Outfit ideas: how to create a capsule wardrobe

Create chic and stylish everyday outfits with these hard working wardrobe staples.

Capsule wardrobe

by Jazzria Harris |
Published on

A capsule wardrobe is a buzzword in the fashion world, referring to an edited selection of clothing that can be interchanged, re-worn and re-worked to create a multitude of different outfits. Many celebrities and street stylers swear by a capsule wardrobe to put together simple yet stylish everyday outfits that can be re-styled for a variety of events and occasions.

By interchanging key wardrobe staples, you can create the perfect look for the office one day and then simply switch it up to become a stylish birthday outfit for dinner and drinks at the weekend. Sounds too good to be true right?

Well, we’ve put together a simple capsule wardrobe checklist featuring all the items you need to be a capsule wardrobe pro, as well as some handy outfit ideas to give you a little added style inspo.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

Most capsule wardrobes contain classic, timeless pieces that sit across a similar colour palette in order to maximize each item's wearability. A great capsule wardrobe can start from as little as 10 pieces however you may find your edit grows as time progresses. The key focus of a capsule wardrobe however is not the number of items but rather their versatility, making it a great styling option for those looking to shop more sustainably, as by ensuring each item has maximum cost-per-wear potential you can also cut down on excess clothing waste.

How to create a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe will look different to everyone depending on your personal style and outfit requirements. For example, somebody who works from home every day will have a different capsule wardrobe from someone who has to be in regular office-based meetings, or, someone who likes to wear colourful outfits will have a different capsule wardrobe than someone who prefers a more minimalist vanilla girl aesthetic. With this in mind, it’s important to consider your needs when you start planning your capsule wardrobe.

Next, you need to pinpoint the key items that will form the basis of your edit. Rather than trend-led items, think about the pieces you’ll reach for not just this season but year after year. We’ve created a capsule wardrobe checklist featuring 10 classic items that would work well in any edit, but remember, this isn’t a failsafe list, so if something doesn’t work for you don’t buy it. It’s all about tailoring a capsule wardrobe that works for you.

The 10 capsule wardrobe essentials

1. Blazer

If you invest in one cover up for your capsule wardrobe, make it a blazer. A classic black style is the obvious choice as you can re-wear it without anyone noticing you’re outfit repeating (not that it matters, after all we’re big fans of a sustainable shopping purchase), however textures like faux leather, or neutral tones like grey and beige are just as versatile. For a modern feel, an oversized shape will tap into the menswear inspired trend.

2. Classic knit

Whether you opt for a roll neck, chunky knit or classic crew neck style, a simple knit jumper is a must in your capsule wardrobe. Traditional tones like black, grey and navy will give a minimalist feel but don’t be afraid to try a brighter tone to add some colour to your wardrobe. Just ensure it’s in a classic shape to ensure you’ll reach for it time and time again.

3. White t-shirt

The white t-shirt is a wardrobe staple for a reason, acting as the perfect accompaniment to tailored trousers in the office or jeans and trousers for day dressing. To ensure your t-shirt lasts as long as possible, go for a heavy-weight cotton fabric, it’ll not only survive many a wash but also keep its shape well for a smarter look.

4. Tailored trousers

Tailored trousers may seem best suited to more formal capsule wardrobes, but they’re incredibly versatile for more casual occasions too. For the office, pair your trousers with a blazer, white t-shirt and pair of slingbacks, then for a bottomless brunch outfit on the weekend, lose the blazer and switch to trainers, like Laura, for a more relaxed feel.

5. Jeans

Every great wardrobe needs a hardworking pair of jeans that can easily be dressed up or down. Straight leg styles are the most versatile and work for a wide variety of body shapes, from high-waisted cuts for showing off curves to floor-skimming styles that can elongate legs. If straight-leg cuts aren’t your style however try mom jeans or skinny cuts for a more classic style.

6. Midi skirt

Midi skirts come in many different forms from pleated styles to slinky slip designs, so finding one that works with your style and needs won’t take too much work. For the ideal fit, ensure your skirt finishes midway down your calf, like this one worn by Abisola. This will ensure your skirt looks great with all shoe styles, from trainers to boots and even heels. After all, I’ll say it once more, versatility is key when creating a great capsule wardrobe.

7. Trainers

For everyday outfit ideas, you need a pair of trainers that give off that cool, effortless vibe. Go for an all-white pair for maximum wearability. Just remember to care for them correctly to ensure they stay looking box-fresh for as long as possible.

8. Heels

There’s a reason a pair of black heels are a classic, not only do they work with oh-so-many outfit combinations but they never go out of style making them a great place to splurge if you want to opt for a more expensive style. If heels aren’t your thing, don’t worry, a great pair of heeled boots will also work for dressing up your capsule wardrobe pieces too.

9. Crossbody bag

A crossbody bag can easily form part of your everyday capsule wardrobe but if you’ve been wondering what bag to wear on a night out, then it’s the perfect option too. Chain straps are a great way to give your bag a dressier feel, while details like metal zips and quilting will also give a luxe touch.

10. Tote Bag

For busy days at the office or running errands, you need a tote bag that’s roomy enough to fit all your essentials and more. Keep it simple when it comes to style, a classic faux leather tote will look great and never overpower your look. Make like influencer Vanessa and opt for a super slouchy style for added cool points.

So, there you have it, everything you need to build a hardworking capsule wardrobe that will give you endless outfit opportunities. Remember, it’s about choosing pieces that you’ll return to again and again, so don’t be afraid to re-work this list to make it suit your needs.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us