Probably one of the most asked questions in fashion is: what pieces make up a capsule wardrobe?
The term ‘capsule wardrobe’ was coined by a London boutique owner called Susie Faux. She believed a wardrobe should consist of a few essential items of clothing that will never go out of style and can be reworked and re-worn every season.
However, seasonality must be taken into account. Though you may love your faux-fur grizzly coat, when the temperatures rise, your heat tolerance will be non-existent. This is why, season to season, the smart and sartorially savvy move is to make your capsule wardrobe time-frame friendly.
Related: The one piece that will make transitional dressing a breeze
Spring and its emotions can be erratic. From blazing sun to rumbling downpours, from sweat to shivers, it is tumultuous. And if, like me, you will forever be an autumn/winter dresser, you must navigate the retail world with James Bond-like precision and laser sharp vision.
Practicality, ease and sharpness is the perfect combination for a capsule closet. But what does this translate to in styling terms?
Quality over quantity
Remember, a capsule wardrobe isn’t just for one season. The pieces you buy now will have a better cost per wear if you know they will last for future spring seasons. Think classic shapes and styles and stronger materials with high-quality fibres. This may mean spending a little extra on some pieces, but as a long-term investment, it’s worth it. And you will spend less by avoiding low quality and poorly made pieces.
You can never stray far off the fashion path with classic shapes and structured tailoring. Pieces such as a tailored blazer or trousers will forever be flattering. When designing your own spring capsule extravaganza, make sure to keep your own body shape in mind.
Every woman is different, and though there may be pieces which suit everyone, there are many more which will fail to. Try and get to know your body and how different fabrics and shapes work with it. A straight leg jean may not feel or look right but a flared pair might look amazing. Or, if you are curvier on top, a high neck T-shirt will not be your friend, but a low v-neck or round neck which hits below the collarbone will. It takes time and effort but the end result is worth it.
Colour in a wardrobe is important. It’s nothing to be scared of and will always enhance a look, but for signature capsule pieces, keeping the colour palette as muted as possible is a good idea. Why? Because you can then work prints, more extravagant colourways and trend-led items into your looks. Muted tones and prints will act as the base for your outfits and will work with your choices, never against them.
Even with talk of muted tones and prints, it doesn’t mean that a capsule edit has to be boring. Buying classic pieces with a directional twist can help to modernise and freshen up a collection. Instead of a classic fitted T-shirt, why not experiment with an oversized boyfriend style, or look out for design twists such as asymmetric hemlines and patterned lapels.
1. Trench Coat
Though you may be tired of hearing it, a trench really is a spring style staple. Light enough for warmer days, but still with an ability to layer means you won’t go cold when the temperature decides to drop ten degrees in the middle of March. Versatility is the dream and this piece, with its splash of tapestry print, will work with a pair of jeans, boots and a T-shirt but works equally well when worn with a dress and heels.
Oh, the humble T-shirt. Something which many think as mundane is actually the anchor to many an outfit. Worn with skirts, jeans, or under a suit, the T-shirt should never be overlooked. This JW Anderson-designed piece from Uniqlo is a lovely take on an everyday piece and will give any outfit an edge.
Would it really be a capsule wardrobe without some denim thrown in? Absolutely not. Jeans have become an integral part of a woman’s fashion armour. Equally perfect for casual days as they are for nights out, it’s worth investing in a pair that will go the distance. This A.P.C pair in a mid-rise straight leg allows more freedom and movement than skinnies but doesn’t verge on the side of wide-leg just yet. The key to searching for the perfect pair of jeans is trial and error. Take some time to research, try them on once and then try them on again. It’s time-consuming and sometimes heartbreaking but finding a really good pair of jeans is like winning the style stakes lottery.
Ankle boots have made the transition from winter stalwart to an all-year winner. This year’s offerings were printed, with leopard- and snake-print dominating shop floors. Though you may think that the snake print trend is slightly overdone; don’t crush it just yet. This western style Topshop pair have instant style kudos with their pointed toe, which instantly elongates the leg.
5. Midi skirt
Thank the fashion gods that midi-skirts have cemented their place in the wardrobes of women everywhere. Not as scary as its mini counterpart and not as overwhelming as a maxi creation, the midi will suit everyone. It can be styled perfectly with trainers, boots and heels and any variation of a top and outerwear. This pristine white version from Mango is the perfect spring choice — fresh, clean and guaranteed to go with absolutely anything you already own.
6. Midi dress
Of all the pieces in a woman’s wardrobe, a midi dress will work for her the most. From the office to a dinner with the girls and even to the days when you just don’t feel your best, you can throw on a midi dress and instantly feel put together. This shirt dress in silk crepe de chine from Kitri is sophisticated and elegant. With its easy-to-wear silhouette and tie-waist detail, it’s a sure win for a range of body shapes.
7. White runners
Comfort really is key when it comes to style and white runners are the epitome of this. Originally a street style favourite, they slowly made their way into the world of high fashion and the style mindset of women across the world. This Reebok pair can be styled to perfection under jeans, dresses, skirts and suits.
Although we may be making the move away from full-on wool cocoons, we still need the odd injection of knitwear during spring. A light knit will bring you right to the edge of the summer months without overheating. This & Other Stories number is ideal for layering and its neutral colourway means your options won’t be limited.
Not just for an office, blazers are the definition of cool. Size up to keep them oversized and loose for a retro feel, or go true to size for a classically tailored fit. This pinstripe Ganni dream is a great way to introduce a touch of print to outfits without overkill. Style with jeans, a midi dress or skirt, and forget what they say about navy; it does go with everything.