The capsule wardrobe is the holy grail of dressing. It’s a mini line-up of pieces (6-10, ideally) that you can mix and match each day, delivering multiple outfit options with minimal effort and an effortlessly chic vibe.
Here, we’ve rounded up five capsule wardrobes and the pieces you’ll need for the year ahead.
Work capsule wardrobe
Workwear demands a certain level of polish (when you’re not WFH, that is…). First up, invest in a sleek trouser suit – see Next for on-trend wide leg trousers, a versatile double breasted blazer and a waistcoat (top of the SS23 must-have line-up FYI).
The beauty of a suit is that for an important meeting or presentation you can opt for the full shebang, then day-to-day mix and match with other pieces.
No wardrobe is complete without a white shirt – seek out crisp cotton and a silhouette on the oversized side – Arket are particularly good at tailored basics. Depending on your budget, a statement version is a great alternative – a bold print or colour like this Whistles design.
For the bottom half, seek out a midi skirt, think clean lines and a go-with-everything colour like black, navy, khaki green or cream. And straight leg indigo denim which is smart enough for work and transitions seamlessly into evening. Both will go with your shirts and blazer delivering multiple outfit options.
A stylish dress is a fuss-free alternative to separates, midi length jersey strikes the right note for the office, layered with your blazer on cooler days.
In terms of accessories, loafers never go out of style – I love a buckle, or penny loafer like this Clarks pair. Finish with a tote bag that’s spacious enough to cart everything around with you.
Weekend capsule wardrobe
The off duty capsule. Arguably the core of your wardrobe, weekend pieces should balance comfort with style (ie no heels) and take you from brunch with friends to a park walk, or a cosy afternoon in the pub, depending on the season.
A weighty denim shirt neatly segues between top – buttoned up, tucked into jeans (yes, the Canadian tuxedo is back) and shacket – worn open over a white tee.
A stone trench coat is a true investment piece, so seek out iconic details (storm flaps, waist tie, double breasted).
Going out capsule wardrobe
By night, striking the balance between dressed up and effortless is a fine art. Start with a slip dress – black and bias cut (see Free People) will work all year round, and can be jazzed up with accessories.
And palazzo pants – opt for jewel tones for instant impact. On the top half a classic tank is not only bang on trend right now (and any brand worth their salt has a version) but delivers minimal chic that ensures it won’t go out of style in a hurry.
Because a capsule wardrobe needs to work all year round, it’s worth adding an evening-ready blazer. Na-Kd’s sequin design adds night-time sparkle, and silver goes with everything (plus, it will look great over stonewashed jeans and simple pumps by day).
You can’t go wrong with midi heeled mules, which work with every hemline, then add chunky gold hoops and a chain strap bag big enough to hold all your essentials.
More on capsule wardrobe types:
- Everything you need for a Parisian-inspired capsule wardrobe
- How to build the ultimate office capsule wardrobe
- The only 9 items you need in your beach holiday capsule wardrobe
- This is the perfect 11-piece sustainable capsule wardrobe
Holiday capsule wardrobe
Pivot yours around swimwear – the backbone of any getaway closet. I’m a big fan of the one piece – seersucker styles are not only super flattering, but double as a top paired with a pair of shorts or loose-fit lo-fi linen trousers – Reformation’s pair come in several sunshine-ready colours.
Sunglasses with UV protection are essential – cateye frames are my favourite, styled with a floppy straw hat. The LWD (that’s Little White Dress) will never go out of style, and H&M, Zara and Cos are dependable for slick, oversized silhouettes.
Event capsule wardrobe
From weddings to work events, a capsule wardrobe occasionwear line up is an excellent idea, not least because these pieces tend to be the lower traffic items in your closet, and it makes sense to keep them concise.
I’d start with a jumpsuit. It tends to be my go-to for every occasion – easy to dress up, it saves the hassle of pairing tops and bottoms and looks instantly put together (until you have to go to the loo…) something bright looks instantly elevated, see Mango for beautiful options.
I tend to alternate this with a midi dress, something in a punchy colour with elegant details that can be styled in multiple ways.
This Warehouse knot maxi dress is a great example, the colour is event-ready, and it will look totally different depending on the styling – add an oversized blazer (boyfriend cut, neutral colour), pair with statement earrings (hoops for the win), swap in a bold headband (the cool girls alternative to a hat).
When it comes to shoes, I’d go midi heel – they’re comfier and therefore more versatile. Something like this M&S pair are interesting enough to pull together a look, but neutral enough to wear on repeat. Finally, a simple clutch – clean lines and a bit of texture like this Jigsaw woven design, will transition into your day-to-day wardrobe.