Creating a capsule wardrobe allows you to achieve “wardrobe sanity”. Your capsule wardrobe includes basic pieces that can be mixed and matched to achieve lots of different outfits. These key pieces should be the best quality that you can afford – Follow the rules for your bodyline and proportion for these garments and buy them in fairly classic styles so they last for many seasons.
Depending on how much money, and space, you have for your clothes, it is most economical to buy these pieces in your neutral colours, and then just add the colourful accessories season by season to keep up to date. Based on your body line and scale you might need to make some adjustments to my recommendations but here is an idea to get you thinking…..
Essential items for your wardrobe
Black Trousers – I choose a soft crepe that is smart enough for business, but can easily be dressed up for evening. If you have trouble finding a pair that fits perfectly pay to get them altered. A lined pair will keep its shape better. Consider your budget too – can you afford to keep dry cleaning them? Also if you find the perfect pair consider buying two pairs and having one for flats and another for high heels
Pinstripe Trouser Suit – If you rarely wear a suit consider getting one in a slightly more fashionable cut that you will like to wear as separates. It’s always good to have a suit for occasions such as job interviews or visits to the bank manager but it’s a waste if you don’t wear it other times so hang the suit items separately and think of it as a jacket and a pair of trousers. Even if you don’t work a pinstripe jacket looks great with a pair of jeans and the trousers could be great for evening wear.
Colourful Jacket – Most of the items in your capsule wardrobe will probably be in neutrals but add a splash of colour with a bright jacket. Choose something that will work with your smart trousers but also looks great with your jeans. When they first come to see me many of my clients don’t own jackets. They really are brilliant figure fixers – they iron out many of your flaws, and more importantly add instant sophistication to any look. Choose canvas and cord if your lifestyle is more casual. Soft wools and crepes for your work wardrobes
Fine Quality Knitwear – A twin set or perhaps V-neck jumper. If you can afford it buy cashmere – its warm in winter and cool in summer and lets your skin breathe. Wear layered with a round-neck t-shirt or with shirts. Great with Jeans, or smart trousers
2 Shirts – Take care to follow the advice for your bodyline here, but a fitted shirt, particularly a stripy one is a great wardrobe addition. Worn open with a camisole underneath or layered under your V neck jumper or tank top. Leave the bottom peeking out of knitwear for a modern look. Plain white is great but why not add some brights from your colour palette too. These work brilliantly with jeans for your casual look, and with the black trousers or suit trousers for something smarter.
Jeans – Go for a classic style. Straight leg or slightly bootleg in quite a dark wash. A little bit of subtle bleaching at the front of the thigh will slim down your legs. A darker style will mix and match better with jackets and party tops. White, or biscuit coloured jeans can be a good addition too. If you don’t need to dress smartly and jeans are a staple in your wardrobe don’t fret about out – its fine to wear jeans every day if you want to – just make sure they’re flattering and the rest of your outfit is flattering.
Evening Tops – You’ll need a few of these. Team with your jeans, or perhaps with the smart black trousers. Sequins around the neckline or silky pattern fabric. Your bodyline rules will dictate whether these are skimpy halternecks or chiffon tunics. You’ll update these seasonally to ensure you look current.
Basic T-Shirts – Choose 4 quality basics in flattering colours and styles. Ensure that these skim the body and don’t cling or swamp. Lower necklines for larger busts.
Camisoles/Vest Tops – my favourite way to add a splash of colour under a basic, or to add modesty to a lower neckline. You’ll need these in as many colours from your colour palette as you can find.
Skirts – The addition of a skirt will probably depend on how you feel about your legs. I choose a long A-line skirt in a fabric such as a heavy linen that works well in summer with flip-flops and with boots in winter. Current fashions will also dictate the length. A plain skirt can be transformed with fancy footwear. You may also wish to add a pencil skirt in to wear with your party tops for evening or with your coloured jacket for smart casual, but without a high heel you are instant librarian!
Dresses – For most women a wrap or empire line dress in a soft jersey fabric works well. Dressed up with sexy sandals and an open neckline this can be a great evening dress. Layered with one of your shirts underneath and flatter knee high boots it can be a great casual look. I’d also put tunics and smocks in this category. If you are not keen on your legs then shorter dresses over trousers can be a very flattering look. I love this because it allows you to wear flat shoes and still look elegant (great if you are running around all over the place with either your job or chasing small children)
Shoes – You’ll need a pair of sexy sandals for evening wear. Ankle boots for under trousers and jeans – something you can walk around in all day – I choose a pointy toe kitten heel or a chunky heel cowboy boot. Medium height Knee high boots – stretch fabric if your calves are big – these work with your skirts and dresses – choose carefully and find a pair that is comfy enough for day wear but also sleek enough for evening elegance. Flipflops or sliders for summer casual dressing. Trendy trainers for running around at the weekend – not gym trainers – but perhaps something suede or colourful canvas. Plus colourful statement shoes – Remember shoes are a great accessory – choose patterned colourful statement pairs to update your more classic looks.
Handbags – Ensure you have a bag for each of your looks – formal needs a structured sturdy leather bag – casual needs something a less structured and softer. For evening you’ll need a dainty little clutch. Like shoes handbags are a valuable accessory to update your outfit.
These are my suggestions for a wardrobe that works. If there are things that don’t work for you then double up on the things that do – for example if you don’t work and rarely go out you might have no need for the pinstripe suit – so add in more jeans or perhaps canvas trousers or cords. If you work you might only need one pair of jeans and 3 or 4 suite. Adapt this blueprint to suit your lifestyle. Once you have quality basics that flatter your figure you can change and update the look by accessorising and adding fashion pieces each season.