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Ten Wardrobe Essentials That Every Woman Needs For Her Capsule Wardrobe


(with tips on how to find the perfect staple items for your body shape)
A close-up shot of a walk-in wardrobe, with focus on a clothing rail full of white and grey coloured clothing hung on hangers.

I’m sure many of you can relate to buying clothes during a shopping trip that you were impulsively drawn towards. Clothes that you wanted in the moment, as opposed to those that your wardrobe actually needed.


Although it’s always very tempting to look for unique and different pieces to add to our wardrobes (like that bright green cocktail dress that you had to have – just because); it’s important to focus on our closet’s core first.


These core clothing staples are the building blocks of our wardrobe; the pieces that provide a base to our everyday outfits and the items that can be easily mixed and matched together within a series of cost effective wardrobe capsules.


So here are ten wardrobe staples that are essential for every capsule wardrobe:


  • One: A Pair of Classic Trousers

  • Two: A Pair of Jeans

  • Three: A Tailored Shirt

  • Four: A Feminine Skirt

  • Five: The Classic Little Black Dress

  • Six: The Timeless Trench Coat

  • Seven: A Good Quality Sweater

  • Eight: A Casual Day Dress

  • Nine: A Classic Blazer

  • Ten: Leisure Wear


How many of these do you already own in your wardrobe?


A portrait shot of a woman’s lower body, wearing a pair of smart, classic, black trousers, with black stiletto heels

Credit: pexels.com


One: A Pair of Classic Trousers:


This is one clothing item you can’t go wrong with. A classic pair of black (or navy) trousers can be worn to many occasions, whether that’s going to the office or for smart casual occasions where jeans are less suitable. They are also easily coordinated with different coloured tops, so feel free to choose colours that suit your unique style and complexion.


Tip: When selecting trousers, make sure the trouser legs hemline (when standing up) rests on the top centre of your foot, as well as halfway between the sole and tip of your shoe’s heel.


Now For Some Additional Body Shape Tips:

  • For triangle and oval figures, look for trousers with wider waistbands, a side fastening, as well as those made from firmer, more supportive fabrics (think fabrics like cotton twill, garbardine and corduroy).

  • For hourglass, rectangle and inverted triangle figures, look for straight or boot-cut styles.


Tip: for a summer alternative, invest in a pair of Capri style, ¾ length trousers. When choosing colours, consider which colour would complement your wardrobes existing tops.


A close-up of a woman sitting across a sofa (reading a book), wearing a bright yellow jumper and a staple pair of denim jeans.

Credit: pexels.com


Two: A Pair of Jeans:


This is one staple essential that every woman should have in their wardrobe.


Jeans are the foundation of any [smart] casual capsule and are versatile enough to be dressed up or down for both day and evening occasions. Think a camisole and cardigan vs a wrap top. Or pairing with a pair of canvas shoes vs high heel pumps.


Here Are Some Extra Body Shape Tips:

  • For triangle and oval figures, look for mid-waisted, darker denim jeans in boot-cut or soft flared styles, with minimum detailing.

  • For hourglass figures, choose jeans made from slightly stretchy denim that emphasise and enhance natural curves.

  • For rectangle figures, opt for boot-cut style jeans with a slightly curved waistband and embellishments such as back pockets.

  • For inverted triangle figures, look for boot-cut or flared styles.


Tip: aim to own two pairs: one lighter wash pair for casual, daytime occasions and another darker denim pair for evening and smart casual events.


A close-up of a woman parting the curtains, looking out a window, wearing a crisp, tailored white cotton shirt.

Credit: pexels.com


Three: A Tailored Shirt:


This classic item can be bought in an array of colours and what you choose will likely depend on your style preferences; which colours suit you and where you plan on wearing it to. Hint flannel shirts are more casual than a fine cotton shirt.


In terms of Body Shapes:

  • For triangle figures, look for shirts with structured collars that spread towards the shoulders.

  • For oval figures, choose shirts that are fitted at the waist and made from fabrics that have a slight stretch like cotton mixes.

  • For hourglass and rectangle figures, look for tailored styles with feminine detailing such as puff sleeves and ruffles.

  • For inverted triangle figures, choose shirts with simple, structured collars and interesting cuff detailing.


A close-up of a woman posing and wearing a feminine, black and white floral patterned, A-line skirt, holding a pair of heels.

Credit: pexels.com


Four: A Feminine Skirt:


Skirts are a great way of adding a little femininity to your wardrobe, with lightweight, flowy skirts being perfect for the Spring and Summer months and woollen skirts for Autumn and Winter.


Tip: choose a couple of skirts (one for cooler weather and the other for when it’s hot) in neutral colours, as these are easy to combine with other coloured tops.


Here are some Body Shape Specific Tips:

  • For triangle figures, look for pencil or A-line styles made from medium-firm fabrics, with hemlines that end 1” above the knee.

  • For oval figures, choose A-line or straight style skirts made from medium firm fabrics that end 1” above the knee.

  • For hourglass figures, opt for tight-fitting styles like pencil or bias cut skirts.

  • For rectangle figures, look for A-line, fuller or bias cut styles made from feminine fabrics.

  • For inverted triangle figures, choose A-line or full circle style skirts.


A portrait of a woman posing in front of a Parisian street, wearing a bodycon black and white spot patterned dress and black sun hat.

Credit: pexels.com


Five: The Classic Little Black Dress:


Know the feeling of being invited to a party or evening event and not having a suitable dress to wear in your wardrobe? I think we all have at some point in our lives.


Owning a classic, little black dress is a timeless, investment item that can be dressed up or down and provides a great base for adding a splash of colour with your choice of accessories. Plus as a bonus, black is an incredibly slimming colour!


Tip: pair with a gold or silver pendant for a more classic look.


Now, here are some more Body Shape Specific Tips:

  • For triangle figures, choose dresses with a knee length, A-line skirt and an interesting neckline and bodice detailing.

  • For oval figures, look for dresses with a flowy skirt ending 1” above the knee; ¾ length sleeves (or sleeveless) and a deep scoop or V-neckline.

  • For hourglass figures, opt for figure-hugging dresses such as pencil or bodycon styles.

  • For rectangle figure, choose feminine dresses that define the waist.

  • For inverted triangle figures, look for dresses with an A-line or fuller skirt and simply designed bodice.


A close-up of a woman posing in front of a car, wearing a beige double breasted trench coat and white jumper.

Credit: pexels.com


Six: The Timeless Trench Coat:


This classic coat is universally flattering for all body types and is available in a range of colours and budgets too, making it a perfect addition to your Spring and Autumnal wardrobe.


Tip: look in vintage and charity shops for a great deal on an upper high street or designer coat, but without the price tag.


In terms of body shape tips:

  • For triangle figures, choose a ¾ length double breasted style coat, with wider lapels.

  • For oval figures, look for a ¾ length, single breasted style tailored in at the waist.

  • For hourglass and rectangle figures, choose belted, single breasted styles that define the waist.

  • For inverted triangle figures, opt for a single breasted coat with slim lapels and a slight flare over the hips.


A close-up of a woman posing in front of and leaning against a tree, wearing a grey cable knit, woollen jumper.

Credit: pexels.com


Seven: A Good Quality Sweater:


Investing in a high quality cashmere or merino wool sweater is a must Winter staple. They can be worn over camisole tops or shirts (depending on the occasion and look you’re going for) or as an over the shoulder wrap. Plus, they’re available in a variety of colours, so feel free to choose jumper in one of your Wow colours.


Tip: Although for the Autumnal and Spring months, it might be worth investing in a couple of neutral coloured cardigans to be layered over coloured camisoles.


A close-up of a woman posing, facing sideways from the camera, wearing a pale blue and white floral patterned, belted day dress.

Credit: pexels.com


Eight: A Casual Day Dress:


When you’re in need of a confidence-boost, I find wearing a dress can definitely help you. If you’re someone who feels anxious about wearing dresses or you don’t feel that they suit you, then remember – the trick is to find the right style for you…


Finding a dress style or two that best enhances your body shape is a must for your wardrobe when you’re in need of adding a little femininity to your [smart] casual looks.


Tip: for a smart casual look, pair your day dress with a colourful cardigan to draw more attention to the upper body.


Here are some extra body shape specific tips:

  • For triangle figures, look for dresses with knee length, A-line skirts and detailing on the bodice such as across the shoulder necklines.

  • For oval figures, look for knee length dresses with deep scoop or V-necklines and ¾ length sleeves.

  • For hourglass figures, choose bodycon and belted styles.

  • For rectangle figures, opt for belted, bias cut or wrap style dresses.

  • For inverted triangle figures, look for dresses with A-line or fuller skirts and a more understated bodices.


A close-up of a woman posing, facing towards the camera, wearing a pale blue blazer and white camisole top underneath.

Credit: pexels.com


Nine: A Classic Blazer:


A well-fitted blazer is universally flattering for all and is perfect for creating a waistline (even if you don’t think you have one). Plus, they’re a perfect addition to your smart casual or work capsule wardrobe and can be paired with smart trousers, jeans or a skirt.


Tip: look for a tailored blazer with a mid-rise lapel, one to three buttons and a hemline that ends a few inches below the hips. Try a woollen mix blazer during the colder months and a linen one during the summer.


A close-up of a woman sitting on a sofa, writing in a notebook, wearing a white casual, woollen jumper and black jogging trousers.

Credit: pexels.com


Ten: Leisure Wear:


Just because you’re staying at home, doesn’t mean you can’t still look stylish.


Leisure wear (think yoga trousers and camisoles) that are well fitted, comfortable and makes us feel great is a must for every woman’s wardrobe and should be given as much attention as you’re going out wardrobe.


Tip: look for casual clothing made from comfortable materials such as soft cotton and jersey.


To Finish...


Think of these ten wardrobe essentials as investment pieces and where possible, try and choose quality clothing items, as these will result in a more durable, cost effective wardrobe, in the long-term.


Once you’ve added the basics to your wardrobe, you’ll have then achieved a foundation, from which to grow and expand upon…perhaps with some more unique pieces or more staple items, but in different colours.


For more information on capsule wardrobes, please feel free to visit: The benefits of a capsule wardrobe and how to build your own.

Credit: https://www.stylecoachinginstitute.com


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