How to Build the Perfect Capsule Wardrobe

Carolyn Thomas

I’m a professional singer and freelance musician, as well as an aspiring songwriter, photographer, and writer. I love all things creative and I sing near-constantly. I have a Bachelor of Music and have built my own business around teaching vocals and vocal performance.


What is a capsule wardrobe?

The internet is full of buzz words, and one of the fashion-related phrases of the moment is ‘the capsule wardrobe’. When I first came across this phrase, I assumed it meant the actual furniture itself was shaped like a capsule and immediately thought, ‘What a ridiculous and useless idea.’. However, as I soon discovered, a capsule wardrobe is not some futuristic bureau but, rather, relates to the contents of your wardrobe. Let me enlighten you. A capsule wardrobe is a relatively small collection of clothes that are simple, elegant and completely mix’n’match-able. As a part of the current wave of minimalism that is sweeping society, this trend towards a less-is-more wardrobe will have your threads presenting you with endless options in the morning, instead of your usual, ‘I have nothing to wear!’ meltdown. So let’s get into it, shall we?

Here’s a list of things that I think makes up a great capsule wardrobe, but feel free to modify to your taste and lifestyle – your wardrobe is about you, after all!

Pants and Skirts

Black skinny jeans

The ultimate staple in every chic wardrobe, black skinny jeans can take you seamlessly from day to night, and back to day again in an instant, and can always look classy. Black high-waisted skinny jeans.

Blue jeans

They’re a classic for a reason. The style of jean is dependent on your favourite cut, but whatever your style, your blue jeans will be your ultimate casual staple. Blue mid-rise skinny jeans

Black dress pants

Nothing says chic like a pair of tailored black pants, no matter the cut. For those in the corporate world, a nice slim cut pair of black pants is professional and always looks put-together, but for those working in other spheres, you could be more adventurous with your black pant. Think wide-legged, or slightly flared, or even other dark colours. Black dress pants, slim cut

Black skirt

Another work-wear classic. The most versatile cut is the pencil skirt, as this can be easily dressed up or down, depending on the situation, but again, this is up to your taste. Black and white stripey pencil skirt

Denim skirt

I don’t know about you, but I wear my denim skirt at least twice a week, which makes it a necessary item in my opinion. Your casual wardrobe will thank you for it, especially in the summer months! Blue denim skirt

Denim shorts

Another summer essential, your denim shorts will be your casual-wear lifesaver through the hot season, so make sure you have one or two pairs of comfortable and flattering denim shorts. Blue denim Shorts

 Shirts and Tops

Button down shirts

The ultimate dress-up/dress-down staple, the button down shirt is a versatile and handy addition to any wardrobe. I would recommend having a few of these, preferably of reasonably high quality and in black, white and striped. Blue and white striped button down shirt Black and white checked short sleeved button down shirt


I would recommend going for high-quality t-shirts that are easy to wash and that won’t lose their shape – there’s nothing more annoying than washing t-shirts, only to have them look like a misshapen mess the next time you wear them. A few of these in neutral colours will fill out your casual wardrobe. White and black striped t-shirt with zip detailNavy blue t-shirt


I recommend having a few unique blouses that work with your colour scheme and are a little bit more fun than t-shirts and button downs. Be adventurous with prints, sleeve lengths and colours to ensure you have some fun pieces in your collection. Dove-grey blouse with fluted sleeves and ruffle.


Nothing looks as effortlessly chic as a high quality, well-fitting cami with some jeans and heels, so one or two camis are essential to your wardrobe. I would recommend one black one, and one in a colour of your choice. Black camisole


Little Black Dress

If you haven’t heard of this, watch an Audrey Hepburn movie and you’ll soon see why you need one of these babies. A black dress, cut to your liking, is going to see you through so many events that it will pay for itself many times over. Black shirt-dress with waist tie

Casual dresses

I would highly recommend having a few casual dresses in your collection, preferably ones that can be dressed up if need be, and these can vary in print and style, just make sure that you love them enough to wear them frequently. Khaki and white striped t-shirt dress

Black-tie dress

This is less of a necessity, but if you’re someone who regularly, or semi-regularly, needs to attend black tie events, then investing in a fancier, longer dress is probably a good idea. Floor length black evening gown

Jackets and Jumpers

Black leather or faux-leather jacket

A classic symbol of cool, the black leather jacket is a must. Pair it with jeans, a cami and heels for an effortlessly chic night time look, and you’re good to go. Black faux leather bomber jacket

Denim jacket

Comfy and cool, all in one! What more could you want? Layer together with a simple t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers for an easy casual look. Light blue denim jacket

Grey or black cardigan

Cardigans are the ultimate layering tool and can add a relaxed but put-together feel to any simple outfit, and are so useful in those in-between months. Grey slouch cardigan

Simple jumper/sweater

Paired with jeans, the jumper/sweater is a classic combo that never goes out of style and always keeps you warm and comfy. One or two of these in neutral colours will be so useful for your winter wardrobe. Oversize grey sweater with high collar


A must in winter! Your coat has to suit your personal style and colour scheme so pick something that will work with all your outfits but will also be practical for whatever your climate. Khaki green coat with fur hood and leather details

 Other Essentials


One of the greatest pleasures in life is coming home from a long day at work and putting on your comfy home clothes – you know the ones, we’ve all got them – so make sure you’ve got some comfy tracksuit pants/sweatpants, some cosy hoodies and assorted loungewear for those Netflix nights on the couch.

Workout gear

If you’re into the active life, you know why you need these! Just don’t splurge on too many – unless it’s a motivational thing!


For shoes, I would suggest having a few pairs that you actually will wear, that are both stylish and comfortable – you know those beautiful stilettos are going to hurt, so if you’re not going to wear them, don’t buy them! black birkenstocks, black lace-up heels, black pointed flats and black and white Vans And that’s it! Many people would say you need even less, but I think for a functional, multi-season wardrobe, this is sufficient. But again, adjust to your life and style, and have fun!

Carolyn xx