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. Sound 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 wear just these pieces for the next 10 days.
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 shopping!
Click through to discover which 15 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…
What's snug, stylish and made for walking? This pair of boots. Love a midi skirt, but can't abide tights? Black knee-highs will keep you cosy without exposing inches of goose-pimpled flesh, whilst a mid-height block heel strikes just the right balance between comfort and style. This pair is even available in half-sizes, for the perfect fit. It's an investment...
The Breton-striped top is a wardrobe classic for a reason: its understated elegance works with skirts, jeans and trousers to evoke the impression of effortless style. Dress it up with a statement necklace.
If you invest in one pair of heels, make them nude. Not only will they work with any outfit, they'll make your legs look inches longer. A block heel will add height without compromising comfort, whilst adjustable slingback straps will keep your shoes secure without 'cutting off' your legs at the ankle.
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...