13 Key Capsule Wardrobe Basics For A Fabulous Wardrobe!

Capsule wardrobes are already super popular for obvious reasons. But the main reason is that they make life easier! When your closet has limited items full of capsule wardrobe basics, you save time.

Not to mention you can avoid overthinking about your outfit early in the morning. You can also save money by creating multiple outfit combinations with fewer items so you avoid buying more things. But what are the capsule wardrobe basics?

What do you need to own for it to work in your real life? These suggestions can get you from dreaming about the perfect easy wardrobe to a seriously simple style process that is also practical.

Choosing your capsule wardrobe basics

Before creating all those amazing styles, you need to actually choose what items will be part of your capsule wardrobe. There are a few easy ways to decide what to wear.

Let’s get down to the capsule wardrobe basics so you can get started creating your very own capsule wardrobe!

Choose colors that work for you

So, you need to stick to just a few colors for your capsule wardrobe basics because the whole point is that it all goes together. That means you’ll probably want to start with some neutrals like white, grey, cream, or black.

After that, add a few accent colors, depending on what you have in your wardrobe. That way, you can keep things matched and interesting, but without overdoing it.


Image from un-fancy.com (Click image to visit source)

Think about your style

Style is a huge part of the capsule wardrobe. Colors that don’t match can be forgiven, but matching styles is pretty important.

Think about your lifestyle and personality to decide this. For example, do you spend the whole day in a business office and go out a lot? You’ll need a business dressy or business casual style.

Or maybe you work from home. Comfortable chic could be your thing.

There are many outfit styles, including casual chic, bohemian, formal, travel style, and more. Or you might create your own unique style based on what you like to wear. So, it doesn’t have to be something that already exists.

Consider wardrobe versatility

Versatility is super important because this enables you to create more looks with fewer items. Every item in your small capsule wardrobe must be versatile.

So, this means that it is easy to pair it with other things, and it can help create a casual, business, or dressy look. You want pieces with simple designs that are both fashionable and timeless.

To see if an item is versatile, try pairing it up in several combinations with other clothes and see how it looks. If most of the looks turn out well, you’ve got a versatile clothing item.

How many capsule wardrobe basics do you need?

So, how many items should you have in your wardrobe? Though no one can tell you exactly how many items to keep in your closet, somewhere in the 10-50 range is popular.

This amount will give you enough options that you won’t look like you’re wearing the same thing all the time. But it can also keep you from having so many options that you become exhausted from choosing your clothes.

Key capsule wardrobe basics for your closet (30 items total)

So, if you’re going from a closet full of clothing down to a minimalist style, we found that 30 capsule wardrobe basics were the sweet spot. Of course, you can always adjust to your lifestyle but this is a great list to get started! So, here are some suggestions for your capsule wardrobe:

1. Stylish skirt (1 item)

Any type of skirt is acceptable, but it should be versatile, and it’s a good idea to pick a neutral color. Also, pick a style that suits you. There are mini skirts, midi skirts, full-length, etc. Find a comfortable one that you like wearing.

2. Black and denim jeans (2 pairs)

You need some basic jeans in your wardrobe. They can be casual, but they are also easy to dress up with heels. Having a blue denim pair and a black pair gives you more outfit options.

3. Little black dress (1 item)

Oh, little black dress, what would we do without you? It’s the all-occasion, perfect clothing item that saves the day. Every capsule wardrobe should contain this so you can be ready for a wedding, the office, or a night out.

Find the best options for this item in this New York Times Wirecutter article. Since this is a luxury item, check sites such as Poshmark and ThredUp to save money because it can get costly.

4. Pants (1 pair)

Pants mean corduroys, linen, or any other material that isn’t denim. However, these pants must be versatile, and a neutral color is best.

The pants should be office-appropriate but also fun enough to wear out. For instance, a slim, black pair of slacks is a good choice.

5. Dress for the current weather (summer or winter dress) (1 item)

Choose a dress depending on the weather. For example, a long-sleeved, thicker option for winter or a light short-sleeve dress for summer. It’s nice for this dress to be a fun color or have a pattern to spice up your wardrobe.

6. Black leggings (1 pair)

Black leggings are versatile, which is why it makes our capsule wardrobe basics list! You can wear them with skirts and dresses for colder weather. They are also a comfy and simple solution for casual days at home.

7. Tank tops or camisoles (5 items)

These can be worn as extra layers or under cardigans or sweaters. So try to have some that are neutral and then maybe a couple of fancier ones in various colors. That way you can mix and match as you need them.

8. T-shirts (3 items)

You’ll need a few basic tees to wear with pants, skirts, dresses, and as casual wear. Black, grey, and white are good choices for these basics.

9. Blouses (4 items)

Blouses are shirts you can wear to work or when you go out. So find four blouses that are stylish yet versatile.

For instance, a structured, striped blouse can work well as a staple, as can a white or black button-down. Find a few favorites that go with a lot of things.

10. Pair of shorts (1 pair)

Unless it’s winter, a good pair of shorts is essential. Aim for something that will match blouses and tees. A black linen pair or denim usually works.

11. Sweaters (4 items)

A sweater is useful for at least three seasons, and sometimes even in the summer if you’re indoors a lot. Try for a few different styles like V-neck, cardigan, etc.

12. Jackets (1 trench coat and 1 trendy jacket) (2 items)

A good trench coat or longer jacket is a good idea for winter and fall. Choose something warm that is made of wool or other comfortable material. It should be in a neutral color that looks good with everything.

Next, a trendy jacket is suitable for fall and spring. A great solution is a leather jacket in black or brown, but you might also opt for a blazer.

13. Shoes – low heels, tennis shoes, flats or sandals, boots (4 pairs)

Low heels are ideal for parties and events but can also be worn with jeans or to the office. They are true capsule wardrobe basics.

Next, a comfortable and durable pair of tennis shoes. You can use these to work out, hike, or complement a casual outfit.

Then, depending on the season, you’ll need a pair of flats or sandals. Flats work well for winter because they can look professional but still keep your feet warm. On the other hand, sandals are a great spring and summer choice.

Last, you need a pair of boots to complete your capsule wardrobe basics. Knee-high boots in a neutral color are good, and ankle boots look good with most outfits, as well.

Capsule wardrobe basics checklist

Be sure to use our capsule wardrobe checklist below if you are adding items to your closet. That way you don’t overspend on items that you don’t need. In addition, when you’re shopping, look for pieces made of good quality material that will last a long time, and look for deals!

Example of a capsule wardrobe basics checklist

Skirt in either black, navy, or grey, knee or midi length: 1 pair
Black skinny jeans: 1 pair
Denim straight-leg jeans: 1 pair
Little black dress, knee-length and with short or mid-sleeves: 1 dress
Slacks or business casual pants, neutral color: 1 pair
A summer or winter dress, depending on the season. For winter, a long-sleeved dress in any color or pattern. For summer, short sleeves or tank top style, any design or color: 1 Dress
Black leggings with thicker material for winter, lighter for summer. 1 pair
Tank tops in grey, white and black: 3 items
Tank tops or camisoles, any color or pattern: 2 items
Tees in white or cream, navy or blue, and black or grey. Comfortable material is vital: 3 items
Any color or pattern blouse that matches the rest of your capsule wardrobe basics: 4 items
Shorts, black or denim material. Simple design, not too fancy: 4 pair
A mix of sweaters with various colors and patterns is fine, but try to have one neutral color at least: 4 items
A trench coat or winter jacket, neutral color: 1 item
A neutral-colored structured jacket that is made of leather or a blazer works: 1 item
Low heels (1-2 inches), neutral color: 1 pair 
Tennis shoes, whatever is comfortable and suitable for walking: 1 pair
Flats or sandals. Neutral color, flats for the cold season, sandals for the warm season: 1 pair
Boots in a neutral color.: 1 pair

A capsule wardrobe has many benefits, such as avoiding feeling like you have nothing to wear. Be sure to check your current wardrobe to see if you already own some of these pieces so you can save more money!

Different types of capsule wardrobe examples

So, now you know what the capsule wardrobe basics are. While it can be fun to create your own style from scratch, sometimes it’s nice to have an example. Check out these examples of great capsule wardrobes.

10 Piece capsule wardrobe

The 10-piece wardrobe is a minimalist’s dream! It will work well for those who hate taking the time to come up with outfits and love getting ready quickly.

You may want to switch out some of these items based on the season and remember that it’s essential to stick with neutral colors for this to work.

While it may seem like ten items isn’t enough, you can actually make a lot of combinations with just these if you get creative.

Slim-fit black or denim jeans: 1 pair
Neutral color, business casual pants: 1 pair
A versatile black or grey dress: 1 item
White cotton and blue striped blouse: 2 items
Tees in black and cream or white: 2 items
A neutral-colored sweater or jacket: 1 item
Flats in a neutral color: 1 pair
Tennis shoes either grey, black, or white: 1 pair

Check out the 10-piece wardrobe for the busy mama by elliefunday.com!

Image from elliefunday.com (Click image to visit source)

20 Piece capsule wardrobe

The 20-piece wardrobe will give you a little bit more creativity and some more outfit options. So, you won’t run out of choices as quickly, but you can also keep things simple.

You should choose three or four colors that match each other and use those for your capsule wardrobe basics. While we still advocate for mostly neutrals, you can add a fun color or two and still create fabulous outfits.

A black pencil skirt goes with everything: 1 item
Comfortable slim-fit blue jeans: 1 pair
Skinny black jeans can be worn with a lot of outfits: 1 pair
A comfy but work-worthy pair of trousers in tan, grey, or black: 1 pair
Black joggers that can be worn when running errands or hanging out at home: 1 pair
A versatile dress, preferably a short-sleeved, fitted one that you can wear to events but also dress down with sandals: 1 item
Blouses for whatever complimentary colors you are including with your look: 4 items
Tees in neutrals like cream and grey: 2 items
Camisoles or tank tops in neutral colors, though you can add some color if you want: 3 items
A chunky, comfortable sweater: 1 item
Flats in a black or neutral shade, that way you can wear them with jeans or a dress: 1 pair
Tennis shoes, for walking and casual days. A dark grey will go with everything: 1 pair
Heels or boots! A Chelsea boot is always stylish and works with nearly every outfit. Heels are fabulous if you want something dressier: 1 pair
A fitted but warm jacket: 1 item

Rather than changing your wardrobe every season check out this year-round capsule wardrobe example on ownmuse.com

Image from ownmuse.com (click image to visit source)

Casual capsule wardrobe

The casual wardrobe is for those that like to wear primarily casual clothing. These ideas will keep you both stylish and comfy. There are old standby options like joggers and T-shirts, but you still have the chance to dress things up a little.

Try a classic jumpsuit with boots or skinny jeans and a blouse for a night out. Here are some capsule wardrobe basics for a more casual style:

Joggers, a dressy sleek black pair, and a casual pair: 2 items
Classic denim or black skinny jeans: 1 pair
Straight-leg jeans in light or medium denim: 1 pair
A versatile neutral color jumpsuit without patterns: 1 item
Long and short-sleeved tees, any colors that match: 5 items
A few blouses that can be dressed up or made to look professional: 3 items
A comfy sweatshirt that’s made of quality material. Something easy to wear with jeans or joggers: 1 item
Cashmere sweatpants if you want them to be super comfortable but still something you can wear out: 1 pair
Black leggings that can be paired with just about anything: 1 pair
Utility or bomber jacket: 1 item
Sneakers or running shoes that are comfortable for walking: 1 pair
Chelsea or knee-high boots: 1 pair
Ballet flats in black or tan color: 1 pair
A few cute bangle bracelets: 3 items
A chic watch: 1 item
Statement earrings: 1 pair

Get a simple and stylish look with this casual capsule wardrobe featured on Who What Wear!

Image from whowhatwear.com (click image to visit source)

Business capsule wardrobe

Business wardrobes are great time-savers. You will have some idea what you’re wearing to the office each day.

Since it’s a business look, stick with neutrals. So navy, black, grey, cream, and other muted hues will be best.

High-quality trousers in neutral colors that will go with all your shirts: 2 pair
Black or denim jeans, depending on how casual your office is. Go for a slim or skinny fit: 1 pair
A structured and professional blazer: 1 item
A knee-length, midi, or pencil skirt: 1 item
A midi dress and an A-line dress. They should be professional enough for the office but easy to dress up for a night out: 2 items
Silk button-down shirts: 2 items
A striped button-down shirt: 1 item
Silk camisoles that can be worn with a blazer: 2 items
Heels, black heels, or neutral, depending on the rest of the wardrobe. 1 pair
Ballet flats, comfortable enough to walk in and wear to work: 1 pair
Mules, suitable for cooler weather while also adding style: 1 pair
A black or cream cardigan: 1 item
A couple of simple yet stylish sweaters: 2 items
An elegant dress watch: 1 item
Earring studs: 1 pair
Pendant necklace: 1 item

For more inspiration and ideas check out Laurie Loo’s business professional capsule wardrobe.

Image from thelaurieloo.com (click image to visit source)

Travel capsule wardrobe

You can look great every day and pack efficiently with a travel capsule wardrobe! It also gives you plenty of outfit options. So, try this out for your next vacation.

A romper, colorful is fine, but a simple look can be elevated with accessories: 1 item
A fancy jumpsuit for nights out on the town: 1 item
Sun hat, straw hat in a light color: 1 item
Swimsuit, avoid patterns and go for a solid color: 1 item 
A few dresses that can be climate-specific, summer dresses for hot weather or long-sleeved, warmer material for cold weather: 3 items
Shorts only apply if you will be in a warm climate: 2-3 pair
Neutral tees that go with everything and are lightweight: 3 items
A few cute blouses—1 white cotton button-down, 1 colorful, 1 neutral color: 3 items
A black or brown leather jacket: 1 item
A cute scarf, any color, silk is always nice: 1 item
Turtleneck sweater for colder climates: 1 item
Long sleeve shirts, striped and solid-colored: 2 items
Walking shoes, comfortable and neutral color: 1 pair
Ballet flats, preferably black or neutral color: 1 pair
Sandals or boots depending on climate: 1 pair
Statement necklace: 1 item
Statement earrings: 1 pair
Stackable bracelets: 1 set
A versatile watch: 1 item

Classyyettrendy.com features an adorable minimalist summer vacation wardrobe that covers all your basic needs!

Image from classyyettrendy.com (click image to visit source)

Dressy capsule wardrobe

This is an excellent example if you need to dress up regularly for work or prefer a formal look. A dressy capsule wardrobe is great for the office and special occasions. So give this example a try if you want to class up your personal style!

One midi, and one full-length skirt: 2 items
A few dresses—one semi-formal, one for everyday wear, and one formal: 3 items
Some classy silk shirts in neutral colors: 3 items
Trousers or slacks in a silk material for a touch of elegance: 1 pair
Black skinny jeans, suitable for casual days or can be dressed up: 1 pair
A few luxury sweaters such as cashmere, or other high-quality material: 3 items 
A few professional-looking, button-down blouses: 3 items
A fitted blazer in navy or black: 1 item
A neutral-colored structured jacket: 1 item
Pearl necklace: 1 item
Statement earrings: 1 pair
Dress watch: 1 item
Classy bracelets: 3 items
Stilettos – can be a few inches high if you like: 1 pair
Heels, just one or two inches tall: 1 pair
Ballet flats, comfortable and neutral color: 1 pair

So if you are ready to add some pizzazz to your style check out this dressy capsule wardrobe by wardrobeoxygen.com!

Image from wardrobeoxygen.com (click image to visit source)

How to use accessories

Accessories can really change an outfit because you can add a touch of class to a casual outfit with just a few pieces.

For instance, you might be wearing a T-shirt and jeans, but put on some statement earrings and bracelets, and the whole look is much more intentional and stylish. Or a nice luxury belt might pull the whole outfit together.

New York Style Guide discusses how glasses, handbags, and belts as accessories can completely transform your look!

So, it’s good to include a lot of accessories with your capsule wardrobe. Using different ones can even make the same outfit look like two completely different looks.

Some people like to wear the same accessories all the time as a statement, which is part of your “style uniform.” For example, you can find a signature necklace and bracelet combo to compliment your outfits.

Or you can switch it up all the time to keep things interesting. Changing out accessories is probably the best option for a capsule wardrobe since you’re working with all the same clothes all the time. So, save up some cash to invest in a few luxury accessories to create a fabulous look!

What to do with extra clothes

When you decide on the clothes for your capsule wardrobe, you will likely have some more that didn’t make the cut. But you do not have to get rid of these!

You can stick with a capsule wardrobe forever, but it’s a good idea to keep some of your other wardrobe essentials around. Who knows, maybe you could upcycle a few items to make a new fresh look.

So, try this if you have clothing that is not part of your capsule wardrobe but you don’t want to get rid of it. First, place all of your capsule wardrobe clothing together at the front of your closet. Then put the rest of your wardrobe at the back or in drawers.

That way, it’s still there, but it won’t get in the way of your system.

However, if you go through your closet and decide that there are some items you want to part with, try giving them away to friends and family. That way, they will still be used. Or if you have designer items, you could sell them for extra cash and make more space in your closet.

You can find ideas for what to do with unwanted clothes in this article on The Spruce.

In addition, before you start the process of creating your capsule wardrobe, have a plan. Know what items you need, what you already have, and what you want to keep even if it isn’t part of your daily wardrobe.

It might be helpful to choose the items you want from one of the lists in this article or create your own.

Transform your style with these capsule wardrobe basics!

Using these suggestions will make resetting your wardrobe easy and fun! Remember to choose a neutral color palette, pick out versatile wardrobe items, and accessorize to give your outfits a fresh new look.

Capsule wardrobe basics are a great way to save time and money while also appreciating what you have.

Learn how to be fashionable without blowing your budget by creating a spending plan that works. In addition, you can opt for slow fashion and find other ways to save money as you update your wardrobe!

The post 13 Key Capsule Wardrobe Basics For A Fabulous Wardrobe! appeared first on Clever Girl Finance.

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