Remember, I haven't included underwear or jammies or even sportswear in the list! And maybe you have 300 things you just love, and enough space to keep them in...
I don't think it is about a number, as much as a mindset - what is enough?
Oh, and remember - this isn't a work wardrobe either. I'd probably need at least another dozen items to cover work wear... probably more.

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