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Your basic capsule wardrobe: the ideal solution for the busy working woman

Your basic capsule wardrobe needs to work for you

Choose your signature colours

Capsule wardrobe basics

Keeping your look fresh

For clever, stylish dressing the basic capsule wardrobe is the way to go. Maximise your budget by investing in the right essential separates that you can combine in different ways to create a fresh look every day.

If you struggle every morning to decide what to wear to work, the basic capsule wardrobe is the perfect solution for you. A few well-chosen items make getting ready for work in the morning a breeze and help avoid the whole “what am I going to wear today?” stress.

The ethos is simple: invest in a small number of essential separates that you can put together in different combinations. Wear a jacket over a pair of tailored trousers one day, team it with a skirt the next and combine it with a dress the day after. Ring the changes with different coloured tops, footwear and accessories to keep your look fresh.

Your basic capsule wardrobe needs to work for you

Everyone seems to have a different opinion on how many and what sort of items you should have in your basic capsule wardrobe. Fashion experts recommend anything from seven to 50 pieces and everything from one perfect pair of trousers to a selection of four winter coats.

But the bottom line is that there is no single magic formula that will work for everyone and you need to build a capsule wardrobe that works for you and your lifestyle.

Having said that, there are a few simple guidelines that can be helpful when starting your capsule wardrobe. They make styling your outfits much easier and help boost your confidence to know that you will look fabulous, whatever you are wearing.

Building your capsule wardrobe: get the basics right

Everyday handbag for a capsule wardrobeThe key influences to consider are the dress code at your workplace (smart or casual), your personal style preferences and the budget that you have available. The non-negotiables are:

  • Quality: buy the best fabrics that you can afford, they will look better and last longer.
  • Fit: ensure that all the clothes in your capsule wardrobe fit well and have garments altered if necessary. These are investment pieces so you want to look your best.
  • Versatility: choose items that they will work well with the other pieces in your basic capsule wardrobe. These clothes need to be able to work as hard as you do.

By investing in good quality, well-fitting pieces that are great multi-taskers, you can be confident that you have a great basis on which to build the rest of your capsule wardrobe and will always look your best.

Choose your signature colours

Woman wearing a midi skirt and black top A good place to start is to review what you pieces you already have. Identify the most common neutral colour in your existing wardrobe and choose this as the starting point for your colour palette. You may favour black, navy or grey and there is a good chance you already own some versatile, good quality separates that work well with other items. Save money by making some of these the foundation stones of your basic capsule wardrobe and build the rest of your collection around them. If your budget stretches to it – or if you want to add a second neutral colour for extra flexibility – you can always do this as you go along.

Then look through your tops, knitwear and accessories. Choose one or two colours that you love and really suit you, and choose these for your accent colours. These are the colours to go for when you are opting for tops, knitwear and accessories to give a fresh take on your look and add a personal touch when worn with your separates.

Capsule wardrobe basics

What you include in your capsule wardrobe will depend on where you work and your own sense of style. As a guideline, most people will opt for a pair of tailored trousers, a structured jacket or blazer, a skirt and a fitted dress for a professional look and maximum versatility.

But the key thing is to be realistic and to make sure that your basic capsule wardrobe works for you. If your office dress code encourages jeans, make sure you include these. If you never wear dresses, choose a couple of different styles of trousers or both a long and a short skirt that you can pair with your other pieces. When deciding what to buy, prioritise the items that you are going to wear most often, you can always add other pieces to your capsule wardrobe later on.

Read more about how to dress for success!

Keeping your look fresh

Which shoes top wear for a capsule wardrobe The key to your capsule wardrobe is being able to wear your basics interchangeably, but that is no reason to stifle your creativity. Highlight your individual style by teaming your capsule wardrobe with gorgeous tops or knits in your chosen accent colours and accessorise with a statement bag or eye-catching jewellery.

Once you have your essential pieces, you can add to your capsule wardrobe as you go along. Each season you can add new pieces to tailor your outfits to the latest trends and the changing weather. Get a new scarf or long-sleeved top in this winter’s must-have colour to update your look and add a layer of extra warmth.

Footwear also has an important part to play in your basic capsule wardrobe. A choice of flats, heels and boots will give you versatility with your overall look and make sure you are ready to face the working day, whatever the weather.

Building your capsule wardrobe from scratch may seem like a daunting task, but it’s easy if you follow these simple guidelines. Make the most out of your budget, create a stylish range of outfits and unleash almost endless versatility by starting your own capsule wardrobe today.