Capsule Wardrobe: 20 Essential Fashion Items

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Fashion Rescue: Stop feeling like you have nothing to wear

A capsule wardrobe is a go-to range of basics that mix together to making look stylish, every day easy, quick and cost-effective. A capsule wardrobe ideally includes 20 - 40 items. Items such as gym gear, underwear, and sleepwear are not generally included.

The below example is curated with black, cream/white and navy selected as the base colours, choosing between one and four base colours is recommended. 
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1. Everyday Bag

Chloé black suede shoulder bag featured in capsule wardrobe on ownmuse.com

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The bag you carry describes your style, at a glance. Choose your everyday bag considering your lifestyle, what do you do most days/nights, what does this bag need to hold - focus on the word 'need'.

What's your bag recommendation? Add below in the comments section.

It's about the feel, the shape, practically, purpose and durability. This bag could be a forever bag, an heirloom - consider these factors when you are deciding. 

Other suggestions are Chloé - Black suede shoulder bag, YSL - Monogramme quilted shoulder bag and Mackage - Black shoulder bag. 

Non leather alternative; Maybe your pocket or your values are better tailored to vegan leather or PU for this I recommend Louenhide - PU classic black bag.
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2. Cigarette Trousers

MICHAEL Michael Kors - Black cigarette trousers Capsule wardrobe ownmuse.com

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Anywhere, anytime, dress them up and team then down. The right trousers will be in heavy rotation, they work with a magnitude of items and are a dependable essential. Make sure you choose a flattering cut for your shape, this item is worth investing in both time and money. 

Brands to look at are Topshop - High-waisted cigarette trousersMICHAEL Michael Kors - Black cigarette trousers and Prada - Silk and wool crepe tapered cigarette trousers.
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4. Ballet Flats
Nicholas Kirkwood - Lola ballet flat shoes in black leather featured in OwnMuse.com Capsule Wardrobe blog postClick the image or this no obligation link to buy

Ballet flats are a classic, timeless and a trans-seasonal wardrobe staple. Keep it simple or choose a modern take like featured here by Nicholas Kirkwood - Lola embellished ballet flats.
This ideal shoe for your capsule wardrobe slips on at a moments notice, is both casual and dressy, and the low height makes them a comfortable and practical option. 

For a fashionable classic pair choose Repetto - Black and blue ballet flats.
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4. Classic Black Dress

Zimmermann black confetti chiffon dress capsule wardrobe ownmuse.com

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Ah, the black dress, easily and effortlessly styled to suit different occasions. You need one that makes you feel like you are skimming the surface of the earth with confidence.

Your dress should move perfectly with your shape, and work stylishly with both denim, leather or tailored jacket - each jacket option creating a different style for an alternate lifestyle purpose. 

A worthwhile investment Zimmermann - Black confetti chiffon dress, Norma Kamali - Long sleeve black dress and Badgley Mischka Collection - Black dress.
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5. Blazer

Theory - Gabe wool navy blue blazer featured in Capsule wardrobe on ownmuse.com

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The classic blazer, another piece that transcends the day to night, casual to corporate and sophisticated to rock chic - wow what a hard working literally incredible capsule wardrobe essential. How can a piece of clothing be capable of so much?
Truly a necessity, a key pin, and a high rotation piece. 
Finding the right cut and fabric is paramaount, I personally love Theory - Gabe wool navy blue blazer, Madewell - Black cotton velvet blazer, and Atmos&Here - Black tailored blazer.
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6. Classic T-shirt 

Madewell white t-shirt classic essential Capsule wardrobe item on ownmuse.com

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Whether you spend $12 or $120 or even more on a classic t-shirt it is up to you, there is good rhyme and reason for both. The critical fact is you need a selection as the styling possibilities are endless, chances are you will wear this item more frequently than you can launder.
Owning a selection of t-shirts in your chosen base colours is recommended. Some more form fitting to wear with skirts and some looser to wear with tighter trousers.
A general rule to balance your outfit is if the top half is loose the lower half can be fitter and vice versa.
Try to find fabrics that wash and wear well, generally, cotton or cotton blends are your best bet. Wash gently as holes can appear, this consideration will help you get good mileage out of t-shirts.

My current essential favourites are from Zara and Madewell classic white t-shirt.
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7. Cashmere Sweater 
(also known as) The Jumper
Vince - Black cashmere sweater jumper featured in Capsule wardrobe on ownmuse.com
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Whether you call them sweaters or jumpers there is no questioning that cashmere is superb and supreme in quality and longevity.
Choose simple round-neck or v-neck, the style is up to you, what feels best, what looks best to suit your form?
Cashmere fabric is soft and warm - the benefits of cashmere are your skin is warm, not hot - as the fabric breathes very well.
Best to stock up and have one in each of your base colours.
I find these options are quality at an unbeatable price Uniqlo - Cashmere sweater, Vince -Black cashmere sweater and Karen Millen - Navy cashmere sweater.
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8. Silk Shirt

Equipment - Signature cream white silk shirt featured in Capsule Wardrobe on ownmuse.com

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Dependable, faithful, always ready to go, the silk shirt is another capsule wardrobe essential. If you find a good one don't hesitate too long to snap it up - they sell out at lightning speed.

The fit should be slightly oversized but not too big, your aim is to be able to wear it tucked in or out depending on the styling occasion. 
Perfect with jeans, trousers or a skirt, layer yours underneath a cashmere sweater, add a biker jacket, coat or blazer to mix up your look. 

I adore silk shirts by Equipment - Signature cream white silk shirt, Theory - Tenia white cream silk shirty and GINIA RT - Poppy navy blue utility silk shirt.
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9. Sandals
Gianvito Rossi - Portofino black leather sandals featured in Capsule Wardrobe blog post on ownmuse.com
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Choosing capsule wardrobe sandals is not an easy task, some criteria to consider is an elegant silhouette, sandals are a clever tool to dress up your style. Take for example sandals, jeans and a t-shirt versus sneakers, jeans, and a t-shirt - very different look and feel with only changing one component of your capsule wardrobe essentials.
Comfort, colour, quality and how your sandals make you feel are all factors that need to be carefully considered.
I have a fondness for Gianvito Rossi - Portofino black leather sandals, Valentino - Garavani lack leather rock studded sandals and bargain buy from ASOS - Freja black leather studded flat sandal. 
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10. Perfect Fit Jeans

Veronica Beard - Blue high waisted jeans featured in Capsule wardrobe on ownmuse.com

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Everyone has their favourite brands, but do your jeans make you feel excited when you put them on? They need too or you haven't found the right pair - settle for nothing less. 
Your aim is to find jeans that are trans-seasonal, that fit your form, that don't loose stretch as the day wears on.
The shape; skinny, flare, cropped, mom, vintage or ripped it up to your style taste. Remeber the aim your capsule wardrobe jeans - they need to make you feel fabulous - or keep searching.
Why not add your favourite brands in the comments section below.
My favourites that I suggest you check through are Veronica Beard - Blue high-waisted jeansLevis - Wedgie iconic blue denim jeans, Weekday - Vice flare leg blue denim jeans, Elizabeth and James - Ace cropped wide leg jeans and Saint Laurent - Distressed mid-rise blue denim jeans.
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11. Leather Biker Jacket

Saint Laurent - Black leather biker jacket in Capsule wardrobe on ownmus.com

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A classic wardrobe essential adapted from the Harley-Davidson jackets of the1940's. Wear with jeans, a dress - to be honest absolutely nearly everything you own. 
Butter soft and complete luxury look at Saint Laurent - Black leather biker jacket but you can't go past at a fraction of the cost and still outstanding quality by Stradivarius - Black leather biker jacket.
Non leather alternative; Maybe your pocket or your values are better tailored to vegan leather or PU for this I recommend this favourite by Miss Selfridge - PU leather Bella biker jacket.
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12. Ankle Boots

Tabitha Simmons - Black leather lace-up pointed-toe ankle boot featured in Capsule wardrobe on ownmuse.com

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If you choose your ankle boots well - as in exquisitely crafted, they will only get better with age. That is they become more fashionable, more comfortable to wear and evidently feel better when you wear them. 
Wear yours with jeans, skirts, and trousers, choose the heel height that suits your lifestyle.
My favourite's are by Church's - Monmouth Chelsea ankle boots and Tabitha Simmons - Lace-up pointed-toe ankle boots.
Non leather alternative; the style and price tag are a happy match, consider these by Iconic exclusive - PU black leather Callie chelsea boots.  
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13. Classic Shirt 
Theory - Tenia white cotton shirt featured in Capsule Wardrobe on ownmuse.com
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The challenge on this piece is finding the right cut, your aim is to look like you effortlessly put on a classic shirt, teamed with jeans, trousers or a skirt and looked fabulous, easily. The truth is it took you time (or finding this blog post) to achieve this effortless look. Well worth it once you have this essential mastered.
Choose crisp cotton, poplin blend or cool linen fabrics, I recommend brands Mother of Pearl -Chester white cotton flared sleeve shirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim - White classic shirt and Theory - Tenia white cotton shirt
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14. Wrap Dress

Max Mara - Navy blue wool and silk wrap dress featured in Capsule Wardrobe on ownmuse.com
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Hardworking and simple, you can wear this item all year round. A style that suits many sizes and shapes, another day to night wardrobe opportunity. The idea is you feel fabulous, energized and excited to wear this dress.
This is an item that you can put on if the morning isn't feeling all to positive and it has the power to create a shift in your mindset. Its a wardrobe item people comment on time after time, tell you how wonderful you look making you feel special, elated and powerful.
Styling tip, your wrap dress can also be worn as a lightweight coat.
The master of this classic style Diane von Furstenberg - DVF black knit wrap dress also worth looking at are from Max Mara - Navy blue wool and silk wrap dressGanni - Black and white polka dot wrap dress and at a very reasonable price tag Vila - Polka dot black and white wrap dress. 
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15. Midi Skirt 

Theory black poplin midi skirt featured in capsule wardrobe on ownmuse.com

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Flattering on nearly every frame, and perfect for any occasion. A piece that transcends the office to weekend, weddings, day and night welcome the midi skirt into your wardrobe.
You won't believe how you ever did without this essential and how easy you will find stying this piece in a magnitude of ways.
Style tip, add a blazer and a belt over the top at your waist - creating a striking cinched waist silhouette.
Available in many variations I recommend a sculptural style, designers to look at are Theory - Black midi skirtGinger & Smart - Script sculptural blue skirt and Ellery - Honey black crepe sculptural midi skirt. 
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16. Wool Coat
Ganni - Abbey navy blue wool coat featured in Capsule wardrobe on ownmuse.com
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A beautifully cut coat never goes out of fashion and radiates a sophisticated styled look.
Depending on your climate tailor the thickness to suit the temperature and this coat will see you through over half the calendar year, possibly the entire year if you work in an air-conditioned office.
Style tip; wear your coat over your shoulders only - in a cape style way. 
The perfect place to start looking would be Ganni - Abbey navy blue wool coat or Topshop - Tie waist duster wool coat.

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17. Scarf 

Loewe - Printed blue and black silk scarf featured in Capsule Wardrobe blog post on ownmuse.com

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Ok, so there is a long list of possibilities for this one item... from summer to winter the opportunities are potentially even endless. 
Your capsule wardrobe essential scarf can be worn in an arrange of ways around your head, neck, shoulders or waist. 

Your scarf can be used to accessorize your everyday bag - loop and tie through the handle.
Get creative, your capsule wardrobe scarf can change up any outfit, adding energy and personality to your style.
Do you have some scarf styling tips? Please add them in the comments below.
My favoruites are from designers Loewe - Printed blue and black silk scarfEtro - Stripes and florals black silk scarf and Rag & Bone - Floral black and white print cotton silk scarf.
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18. Silk Camisole
Equipment - Layla black silk camisole top featured in Capsule Wardrobe blog post on ownmuse.com
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A camisole should have an air of sophistication, be semi-loose fitting and the best quality you can afford.
Let's not get into an underwear or not underwear debate, this capsule wardrobe item is intended to be able to be worn as a stand-alone top. Worn on hotter days or layered under your jackets or shirts and is a very versatile addition.
Style tip, layer over your classic shirt finishing the look with your scarf styled around your neck.
Best camisoles I have found are by Equipment - Layla black silk camisole top, adore this velvet one by Cami NYC - Olivia black velvet cami and another great find by Stradivarius - Black strappy cami camisole top.
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19. Street Style Sneakers

Adidas originals superstar white and black sneakers featured in Capsule wardrobe on ownmuse.com

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These are literally my favourite sneakers, by Adidas - Originals superstar white and black sneakers. I have owned various pairs, they are very comfortable. I do prefer the padded tongue, I have tried the 80's one without the padded tongue and don't find them nearly as comfortable.
There are a sea of sneaker options out there some other favourites are Nike - Air Max Black 270 Flyknit sneakersGucci - Ace embroidered low-top white leather sneakers and Vans - Classic old skool black sneakers.
Choose yours depending on your price tag, brand addiction, and your personal style.
Styling tip, branch out from wearing them with your jeans and trousers choose to wear them with your capsule wardrobe dresses and skirts too. 
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20. Pleated Skirt

Margaret Howell - Sunray blue pleated midi skirt featured in Capsule Wardrobe on ownmuse.com

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Wear your pleated skirt with your sneakers, your boots, a t-shirt and all your shirts. Realistically you can add nearly every item on the above list to create a different look and feel, quickly, easily and stylishly - day after day.
Who is creating the best pleated skirts? Showstoppers for me are by Margaret Howell - Sunray blue pleated midi skirtStradivarius - Pleated black midi skirt and Rochas - Pleated midi skirt.

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I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Happy organising.


x, Harper Sinclair
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