To start off simply – what is a capsule wardrobe? The idea began in France but has spread throughout the Western world – the concept is that your wardrobe consists of a handful of items that can be mixed and matched with each other to create many different outfits. It uses basic clothes to build fantastic outfits that are both versatile and fashionable.
However, a complete capsule wardrobe isn’t for everyone, or rather it isn’t enough for everyone. Where it does take away the panic of finding the right outfit, or wondering whether certain combinations will match, but it can also take away variety in your wardrobe; if everything matches each other, then owning a pair of khaki jeans and a maroon top would just make you look like Christmas. You can use a capsule wardrobe as your base, and then add on another handful of items that match half of the things in your wardrobe – this helps to cover almost every situation and occasion, and lets you introduce more colour into your outfit choices.
So here are our choices for ten things you should include in your capsule wardrobe, and then ten things you should add in as your wardrobe expansion pack.
1| Short Sleeved Tee Shirt
This shirt is so versatile. If you keep it plain and with a floaty cut, you can dress it up for work with a blazer, keep it casual on it’s own or with a cardigan, or tuck it into a skirt for a cuter look. Choose a neckline that flatters your shape and a colour that goes with everything.
2| Long Sleeved Top
Keep it loose or tight – a long sleeved top is just as versatile as it’s short sleeved sister. Introduce a pattern here, with stripes or a delicate print. Keep it simple, and make sure that the sleeves aren’t too short or long on you.
3| Shirt or Blouse
For smarter occasions you might need a smarter top. A button-up shirt can be fitted and tailored to your shape, and a blouse is perfectly feminine and floaty. Keep it print-free, but the cut can be a little more exciting on a blouse. Oversized cuffs on a shirt keeps it fresh and modern.
Choose an item of knitwear – jumper or cardigan? The suggestion either way is to go oversized. A large cardigan can double as a jacket when the days get warmer, and an oversized jumper, with a large knit, is right on trend. These items are perfect for layering in any situation.
5| Little Black Dress
What wardrobe is complete with one? You can dress it up or down with heels or flats. Make it more serious with a blazer, or perfect for a night out on it’s own. Body con with a mid-length cut is perfect and on trend, and suits literally everybody.
Fitted and tailored this item is perfect for all your professional outfit choices. You can even introduce some colour here. Most capsule wardrobes stick to a black, grey and white palette to ensure that it all matches, so pretty much any colour blazer will match. Burgundy, green, okra and dusty pink are the top choices throughout the seasons.
A good pair of jeans are the staple look for any wardrobe regardless of its size. It’s up to you weather you choose a more casual look with a pair of boyfriend jeans, or you go with a pair of black skinny jeans. The former is perfect for all your casual outfits, and the later for your professional and going out choices.
A little black skirt is perfect in casual and going out situations, but you might decide to choose a more tailored cut for a smarter look. A pencil skirt isn’t flattering for everybody, but it does add to your professional outfits. Choice a skirt that works for you and not for a particular occasion.
The perfect pair of ankle, knee-length, or even thigh-high boots is needed for every wardrobe. The don’t need to be heeled, and if they are you can choose between a stiletto or block heel. You can add some colour here, or keep to a black shoe to integrate with every outfit and occasion. If you do choose a colour, make sure it matches you coloured blazer, as you are very likely to want to wear these two together.
Slip on shoes or sneakers? Slip-on flats can go with every outfit, where sneakers do limit you to a casual choice. Either way, choose a pair that isn’t going to fall apart, that works with your colour scheme, and that is comfy.
Date night, birthday meal, clubbing, wedding, office – the right jumpsuit will see you through every occasion. Follow the rules or a little black dress, and keep the colour dark, but choose a looser cut that nips you in at the waist. Cropped trousers are on trend at the moment, and look fantastic with ankle boots or heels.
Whichever choice you made for your capsule wardrobe – pick the opposite one now. Choose a lasting brand though, like Levis, so that your choice isn’t going to get worn out any time soon.
To sit next to you boots of choice, now get yourself a pair of heels. Stiletto or black heel doesn’t make difference – unless you can’t walk in a stiletto of course. You can add some colour to your outfits easily with your shoes, and a pair of heels will see you through every occasion, and can easily dress up the most casual of outfits.
4| Lace Cami
Wear it under your sheer blouse, on it’s own its under your knitted jumper. The hint of lace at the neckline is feminine and creates interest through layers. Black is best with your cami as it goes with every other colour, and white camis can easily dull to grey in the wash.
A pair of leggings can be a welcome break from your jeans in a casual outfit. And if your shirt or blouse is longer than your hips, good quality leggings can easily be incorporated into a smarter or fancier outfit.
They add to both your smart and casual wardrobe, and can give your outfit a slightly quirkier finish. They always look best in a dark tan, and made from leather or good quality faux leather material.
Do you prefer a fedora, snapback, or oversized sun hat? Hats can be very particular in regards to it’s occasion, but it can be a great finish to your outfit. The most versatile choice might be a fedora or pork pie hat.
8| Trench Coat
Your capsule wardrobe might be lacking in the coat department – so start off with a trench coat. It’s perfect for your smart, professional and dinner date occasions. A tan coat is great with any outfit.
Either padded with a faux fur trim, or thinly quilted and waterproof, a parka is perfect for your more casual outfits.
10| Shirt or Blouse
Whatever your choice for your capsule wardrobe, you can now extend it with the opposite choice. This opens up your professional outfit choices, and if you;re adding in the blouse, adds to your night out outfits too.
Obviously your wardrobe is always going to be particular to you, and filled with cuts and styles perfect for your body type and fashion inspirations. But the key to a versatile wardrobe lies in choosing items that compliment each other in style and colour. You might decide to have a capsule wardrobe for your work clothes, and then a very full one for your casual and going out outfits. Or have one for each season. If you’re a person who changes their style frequently, then a handful of capsule wardrobes might serve your purposes as you can just rotate them as you change your mind.
A ‘capsule wardrobe’ means a small amount of clothes to suit every occasion. But that doesn’t mean that you have to keep it that small if you don’t want to. You can take whichever practices you like from the idea and incorporate them into your wardrobe however you like. Or you might want the simplicity of a capsule wardrobe – in which case, go for it and let me know how it works out for you!