Capsule wardrobe planning & when to shop- The Australian fashion seasons

An essential part of ensuring your Capsule Wardrobe is successful, is having a good understanding of the seasons and best times to prepare and rotate your collection to suit the weather and the current trends.

Although I am seeking a life of living with much less, shopping much less and paring down to a minimal wardrobe, I do still have a passion for fashion and admiration for beautiful things.

For all of these reasons, it is important to me that my capsule wardrobes are well planned and in sync with the fashion seasons.  There’s an abundance of information online about the fashion seasons for Europe and America, but for us Australian ladies in the southern hemisphere, our seasons are varied, our holidays are different and stock is released at completely different times.

I have devised Australian shoppers guide to seasonal fashion. Delivery schedules vary slightly depending on state, the climate and the previous years sales performance, but this is a general outline of how it plays out throughout the year…

Summer

Australian Summer is December, January and February

The first drop of summer stock tends to hit stores in late September and is merchandised in with  existing Spring stock as we transition from Spring into the warmer months.

November tends to introduce a second collection of high-fashion summer stock.

New summer stock continues to trickle into stores throughout all of December and regularly the days leading up to Christmas to keep the shelves well stocked and the hoards of shoppers opening up wallets. Keep in mind that December is the highest sales month for retailers and frivolous items are guaranteed to hit the shops in order to upsell and fill the gaps. You’ll see lots of fast fashion as retailers introduce disposable looks to encourage us compulsive Christmas spenders to buy up.

Boxing day and New year sales see many summer fashions move over to the cheap racks literally overnight. Some retailers hold out on boxing day sales and hold them at new years instead. This is to encourage gift vouchers and Christmas cash to be spent at full price.

Personally, I love the drop of summer stock that hits stores in early December. It tends to consist of resort wear, your key swimwear looks and the good hot weather summer stock.

If you live in the southern states, our hottest weather doesn’t tend to hit us until late January to mid February, but by then the Summer stock is on sale or transitioned out. Often if you don’t have your Summer wardrobe sorted by January, it can be a challenge as the stores become a mish mash, even stocking leather jackets as soon as Jan.

Best time to shop for Summer- late November to early December

Autumn, Fall and Winter

An Australian Autumn covers March, April and May.

Our winter is officially June, July and August.

One of my favourite fashion seasons is Autumn where you can start wearing winter woollies and jackets (jackets are my absolute weakness!) but the sun pops through enough for a few skirts and dresses to keep their place in the wardrobe. Because of the versatility of Autumn, many retailers tend to merge their Winter and Autumn stock, introducing both as early as February. This allows retailers to beat competitors to the market when it comes to winter collections.

You’ll tend to find that stores introduce a whole new Autumn colour palette in Feb-March and will develop a few other colours throughout April to keep shoppers interested. New key palettes hit when high winter arrives in late May/early June.

March, and April is when your knits, boots and warm coats really hit the stores, with high winter fashions continuing to be introduced through until late June.

The end of financial year sales start on June 30th and they tend to see out the last of winter fashion. Stores tend to be a bit of a mess throughout July as the sales continue for weeks.

So all in all you will see up to three different palettes and even more merchandising “looks” over the Autumn Winter months, finished off with one of the biggest sales of the year.

Best time to shop for Autumn: February/March

Best time to shop for Winter: May with another high winter drop in June if you can wait that long

Spring

Australian spring is officially September, October and November.

If you’re in the southern states, our winters are long and eat into our Spring, chilly weather tending to last through to late September. It can seem that Spring stock hits much too early, but all the pastels and pretty colours are very tempting and a great contrast winter stock being on the shelves for so long.

Depending on the retailer, you can see Spring stock hit stores as early as July when the end of financial year sales have only just wrapped up. Stores can be a bit of mish mash of floaty Spring floral meets heavy textured winter, sometimes causing confusion and throwaway fashion choices in July and early August.

Similar to Autumn/Winter, spring stock tends to trickle through from July right up until November, often with two key “looks” or palettes being introduced in the season. You’ll also see the introduction of Spring race-wear hit the shops from September through November adding to the range of looks in stores.

As the weather warms up at the end of Spring in November, the transition from Spring to Summer is more synchronised than other seasonal transitions.

I tend to shop early for my seasons however when it comes to Spring, I find it best to hold off until the trends and looks are established, also allowing for the cool weather to fade off. This will maximise the value of my winter wardrobe and avoid he flippant fashions in the first drop of stock.

Best time to shop for Spring- September

So all of this in mind, as well as considering I am based in chilly Victoria (my winters are long and our summers are short and extreme), here is my 2015-2016 Capsule Wardrobe plan:

Autumn and Winter– April, May, June, July to late August

My Winter capsule commenced early, starting in late April. For this reason it is a bit of a transitional capsule including Autumn and Winter. My capsule was set and final by the last week in April,  and I allowed for a small swap out and 4 new items when high winter hit in the first week of June.

My Spring capsule planning and rotation will commence in the third week of August.

Spring- September, October, November to mid December

My Spring capsule should be set in stone by the first week in September and will last until high fashion summer collections hits the stores near Christmas

Summer- December, January, February

Summer will be my shortest capsule with the lowest budget as lets face it, summer fashions are cheaper than Winter, and the heat doesn’t last long here in Victoria. I work in a corporate office building and my Spring corporate wear is enough to get me through the summer months. I’ll have Summer locked in early December lasting only until mid to late Feb.

Autumn 2016- March, April, May

Depending on the weather,  I may stretch out my summer wardrobe through to late April, just rotating in some existing pieces to get through the sunnier part of our Autumn.

This way I can hold off on a full new capsule for Autumn, and instead have a transitional Autumn/Winter Capsule to cover me for all of May through to August. This will allow for a bigger winter budget as we all know the boots, and jackets are the dearest fashion staples of the year. This one’s up for review when February comes around.

When it comes to shopping for a Capsule Wardrobe, I plan for a reasonable budget to freshen up my collection for a new season, but mainly will see existing items come out of storage and rotate in.

Given that over shopping is what I am recovering from, I do not by any means plan to buy a full new wardrobe. Following the seasons and watching the collections in store can be a great reminder of when to rotate your capsule, and what type of items will serve you well.

Personally, I am not a lover of sales or bargains and I don’t plan my capsule wardrobes around getting bargains. If you’re a sale lover or on a strict budget, you may want to adjust your Capsule wardrobe rotations to align with the sales. For me, I don’t get a thrill out if bargains or sale racks. After many years in the retail industry, I view sales racks as leftovers, items that couldn’t sell (so what’s wrong with them?), or items that were overstocked so every other lady already owns one. My rule with sales is, don’t buy anything on sale that you wouldn’t pay for at it’s full price- otherwise it’s not value for money, not even If it is half the price.

I hope this helps with your Capsule Planning!

Jess

xx

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