Fifty Shades of Jay - Designing my new wardrobe

Jay McLaughlin Style Fashion Menswear Capsule Wardrobe Monochrome

I’ve been on this weight loss journey for a couple of years now, and it’s been overwhelmingly positive. I have more confidence than ever before, and even though my body isn’t quite where I want it to be, I know that, as long as I keep doing what I’m doing, it’s only a matter of time. There is one con to all of this, however… none of my old clothes fit me anymore!

I’m a big fan of making the most out of a situation, so decided to take the opportunity to but myself a capsule wardrobe for the winter months and redesign my style in the process.

I’ve always been interested in style and fashion, but whilst I was substantially overweight I found it hard to find clothes that fit, both in size and in cut. So, whilst I did my best, I never felt like I looked good in clothes. Having gone from an extra large to a small, I’m now in the exciting position to be able to have my pick of the rail, and so far, everything I’ve picked up as fit me in all the right places. It’s exciting!!!

Before embarking on a journey to the high street, I sat down with a cup of coffee and did some mood boarding on Pinterest. After much pinning, I eventually honed down some ideas. Because I was aiming to buy multiple outfits in a single trip, I decided to go with all monochrome. This is partly because I like the aesthetic, but also, by restricting the colour palette, I can easily mix and match combinations of clothes, and they’ll all go together and I’ll avoid any awkward colour clashes.

After settling on an aesthetic, it was important to come up with a shopping list. The last thing I needed was to come back with 18 tops and no bottoms. This was about being strategic, rather than my usual impulsive shopping style.

After consulting various online guides, videos, and blog posts, as well as getting the opinion of my good friend Richard Biedul, I came up with a reasonably concise list. There are many minimalists who will say all you need is seven items of clothing, and whilst that may be true, it only works for people who wear one type of clothes. I wanted a bit more variation, so that I can dress both smart, casually, and everywhere in between. My final shopping list looked something like this…

Wardrobe Shopping List

1x Grey Wool Trousers/Chinos

1x Black Chinos

1x Grey Jeans

1x Black Blazer

1x Light Grey Sweatshirt

1x Grey Roll Neck

1x Black Roll Neck

2x Knits

1x Light Grey Overcoat

1x Brown Belt

1x Grey Chunky Scarf

1x Light Grey Hat

With my list saved as a note on my phone, I set off on my shopping expedition. Thankfully, it was still November, so the Christmas shopping rush was yet to be in full force. What was really good was that, because I was sticking to monochrome, I was able to bypass anything brightly coloured. It really helped with decision making and time saving to not be distracted by things that didn’t fit the aesthetic. Working through my list as best I could, I played with textures a lot, which was fun. There were a few things I didn’t pick up, but for the most part, I was very pleased with everything I brought home with me.

Jay McLaughlin Style Fashion Menswear Capsule Wardrobe Monochrome
Jay McLaughlin Style Fashion Menswear Capsule Wardrobe Monochrome
Jay McLaughlin Style Fashion Menswear Capsule Wardrobe Monochrome

Putting together outfit combinations is so easy now. Not only does everything fit me really nicely, it all goes together, and I’m able to easily combine things with the few pieces of clothes and accessories that I already had that still fit. It also makes my wardrobe far more pleasing now that I’ve arranged it from light to dark. Yeah ok, that might be going too far!

Jay McLaughlin Style Fashion Menswear Capsule Wardrobe Monochrome
Jay McLaughlin Style Fashion Menswear Capsule Wardrobe Monochrome

I made a couple of impulse buys whilst shopping. Despite setting myself a fairly modest budget, which I stuck to, this grey coat from Zara took me over by quite a way. I love it though, and I’ve had so many amazing compliments from people whenever I’ve worn it. It’s also a wool blend, so nice and warm, plus I had ‘grey overcoat’ on my list, so I had to buy it.

Jay McLaughlin Style Fashion Menswear Capsule Wardrobe Monochrome
Jay McLaughlin Style Fashion Menswear Capsule Wardrobe Monochrome

As I said before, the ability to play with textures, both on my new pieces, but also some of the clothes I already owned has really been fun. I ended up buying more chunky scarves than were on my list, but I love a scarf in the winter, and they’re a simple way to change up an outfit.

Jay McLaughlin Style Fashion Menswear Capsule Wardrobe Monochrome

There was another impulse buy that wasn’t on the list, and didn’t fit the aesthetic. I couldn’t not buy this brown corduroy shacket from River Island. So I’ve extended the ‘monochrome’ theme to include ‘natural’ colours such as brown and beige. It’s important to be slightly flexible right?

Jay McLaughlin Style Fashion Menswear Capsule Wardrobe Monochrome

So how did I do with my shopping trip? I’m super pleased with the result, and it’s really given me a nice confidence boost when I’m out and about. I’ve added a couple of little bits over the past month, mostly buying more of the same for when something’s in the wash. I actually really enjoyed the process of designing my style, and am looking forward to repeating it in a few months time for the spring and summer months.