Carrie Bradshaw step aside; the days of whole rooms devoted to shoes and handbags are long gone. Those in the know have learned instead the art of how to build a capsule wardrobe. The appeal of a streamlined clothing collection isn’t hard to understand. Done right, stripping your wardrobe down to a respectable number of curated items makes dressing beautifully simpler than ever.
Ultimately, your capsule wardrobe list should be made up of about 30 items in coordinating colours – think tees, shirts, denim and dresses in a refined neutral palette. Your capsule collection should be updated each season with a couple of pieces. Because being discerning in your clothing choices definitely shouldn't have to mean falling behind in the fashion stakes.
Deciding how to build a capsule wardrobe? Start with jackets, a wardrobe mainstay. A well-tailored jacket works for formal occasions, while a blazer can add a sharp finish to your skinny jeans. Create an artfully laid-back look suitable for a gallery opening by channelling Kate Moss in frayed denim and a dark jacket with contrast piping.
Jackets from Marni feature vintage-inspired silhouettes with playful detailing – the label's round-necked blazers would work well in a capsule collection. Equally, Isabel Marant’s androgynous tailoring and neutral hues are the definition of understated style.
For an off-duty jacket, choose a less structured jacket in soft leather. Rick Owens’ elegant waterfall front jackets are feminine with a hard edge – opt for versatile midnight blue or classic tan. Explore the SS16 designs from Balmain for pieces with a military twist. Outsized gold detailing and exaggerated silhouettes combine to create a bold aesthetic.
Athleisure wear is making big waves, a trend you can tap into without losing your capsule concept. Take your lead from Gigi Hadid or Emma Roberts with a Top Gun-style bomber. Pair with jet black drainpipe jeans for a between-castings model uniform, or up the sports-luxe feel with tapered jogging bottoms.
With so many different cuts and washes to choose from, finding your perfect jeans can take time. You needn’t constrict yourself by narrowing it down to a single style though. It's worth choosing a selection of shapes when choosing how to build a capsule wardrobe of your own: low-slung boyfriend jeans, spray-on denim and high-waisted flares will cover your bases.
Saint Laurent's distressed skinnies toughen up formal tailoring and relaxed T-shirts alike, while Victoria Beckham denim puts a feminine twist on sharp silhouettes. Victoria Beckham flares can be paired with a close-fitting white shirt and sleek, pointed-toe court shoes for a refined finish.
If you prefer a vintage aesthetic, look to Stella McCartney. The label’s high-waisted tapered jeans create streamlined silhouettes, while its straight-legged styles featuring vibrant patches have an offbeat charm. J Brand is a firm favourite with many in the industry, having collaborated with designers such as Christopher Kane and Richard Nicoll. The brand fuses classic styles with modern shapes, consistently producing figure-flattering cuts.
Dresses and skirts
Selecting the right dresses and skirts is a key component of creating a capsule wardrobe.
Renowned for her wrap dresses, Diane Von Furstenberg’s SS16 collection branches out to include classically cut pencil and shirt dresses too. Opt for neutral colours in a striking pattern that captures your individual preference, be that for botanicals or block panels. Take a look at The Row's designs for a minimalist, clean-cut aesthetic. The label’s low-key colour palette and feminine detailing work perfectly for a capsule collection.
London label Peter Pilotto emphasises sculptural silhouettes and artistic graphic patterns. Pick up a midi-skirt in a vibrant shade to add colour to your working wardrobe, or choose an off-the-shoulder dress for sophisticated evening attire.
Givenchy adds a modern twist to simple classics. With a neutral palette and feminine cuts, its designs are both elegant and versatile. Dolce & Gabbana's high-impact designs channel old Hollywood glamour, with demure hemlines offset by dramatic prints and sultry fabrics.
Build a capsule collection or not, a pair of heels are the fail-safe of every smart dresser's wardrobe. Monochromes or pared-down shades will complement most colour palettes, but juxtapose with a vibrantly coloured pair for good measure. Embrace a Studio 54-inspired Seventies look with towering platforms in metallic shades.
For timeless sophistication and an endless choice of colours and finishes, opt for a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. Alternatively, Choo’s flat pumps are understated – unless yours are adorned with giant pompoms, that is. Sergio Rossi also gives classic shapes an artistic twist, using metallic finishes and offbeat strap detailing.