6 Ways to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

6 Ways to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

Many women that I meet dream of having a capsule wardrobe.  A beautifully, organised, practical wardrobe that has everything you need for every possible occasion and you feel amazing in every, single piece you own.

It is true when I say that when it comes to my clients, most of them readily admit they wear 20% of their wardrobe, more than 80% of the time.  The Practical Stylist

However the reality of our wardrobes can be very different indeed!  We often have WAY more than we really need, and many items that haven’t even seen the light of day since we bought them!  Sound familiar?

So how do you even begin to build a capsule wardrobe?  What should you even be looking for?

1. Select a Base Colour

When it comes to selecting a great capsule wardrobe, you need to have items in a colour palette that are all going to work together.

This can be a mix of base colours – for example, navy, white and black all go together, but they also work well with a plethora of other hues.

For spring and summer, think whites, creams, navy, black, soft nudes, greys and plain pastels to compliment the maximum amount of colours.

However if you’re looking for a more trans-seasonal wardrobe pieces, blacks, greys and navy work very well when it comes to key pieces, as they look great whatever the weather.


2. Think Value not Price

When it comes to great capsule pieces, be prepared to pay a little bit more if it means you get the right one with the right level of quality!

Capsule pieces will be worn time and time again, so need to be able to withstand the test of time when it comes to being worn and washed.

Plus if you have a good quality basic capsule wardrobe, it means you can pretty much add anything to those pieces, no matter how cheap, and they will instantly look more expensive.

Quality capsule pieces will enhance the overall look and feel of your wardrobe.

3. Think What With?

A great capsule piece will be able to create at least 3 different looks, but really you are aiming for 5 different looks with 1 piece for amazing value for money.

For example, the Hobbs jumpsuit below can be dressed down with knitwear or a parka for off-duty looks.  Can be smartened up for work with a tote and pointed flats.  Or can be dressed up for drinks with heels and a blazer!

The Hobbs jumpsuit is so versatile because it’s a block colour and a simple, clean shape.  This makes it really easy to vamp up or dress down and is a great example of a good capsule piece!

Summer Work Edit_PINTEREST

4. Know Yourself

Think about what you REALLY wear day to day.  If you’re all about the comfort, don’t buy a new pair of glamorous heels, when in reality, you keep wearing those smelly, battered old ballet pump flats for work every day instead of the 15 pairs of pristine heels you own!  Instead invest in a couple of different pairs of glamorous, gorgeous flats you love to wear!!

5. Love is the Thing

A good capsule piece is something you LOVE wearing!  Something you look great in.  Even if it is ‘boring’ like a pair of jeans or black trousers, or a navy blazer.

DO NOT SETTLE when it comes to your capsule pieces.  That is what the majority of women tend to do, and these are the women who feel unfulfilled by their wardrobes.  They buy 10 pairs of cheap black trousers or jeans because they are ‘cheap’ and they ‘look ok’ and ‘they’ll come in handy’.  In the end, too many of these types of pieces dilute your style and dissolve your confidence because they don’t look or feel great- they were bought because you felt they would come in handy because you currently own jeans or black trousers that you currently wear a lot.    If that’s the case, why buy more???

Buy things you actually need rather than just buying MORE of what you already have!

The women who hold out for the capsule pieces are the women who always look effortless – that’s because the time and effort went in to finding the key pieces.

Putting together looks AFTER you have capsule pieces is easy, and indeed effortless!

6. Last on the List

The things you normally need the most, are the things you would find boring to shop for, and always avoid!

They are usually last on your list of things to do, because you find them too much hard work to shop for.

For example, say you love shopping for occasionwear dresses but you hate shopping for jeans.  I bet you look great on a night out, but struggle with smart-casual.  Am I right?

You need to invest more time in the areas that you find more difficult.

To help you this season, here are some examples of good capsule pieces: –

The Blazer

If you don’t have good capsule layers, life becomes very hard when it comes to creating lots of different outfits.

A good layering piece is either relatively plain in colour and shape, but adds the glam factor when it comes to chic-ness OR it’s a statement piece that really shouts about your personality.

Bear in mind, statement jackets are tricky to pull off regularly, without you thinking everyone else might be thinking ‘she’s wearing THAT jacket AGAIN!’ so I usually go for a more classic piece when it comes to tailored jackets, throwing in some WOW jackets along the way whenever I fall in love with them.

For more advice on summer layering pieces check out Top Summer Cover Ups

Next_75 (2).png
Next, £75

The White Blouse

In women’s wardrobes I often find t-shirts and vests in an array of blinding colours, but when I ask ‘do you have a nice quality white tee / top / blouse, I am met with a look of bewilderment.

The white tee / top is an ideal piece that every woman should have in her wardrobe.  Make sure you take the time to find the right one that works for your body shape.

A good capsule white tee or blouse should make jeans look effortless, can be worn in summer to dress up slouchy shorts, could be paired with a leather pencil skirt for drinks OR will look great at the office under a blazer.

It’s so versatile! Getting a top like this is well worth the time and effort.

great capsule pieces
Marks & Spencer, £25




Most women I meet have endless pairs of black trousers that they have picked up here, there and everywhere.  HOWEVER they only really truly ever wear 1 or 2 of all those pairs.

The same usually goes for jeans as well!

Would you rather invest in 2 pairs of quality £50 – £70 trousers that feel great and make you look a size slimmer.  They wash well and look expensive. (Spend: £140)

OR would you rather own 10 pairs of £20 trousers from the supermarket, all of which don’t quite fit right? (Spend: £200)

Im not saying you can’t find great pieces that aren’t cheap!  YOU CAN!!! My point is it does matter how little or much you spend.  Just make sure you buy it because it’s RIGHT!

A Wardrobe Reality Check

Have a look through your wardrobe and see how many pairs of black trousers you HAVE; and how many you actually wear?  Tot up the approximate value of these trousers.  Was it worth it?  Imagine what you could have bought instead.

A true capsule piece doesn’t just feel ‘ok’ – you feel like your best self in it!  Hold out for these pieces.  They’re worth the wait and these are the pieces that really speak volumes about your style.

People always think it’s the fashiony items that we buy here and there throughout the year – the more fun pieces to purchase and wear!  In reality, without the foundations of a good capsule wardrobe, everything looks worse than it did in the shop.  With good capsule pieces, everything looks better!

If you’re reading this thinking ‘yup I’ve got loads of clothes but nothing to wear, there is a way out of the wardrobe fog!

If the British ‘summer’ is currently causing you ‘what to wear?!’ Dramas then check out my best transitional pieces for spring


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