Everything you need for the perfect mix and match capsule wardrobe, as chosen by the w&h fashion team
The average woman has 150 items of clothing in her wardrobe and spends 4 days of every year deciding what to wear. Sounds like you? Then this guide to capsule wardrobe essentials is for you.
What is a capsule wardrobe? Well, it’s the dream for many of us: a collection of classic, perennially stylish wardrobe essentials you can count on your fingers and toes. These wardrobe basics mix and match together effortlessly, will see you through season after season and make that daily ‘what to wear’ panic a thing of the past.
So how do you go about building a capsule wardrobe, without simply adding new ‘wardrobe staples’ to those already heaving stacks and racks?
1. Determine what is essential clothing
First things first, clear out your existing wardrobe. Sort everything into bin, charity shop, keep (for items you love and wear or intend to wear at least once a month only), mend and vacuum pack (for those items you don’t wear regularly, but can’t bear to get rid of just yet) piles.
Live with the ‘keep’ pile for at least a week. “Just see what it feels like to live with less clothing,” advises Caroline Rector, author of minimalist fashion blog Unfancy, who whittled her wardrobe down to 37 pieces in 2014.
2. Select your staple clothing
Feeling brave? Take things a step further by picking 10 items of staple clothing from your wardrobe and challenging yourself to plan outfits with them to wear as soon as lockdown is over.
Now you’ve got a better idea of the scope and limitations of your existing wardrobe, you can start to fill in any gaps. Yes, that means going online shopping!
Click through to discover which 10 items of essential clothing should be on your capsule wardrobe list – and where to find them. Remember, a capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be boring – find the styles that gel with your own taste, shape and colouring and you’ll never want to take them off! And, once you’ve got your classic clothing sorted, there’s no harm in jazzing it up with a little trend-inspired addition here and there. What are you waiting for? It’s time to start building your capsule wardrobe…
Finding the perfect pair of jeans is never easy, but, if you're going to buy one pair, make it this one. Their cigarette silhouette will have you feeling perfectly polished at work and play, whilst a dark indigo hue and hint of stretch keep you looking trim.
Denim shirt is a super versatile and easy to wear piece that will see you through all seasons. Perfect to wear over summery dresses or as another layer in winter.
A well-cut trench coat will keep you dry and cosy through London weather. Opt for a hip-length beige trench, you can't go wrong with a classic.
From Dame Helen Mirren to the Duchess of Cambridge, every celebrity worth her style salt has been seen out and about in white trainers. They make the perfect partners for skirts, shirt dresses and tailored trousers, as well as jeans. Don't believe us? Give them a go...
A leather bucket bag is modern and minimalist and won't be out of date as it always comes in different colours and sizes every season. This one from Cath Kidston comes with two straps and can be worn over the shoulder or as a cross body.
A pleated midi skirt is an elegant style. The vertical lines elongate the silhouette creating a flattering figure. It looks great with both pumps or trainers, boots or flats.
Instant outfit? Sold. The shirt dress will see you through any occasion in style. Since you don't need to worry about mixing and matching, why not take the opportunity to go bold? Team with flats or espadrilles for summer soirees, then slip a roll neck knit and knee high boots underneath for a snug '70s-inspired look when the weather turns.
Wide leg cuts lengthen legs whilst skimming over and balancing out troublesome hips and thighs. A high-waisted fit will flatter hourglass and pear-shaped figures, whilst adding curves to slimmer ladies.
An elegant camel flat will work with everything from tailored workwear to occasion dresses. Not a ballerina fan? Try a loafer or backless mule, instead.
Every woman needs a classic shirt in her wardrobe, but a silk version will give you more bang for your buck. This collarless style with pockets is modern and will work with both tailoring or denim.