Capsule wardrobe over 60

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Capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40 – Spring 2017

My most read wardrobe posts are always the ones that focus on creating an edited collection so I thought it was time for another one. I’ve been working on my own wardrobe for Spring as I’m having a huge clearout and so I’m using my own plan as a basis for this post on capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40.

I’m going to start with jeans because they are increasingly becoming acceptable for working wardrobes as well as weekend looks. I know from your comments that the move on from skinnies is causing regular distress and so I’ve found a few different options. They all work and it’s up to you to decide where you are going to settle for Spring 2017.

In terms of colour – light, stonewashed blues are the thing and you will see them getting more bleached as the trend progresses. I have been wearing them and trying hard to like them but I can’t help preferring a dark indigo for its slimming properties and chic finish. I’m going to include both options where I can.

For skinny refuseniks – the cropped skinny

I think this covers a large number of Midlifechic readers. We have all become used to the neat silhouette they give us and it is hard to move on. The easy way is simply to make sure you are wearing cropped skinnies. The ankle continues to be a key erogenous zone for 2017 (the other of course is the shoulder and we’re lucky – both areas are easy for women over 40).

Left to right: indigo cropped skinnies; mid-blue cropped skinnies; grey cropped skinnies

Of course an easy way around this is to crop your old skinnies yourself. Just make sure they are made from proper denim rather than elasticated cotton before you start. Cut the hems off, fray them (I use a pair of nail scissors to tease the threads) and then wash them a few times to settle the hem. I tried it last year but it still didn’t match the effect of machine distressing and in the end, I preferred the pairs that I bought ready frayed.

Moving on gradually? The slim boyfriend

These are not the same as the baggy boyfriend with ripped knees from two years ago. They are a slightly looser move on from the skinny, often referred to as a ‘relaxed skinny.’ They are often very low rise but I have found two styles that aren’t. I have the Baukjen ones in black and they are very easy to wear.

Left to right: very slim boyfriend jeans; boyfriend fit ankle jeans

Ready for a bigger change? Straight cropped jeans – maybe with a raw hem.

I really like wearing these jeans. Because I have hips, I find the slightly wider hem balances the proportions out. They are my choice for work (in dark indigo without frayed hems) when I want to feel a bit smarter.

Left to right: straight high jeans; indigo ankle skimmer jeans (10% off); vintage high ankle jeans (great value); raw hem straight leg jeans

Footwear

So, once you’ve chosen your jeans, this is the next thing you need to get right.

Ankle boots

The low ankle boots that you were wearing with full length skinnies don’t work any more. With a cropped ankle you need a block heeled boot that rises higher on the ankle.

Left to right: snake boots (15% off with CHIC15); gold boots; black boots; red boots

Shoes

The block heeled pump is now embedded in the mainstream probably because it is so practical and easy to wear. It might be worth foregoing pure leather for such a high trend item. I have the silver ones and I love them.

Left to right: taupe block heels; silver block heels; charcoal grey block heels with zigzag edging; V Cut gold block heels; V Cut red block heels

This was yesterday when I was wearing my silver shoes heading off for a day at my desk on a very windy day. I was wearing full length skinnies though – it was freezing.

Silver block heeled shoes; boiled wool waistcoat; Blush pink cotton jumper; Ultra stretch skinny jeans; Finery bag past season

A close up – the first day of the year without socks!

The loafer

You can’t escape the Gucci inspired backless loafer. I have just had the red ones delivered and I’d forgotten how easy they are to wear. It shows how long they have been out of fashion though, they inspire horror in my 13 year old even though I remember wearing them endlessly when he was little.

Flame red backless loafer; Zebra loafers (zebra stripes are this season’s leopard); black loafers (40% off); gold babouches

The flat slingback

I’m including these because the leg lengthening pointed toe means that they work well with dresses and skirts as well as trousers. The V Vamp is a key trend, it’s this year’s version of the slightly ‘fugly’ shoe.

Gold V vamp slingbacks; White V Vamp slingbacks; Snake detail slingbacks; Silver slingbacks (30% off)

Smarter trousers

In addition to jeans, we need trousers for work or smarter days. I featured wide legged trousers a couple of weeks ago and had lots of requests for an alternative from people who felt they weren’t flattering. The tailored crops from the last few years are looking tired but it’s a small adjustment – we’re still working with a 7/8 length but the hems are slightly wider.

I have the first and third pairs below – I usually buy regular length but needed long in these, especially the navy.

Left to right: Ochre slim leg cropped trousers; Pink cropped trousers; Navy cropped trousers; Scarlet cropped trousers (30% off); Cropped bi-stretch cigarette trousers

Tops

The statement piece this season is the top, specifically the shirt. You may need to layer underneath rather than over – I’m serious. This season you wear a coat or blazer (ideally shoulder robed) but take it off as soon as you arrive where you’re going. You need to show off the detail of the top.

Gingham top (I have this, it’s lovely); Pleat back top; White cinched waist shirt;

I can already hear the groans about the ironing involved. There isn’t really any way round it this season but you can always include some jersey to make it a little easier.

Partial cold shoulder top; Trumpet sleeve lace top; Ruched jersey sweat (15% off with CHIC15); Cross neck detail top; Frill hem swing top

These are the genius pieces that make this trend wearable in early Spring – totally invisible layering tops.

Invisible longline tank; Invisible cami

If you want sleeves, these are slightly less invisible but still good.

Scoop neck thermal tee (in sale)

Dresses

Dresses are an easy way to make a statement in Spring, especially as it gets warmer and you can wear them with bare legs. I already have a number of plain ponte dresses in my wardrobe that are great for every day so this year I’m just adding a couple of showstoppers. You’ve already seen my Finery water lily dress. I wore it for a day in London last week when I was meeting brands and it felt fantastic. Three women stopped me to ask where it was from. It’s inspired me to look for a couple more, my only focus is on making sure they’re not too girly.

Water lily dress; ; ; Fit and flare panel dress;

So, by the time you’ve picked your favourite pieces, you could end up with an April / May capsule that looks something like this.

A capsule for Spring 17

Top L-R: Indigo Jeans; scarlet trousers; grey jeans; yellow trousers

Row 2 L – R: gingham blouse; white jersey top; white shirt; navy jersey top; water lily dress

Row 3 L – R: invisible tank; invisible cami; pleat back blouse; Panel dress

Shoes: white V vamp; Black ankle boots; Red loafers; Silver block heels

Midlife lately

What a week it has been in the UK. I send my thoughts to everyone who is living or working in London – #wearenotafraid is the only response but I know it is not easy to live in the shadow of terrorism. I clearly remember working at the top of Selfridges during the years of the IRA attacks and the constant bomb scares.

Today sadly, we have been to the funeral of a longstanding client who has died very suddenly at the age of only 48. He was out cycling with friends and, without warning, had a huge heart attack. He leaves behind his shattered wife and three children. It has been a big shock for everyone who knows him and the church was full of dumbfounded midlife families, people who are more accustomed to meeting at weddings and christening than untimely funerals.

And now we are heading off to watch the middle son have a moment in the spotlight as he performs in a play at The Bolton Octagon. The eldest and his girlfriend are joining us along with my sister and brother-in-law. In the shadow of the week’s events, I feel extremely fortunate just to be spending an evening with the people I love, living my everyday life.

So this weekend I wish all mums – and in fact everyone who has ever had a mum – a happy Mothering Sunday. Let’s celebrate the women who bore and raised us, even if they are no longer here and, if you are a mum yourself, I hope you enjoy at least a few moments of gratitude.

It looks as though it will be an exciting day in our house. With the eldest at home from uni for the Easter break, the boys have said they are staging a takeover in the kitchen. Mr MC is already mopping his brow in anticipation of the chaos. I will stay out of the way until I am called – with a glass of fizz and a book!

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Disclosure: ‘capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40’ is not a sponsored post

Mid Season sales

Boden – up to 50% off here

White Company – up to 50% off here

Whistles – further reductions and new lines here

Pure Collection – up to 50% off here

Jaeger – up to 50% off here

Jack Wills – up to 50% off here

Current discounts

Finery – 15% here with code CHIC15

Pure Collection – 25% off here (added at checkout)

JD Williams 20% off here with code RURY6

Recent SS17 posts you may have missed

Spotlight on Pure Collection

Finery Review – Spring 17

The gift edit

Spring 17 wardrobe updates

Beauty and books

New February outfits for night and day

Trying on Finery, Boden, M&S and looking at Hush SS17

Spotlight on Baukjen

Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo

Finding the ultimate breton top

What I’ve been wearing

Winter jumpers and the new jean style

Reviewing Next SS17

Midlifechic’s 3rd birthday – what’s next?

The Midlife Series

Curing a lifelong phobia

Midlife loneliness – a follow up

Loneliness and the midlife woman

What is midlife in the twenty-tens?

Survey results – what you are experiencing

My story

A capsule wardrobe for the minimal style personality

Do you have a minimal style personality? Then you will love this capsule wardrobe for the minimal style personality!!

Not sure what style personality you have? Find out in our style personality quiz!

Do you have a minimal style personality?

A minimal style wardrobe can be one of the chicest choices for women over 40. As the saying goes;”less is more”.

A minimal style wardrobe doesn’t have to be boring, on the contrary.

A minimalist style is classic and timeless and truly lets a woman’s own beauty shine through.

Celebrities with a minimal style personality

Angelina Jolie, Annette Bening, and Charlize Theron are just a few of the many beautiful women who opt for a subtle and minimalist style.

I’m sure you would agree that, while their minimal style is pared back, it is far from dull.

How to tell if you have a minimal style personality

You gravitate towards simple style

If you naturally have a minimal style personality, the you will prefer outfits which are simple and uncomplicated.

You like a neutral palette

If I opened your closet right now, I would be unlikely to see lots of color and pattern. You prefer a palette of neutrals and, if you do go for patterns, they are likely to be simple stripes or smaller prints.

You are a minimalist in your home too

If you like a minimal style wardrobe, you probably don’t like to much clutter in your home either. Marie Condo is a woman after your own heart.

You may find yourself drawn to other similar styles

If you have a minimal style personality, you may find that you also like elements of classic style, Eurochic style or architectural style.

Why a minimalist wardrobe could work for you

A minimalist capsule works well with many body shapes and since this style doesn’t include lots of trendy details, this wardrobe style can look stylish and fresh longer than a trendier of-the-moment wardrobe can.

Jona opts for a minimal style look here, but she adds interest by wearing a black v-neck with 3/4 sleeves.

While her top is patterned, it has a very simple pattern. She keeps the rest of the look stylishly simple with a pencil skirt and a pair of block-heeled sandals.

Get a similar bell sleeve top here.

‘Rules’ of minimal style

If you’d like to create your own minimalist capsule wardrobe, keep these rules in mind:

  • Highlight one stand-out accessory or one unique detail.
  • Choose understated, neutral colors like black, navy, white and gray to build a solid minimalist base.
  • Select styles of clothing that showcase a clean, long line.
  • Choose tops, pants and jackets that follow the lines of the body, but aren’t too clingy or too baggy.
  • Steer clear of ruffles, embellishments, or overly trendy details.
  • Wear columns of solid colors (or if you do include prints, choose subtle tone on tone prints)

Tops for the minimal style personality

Like the rest of your closet, your tops will be classic, timeless and are likely to be in neutral shades.

That’s not to say you can’t add a pop of color if you would like to. However, if you do, you are likely to prefer a block shade rather than, for example, a flamboyant pattern like florals.

Here I’ve included four tops that you could wear for season upon season, year after year, and they will never date.

Options such as a neutral short-sleeved t-shirt, a classic button-down skirt, a turtleneck and a wrap top will give your closet the clean, classic look you love.

However, I have added interest with the texture of the tee here, and the subtle stripes on the shirt.

Halogen jacquard knit top – Splendid mock neck tee – Equipment stripe shirt – Vince Camuto wrap front blouse

Mrs. Kandinsky is wearing a check long sleeves here. But, even with the checked pattern, her look is still very clean and simple. Check out this similar piece from Rails.

Dresses and skirts for your minimalist closet

One of the most important elements in a minimalist wardrobe is a simple, clean lined statement dress, a simple dress with one stand out detail that can be dressed up or down.

Select a fabric that works winter or summer like a lightweight, seasonless wool or silk. Select a simple wrap, sheath or subtle A-line.

Here are a few dress options to build out your minimalist wardrobe.

Lewit slit front dress – Black Halo zip slit sheath dress – Boss square neck sheath dress – A.L.C. rib knit wrap skirt

Gail wearing a white Marks & Spencers shirtdress. Get a similar look with this piece from the brand.

Maudie wearing a black slit midi skirt. Check out this skirt from Topshop for a similar look.

Pants for your minimal fashion look

Choose pants that flatter your shape. Good choices are a slim cropped pant in a gray, navy, or black.

Another flattering option is a full-legged trouser cut pant, or a boot cut trouser in a dark color which will lengthen your legs and create a long visual line.

You can also add a casual cropped pair of pants for a more casual style.

Endless Rose wide leg pants – Anne Klein twill pants – Vince wide leg crop pants – Frame ankle skinny jeans

Claire wearing a raw hem wide leg pants in white. Get a similar piece here from Joe’s.

Deborah wearing a black skinny pants. Copy her look with this similar piece.

Jackets for the minimal fashion look

For the minimalist style, choose jackets and coats with a body skimming style.

Steer clear of anything too baggy or trendy.

Opt for clean lines and neutral colors. You can opt for black. But, you don’t have to. You can also choose gray, white, tan or navy.

Oodji Collection asymmetrical belted vest – Cupcakes and Cashmere long vest – Cinq à Sept ruched sleeve blazer – Blank NYC moto jacket

Helen got her blazer from Marks & Spencer.

Adaline wearing a black moto jacket. Check out a similar piece here.

Accessories and Jewelry to go with your minimalist clothing

Less is more when it comes to jewelry for the minimalist style.

Choose one exceptionally stylish piece of jewelry rather than a layer of pieces.

If you want to add a statement piece, choose something oversized rather than delicate.

Silver, gold or other metallics are a great option. For bags, select a satchel or crossbody with tonal details; styles which pair well with a minimalist style.

AllSaints leather bag – Thacker shoulder bag – Ten 79 LA drop earrings – – Karine Sultan sculptural cuff – Lisa Freede knot lariat necklace

Kim wearing a pair statement earrings. Get a similar hexagon pair here.

Georgette using a Tory Burch tote bag. Get a similar style here from the brand.

Shoes to go with your minimalist outfits

Classic, flattering, and feminine shapes like pumps, boots with a pointed toe, ballet flats, mules and slingbacks complement a minimalist style.

Linea Paolo bootie – Calvin Klein slide sandal – Calvin Klein slingback flat – Steve Madden sneaker

Nicola pairs her whole look with suede booties. Check out a similar pair here.

Gitte wearing strappy flat sandals. Check out a similar pair here.

A capsule wardrobe of 9 minimalist outfits using the pieces above

Here are 9 looks we created for the minimalist style capsule wardrobe. But there are lots more combinations you could create from these pieces.

Remember, most of us don’t just have one style personality. We are a usually a mixture and can also like elements of other style personalities. However, usually one is dominant.

You may like to check out our capsules for the preppy style, classic style, Eurochic style, natural style or architectural style.

Read our ultimate guide to creating a capsule wardrobe that works best for you.

Let me know what style personality you are! Does the minimal style personality speak to you?

Like this article on the minimal style personality? Share it on Pinterest

Feature image by Gail

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Fabulous After 40 Wardrobe Capsule Course 

New Course for 2019 coming this June!

Capsule wardrobes are getting a lot of attention these days. Generally speaking, a capsule wardrobe is about a core group of items that all work with each other, and that can be combined in many ways to create many different outfits. You end up with fewer things that you wear more often.

Capsule wardrobes can save you time, money, and make getting dressed easier. Here is an example of a casual capsule wardrobe for spring and summer.

1. Start with Some Neutral Bottoms

Start with a basic set of casual bottoms for spring and summer such as blue, white and colored jeans. Here are some examples.

2. Add Some Neutral Tops

Next add some casual neutral tops that go with all the bottoms.

3. Inject a Little Color

While an all-neutral capsule can be lovely, I like to keep it interesting by injecting a little color. In this example I’ve chosen lavender, a popular color this year.

4. Create Outfits

From the items I feature here, you can create dozens of different looks. Here are just a few examples below.

OUTFIT #1

OUTFIT #2

OUTFIT # 3

OUTFIT # 4

Are you interested in learning more about capsule wardrobes for over-40 gals?

Starting June 17th we will be running a 4-week course where you will learn how to put together a summer wardrobe that will make you look and feel fabulous!

  • Learn the 10 essential pieces you need for summer
  • What accessories you’ll need to create modern, trendy capsules
  • How to mix and match like a pro
  • The one thing every capsule needs
  • How to know what colors to make your capsule to get maximum wear

You’ll get weekly webinars, handouts ( all you do is fill in the blanks), a private Facebook group, and buy links so you can purchase my suggestions or just shop your closet!

No more not knowing what to wear. No more wasting money$$$.

This is the course you need to finally dress the way you have been wanting to dress all these years with no hassle no fuss.

Cost of course only $149 ( you’ve spent more on something that is still hanging in your closet with the pricetags still on, never worn!)

Advance registration starts now. Email [email protected] to confirm your spot and we will mail you a paypal link.

It’s going to be a great group of ladies and a whole lot of learning and fun!

Don’t miss it Glam Gal!!

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This post contains revenue generating affiliate links which helps support my business at no additional cost to you. Thank you for shopping via my links.

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15 Must-Have Items for a Classic and Timeless Wardrobe (Plus 45+ Outfit Ideas!)

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you purchase through our links. Please read our full disclosure here.

A while back, we covered 15 boho chic pieces you ought to have in your closet to help build a bohemian wardrobe. However, after reading all of your responses I realized the need for another, more fundamental and basic list–so here it is!

In this post, I will cover the most timeless and basic pieces you need to create an awesome, classic wardrobe. These are the basic building blocks of a well-rounded closet. You’ll notice that many of these are also on our college wardrobe essentials list, but this list is shorter and less college-specific, and includes career staples for your post-college life.

These are definitely investment pieces, so don’t be afraid to splurge on certain ones if the time is right. They’re classics and (if you take care of them) can last for years or even decades. They’ll carry you through work weeks at a big girl job, dinners with significant other’s parents, networking soirees, and so much more.

And without further ado, let’s jump right in!

1. A Little Black Dress

Products (from left): Gap, Banana Republic, J.Crew Factory, Nordstrom Rack

Every magazine, fashion blog, CF writer, and even your mother was right — having a trusty LBD in your closet is a crucial arrow in your fashion quiver. Look for classic knee-length sleeveless sheath styles, similar to something you could picture Jackie O or Audrey Hepburn wearing. Make sure it’s not too short and doesn’t show cleavage for the ultimate versatile piece.

I’ve had a lot of luck finding great LBDs for a moderate price at Banana Republic, Gap, White House Black Market, and Express.

Here’s a few ways to wear an LBD:

  • A little black dress plus pumps, pearls, and a (#2) cardigan or (#8) blazer equals an instant and perfect business casual look.
  • For a sassy date night ensemble, wear your LBD with a sexy pair of stilettos, a top knot, and a backwards necklace a la our favorite girl Jennifer Lawrence.
  • Layer your LBD over a (#3) white button down shirt to give your dress an entirely new look!

2. Basic Cardigans

Products (from left): J.Crew, Uniqlo, Old Navy, Mango

From thin cashmere to durable cotton to heavy wool knits, there’s a cardigan out there that will perfectly fit your needs no matter the occasion or season. I love cardigans because they can be styled to look any way your want them to. Be sure to pick up several different cuts, fabrics, and styles so you’ll have plenty to choose from.

Here are a few ideas on how to wear them:

  • A thick knit oversized “grandpa” cardigan will give you a really interesting, almost hipster-esque vibe worn with a (#14) skinny jeans and a (#12) simple v-neck shirt. Finish with an interesting pair of shoes and a hippie headband.
  • For a sophisticated Hamptons kind of look, drape or tie a cardigan around your shoulders with your favorite (#1) LBD or sundress and a chic pair of wedges.
  • This might not be conventional, but I actually prefer cardigans rather than hoodies or jackets when I go to concerts and football games because they’re thinner and therefore easier to stuff in a purse or tie around the strap of a cross-body bag if it gets too hot.

3. A White Dress Shirt

Products (from left): Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, J.Crew Factory, Ralph Lauren

If you will be working, going to interviews, or even just looking polished for a nice dinner anytime soon, a white dress shirt should be your new BFF.

This is not an item that you want to go cheap on — you want your white dress shirt to hold its shape through many washings, and not even be the slightest bit translucent. It’s also a good idea to buy one a size larger than you normally wear – when it comes to awkward pulling and gaps around your chest, it’s much better to be safe than sorry!

I splurged on a white slim-cut dress shirt from Ralph Lauren Polo, which was still about $50 at an outlet shop, but it was entirely worth it. I love the thick cotton material that it’s made of. These shirts are thick enough to absorb icky armpit sweat that always seems to form in work situations, but is still cool enough to stay comfortable all day. Also, I love how it somehow looks fantastic in the most rigid professional dress code, but still looks amazing and feels comfortable in casual, everyday functions as well. I highly recommend it!

  • White dress shirts are the ultimate work attire building block. Pair your white dress shirt with a pencil skirt, with a (#8) blazer, with (#11) khaki trousers, with (#13) black dress pants, or even wear one over a (#1) LBD to turn it into a skirt and shirt look. Finish with a statement necklace and simple (#10) pumps or (#4) ballet flats. The combinations are endless!
  • For a fast and casual look, wear a white button-down shirt with a pair of denim shorts and Converse All-Stars or Vans.
  • Throw one under a sweater or (#2) cardigan for a geek-chic ensemble!

4. Ballet Flats

Products (top row, from left): Gap, J.Crew Factory, Target

Products (bottom row, from left): Forever 21, Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack

The fantastic thing about ballet flats is that they’re a totally classic staple item that you don’t need to spend a bunch of money on. From my experience, all ballet flats (even the expensive Tory Burch kind) will wear out after a year or two. Rather than spending a ton of money on one fancy leather pair, I prefer to pick up several different colors and styles from Target or Gap and replace them frequently!

Here are a few fun ways to wear them:

  • Evoke your inner pin-up girl and wear a pair of ballet flats with black opaque leggings, and a (#3) white dress shirt. For bonus points, add cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, or a fancy French twist updo!
  • Go back to your high school days and rock a pair of ballet flats with (#14) skinny jeans, a graphic t-shirt, and a solid-colored, fitted zip-up hoodie.
  • Save your feet from the aches and pains of wearing heels all night by throwing a spare pair of ballet flats in your purse if you’re going to be at a long event.

5. A Long Trench Coat

Products (from left): Mango, Abercrombie & Fitch, Mango, Gap Factory

I’ll be honest, it took me a while to finally bite the bullet and splurge on a classic, timeless tan trench coat. You can find cheap versions at Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe, but I’d recommend saving your money for a quality trench coat from Gap, Banana Republic, Express, or, if it’s not out of reach, Burberry. They’ll be cut more conservatively, and will last for years or even decades.

Look for styles that hit below your knee and are cut loose through the sleeves and shoulders, so you’ll be able to layer pieces underneath.

  • Is there anything more gorgeous, chic, and demure than a trench coat worn with red lipstick, a trusty (#1) LBD, (#10) pumps, and a simple bun or ponytail? This look is perfect for dates, dinners, work, or even just adding a bit of mystique to mundane tasks like grocery shopping or going to the bank!
  • On the next rainy day, leave that boxy sorority-issued anorak at home. Instead, rock a pair of dark skinny jeans and any top with a trench coat and an eye-catching pair of rainboots. Tie a (#9) lightweight scarf around your neck for bonus points.
  • Trench coats look awesome buttoned up and tied, but they also look fantastic left open and loose. Try wearing one with a sweater, (#14) skinny jeans, and (#6) knee-high boots.

6. Brown, Tan, or Camel Knee-High Boots

Products (from left): Amazon, Macy’s, Macy’s, Macy’s

The number of ways you can wear a simple pair of brown riding boots is virtually endless.

You want these shoes to complement and blend with any outfit, so look for a pair with few to no embellishments. It’s also a wise idea to not go any taller than a 2″ heel, so they’ll be comfortable to walk in all day long. Steve Madden and Jessica Simpson make awesome pairs, but TJMaxx, Ross, and DSW are all great places to look if you want to snag a great deal.

  • Pairing a solid-colored dress, denim jacket, and tan boots is an easy and stylish look for class.
  • Knee-high boots immediately add polish to any leggings, oversized (#12) v-neck and (#2) cardigan combo.
  • Skinny jeans were practically made for knee-high boots.

7. Dark-Wash Boot-Cut Jeans

Products (from left): American Eagle Outfitters (More sizes in similar wash here), Old Navy, Gap, Express

Although skinny, boyfriend, and trouser-style jeans are more modern, it’s still important to have an oh-so-classic pair of dark-wash, boot-cut jeans in your closet. These jeans always come back into style and are great for nice dinners, casual days at work, or even just pairing with a t-shirt.

Look for styles with no fading or embellishments, and have them hemmed to perfectly hit the bottom of your heel. If you want to splurge on a pair of designer jeans, a boot-cut pair is definitely the most timeless option.

  • Wear these jeans with (#10) black pumps and a (#3) white dress shirt for a classic, sophisticated look that’s perfect for meeting the parents or going to a smart-casual work function.
  • Nice boot-cut jeans will look fantastic with a (#8) black blazer and a thin, brightly-colored (#9) scarf around your neck.
  • This style of denim got its name because of the flare around the calves — they’re perfect for wearing over any pair of boots.

8. A Perfect Black Blazer

Products (from left): J.Crew Factory, Mango, Gap, Target

Blazers are awesome pieces because there are so many varieties to choose from. Both shrunken and oversized styles are hot right now, but before you purchase either of those, be sure of have that perfect-fitting classic one in your closet. Make sure the sleeves hit right at your wrists, and the shoulders have enough room to layer underneath. The front should be fitted, but not pull out around your chest.

A trip to the tailor might be pricey, but is SO worth it when it comes to a timeless piece like this. My favorite blazers and business pants in the world come from Express — they’re very simple and classic, but are cut in very feminine ways. A win-win for sure!

Here’s a few ways I like to style them:

  • Blazers look fantastic over almost any dress in your closet! Finish the look with a statement necklace and ankle boots.
  • One of my favorite night-on-the-town looks is a pair of (#14) skinny jeans, super high stiletto heels, a chic clutch purse, and a sequined blouse or sheer tank top layered underneath a blazer.
  • For a fast and easy outfit, wear a black blazer over one of your favorite graphic tees, a pair of colored jeans, and some Vans or Converse. Totally comic-book chic!

9. A Lightweight, Brightly-Colored Scarf

Products (from left): Mango, Mango, Charlotte Russe, Brooks Brothers

Scarves are one of those things that most people don’t specifically set out to buy, but always end up with anyway. My mind is blown by how much more stylish, intentional, and complete an outfit can look with just the simple addition of a scarf!

For the most flexibility, buy a variety of scarves that are both short and long, square-shaped and rectangular, sheer and opaque. Personally, I don’t like to spend a ton of money on scarves, but I know some girls (Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic, anyone?) swear by fantastic designer scarves. Do what you feel comfortable with, and what is within your budget. You can’t go wrong either way!

  • I really love the look of a chic scarf tied in one’s hair. There are just so many cool things you can do with it! Channel a pin-up girl by folding one into a triangle, wrapping it around an updo, and knotting it right where your hairline meets your forehead. Another cool variation on this is to leave your hair down and fold the scarf into a 2 to 3-inch band, channeling a sort of hippie-chic-meets-Rosie-the-Riveter vibe!
  • A light scarf worn around your neck won’t look old lady-ish as long as you – well – don’t tie it like an old lady would! Ditch the sock-hop square knot and go for a loose wrap-around look, or twist before knotting for an easy yet fancy look.
  • Try tying a scarf around a handle on your purse, around your waist as a belt, or artfully knotted as a halter. The possibilities are endless!

10. Black Pumps

Products (top row, from left): J.Crew Factory, Lord & Taylor, Ann Taylor

Products (bottom row, from left): Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Gap

No girl in the world should go without a pair of wearable, classic, and simple black heels in their closet. These babies will be here for you from weddings to sorority functions and from first dates to first jobs. Look for very basic styles — make sure the toe isn’t too pointy or too rounded, and look for a 2-3-inch thin to medium heel.

Personally, I’m not a fan of kitten heels, but if you have trouble walking in tall shoes, do what you need to do to stay comfortable. The key to looking classic and chic is staying poised, and believe me, I understand how impossible that is if your feet are killing you!

  • Opaque black leggings will look fierce with a pair of killer black heels and a drapey tunic top.
  • Have a hot date immediately following a professional club meeting or business function? Wear a tank top blouse with a pencil skirt and a pair of awesome black heels. Layer on a (#8) blazer for the meeting, and take it off for the date! Bonus points if you add a belt or a cool portfolio purse.
  • Black heels do an amazing job complementing dressy shorts. Tweed, leather, and silk styles are my favorites. Finish with a sheer button-down blouse and cat-eye liner.

11. Khaki Trousers

Products (from left): Abercrombie & Fitch, Lord & Taylor, Topshop, Old Navy

I know, I know — you probably read that and groaned, thinking of awkward images of moms and camp counselors in baggy pleated khakis and clunky shoes. But hear me out — even if you can’t think of something to wear these to, you’ll always be thankful to have them in your closet. Khaki trousers are the sartorial version of a bowl of plain pasta — a blank canvas that you can dress up however you want! Moderately priced and high-quality versions can be found at J. Crew, Express, or Gap.

Here’s a few ways I’d wear them:

  • Add a worn-in leather belt and cuff the hem a few inches above your ankle for a preppy, Dead Poets Society sort of vibe. Finish with boat shoes and a fitted long-sleeve tee or polo shirt.
  • Wear khaki chinos with a (#12) v-neck t-shirt, (#4) ballet flats, and a (#9) scarf for a fast and easy outfit perfect for class.
  • Embrace the clean-cut, preppy vibe of khaki pants and pair them with a striped boatneck shirt, a cable knit sweater, a (#3) crisp white button-down shirt, or a (#2) cashmere or wool cardigan. Finish with loafers, a D-ring belt, and pearl jewelry.

12. Simple V-Neck Shirts

Products (from left): J.Crew, Everlane, Madewell, J.Crew

If I had a dollar for every v-neck tee I had in my dresser, I’d be able to buy at least three more! V-necks are fantastic for layering under jackets, lounging around the dorms in, or using as base pieces to help tone down statement extras. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on v-necks because, at least in my humble opinion, a t-shirt is a t-shirt.

My favorite v-necks are the unisex ones from American Apparel. (They were gone for a while and now they’re back!) They’re cut long yet thin, and the “V” cuts down the perfect amount. These t-shirts are somewhat fitted, but don’t cling too much to your boobs or stomach. They look very casual, but not sloppy. You can actually wear these both the the gym or for everyday wear. $25 is kind of pricey for such a basic piece, but seriously girls, American Apparel v-necks are like magic. They’re so gosh-darn flattering and still look amazing even after five years worth of washes.

Here’s a few ways I like to wear basic v-neck tees:

  • There’s no outfit easier or breezier than a v-neck paired with jeans or shorts, canvas shoes, sunglasses, and a hippie headband.
  • Wear under a cardigan or a blazer and with a pair of (#14) skinny jeans and some (#4) ballet flats for a fast outfit that’s comfy but still nice enough for class.
  • Layer a v-neck under a sweatshirt or an oversized knit jumper to – hear me out – absorb any residual armpit or back sweat-age that could happen, and keep you dry and comfortable all day.

13. Black Dress Pants

Products (from left): J.Crew Factory, Express, Banana Republic, Gap

Much like the (#11) khaki trousers, you might not immediately see a use for black dress pants in your closet right now. But these pants are like having cans of tuna or tomato soup in your pantry — an absolute must-have for emergencies! Take them to the tailor’s and have them hem your pants to hit right at the edge of your foot, so you can wear them with both heels and flats.

Look for styles that fit loosely throughout the thigh, and flare out oh-so slightly around the calves. Once again, I’ve got to salute Express for making durable, stylish, and classic dress pants that are also very fairly priced. If you can swing it, buy your black dress pants and (#8) black blazer together as a suit so they’ll match perfectly.

Here’s how I wear mine:

  • Even if you didn’t get them at the same time or from the same store, pairing black dress pants with a blouse and your classic (#8) black blazer will make for an instant business suit.
  • These puppies will look awesome with a (#3) white dress shirt tucked in, and a (#9) bright scarf tied around your neck or even in your hair. For more fun twists, add bright lipstick or a statement necklace.
  • Although the most practical places to wear black dress pants are business and work situations, you can bring them out for a night on the town too! Try pairing them with crazy high stilettos and a sequined top, or even with a black waistcoat for a chic play on a tuxedo.

14. Comfy Skinny Jeans

Products (from left): Gap, Old Navy, H&M, Everlane

If black pants are the Campbell’s Tomato Soup of your wardrobe and khakis are the dry pasta, skinny jeans are the table salt because they go with absolutely everything.

It shocks me that just six or seven years ago, many of us regarded skinny jeans as a passing fad. I remember once thinking that you could only wear these with tunics and long shirts! Now, years have passed and we all know that the skinny jean is an item that’s here to stay.

You can find skinny jeans anywhere, but I like styles that allow a little circulation throughout the groin and hip area so that they stay comfortable all day. Skinny jeans have the staying power to warrant splurging on a designer pair, but I honestly prefer picking up several washes and bright colors from inexpensive places like Forever 21 and American Eagle instead.

A few stylish outfit ideas:

  • Acid- and mineral-washed skinny jeans have a pretty cool ’90s wild child vibe to them. Pair with heavy-soled combat boots and any t-shirt you can find.
  • Coated black skinny jeans are my current obsession. Wear them with a (#8) black blazer, (#10) pumps, and a black tank top for a secret agent-inspired nighttime look.
  • This outfit probably seems obvious, but skinny jeans look insanely awesome with a loose-fitting top and (#6) knee-high boots. Try this combo with an oversized sweater, a sheer flowy blouse, or a longish (#12) v-neck tee shirt. Finish with a top knot and bright lipstick.

15. A Classic Pea Coat

Products (from left): H&M, M&Co, Uniqlo, H&M

Any of you girls who live in colder regions know that a pea coat is an absolute godsend during the winter. Coats are probably my favorite thing to shop for — I love how you could be wearing a raggedy t-shirt, a diamond-studded bra, or nothing at all underneath one, and no one would have any idea!

Although I prefer edgier and (faux) furrier coats for myself, I find myself turning to my classic, preppy pea coat at least once or twice a week during the winter. I got both my red and my black pea coats from Gap, and they still look brand new after almost six years!

Check out these cute outfit ideas:

  • You’ll look East Coast preppy chic with a pea coat buttoned up over a striped scarf. Finish with winter boots, and a beanie or trapper hat if you feel bold!
  • Finding coats long enough to cover dresses is tough. Because of how structured and classic a pea coat is, it will look just fine worn over a winter cocktail dress and tights if you’re in a pinch.
  • Don’t feel boxed in by all the navy blue and black versions you see. I absolutely love my red pea coat, and I’ve seen girls on campus rock the heck out of lime green, cobalt blue, and even leopard print versions. Since it’s a coat, you don’t need to worry about being matchy-matchy with the colors in your outfit. In fact, a colored pea coat gives you the perfect piece to colorblock with!

Even More Style Guides:

Classic style not your thing? Check out our other style guides to find the must-have pieces for YOUR aesthetic.

  • Wardrobe Essentials for Preppy, Girly, and Sophisticated Style
  • Wardrobe Essentials for Street Chic Style
  • Wardrobe Essentials for Boho Chic Style
  • Wardrobe Essentials for Edgy, Rocker-Chic Style
  • Wardrobe Essentials for Electro-Urban Style
  • Wardrobe Essentials for Casual, Androgynous-Chic Style

Thoughts?

Do you have all of these pieces? Some of them? Can you think of any basic fundamental pieces that we left out? Are these items just your style, or do you prefer edgier, trendier, more urban, or more boho looks? What other “building block” pieces do you have in your closet? What are some of your favorite ways to wear these pieces?

Leave a comment and tell us what you think about this guide. Also, be sure to check out our boho chic version of this post from a few weeks ago. Can’t wait to hear what you girls think!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2013; it was completely revamped in 2017 (by Lisa) with updated items and tips.

If your mornings start more chaotically then you’d like, it might be time for a wardrobe re-think.

With sustainability playing an increasingly important role in fashion, many are focusing more on quality over quantity – adopting a curated wardrobe and investing in pieces that will last. Enter TBC, which stands for To Be Created, a new styling service that argues we need an edit of just 27 pieces.

Courtesy

Charlotte Warburton, TBC’s founder, makes the transition easy by offering a personal styling service for clients. She visits clients’ homes to detox their wardrobe and advise them on how to live a more curated life when it comes to fashion.

“I’ve always been such a fan of the creative industry and what it produces,” she explains.

“However, for us real women, what we wear day-to-day is the basics – yet so many of us struggle to build the foundations of the essential wardrobe and drawn to ‘trending’ items. I’m trying to take a more sustainable approach to the shopping process and help women create a more wearable wardrobe that can be worn time and time again.”

We’ve listed the 27 pieces below – from wardrobe staples to trend-led pieces that keep the capsule current.

We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article

How it works

“Firstly, I organise a consultation with my clients. Meeting them face-to-face is super important to gauge their character and start to build a relationship,” Warburton explains.

“Then I explain our aesthetic and the 27-piece edit we work on together to see if there are any ideas to adapt. Next, I ask them several questions about what style they tend to go for, who their style icons are and what they are looking to update in their wardrobe.”

Courtesy

“This means I can gauge what package they want and whether they feel they’re just looking for a few pieces or a full wardrobe detox.”

TBC offers three packages that showcase a mix of designer and high-street pieces, so the service is affordable at all levels.

“If you were to choose the full package, I would start by coming to your home and beginning the full wardrobe cleanse, no matter how long it takes. Once this is done, I would then produce a new style direction that relates to our aesthetic.”

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She then works with her clients through mood-boarding to build the 27-piece wardrobe. With sustainability in mind, TBC photographs everything that’s no longer wanted and then sells it online to produce a budget to go towards the new wardrobe to cut down on the clothing cycle.

Courtesy

TBC’s tips for curating your wardrobe

  • If you can’t remember the last time you wore the item, it probably should go.
  • Take the edit as a guideline and stick to it – you will save money.
  • Don’t buy an item just because it looks great on someone you admire or follow on Instagram. Really think about your shape, size and whether their lifestyle relates to yours.
  • Having a style icon/reference point allows you to be more selective when shopping. If you are aiming for a certain aesthetic, when shopping, question whether or not your style hero would wear a certain thing. If not, then move on.
  • The detox process allows you to gain a new approach to shopping. Your head won’t be turned so easily when you have a structure.
  • Allowing yourself one or two trending item per month still gives you that option to feel like you can indulge.
  • The more sustainable you are with your purchases, the more likely you will heavily invest in an essential staple, allowing you to have the budget for that ‘Prada Puffa’ which trust me, you will wear for 10 years.

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My version of an effortless, sustainable capsule wardrobe

  • 80% all-year basics: the biggest part of my wardrobe, which more or less always stays the same. It’s simple, effortless and easy to style up/down.
  • 20% seasonal capsule: this is the small part of my wardrobe I play around with from season to season, to keep everything fresh and up-to-date.
  • Mini-capsules: loungewear, special occasions & practical wear is divided in each of their own little sections.
  • New purchases: preferably secondhand or straight from a sustainable brand.

Jeg startede med capsule-eksperimentet vinteren 2015, og nu er det ikke længere et eksperiment; nu er det en sjov og anderledes måde, at opbygge min garderobe på hver sæson. En fremgangsmåde som har lært mig at definere min egen stil, stoppe impulskøbene og få mere harmoni i min garderobe. Mit tilgang til systemet er ikke statisk; jeg begår stadig fejl indimellem, og som mit liv ændrer sig, så justerer jeg også somme tider hist og her. Jeg har opnået virkelig at finde min egen stil og stå ved den, lægge impulskøbene på hylden, tænke i kvalitet frem for kvantitet – og i det hele taget opnået større frirum for andre, vigtige ting i livet, efter jeg startede dette eksperiment. Faktisk synes jeg også, at det er blevet sjovere at klæde mig på om morgenen. Lyder det som noget for dig, så læs med her!

/ I started with the capsule-experiment in the winter of 2015, and now it is no longer an experiment; now it is a fun and different way to build my wardrobe every season. A procedure that has helped me defining my true style, stop impulse buys and in general get more harmony into my wardrobe. My approach to the system is not static; I still make mistakes sometimes, and when my life changes I adjust the system so it fits. I have truly found my own style and have learned to stick with it, stopped buying things out of impulse, learned to think quality above quantity, and in general gained more space for other important things in my life, after I started this experiment. And actually, it’s become much more fun getting dressed in the morning. Sounds like something for you? Then continue reading!

What?

En capsule wardrobe er groft sagt en form for basis garderobe (ihvertfald i sin oprindelige betegnelse), som indeholder en mængde items der “aldrig” går af mode. Det er en lille kollektion med tøj og sko, som du bare ELSKER. Disse kan du så justere fra sæson til sæson, så du altid kun har det tøj hængende i din garderobe, som du rent faktisk bruger. Om vinteren går man f.eks. med flere striktrøjer og omvendt går man med flere shorts og kjoler om sommeren. Disse items pakker man ned, gemmer væk og finder man så først frem igen når den pågældende sæson igen indtræffer. Der er ingen grund til, at skulle forholde sig til disse når du alligevel ikke kan iføre dig dem. Så igen, på den måde har man altid kun tøj i sin garderobe, som man rent faktisk bruger. Det er meget individuelt hvor mange items man har i sin garderobe, og antallet er langt fra det vigtigste. Det er meget vigtigere, at du har tøj i din garderobe som du bruger, og som du er virkelig glad for at bruge. Personligt ender jeg som oftest ud med ca. 35-40 stykker tøj og sko. Eftersigende stammer konceptet fra 70’erne, hvor en dame ved navn Susie Faux havde en butik i London der kørte med det her koncept. I butikken tilbød hun nemlig tidløse designs, som aldrig gik af mode – og hun tilføjede kun enkelte, sæson betonede items til sit sortiment fra sæson til sæson.

Følgende tæller ikke med i en capsule wardrobe: basis tanktops, undertøj & strømper, tasker, accessories (fx tørklæder), smykker, træningstøj, praktisk tøj (som du fx maler eller går i haven i). Alt andet tæller – jakker, bukser, sko, skjorter, bluser, kjoler, nederdele osv.

It is a little “collection” (or capsule as the name refers to) with clothes and shoes, that you can adjust from season to season and that you LOVE to wear. It’s a way to structure your wardrobe, so that you feel like wearing it again and again, season after season – therefore also a very sustainable way of working around fashion.

/ A capsule wardrobe is a type of basic wardrobe (in its original sense anyway) containing a certain amount of items, that “never” go out of style. It is a little “collection” (or capsule as the name refers to) with clothes and shoes, that you can adjust from season to season and that you LOVE to wear. During winter you wear more knits and in summertime you wear more shorts and dresses. You pack away the items that don’t fit the season you’re in, so you only have items you actually wear in your wardrobe. It is very individual how many items you end up with, and the specific amount is not the most important thing; it is way more important that you have the right clothes in your wardrobe. Things you love to wear. Personally is usually end up with around 35-40 products. The concept should come from the 70s in London, where a woman named Susie Faux had a shop with this concept. She would offer timeless designs that never went out of style, and would only add a few new designs from season to season to keep the rest fresh.

The following does NOT count as capsule wardrobe items: basic tanktops, underwear & socks, bags, accessories (like scarfs), jewelry, workout clothes, practical clothes (what you wear when you are gardening for example). Everything beside that counts – jackets, trousers, jeans, shoes, shirts, blouses, dresses, skirts etc.

Why?

WATCH THE TRAILER TO THE DOCUMENTARY THAT STARTED IT ALL FOR ME HERE

For mig startede det hele, fordi jeg var træt af den der følelse af aldrig at have noget tøj. Det rene pjat, når jeg jo kunne se mit skab bugnede. Impulskøb var dét der prægede min tilgang til beklædning, og derfor var der ikke den store sammenhæng i min garderobe. Jeg brugte shopping som en form for terapi, men det endte med at give bagslag hver eneste morgen når jeg skulle klæde mig på. Så snart nyhedsværdien af et stykke tøj gik tabt, så var jeg på jagt igen. En ond cirkel! En dag så jeg dokumentaren “The True Cost” og den fejede virkelig benene væk under mig. Jeg blev virkelig chokeret over, hvor styr en miljømæssig synder tøjproduktion er. En blanding af dårlig samvittighed, en lyst til at gøre en forskel både for mig selv og for andre og en god sjat inspiration fra andre capsule wardrobe bloggere (bl.a. un-fancy og project 333) gjorde, at jeg selv hoppede ud i eksperimentet. Jeg er ikke aktivist eller ekspert, men jeg er nysgerrig og ivrig efter hele tiden at udvikle min viden om, hvordan vi kan have det sjovt med mode og stil uden at ødelægge miljøet. Jeg er nok hvad jeg vil kategorisere som en nysgerrig og kritisk forbruger. Vores høje forbrug er en kæmpe del af problemet, så derfor var det her jeg tog fat, da jeg skrev mit allerførste blogindlæg tilbage i april 2015. Men den bæredygtige tilgang til livet generelt, er noget jeg har fået mere og mere ind under huden efter jeg ryddede ud i min garderobe.

For me it all started because I was tired of that feeling of never having anything to wear. Nonsense when I could see my closet overflowing.

/ For me it all started because I was tired of that feeling of never having anything to wear. Nonsense when I could see my closet overflowing. Impulse buys was what marked my approach to clothing, and therefore there was not much consistency in my wardrobe. I used shopping as a form of therapy, but it ended up backfiring every morning when I had to get dressed. As soon as the news value of a piece of clothing was lost, I was on the hunt again. An evil circle! One day I saw the documentary “The True Cost” and it swept me off my feet. I was shocked to learn how much of a sinner the fashion industry is, when it comes to the pollution of or planet. A mix of guilt, a desire to make a difference both for myself and for others and a good amount of inspiration from other capsule wardrobe bloggers (un-fancy and project 333 mainly) made me jump into the experiment. I am not an activist or an expert, but I’m curious and eager to all the time to develop my knowledge of how to have fun with fashion and style without destroying our planet. I’ll call myself a curious and critical consumer more than an expert. Our high level of consumption is a huge part of the problem, so that’s why I felt an urge to start there when I started my blog in april 2015. That being said living more intentionally and with a sustainable approach in general, is something I’ve been getting more and more into along the way.

How?

For beginners

Take some time to visualize your favorite and/or dreams outfits. Pinterest is really a good tool in this case. I personally use it frequently for style inspiration. Just have a look HERE. You can also use some time to write down some words on it: type of style, favorite brands, types of fabric, favorite products etc. Style examples: casual, feminine, edge, classic, sporty. Read my entire guide on how to find your style right HERE, or watch the video below. You’ll also need to have a look at the climate in the country you live in. I live in Denmark so my capsule is divided in four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. The average temperature is around 10-15 degrees and we have a lot of rain during the year. Layering is therefore essential for most people in Denmark! Your favourite products and outfits are therefore going to be very individual, whether you are located in a hot, cold or mixed climate. It’s important to note that not two capsules will be identical: your capsule wardrobe should resemble your life and the events you have in it too. Take some time noting down (just to get yourself thinking) how much time you spend on different activities in your life. For example I spend: 35% of the time working, 15% of the time doing sports, 5 % of the time going to events etc. Your wardrobe should reflect the way you live your life, in order for you to get the most of it. Don’t fill it with heels if you never have an occasion to wear them too; it’s a waste of your money and the planet’s ressources.

Yep, everything has to be taken out of your closet. EVERYTHING.

  1. Love it. This pile speaks for itself – it’s all the things that you love and you would wear right now.
  2. Maybe. Things you haven’t used for a while, but you would like to save. This could very well be things that need to be fixed, maybe something has a missing button or the like. Gather these things in one place, and fix them along the way so you can start using them again as you like.
  3. Seasonal/trend. There is no reason to have shorts hanging in the closet, if you only use them in the summer. The products you can not use right now because of the season goes in that pile as well. Here you also throw in your leopard jacket (or other products that you would not describe as basics – see my idea of a basic wardrobe HERE) if you do not think you’re so hooked on this trend at the moment. Maybe you will be so again at another time.
  4. Special occasions. Dresses you wear when you attend a wedding, fine tops, stilettos and other things you only use for special occasions.
  5. Everything you don’t use. Maybe the fabric is peeling, faded, scratchy, or it doesn’t fit quite right Give it to charity or throw it out if it is completely worn out.

And remember, these steps are just a template. If you like to wear fancy clothes on a daily basis and not only for special occasions, that’s fine! It’s important that you build up your wardrobe to fit your life and preferences. If you’ve got some extra time, take some time to give your wardrobe a deep cleanse. Follow the guide below – this is also what I like to do in between seasons, to give my wardrobe and my clothing the tender love and care it deserves. That way it lasts longer and it keeps looking fresh and inspiring!

Get my idea of the perfect, basic wardrobe in the video. When you’ve got your basics sorted, it gets so much easier to maintain good harmony in your closet, because everything can be combined and easily be dressed up or down. Ask yourself what kind of items you always reach for, always repurchase and represent your overall style preference. Remember to also reflect upon your current lifestyle and situation; your wardrobe needs to fit with that scenario at all times. Do you like cardigans or blazers more, og maybe both? Do you like monochrome colours or do you prefer a more colourful wardrobe? Do you like solid coloured items, prints or stripes? What type of bottoms do you prefer? What do you wear more – trousers or dresses? What fit do you prefer: tight or relaxed fit? What fabrics do you like – textured ones or more fine ones like for example silk? Feel free to come up with more questions!

Grab your shorts if it is summer, and pull out your leopard jacket if this is the trend you are going for this season. Again, this is just the way I have built my capsule. If you prefer to have all the items in one large capsule (instead of divided into all-year basics and trend/seasonals), then do that. Some people get bored easier so if you’re afraid you’ll be too tired of your all-year basics and that it doesn’t give your wardrobe enough of a “news value” with the few season-based products, then one big capsule might be a better solution for you . My tip here is to maybe build your wardrobe around a theme and color from season to season. And as always, I recommend trying to find preowned items or purchase new items from the sustainable brands when you want to add new things to your closet. You could follow my series “find the trends secondhand” on Youtube. Every season I make sort of a trend forecast of the coming season, and giving you tips on where to find awesome secondhand products that fit that trend.

Now you should have a pile of clothing with “love it” written across it. Your favorite basics, the additional items to suit the season and maybe a few trend items that give your wardrobe a fresh look. This pile is getting straight back into your closet. Everything else gets stored for next season or given away to charity. All in all you want to end up with around 30-37 products but find the number that suits you! The number is not as important, as having the right things in your closet – things you love wearing. I always end up with about 40 products (plus/minus). I recommend you, if you are just staring out with the capsule wardrobe system, to stick with a number and be pretty strict with the rules the first year or so. After you have learned more about your own style (which you will the first year – more than you know!) you can start playing around with a more fluid system that suits you and your lifestyle a little better. You can read more about how to manage a more fluid way of maintaining your capsule wardrobes HERE. The seasons for your capsules go like this:

  • Spring: March/April/May
  • Summer: June/July/August
  • Fall: Sep/Oct/Nov
  • Winter – Dec/Jan/Feb

Feel like something is missing? Maybe something among your basics? A trend item you have fallen in love with? Make a list and try to stick with it. Remember that the new products has to fit with the rest of your wardrobe. Try imagining yourself wearing the new product for 20-30 times before buying it. Not so tempting anymore? Then take it off your list. Avoid huge shopping-sessions and impulse buys, and try to keep the number of new things on a minimum. I have personally decided to try to buy more of the trend-based things secondhand, and as far as possible I would like to support the eco and fairtrade brands more and more, where it makes sense when I buy new clothes. It’s not always that I want to compromise if I like the design or the fit of a product from a more conventional brand better (it’s important that it will be put into use you know!), but I will do my best to support these brands much more. My favourite fairtrade brands at the moment are People Tree, Armed Angels and Everlane.

  • How to NOT get bored (and fall back into old habits)
  • 6 capsule wardrobe mistakes to avoid
  • To keep or to toss: how to decide what to let go (and what to keep)
  • 3 apps to help you organize your wardrobe
  • A recap of sustainable brands to support
  • My essential lounge wear capsule
  • My mini-capsule for special occasions
  • How to nail secondhand shopping
  • Classic neutrals you can wear every spring
  • Classic colours you can love every autumn
  • Menswear capsule wardrobe
  • A tour inside my wardrobe: how I’ve structured my closet

More guides HERE. CONTENT FROM OTHERS:

  • Learn to dress for your body type with Justine Leconte HERE
  • Learn to add colours to your wardrobe with Daria Andronescu HERE

Like colors more than neutrals? A capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be colorless to be effortless or sustainable! Watch the video below or read my guide HERE.

When a new season starts

Which season are we facing? What worked and what didn’t? Do you feel like you have been missing something? Maybe invest in a notebook, or capsule planner as I like to call mine, where you note these things. I always write my wish lists and “end of season thoughts” in there too. That way I’ll be able to use my experience about what worked and what didn’t for the future, and avoid similar purchases if I find out that something didn’t work as I had hoped. Take out the bags or boxes, which contains the items you stored away since you cleaned out your closet. Look through them and see if there is anything you want to add and/or replace some of the things you have in your wardrobe with now. Give your wardrobe some love & care, so that it remains fresh and inspiring and is then ready for another season – because loved clothes last longer. Get my best tips on doing that in this video: Once again, make a shoppinglist with things you feel like you need to make your wardrobe better this season, or note down things that need to be repaired before they can be put into use again. That’s it!

Capsule Wardrobes: How to Build a Sustainable Closet for Life

Have you ever pulled open the doors of your wardrobe, only to find yourself muttering (or groaning loudly) that you have nothing to wear? Me too. At this point it can be tempting to rush out and buy something new, fun, and affordable. But if it’s this kind of quick-fix buying that leads to the ‘nothing to wear’ dilemma in the first place, then we’re just running in circles.

Cue the ‘capsule wardrobe.’ The term was coined by British fashion icon Susie Faux in the 1970s. It refers to a collection of 30-40 practical and versatile pieces of clothing put together to create an entire wardrobe for a season. While the concept isn’t new, in the age of fast fashion it represents a shift in thinking about how we wear clothes which could inspire important change in our consumption habits.

Why we love it, and why you’ll love it too

In our busy lives, many of us reach the point of decision fatigue early on in our day. By narrowing your wardrobe down to thoughtfully selected essentials you’re saving yourself multiple decisions every day. Alongside the everyday stresses, the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world, so changing your clothing habits is not just a lifestyle fix, but a planet fix too. Thinking mindfully about how our fashion purchases might improve our daily lives fosters an emphasis on quality over quantity, reducing waste and saving us money in the long run.

Where to begin?

Building a capsule wardrobe is about choosing a logical selection of clothing that you not only love to wear, but that is practical and versatile. To begin the process you may need to pull everything out of your closet and take stock. Some questions you can ask yourself about each item are:

  • Have I worn it in the last year?
  • Does it fit my day-to-day lifestyle?
  • Does it go with my other clothing?
  • Do I LOVE it?

These will help you make decisions about what should stay and what can go. The content of your capsule wardrobe will vary depending on the season and your individual style. But importantly, you want to have a balance of tops, bottoms, layers, and accessories. Neutral colours that pair well are also key.

There are numerous fashionistas and bloggers who swear by the capsule wardrobe or similar minimalist wardrobe systems. Here are some who inspire us:

Daria Andronescu with Wonder Wardrobe

For the last two years, capsule wardrobe queen Daria Andronescu has been taking newbie ethical fashionistas by the digital hand and helping them on their way to sustainable style. Her Wonder Wardrobe YouTube channel boasts more than 40k subscribers, who are treated with regular tips, news and fashion finds.

Project 333

Courtney Carver’s diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis moved her to “create a life with time and space for what really matters.” After feeling the benefits of minimalist living, she started the popular movement Project 333, which encourages people to create a wardrobe of thirty-three items every three months.

Ecomono

Australian fashion blogger Sam Leigh documents her journey from “fast fashion hoarder to slow fashion minimalist” on Ecomono. You can shop ethical brands and pick up tips on how to build a minimalist wardrobe based on Australian seasons.

Verena Erin with My Green Closet

Verena is a dedicated minimalist, environmentalist and capsule-ist. We love her YouTube channel because it’s instructive and gives great visual inspo, showing us how many gorgeous outfits can be created with just 30-ish items of clothing.

Here is her Capsule Wardrobe Essentials video:

Let’s do it!

If your wardrobe is full of bright colours and patterns or statement pieces that just won’t work with many other pieces, you may need to stock up on some more versatile items. Here are some of our favourites rated ‘Great’ or ‘Good’ on the Good On You app that will act as perfect staples for the beginner’s capsule wardrobe.

Wardrobe Basics Checklist

    Always in Season

  • Black tank A white tank has its place—at the gym or on casual outings—but a black one is more universal. Dress it up with dark jeans or a skirt.
  • Short-sleeved white T-shirt White tees become unwearable quickly, so skip the costly designer versions and buy a bunch of good-looking inexpensive ones. Then replace as needed.
  • Short-sleeved black T-shirt The best short-sleeve length is about 1/2 to 1 inch longer than a typical cap sleeve—it shows just the right amount of arm.
  • Long-sleeved white T-shirt For a trim silhouette in white, choose a slim-fit T-shirt that skims your body but doesn’t cling.
  • Long-sleeved black T-shirt A surprisingly sophisticated layering piece, this works well under a dress shirt—or even a dress.
  • Black turtleneck Consider investing in cashmere: You get more warmth with less bulk.
  • White button-down shirt (one cotton, one silky) Fitted ones will get the most wear: They’re easier to tuck in and look neat when left out.
  • Crisp white blouse Softer looking than a button-down, a white blouse is a timeless addition to any wardrobe.
  • Crewneck sweater Thin knits, in cotton or wool, layer easily for versatility and comfort.
  • Cardigan A neutral shade goes with everything, and a longer style that hits at the hip flatters most figures.
  • A black dress The “little black dress” is a cliche for a reason: It’s a wardrobe necessity.
  • Pencil skirt This classic piece should be tailored so it grazes the tops of the knees.
  • Jeans It’s worth paying extra for jeans that fit and flatter. Your best bet? A dark, bootcut pair made from stretch denim with no more than 2 percent Lycra. (The fabric will follow your curves while keeping its shape.)
  • Black pants To get the most from this wardrobe staple, select a style made of an all-season fabric, like tropical wool or viscose.
  • Skinny jeans Once considered a trend, they are now a denim staple. Skinny jeans look best when they don’t fit too snugly at the waist.
  • Khaki pants For a casual, comfortable look, forget the pleats (a flat front is more flattering) and forgo the front crease.
  • Denim jacket A dark wash and a slim fit look the most polished.
  • Cropped jacket Made famous by Coco Chanel, this item has become a fashion mainstay. You’ll have more opportunities for pairing with one in a solid color or traditional tweed.
  • Black cashmere wrap A fabric that was once seen only in fall and winter has become a year-round regular.
  • Ballet flats (in a neutral or a versatile red) Equal parts sophisticated and practical, ballet flats, especially those with rubber soles, are easy on the feet but more polished than sneakers.
  • Basic black pumps The workhorse of shoes, a good black pump can take you from day into evening without losing a step.
  • Metallic evening shoes No shoes make you more party-ready than strappy sandals or pumps in a metallic tone. The surprise? Gold and silver are remarkably versatile.
  • Fall Basics

  • Cotton waffle robe Perfect over pajamas or after a shower, this robe is far less bulky than its terry cloth cousin.
  • The tuxedo shirt The ultimate day-to-night top, it has a crisp quality that makes it a great multitasker.
  • Fleece vest Terrific over a turtleneck or peeking out from under a coat, a vest offers versatility in unpredictable autumn weather.
  • Athletic sweatshirt As comfortable as a flannel pajama top—but appropriate for wearing in public.
  • Lightweight waterproof coat Ideal for traveling, this practical item looks as right with a skirt as it does with a pair of jeans.
  • Khaki trench coat Structured and stylish, it’s a true classic.
  • Leather blazer A trim leather blazer brings a little sophisticated edge to any piece. Add a scarf and you’re ready to go anywhere.
  • Peacoat No longer just navy blue, peacoats come in a range of colors and a variety of lengths.
  • Flat boots (black or brown) Knee-high styles work well with anything from full skirts and A-line dresses to narrow silhouettes.
  • Black heeled boots or booties High-heeled boots are a fall-to-winter essential. Ankle-grazing booties fall somewhere on the daintiness scale between pumps and boots and make a stylish alternative to both.
  • Winter Basics

  • Heavy sweater Look for a big, chunky knit that’s both comfortable and stylish.
  • Cashmere hoodie More luxurious than the cotton variety, this layering piece is a sportier version of the cardigan.
  • Dark-wash jeans A wardrobe standby in the cold winter months that’s available in a variety of cuts. Keep in mind that boot-cut and wide-leg styles work well over boots.
  • Pantsuit Wear the jacket and pants together to show you mean business—or treat them like separates to maximize their use.
  • Gray flannel pants These stylish standards look great with brown, navy, and black—and also with brights.
  • Wool trousers Look for a lined pair in fine gabardine wool, made with a twill weave, which won’t feel too heavy.
  • Down vest Works best in a neutral color like brown, black, or navy, so you can wear it with anything.
  • Black cashmere wrap coat Whether calf or fingertip length, this elegant item will work for day or evening.
  • Winter coat Fur-trimmed, down, or wool, a winter coat should offer enough room to accommodate a sweater or jacket.
  • Spring Basics

  • Cotton polo More tailored than a T-shirt, it offers cool comfort on even the stickiest days.
  • Cotton blouse An airy and attractive springtime fundamental.
  • Printed tops A few boldly patterned pieces add life and color to spring basics.
  • Lightweight cashmere sweater Single-ply cashmere offers comfort in over-air-conditioned offices and movie theaters.
  • Cotton button-up cardigan Combines the softness of a sweatshirt with the elegance of a cashmere sweater.
  • Lightweight waterproof raincoat Easy to carry as a guard against spring’s fickle skies, it blocks wind and rain without weighing you down.
  • One-button blazer A cotton or lightweight-wool jacket is a pulled-together layer that can be removed when the temperature rises.
  • Inverted pleat skirt As good looking with a tailored button-down shirt as it is with a tank top, it can be paired with a jacket for a more professional look.
  • Capri pants These ankle-baring bottoms look great with ballet flats or strappy sandals.
  • Chinos Comfortable cotton pants that are durable enough for a day in the park but still look proper in the office.
  • Summer Basics

  • Bathing suit A well-fitting one- or two-piece in a go-anywhere color like black, white, or navy never goes out of style.
  • Convertible strapless bra This adjustable undergarment looks smooth and natural under a strapless dress, tank top, or halter.
  • Cotton pajamas A pretty patterned pair works as both loungewear and sleepwear.
  • Built-in bra tank Offering coverage and support (and an end to visible bra straps), this tank can be worn to workouts or cookouts—and even to the office, under a jacket or sweater.
  • Ribbed cotton tank Originally made for men, these shirts are now available in female-friendly shapes. Pick one that fits your figure—it works well alone or under a suit jacket.
  • Cotton blouse Choose a lightweight top from a range of colors and a variety of prints.
  • Cotton printed dress Stay comfortable even in heavy-duty humidity.
  • Strapless dress A white one will show off a great tan, but black, navy, and camel also work beautifully.
  • Khaki shorts The summer-wardrobe equivalent of air-conditioning, khaki shorts keep you cool, comfortable, and looking crisp.
  • Cotton drawstring pants A good-quality pair will take you straight from yoga class to lunch with a friend.
  • White jeans Available in a wide range of styles, white jeans look chic with almost any warm-weather top.
  • Flat leather sandals A good pair of flat sandals will pair up with virtually anything from shorts to jeans to flowing skirts to bathing suits—and can even sub in for slippers, for minimal vacation packing.