classic capsule wardrobe essentials

Wardrobe Essentials for a Classic Capsule Wardrobe

So, I’m still obsessed with wardrobe classics and capsule wardrobes.

I know I’ve talked about it a lot, but for me this year has been about identifying and tracking down my wardrobe classics, and trying to resist the lure of endless pretty dresses (er, I’m not saying I’ve actually MANAGED that one, obviously: I have TRIED, though…), in favour of high-quality basics that will last forever, and provide me with endless options. I still don’t subscribe to the capsule wardrobe philosophy, and don’t think I ever will – there are just too many clothes in the world for that – but I’m finding that the older I get, the more drawn I am to the all-time classics.

You know those items that always appear on lists of wardrobe classics that everyone should own? Well, I don’t subscribe to that idea AT ALL: I mean, it’s totally crazy to me to think that everyone in the world would have the same style, and require the same clothes. I have to be honest, though, and say that in MY case I do like most of the items that normally appear on those lists: what can I say, I’m pretty basic, I guess!

Anyway, a few months ago, I showed you my retro-inspired capsule wardrobe: since then, I’ve been adding and removing things, and refining the selection a little, so today I bring you my new and improved list of my ultimate wardrobe essentials – and some of the outfits you can create from them. Drumroll, please…

wardrobe essentials for a classic capsule wardrobe

So, three things:

01. Yeah, it’s quite similar to my last capsule wardrobe: like I said, though, this is mostly an exercise in refining and defining my own personal style, so I’m in no way trying to claim that these will work for everyone: just for me. I’m selfish like that.

02. I’m also not claiming to need the EXACT items shown here, or even the exact colours: I mean, that would be really, REALLY nice, but it would also probably cost more than my house, so yeah, inspiration only, unfortunately. In real life, I’m slowly working on tracking down more affordable versions of some of these, but I think the key to a classic capsule wardrobe is that every item should be perfect, so for the purposes of this post, I’ve chosen the pieces that looked best, rather than the ones I could actually afford. (Oh, and I also chose just one of each item, purely for the sake of simplicity: I mean, you all know I’d need the cardigan in every single colour I could find, right? )

03. It kinda goes without saying that I’m not exactly reinventing the wheel here by choosing things like trench coats and black dresses and, well, all the other stuff, really. More and more these days, though, I’m finding that this is the kind of stuff I most want to wear: super-simple, very minimal in style… maybe even just a little bit “boring”, if you’re the kind of person who’s into bright colours, experimental fashion, and that kind of thing. And, of course, the fact is, I’m NOT that kind of person. AT ALL. I think the main style lesson I’ve learned this year, though, is that as much as I love clothes, I’m actually happiest wearing the kind of simple, basic outfits that most people would consider “boring”. And I’m totally fine with that.

My wardrobe classics:

trench coat; wool coat; sunglasses ; tuxedo jacket; biker jacket; denim jacket; white t-shirt; chambray shirt; silk shirt; Breton top; cami top; cardigan; cable-knit sweater; turtleneck sweater; pencil skirt; full skirt; jeans; trousers; sundress; nude pumps; black pumps; shoe boots; tall boots; casual boots; flats; black dress; evening bag; satchel; shoulder bag

And here are just some of the outfits you could create from them:

classic capsule wardrobe: 34 outfits from a selection of wardrobe essentials

Related: Capsule Wardrobes and Style Essentials | Maternity Essentials


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  • Chiarina


    Ooh, I love capsule wardrobe posts. I am expecting my second child, and after the first one I gave up on getting dressed for a while and just wore old sweats and baggy t-shirts… I am NOT going to let that happen again! I am thinking that a possible solution is to identify and build a capsule wardrobe of really easy-to-wear things that will be comfortable enough and still look nice. So thank you for the ideas and inspiration you are providing!

    November 26, 2015
  • The Other Emma


    I love this to. Like Chiarina I lost my way after having my baba and am now finding my feet again so I love posts like this to spark off ideas. Plus you always gives ideas for things that are easy to find all the time instead of just at that one particular moment while they are in fashion.

    November 26, 2015
  • Since I threw away pretty much all the clothes that reminded me of my depression I now have pretty many holes in my wardrobe. And I do think that it is an adult thing because now whenever I buy something new to fill those holes I always think about that the new pieces have to match the old ones. I didn’t do that before. So I kind of get the capsule wardrobe thinking.
    My style is very un-classic though but I still really like your capsule posts./love Ida

    November 26, 2015
  • Catherine


    I love this post (and a lot of the items listed in it…). I had a MASSIVE clear out earlier this year and embraced minimalism. Going forward I want to gradually replace most of what I’ve kept in my wardrobe with classic, high quality pieces I love, that fit me well and I can create lots of outfits from. I don’t think I’ll ever manage a true capsule, minimalist wardrobe but I love reading posts like this for inspiration. And I really, really want that trench coat!

    November 26, 2015
  • Caroline


    this is one of the best capsules I’ve seen, so many great combinations, will definitely help me in my own efforts. Thank you!

    December 6, 2015
  • Catherine


    This is a great, inspirational post, thanks Amber. It’s given me loads of ideas, even though I’m rather late catching up with it. Could you say more about how you would wear the chambray shirt with the skirts etc you’ve paired it with? Tucked in? Tied at the waist? Loose? Thanks!

    February 4, 2016
  • Jennifer


    This is fantastic! I had just thought about how I might “need” more work or going out clothes when I found this. There were so many great outfits that I could see myself wearing, and I own much of these items already! Thank you for making me think about ways to re-imagine the clothing I have!

    February 19, 2016
  • Grace


    So I have a capsule wardrobe but I keep running into the problem of the jeans having a hole in the inner thigh because I wear them so much. (I have 3 pairs) Is it possible to get jeans that don’t do that around $30 in a size 14?

    March 11, 2016
    • Jessy


      Grace, you will not find 30$ jeans that don’t wear out quickly but you can try those iron on patches. I just iron then into my cheap jeans, on the inside of course, when I get them. I try not to wash skinny jeans too much, if they start to get ‘crunchy’ I will give them a quick rinse in warm water and hang to dry. I hope that helps because 200$ jeans wear out in the thigh too (a lesson that I am glad I learned).

      April 5, 2016
      • Grace


        I have been thinking of putting in patches right when I get jeans also. Man, I thought I wouldn’t get that problem if I bought 200 jeans one day. Have you tried pure denim jeans?

        And yes it did help! 🙂 I usually wash them in cold water so a quick warm rinse is a nice tip.

        May 15, 2016
        • Jessy


          I have not tried pure denim, with my body type I like the stretchy jeans. I do know people that forgo washing all together and put their denim in the freezer to kill bacteria without fading them or changing the fit. I haven’t tried it yet but I have friends who swear by it.

          May 18, 2016
  • Really great inspiration! I have struggled with the idea of a “capsule” wardrobe because it seems a little too cookie cutter and void of personality. That said, I am 100% on board with a minimalist wardrobe of key pieces in the same color palette that I can mix and match and you’ve done that beautifully here. Maybe it’s an age thing, but my style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years and thanks to quite of a bit of weight loss and being down two pant sizes, I have a really valid excuse to go shopping!

    May 4, 2016
  • Random query! Please can you share what font you’re using for the watercolour/brush font on your graphic? Where it sales Capsule collection? thanks so much

    June 22, 2016
  • I’m in my fortys now love clothes and always buying, but always wear the same stuff. Iv just had a baby and would to feel good about myself and make a effort. But my dress sense is zero don’t know to do it. Iv love the clothes on your classic capsule wardrobe so I’m going give it ago.

    July 7, 2016
  • Frances


    Please tell me where to find the green coat and matching sweater. Thank you.

    September 6, 2016
  • Such an amazing post! Love your style 🙂

    October 22, 2016
  • Corrie


    Oohlala i like the green in this capsule wardrobe. And the classic style appeals to me…i’m almost 30 and want to dress nicely but, i live in hot climate and all these layers would not work except for 2 days of the year here! So jealous haha :/ so i dress casual/beachy for the weather 🙂

    September 5, 2017
  • I recently have had the urge to just toss everything in my closet and start over. Mostly due to the fact I have gained weight due to some medication. With that said, Emerald GREEN is one if my favorite colours. These outfits seem so flawless and easy to put together. You can easily substitute any other colour or add a Leopard scarf other accessories. I’m just over the moon to find your wardrobe essentials website. Lots of Love from Florida! Xo Keep on Rock’n

    September 22, 2017
  • Really enjoyed this. Thank you! Just getting back to getting dressed after my first 🙂

    October 14, 2017
  • This was ever so helpful! Thank you so much.

    February 20, 2018