It occurred to me that it was on my old blog back in 2013 that I wrote my capsule wardrobe posts, identifying the items that I reduced down to when I moved and what I always have in my closet to make sure that I have all of my bases covered.
Something I have learned is to build yourself a capsule wardrobe. By this I mean, a wardrobe of clothes with which you can create a multitude of outfits to suit various occasions, moods and seasons. Predominantly constructed of good quality basics, these items are mostly neutral, to which you can add a personal touch of print, colour and cut as you go. The items may come across as a little on the simple, or even more ‘boring’ side, but I am thinking of versatility, value for money, quality, comfort and style. We all want to feel confident, having these bases covered, you can add in personal items that express your own spirit.
I thought it was about time I revisited the capsule wardrobe. As I read back over my old posts, I observed how I still value the same items and for the most part would not change any of the pieces. I will share these here, including the original graphics I made back in 2013 as the beginning of a new series in exploring the capsule and how I use it to put together my looks. I would love to hear your thoughts on this series!
The capsule has helped me to shape my wardrobe, and found that sticking within these limits helped me to avoid spending money on random items which, when I looked back on months later I had either grown sick of seeing too much on others or just didn’t like. Within the capsule wardrobe I prioritize pieces which avoid ‘trend’ and retain ‘staple’.
You may look at my Capsule Wardrobe Guide and think that the list in each category is quite long. You are correct in thinking that you could make do with less, indeed you can. I have been listing what I think to be the minimum basics to give you everything, but in each category you could pick a few items to get you started, and build from there. I haven’t listed a bunch of links or suggestions of specific items to buy, because I have tried to choose items that you can find anywhere or at anytime. The point is, that these items are meant to be mostly classics, things that you will keep wearing until they fall apart.
SHIRTS, TOPS and jumpers
Having a wardrobe of shirts, in neutral colours, made of good quality fabrics are essential.
I love plain cotton t-shirts and button down shirts! Cami tops are a great staple for summer, and under blazers at work. You have probably guessed I own a few striped t-shirts in varying sleeve lengths and I wear a lot of jumpers. Of course, owning a few staples for the capsule wardrobe is all you need, you will use them more than you expect.
- 1x Fitted Pale Blue Shirt, in a chambray, linen, light denim or cotton
- 1x Silk Khaki olive, navy or beige Shirt
- 1x Black cotton, viscose or silk fitted Shirt, sleeveless is also handy in summer
- 1x Oversized White Shirt in cotton or linen
- 1x Grey T-shirt (I have about 6, I wear them with everything) crew, round or v-neck depending on the best style to suit your shape
- 1x Breton Top or Striped T-shirt with 3/4 or long sleeves
- 1x Black Cami
- 1x White T-shirt, fitted or oversized
- 1x Black Wool Jumper, or Cotton Sweater. I have one of each, but either are useful
- 1x Cashmere Grey Jumper
- 1x Light Grey Fleece Zip Hoodie, for a casual sporty look
- 1 Cream Knitted cable weave Jumper
- 1x Check Print Shirt (in a neutral colour)
- 1x Striped Cotton Button Down Shirt
- 1x Cap Sleeve Jumper- on its own or for layering
- 1x White Cami
PANTS AND SHORTS
Let’s get it straight, pants, are the greatest freedom. Pioneering for women to wear pants was one of the greatest things women like Gabrielle Chanel ever did. Now, I love dresses, skirts and feeling feminine, but the juxtaposition between male/ female is the perfect spot to reside in for my style. Comfort, is a major factor for me when it comes to getting dressed, women who kill themselves to fit into something uncomfortable for days on end make me frustrated. I do love to dress up and feel beautiful, but I do not like to sacrifice my sanity and comfort to achieve this.
I wear jeans, a lot. These days they are also widely worn in dressier circumstances, with a good pump heel, or ankle boot they can elongate the legs and look amazing. My tip is to find a good brand and stick to it. Don’t underestimate how valuable a well tailored black trouser can be, they will come in handy, are great for the office or official business and work in summer or winter. I ensure I have a matching black blazer, just in case I want to suit up.
- 1x Dark Denim Jeans (skinny, fitted or flared- to suit your own body shape best)
- 1x Blue, Khaki olive, Beige, White coloured Jean (again to suit your own body shape)
- 1x Torn ‘Boyfriend’ Jean
- 1x Black Linen Long Shorts- around knee length, slightly wide in the leg
- 1x Black Tailored Dress Trousers for occasional wear and office wear (wide or slim fitted)
- 1x Black Jeans (again, in a cut to suit your body shape)
- 1x Light Grey Suit-Shorts, can be short or longer, wear with an elegant flat or kitten heel for a dressier look
- 1x light washed denim or black denim cut off shorts
- 1x White Leather or Denim Shorts
- 1x Black Leather Shorts
- 1x Culottes (not pictured) midi length, wear with cropped tops or blouses
When it comes to skirts it is all about getting the proportions right for your own shape. I have added a lot to this list, because they are so damn good, and can be dressed up or down, either with a t-shirt and casual jacket like a leather or denim jacket, a knit jumper or dressed up with a blouse and blazer. I love to mix up wearing skirts to work, casually or to a dressy event, it feels very feminine, or rock and roll depending on what you choose. Dresses may be easier to throw on and run out the door, but a good skirt is so elegant and fun.
- 1x Midi Length Pleated Skirt in grey, black, cream, navy or tan (wear with a t-shirt or blouse and pair with a heel- the length works best with a little height)
- 1x Light Grey Pencil Skirt, (team with t-shirt, blouse or cami and blazer and pumps or white sneakers)
- 1x Cream or White Pencil/ Midi Skirt
- 1x Lace Skirt in a Knee Length or Longer
- 1x PasteL Pencil Skirt
- 1x Grey A-line Skirt in a Mini
- 1x White or Cream Mini Skirt
- 1x Black Leather Mini or Pencil Skirt (choose the right thing for you, and dare to wear it anytime!)
Though a bit of a tomboy, I do love to wear dresses. This is where I find my feminine balance. Dresses can, if chosen correctly, save you time and make you feel confident.
When writing about the must have dresses in a capsule collection, I realize it all comes down to personal body shape. For that reason I have made two lists and collages, one for my body shape (see above) and one as a general for other body shapes (see below).
I have a small waist, and try to emphasize this. I have a small bust and tend to try and direct more attention toward my legs, rather than chest. In an ideal world, I would have a 20cm longer torso, and my bust would be a little bigger to create the ‘perfect’ proportions. I would also have better eyesight and not have scoliosis. Rather than focus on what I do not have, I dress with my shape in mind, and can at times create the illusion of a well proportioned shape.
DRESS CAPSULE LIST (FOR MY BODY SHAPE)
- 1x White Cotton Day Dress (embroidery or some detail make a nice touch)
- 1x Grey Marle T-shirt Dress (roomy, comfortable and perfect all summer)
- 1x Black Lace Dress (Handy to have ready to go for any special occasion)
- 1x Cotton Shirt Dress (tailored at the waist is nice to add shape, stick to a neutral colour)
- 1x Chambray Everyday Dress
- 1x Cocktail Dress (make sure you invest in a well fitted, comfortable dress in your best colour)
- 1x Striped T-shirt Dress (a classic sporty or slightly nautical look for everyday wear)
- 1x Beautiful Skater Dress (can be styled up or down for dressy or casual looks)
DRESS CAPSULE LIST
- 1x V-neck Printed Wrap Dress (a print will keep the eye moving rather than settling on a block colour. Choose patterns which draw the eye across the body, rather than in premium curved areas where the eye may rest for the wrong reasons. The wrap dress, when worn with the right shaping underware, will smooth out the silhouette, again hiding bumpier areas.)
- 1x Bodycon Dress (works for a lot of women who aren’t afraid to show off curves! slip over shape wear to help flaunt your assets)
- 1xMaxi Dress (worn with sandals or a heel)
- 1x Black Mini Dress with long sleeves (perfect for showing off the legs without overdoing the skin sharing on top- balance.)
- 1x Strapless Dress
- 1x Printed Tunic Dress (bohemian, suits all body shapes, can be thrown over swimwear in summer or tights in the cooler months)
I re-wear the same few jackets over and over each week. The blazers, moto jackets and wool long cardigans can dress up or dress down my wardrobe. I haven’t included overcoats, though I find one really warm one will do the trick.
- Black Leather Moto Jacket
- Denim Jacket (in light or darker denim, vintage wash, cropped or long)
- Army Jacket
- Wool Cardigan or longer Coatigan
- Black Blazer (Oversized or Tuxedo)
- White Blazer
- Black Sleeveless Blazer/ Vest
- Trench Coat in Natural
- Grey Overcoat (not Pictured)
- Bomber Jacket (not Pictured- a casual throw over)
I think there are essential shoes which should make up your wardrobe, to carry you through any outfit. I tend to stick within black, white, cream, tan and nude.
- 1x Black Leather Pump Heels, (can be patent, suede or a mix)
- 1 x Nude / Tan Leather Pump Heels (the nude will make your legs look longer)
- 1x White Leather Heels (either a pointed pump or thicker strapped sandals)
- 1x Hidden Wedge Sneaker in chalk, or in black (I still love these!)
- 1x Black Buckled Ankle Boots Cuban Heel
- 1x Black Heeled Ankle Boots (cool with dresses, skirts, or skinny jeans)
- 1x Black Strappy Heels (nude is also great)
- 1x Animal Print Pumps (a nice mix up)
- 1x Converse Sneakers in white, black (or Keds, Vans etc)
- 1x Black Oxfords (they have more arch support than ballet flats)
- 1x Black or Tan Strapped Sandals
- 1x Espadrilles (not Pictured)