How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe That Will Last a Lifetime

Sometimes less IS more and that’s how some people feel about a capsule wardrobe. They’re definitely not for everyone, but they sure are a smart style tool. When you carefully curate a capsule wardrobe, you end up creating a style that’s personal, easy to put together, and one that will save you time when you’re getting dressed.

Creating a capsule wardrobe that will last you a lifetime is on a different level. Sustainability is one of the key components of this approach. The goal is to choose key pieces that work well together, make you look amazing, and upgrade the quality as you add a new piece. It’s a matter of quality over quantity and taking a more thoughtful approach to dressing.

To create the capsule wardrobe here, we used only 3 items for each clothing category. You may think that so few pieces will be limiting, but once you start pairing outfits, you’ll find that fewer options, expands your creativity and your wardrobe. But, all that said, you can always extend your wardrobe beyond 3 key pieces per category to include a bit more color and fun later on. However, if you’re truly trying to be more minimalist (or semi-minimalist), don’t go over 5 of each.

Here’s a look at how to put together a wardrobe that you can wear today, tomorrow, and for years to come. It’s not fast fashion, it’s a timeless style.


Black crop trousers are timeless and flattering for most women. Their versatility makes them the perfect pants for most occasions; they can be dressed up or down depending on where you’re heading.  A pair of jeans is your next must-have. To get the best mileage, choose jeans that are comfortable and classic. If you don’t like wearing dresses, you can swap out the dress for a jumpsuit or trousers with a wider leg.



We chose 3 tops that are truly versatile. Black polo necks have been chic for decades. Just think Audrey Hepburn! A crisp white shirt is a must for a capsule wardrobe and we added a pop of color with a green silk blouse which can be worn in an office, in the evening, or simply with a pair of jeans.



This capsule collection is for year-round wear but in the colder months, you would need to add a warm coat. Our picks are for spring days and cooler summer evenings.



The average British woman owns around 24 pairs of shoes and whilst we love it when you buy our shoes, dare we say it, you probably don’t need that many pairs! For the purposes of this exercise, we narrowed our selection to 3 of our most popular styles. If you wanted to add boots to your capsule wardrobe, why not swap the Sam flats or the Grace Leopard print for our stylish Hero tan leather boots.

perfect shoes for a capsule wardrobe


You can go mad with accessories and the sort of jewelry you wear is really personal. For our capsule wardrobe, we have opted for gold-colored jewelry but we understand your preference may be for silver or colored gems. Accessorizing a capsule wardrobe is easy, so choose what best suits you. Just remember that less is more!

accessories for a capsule wardrobe


Here are a few combinations for work that hit the style mark demonstrating that you don’t need dozens of each piece in order to put together a fabulous outfit each day. The capsule wardrobe lets you stretch your looks with only a few pieces.

work wear for a capsule wardrobe

The great thing about the outfit above is that you can switch seamlessly from the office to the evening with this lovely green blouse. When it’s time for cocktails, just remove the jacket and add the black clutch!

Casual office attire capsule wardrobe

This outfit is perfect if you have a more business casual office policy. Smart, yet casual. The tan loafers are the perfect shoes to commute and then work all day in total comfort.

capsule wardrobe ideas wide feet

Some shopping tips

1) Curate a wardrobe that fits your lifestyle. Don’t choose or buy what you think you would like to wear; choose items you will actually spend most of your time wearing. If you spend most of your time working in an office and need to look smart, choose clothes that will work for the office and your weekends. If you spend much of your day on the go and can get away with a more casual look, choose clothes and shoes that are stylish yet comfortable.

2) A crisp white shirt is a MUST as they work for pretty much all occasions. Find your favorite brand for these.

3) For pant hems, choose a variation on the capri pants. This is a great style for the hem of classically pants.

4) Curate your accessories too. Start by choosing a signature piece such as a watch, ring, or necklace and build around it.

5) Look for simplicity in pieces. While most prints can go out of fashion quickly, some, like polka dots are timeless.

6) Find your colors. Depending on your skin tone, certain colors will pop better against your skin. Start paying attention to which colors pop on you and don’t be afraid of bold colors like yellow or green.

7) Have your clothes tailored. The number one secret of style is fit. Find a seamstress or dry cleaner who does alterations to be your go-to when you buy something that doesn’t fit perfectly.

To maintain your capsule wardrobe, first, buy quality pieces. Consignment shops that carry well-made lightly used clothing are a sustainable fashionista’s best friend. Periodically look through your wardrobe and reassess it. Replace dingy tees—luckily you know exactly what to replace them with. Put away clothes that are one size too small if you love them and plan to get back in shape, but try not to hold onto too many of them.

Start with these general guidelines and develop a process to keep your wardrobe and your style smart yet classic!

Shelly French

When she's not studying fashion at FIT, Shelly can be found photographing architecture, street style and browsing the used art book rack at The Strand in Union Square Manhattan. She is as funny as she is creative and has a keen eye for mixing textures.

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