Home and away -
  The Spring Capsule Wardrobe
Jane has for several years taunted Beryl, (a serial over-packer) with the highly successful capsule wardrobe that Jane took to Florence in 1993. Yawn Yawn. Apparently, this sartorial triumph consisted of predominately navy and white ensembles which our fearless fashionista mixed and matched. Beryl who suffers separation anxiety when parted from her entire wardrobe, feels a failure and therefore has something to prove on her forthcoming 3-day trip to Lisbon. Can the contents of her impossibly small suitcase be practical, glamorous and meet all the needs of our intrepid international traveller of a certain age?

Beryl in Lisbon...

The view from Sin-tra near Lisbon

Yellow cable cars in Lisbon

Contents: 16 items
3 dresses
1 orange jumpsuit (unworn) 
2 pairs of shoes 
1 pair of shorts (unworn) 3 sleeveless tops 
1 orange jacket 
1 pair navy capri pants 
1 orange cardi 
Plus 3 items worn on the plane. 

Trench coat £89 Copenhagen, spotty jumpsuit £120 Phase Eight,
Globetrotter suitcase, and Mint Velvet Sunnies £39   

This chartreuse trench coat is rapidly becoming Beryl's go-to bit of kit. Surprisingly, it goes with everything and has a Samantha Jones, Sex in The City sort of vibe. Beryl's base colour, oh yes Jane, she has a neutral, is navy. In this case a nice stretchy, spotty jump-suit of at least five years ago from Phase Eight, which is like wearing her jim-jams. She wears this coming and going on the flight. Beryl has updated her navy clothes with citrus accents. A fashionable and cunning plan indeed. 

Beryl is of-course idling in the Sunglass Hut, trying on Ray-bans. The ones in the bottom picture are £99, while the ones in the bigger picture were from Mint velvet and in the sale at £39. Beryl likes 'good' sunglasses, they hide wrinkles and eye bags and can make a woman feel a bit 'Jackie O' but the shape she usually favours best seem to be out of fashion. Despite the protestations of the sales assistant Beryl sees only a round face with round sunglasses.

Ray-bans £99

The Portuguese are clearly unafraid of colour.
 Sin-tra is painted in citrus brights

Shirtdress Charter Club 99 dollars.

Beryl's $99 Charter Club dress
worn with £10 New Look plimsoles.
Beryl loves this silky little blue shirt dress, that has a really full skirt, and was brought from Charter Club in Macy's three years ago. It does that much talked about thing whereby you can either dress it up or down, merely by adding heels and a jacket or plimsoles and a cardi. Beryl loved it with the orange Precis jacket and the Karen Millen orange heels which sadly did not make it out of the suitcase. No one told Beryl in advance that Lisbon has the most uneven slippy cobbled pavements. Jane who is prone to falling over would have been flailing about like a contestant on It's A Knockout. Beryl wore this outfit with her plimmies to visit the stunning but vertiginous 
Sin-tra, summer residence of the Portuguese Royal Family.

The palm house, Parq Eduardo VII, Lisbon

 Beryl is in the palm house of Parq Eduardo V1. Beryl has purchased a pair of In Town capri pants, as a nod to practicality. This is probably a mistake as she hates sensible clothes and has that slightly depressed air of a child made to wear home-knitted itchy woollen socks.

 Out for an evening stroll and an aperitif at the park cafe, Beryl has added her orange Precis jacket, and changed her plimmes for these Ella B pointy flats. Things rapidly go down hill, Beryl falls over and gashes her knee. The careful observer will note that she has taken the surface off the knee of said trousers and thus will not have to tolerate them for long. The smile is actually a grimace of pain.

Pecis Jacket £79, TK Maxx to £29,
 In Town capri pants £55, pointy navy flats £125 Ella B

Sardines and ose wine in the historic quarter of Lisbon

Dress £85 Smashed Lemon

Out in the evening with her husband, and fortified by a glass of rose, she is wearing a this season's dress from a company called Smashed Lemon. The chartreuse trench doubles as an evening coat. 1970's prints are all the rage right now and this dress is covered in sunflowers which she is sure had a previous life as a caravan awning. The navy pointy flat shoes, have an elegance that belies their flatness and therefore do the dress proud. The glasses are from a vintage shop, down a side street and cost 15 Euros. Sorry, Ray-ban, not this trip.

Dress £150 Hobbs, Massimo Dutti £109

And of course Beryl cannot resist a little shopping. Massimo Dutti is Beryl's store of choice. She has has a yearning for a yellow jacket which she thinks will look great with the sunflower dress, but of course there are issues. Too pale and polyester, and a judge at the summer flower show comes to mind. Too mustard and Jane will never speak to her again. So officially and after much consideration this jacket is 'canary yellow' and has a slubby tweedy texture, and is the right proportions. It has a zip, which is not Beryl's fastening of choice. Over-zippiness can be a trap for the WOACA, she thinks, and yes Theresa May we mean you. However, on balance this is Beryl's top find, and happily there is still room in the hand-luggage.
   ...and Jane in London


It's true that Jane fondly remembers the one time in her whole life that she pulled off the totally coordinated capsule wardrobe (navy and cream, for those who are interested), but it must be admitted that she has NEVER managed it since. Could her weekend in London be an exception? She has whittled her packing down to just 11 items (including shoes), of which she is rather proud... (yah, boo, sucks, Beryl), and has taken black and white as her base colours with items that can be swopped around, and some vivid colours to brighten things up.


1 dress
1 jacket
2 pairs trousers (1 unworn)
2 black tops
2 pairs shoes
1 scarf (unworn as too hot)
1 skirt

The problem, of course with going away in this country is that the weather could do ANYTHING so one must adopt the Boy Scout motto and 'Be Prepared' which makes overpacking something of an inevitability. However, with the forecast set fair with highs of 23 degrees, Jane took it a chance  that an overcoat would not be required... 

The whole shebang before Jane heads off

Outfit 1: Travelling on the train and going to the theatre

Meeting friends for an overnight stay in London is a real treat for country mouse Jane, and first stop on their packed itinerary (got to make the most of it) is lunch in Covent Garden followed by the matinee of 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Jane is concerned about its being hotter than July in the theatre so has donned her swishy charity shop skirt (£7) with an ancient thin cotton cardi from Agnes B, part of a twinset (no pearls). As it is black, not her favourite colour, she has put on a pink jacket, and found a charming young man to schmooze up to in wearing red, one of her favourite combinations (colours and young men). 

Outfit 2: out for dinner
Lily and Lionel dress £100

Before going into the theatre, Jane spots a BetFred and as the Grand National is later that afternoon, she dives in for a flutter, £5 to win on the 16-1 One for Arthur (she has been studying the form, it must be admitted). There is something about the seediness of a betting shop which Jane has always rather liked. When she emerges dancing from 42nd Street, the race is about to begin, so in she goes to watch and wins a cheeky 85 quid. No time to be lost, as her dinner appointment is 7.30 at the lovely Sketch in Conduit Street. Here she is in her Lily and Lionel maxi dress (£100) which is proving to be the most worn item of the season, lurking near the lavatories which have got to be the most stylish in London with their individual pods for peeing in.

Outfit 3: breakfast and a gallery

Blouse, Mint Velvet £69, trousers Zara £17, plimsoles Mustang £49

Next morning and it's time for a spot of breakfast as Jane clearly hasn't managed to stuff down enough food yet. Jane dons her £17 Zara trousers and Mint Velvet lace shirt with the newest addition to her Converse-style collection, silver and gold Mustangs £49. The trews are cool enough for what proves to be the hottest day of the year so far, and takes her from kedgeree through to the heat of the Tate gallery and home on the train. Here she is posing (again, says Beryl with a heavy sigh), with the charming doorman and her chum, Gill, a tall gel who rocks the colour block top with a long dangle of which Jane and Beryl are great fans. Long Tall Sally is, unsurprisingly, one of her favourite emporia.  

On balance, Jane had all she needed for the weekend and only didn't wear a jacket and a pair of jeans (the latter she never leaves home without), so not too bad all things considered. She considers her packing to be a triumph - whether it be Lisbon or London, weather clement or inclement, colour coordination is most definately the way forward.

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