That capsule wardrobes must comprise only “classic” items is a popular, but misguided, convention. Sure, a striped top is all-purpose, but a capsule wardrobe can flourish without it. In this post, I share 15 outfit ideas created using 13 items that are more distinctive than the 12 “basics” from before that are more archetypal of capsule wardrobes.
I use the catchall, generic term “Spring” to describe this capsule wardrobe because it contains pieces easily adaptable for transitional weather, and features elements typically associated with the season: lighter colors and lively prints.
One central tenet of capsule wardrobes is choosing a color palette and adhering to it. It’s possible to experiment with a wider palette, but the more colors you incorporate, the more challenging it becomes to reuse an item. This axiom underlies the black/white theme that dominates many capsule and minimalist wardrobes.
While you can create capsule wardrobes with a high top-to-bottom ratio, I try to hew closer to a 1:1 ratio. These are the thirteen items that I chose: (1) tan trench coat—cotton or silk; (1) cream tweed coat; (3) skirts and (1) pant—choose bottoms with some interest, like pleats or prints; (1) dress; (1) sweater, (1) cardigan, and (1) blouse—best if they have an unusual detail, like jeweled buttons or batwing sleeves; (2) bags—in the size and shape that best suit your lifestyle; and (1) flesh-toned shoe—choose the height you are comfortable with (while one pair will suffice, it doesn’t hurt to add to this category: consider ankle boots, heeled sandals, or accented flats in the chosen color scheme).
I like to evaluate the strength of a capsule/travel wardrobe by how easily the pieces fit into a rolling carry-on, and this group beat this test handily.
While every piece is essential to the puzzle, there are two items that I find especially valuable. First is this light pink tiered lace dress, which I’ve featured prominently before. It’s an item I like to pack for trips during the warmer months: It can stand alone, but can also be easily transformed when worn with any top or skirt.
The other item that I want to highlight is this pale blue-gray ruffle front blouse. It’s useful because of how effortlessly it adopts the personality of the pieces that you pair it with. It’s sweet when you wear it with a lace skirt, but nonchalant with denim.
Here are the 15 outfits created using the thirteen pieces listed above:
▪ The Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe: Basics
▪ The Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe: Work
▪ The Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe: Casual Infusion
▪ The Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe: Fall Update