French fashion designer Coco Chanel once said that simplicity is the key to true elegance. Nowhere is this more evident than in a capsule wardrobe. Building a capsule or minimalist wardrobe simply means buying a few quality pieces of clothing, and using them as the basis for all your outfits. So, if you're looking to streamline your morning routine, start with our top tips on creating a personal collection using the clothes you already own, along with a few suggestions for key garments from our womenswear collection that you could include.
When every piece of clothing you own is strategically chosen to work with other garments in your closet, it minimises your risk of buying something you'll regret. You can bid farewell to the guesswork that goes into deciding what to wear every morning and approach your outfits with confidence, knowing that everything will look good together – even when compiled at the last minute.
Before you head to your nearest high street to purchase more items, it always helps to 'shop' your existing closet for basic pieces you can use to build your capsule wardrobe. Not sure how to identify them? Simply ask these questions:
- Does it have a neutral colour/print?
- Is it something you regularly wear?
- Does it fit well?
- Is it made of quality materials?
If you own an item that meets a couple of these requirements, it could be a worthy addition to your new capsule collection.
When creating a collection, it helps to think of your wardrobe as the foundation for all your future dressing. After all, it's made up of staple garments that can be worn in a multitude of ways. You can still purchase unique items of clothing that catch your eye. Because you'll have so many items to wear with it, it won't compromise the versatility of your collection.
It makes sense to invest in the best quality clothing possible, as the key to making these staples shine is to have them fit as well as possible. If you sit between sizes, get them tailored for a perfect fit.
Here's a general outline of what a comprehensive capsule wardrobe could include:
- A formal blazer takes you from work to social functions with ease.
- A trench coat or raincoat is a classy essential for cool and rainy days.
- A denim jacket is a casual staple that pairs well with both trousers and dresses.
- A leather jacket adds a fashionable edge, even to a simple white T-shirt and jeans.
Shop Coats & Jackets
- A few pairs of crisp, tailored trousers in neutral tones will serve you well for work and smart events.
- Invest in a good pair of jeans. Choose a style that flatters your figure and makes you feel fantastic – get them made to measure if possible.
- Some comfortable leggings are just what you need for hanging around the house.
- Fitted or straight-cut pencil skirts are work-appropriate and flattering.
- Find your favourite style, be it A-line, maxi or skater, and grab a couple in different colours.
- A denim skirt is an excellent alternative if you don't feel like wearing jeans on a day that calls for this laid-back fabric.
- A well-cut button-up shirt pairs well with formal trousers and skirts, and can easily be dressed down with jeans.
- Lightweight tank tops come in handy when you need to quickly throw an outfit together.
- Beat the chill in cooler weather with long-sleeved jumpers or sweaters. Layering is everything.
Shop Blouses & Shirts
- A black dress is an indispensable item for both fun and formal occasions.
- When it comes to the workplace, a structured dress in a simple colour and with a higher neckline will take you through any situation.
- Dresses in heavier fabrics like wool are ideal for winter, while light summer frocks look great in a shirt dress or mini dress style.
- One unstructured carry-all tote or satchel is a practical and chic piece for daily use.
- A structured handbag in a trapezoid or baguette shape will give your look a bit of a twist.
- Evenings out or special occasions call for a slim clutch. A metallic finish is eye-catching, but still neutral enough to be versatile.
- Flat boots are your go-to for any daytime event. Ankle-length styles go well with jeans – choose black or brown leather to give the look a polished edge.
- Knee or calf-length boots look great when teamed with a skirt or dress.
- For more formal occasions, opt for open-toed high heels or closed pumps.
- Stock up on a couple of pairs of sandals – one pair of flip flops that you can easily slip on and off at the beach, and one more embellished style for summer evenings.
Of course, this is just a foundation. Build your wardrobe up using versatile pieces, and add accessories and one-off finds to make it your own and to follow seasonal trends. In spring, try livening up your neutral base with a bright floral scarf, or go for a statement necklace to bring a bit of sparkle. Winter is the best time to experiment with layering. You can wear your summer dresses in the colder months by adding a pair of thick tights, or mix a couple of different textures (think wool, silk and cotton) for a dynamic, thrown-together look.