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How to create a capsule wardrobe for 2023

These timeless classics will forever be in style

capsule cover
Orin Carlin
Orin CarlinContent Writer
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Investment dressing is not for the faint hearted – it requires serious commitment. Shifting your shopping habits towards buying quality, versatile pieces might be a difficult adjustment if you're someone who likes to go all out when payday rolls round. 

But we promise, creating a capsule wardrobe is a really good idea – especially on those days when you need an outfit that looks put together without requiring much thought.

MORE: 10 affordable designer brands that fashion editors love

READ: 10 summer outfit ideas you need to add to cart

What does a capsule wardrobe consist of? 

Capsule Wardrobe© Photo: Getty Images

A selection of classic pieces that operate out of the same, largely neutral, colour palette make up a capsule wardrobe. The key here is to pick colours and fabrics that lend themselves to a great deal of mixing and matching. Camel, tan, charcoal, navy, black and white are all shades that should be on your radar when compiling a capsule collection. 

What are the rules of a capsule wardrobe? 

Make no mistake – we can appreciate a killer trend with the best of them, but the idea of a capsule wardrobe is to avoid including pieces that could quickly appear dated once next season rolls around.

The key here is knowing your body and sartorial taste inside out. You may well have a good idea of what you like, the kind pieces you are drawn to (give me a 1960s-inspired A-line mini or a sleek high-waisted trouser and I'm head over heels), but think carefully about the silhouettes that suit you best. 

One watertight way of getting this right is by hitting the shops (think upper end of the high street or, better still, a designer boutique – they will have expertly trained staff to advise you) and trying on heaps of different styles of separates. Arduous in the moment perhaps, but it will truly serve you well.

How many clothes should be in a capsule wardrobe? 

How long is a piece of string? The amount of clothes in an individual capsule wardrobe completely depends on your budget, as well as how much space you have available. The idea behind the concept is based around a modest (whatever that may look like for you) selection of pieces that work well with one another. Basically if you dump your capsule wardrobe in a suitcase and unexpectedly jet off somewhere, you should be able to create several stylish outfits, all by the magical powers of mix and match.

READ: 10 minimalist outfits that you'll want to recreate this season

MORE: Casual outfits: 8 stylish dressed-down looks to recreate

How do I start a capsule wardrobe?

Back to basics is always a good place to start when it comes to compiling a capsule wardrobe. Think flattering racerbacks, ultra-wearable camis, and scoring the perfect classic white t-shirt is also an excellent shout. Focus less on trend-based pieces, and more on timeless shirts, chic knits, and well-tailored trousers. When it comes to fabrics, picking materials that can help you nail the potentially tricky transitional dressing period (between seasons) is the way to go - consider layering your new best friend.

Hello! Fashion shows you how to create a capsule wardrobe that will stand the test of time:

The indispensable LBD

Unrivalled in its ability to flatter, no wardrobe should be without a well-fitting little black dress that can be styled for numerous different occasions. 

Kika feather-trimmed crepe mini dress - Taller Marmo
Kika feather-trimmed crepe mini dress - Taller Marmo

The silk shirt 

Silk shirts are properly versatile – team with high-waisted kick flare jeans and retro sneakers for off-duty cool or amp up the drama with a leather mini skirt and thigh-high boots.

The Clean Silk Relaxed Shirt - Everlane
The Clean Silk Relaxed Shirt - Everlane

The leopard layering piece

Leopard is fashion's metaphorical boomerang, it bounces back onto the runway almost every season without fail. This wool-blend coat by Raey has a beautiful straight shape and would pair well with practically every outfit. Wear it over a chain mail mini if you're off out dancing, or over a camel knit hoodie if you're recovering from the night before.

raey coat
Leopard-print belted raglan-sleeve wool-blend coat - Raey

The chunky white trainer

Every girl needs a chunky white trainer in her footwear repertoire, it's a classic that'll come in handy all year round. Swedish sneaker brand Axel Arigato has got some seriously stylish options – the Orbit is our current obsession.

Axel Arigato Orbit trainers
Orbit Sneaker - Axel Arigato

MORE: The 8 best sustainable trainers to add to cart right now

The striped knit 

No wardrobe is complete without a chunky striped jumper that can boost your workwear with an injection of cosy French-girl chic.

Striped wool-blend turtleneck sweater - Toteme
Striped wool-blend turtleneck sweater - Toteme

The everyday jean

Frame is a cut above the rest when it comes to creating the most flattering jean shapes. This high-rise straight-leg pair would look great with a cosy cream knit or even over a summery cut-out bodysuit.

Lower half of a model wearing blue high-rise straight-leg jeans
Le High Straight in Dublin - Frame

MORE: Best dark denim jeans and how to style them this season

The go-to boot

Is this what footwear heaven looks like? We certainly think so, these black knee-high boots by Dear Frances are at the very top of our wish list. They're super chic but would also make for a hugely versatile addition during the colder months.  

Elle Knee Boots - Dear Frances
Elle Knee Boots - Dear Frances

The quality crossbody

Loewe's Puzzle is the bag style that is currently dominating our list of lust. The design is quirky and interesting, but doesn't necessary scream "designer" in the way that many other logo-emblazoned styles do. Instead, it possess a certain quiet cool.

Mini Puzzle bag in classic calfskin - Loewe
Mini Puzzle bag in classic calfskin - Loewe

The classic wool trouser

These hopsack drawstring trousers by Arket are worth their weight in style gold. Pair them with trainers and chunky loafers alike, you won't know how you ever lived without them. 

Wool Hopsack Trousers - Arket
Wool Hopsack Trousers - Arket

The versatile blazer 

If your outerwear collection is lacking a well-cut blazer, rectify the situation immediately by snapping up this chic herringbone piece by Saint Laurent.

Herringbone wool blazer - Saint Laurent
Herringbone wool blazer - Saint Laurent

The understated tank top 

Okay, okay. So, as far as simple white tank tops go, Prada's version is without a doubt the most indulgent. However, the season's it-piece is bound to stand the test of time on account of its sheer wearability. Wholly justifiable? Hm. Still at the top of our wish list? You bet.

Ribbed Knit Jersey Tank Top - Prada
Ribbed Knit Jersey Tank Top - Prada

The cosy turtleneck  

Autumn hits different with a sumptuous turtleneck in tow - turn to the likes of Cos, Arket or Whistles to give your jumper game a much-deserved update.

Cashmere Roll Neck Jumper - Whistles
Cashmere Roll Neck Jumper - Whistles

The staple belt 

 Every girl needs a belt that oozes sophistication, and it's practically impossible to go wrong with Celine's selection.

Medium Triomphe Belt - Celine
Medium Triomphe Belt - Celine

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