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The 21 Best Capsule Wardrobe Essentials You Need ASAP

Are you wondering how to build your own capsule wardrobe? Here’s a list of capsule wardrobe essentials to get you started!

Before we get into specific pieces you’ll want to grab as your capsule wardrobe essentials, let’s talk about what a capsule wardrobe is in the first place! 

Simply put, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothes that coordinate with each other.  I love this definition of a capsule wardrobe from The Good Trade

Capsule wardrobes push us to think more about what clothing we actually wear, and whether we truly need each piece in our closet. Buy less, wear more, and find high-quality.

In essence capsule wardrobes:

  • contain a limited number of pieces
  • are worn for one or two seasons
  • focus on quality over quantity

I also believe that in addition to all three of these things, a capsule wardrobe should be curated to compliment your body shape and coloring and your own personal style! 

Capsule wardrobes are amazing because they help you to 

  1. save money on clothes because you no longer feel the pressure to follow every trend
  2. save time everyday because you’ll no longer waste time trying to match outfits
  3. increase your confidence because you’ll know what you’re wearing emphasizes your natural beauty
  4. save our environment as you move away from the fast fashion industry

Now, what mom wouldn’t want to have these results, right?! 

Resources to help you create your own capsule wardrobe

To help you get started creating your own capsule wardrobe, I have lots of resources to help! 

First, this article you’re reading right now will be a great jumping off point! It is full of the best pieces to consider for your capsule wardrobe essentials. 

Second, there is a great free printable capsule wardrobe planner in the Jen Bradley|MOMS free printable library! Click the link or the image below to get access! 

Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission if you click through or purchase at no cost to you. For more information, click here.

Third, I believe creating a capsule wardrobe includes identifying your perfect color palette and body shape.

capsule wardrobe essentials for momsWhat’s the point of doing the work to create a capsule wardrobe if it’s not flattering to you, right?

Go to my shop to check out my Personal Color Consultation and Body Shape Analysis services to help you with this hugely important step! 

Finally, I offer a step-by-step online course called The Confident Closet!

This awesome course walks you through the process of identifying your personal style and creating the perfect capsule wardrobe for you.

Enrollment will open next in January 2021! To get on the list for more info about The Confident Closet, click here.

Okay, let’s take a look at the 21 best capsule wardrobe essentials you need ASAP!

Capsule Wardrobe Essentials: Tops

Most capsule wardrobes contain about 9-12 different tops.

The tops you include in your seasonal capsule wardrobe will vary based on the weather for the season and the color palette you’ve selected for each season.

Because of this, tops are the items that are most easily switched out of your capsule from season to season.

These 6 essential tops for your capsule wardrobe are the ones that can be worn easily throughout the year!

Basic white tee

white tee capsule wardrobe essentialThere is nothing more essential to a woman’s wardrobe (besides the perfect bra) than a plain white tee.

And surprisingly, the perfect plain white tee can be hard to find!

I love this white v-neck tee from Boden because the vee isn’t too deep and the fabric isn’t see through!

Striped tee

breton stripe tee for fall capsule wardrobeA classic striped tee like this one can be worn with literally everything!

It pairs well with skinny jeans, joggers, girlfriend jeans, denim skirts, overalls, pleated skirts, and maxi skirts.

You can also layer just about anything over it – from a floral scarf, denim jacket, puffer vest, blazer, moto jacket, a trench coat and more!

Finally, I dare you to find a casual shoe that won’t look great with this top!

Graphic tee

Graphic tees are a great option for any capsule wardrobe, especially if you have a more casual style. (Which most moms do!)

A great graphic tee should coordinate with your color palette and give a glimpse to your personality.

Graphic tees are easy to switch out of your different seasonal capsules, but here are a few that would work for almost any season! Click on each image to check them out. 

Chambray shirt

chambray shirt is an incredible versatile pieceYou can’t go wrong with a classic denim or chambray shirt. I keep mine in all four of my seasonal capsules! You can wear it alone, with sleeves rolled up or down. Or you could layer it over a graphic tee, unbuttoned and tie it in front. You can also tie it around your waist or layer it under a sweater or vest. You can tuck it in with jeans for a super flattering monochrome look or keep it untucked over a pair of your favorite leggings. Are you convinced?!

Flowy top/tunic

A flowy top or tunic is a great piece to include in your capsule wardrobe. It is the perfect combination of looking put-together when you’re out and about and feeling comfortable enough to hang out around the house. This side button tunic here is a lot of fun – leopard print is highly on-trend and the buttons on the side give it some really nice shaping. Also, if you have a more romantic or boho style and love florals, lace, or ruffles, this is a great style for you!

Cardigan

cardigan for capsule wardrobe for fallA basic cardigan is a capsule wardrobe essential piece for sure! With fewer numbers of clothes, the ability to layer your clothes to create new combinations is a must. Even if you live in a very warm climate, having at least one lightweight cardigan is a great idea. You never know when you’ll be in a building with an overly cold air conditioner and find yourself wishing for an extra layer! (And yes, because I live in Texas,  I am speaking from experience!)

Sweater

For the same reasons as a cardigan, it is a good idea to have at least one or two sweaters in your capsule wardrobe. Depending on the weather where you live, you may choose a lightweight sweater, a cozy sweatshirt or chunky knit sweater. Click on each image to give these great options a closer look!

Capsule Wardrobe Essentials: Bottoms

Listing essential capsule wardrobe bottoms is quite easy because they don’t change as much as tops do! Most seasonal capsules include anywhere from 7-9 different bottoms. Because bottoms often last longer and are worn throughout the year, I highly suggest viewing these as investment pieces! Unlike tops, which are more subject to changes in trends, bottom styles tend to stay in fashion for years at a time. Here are five options that are definitely worth including in your capsule wardrobe!

Skinny jean

skinny jeans are a closet stapleThe skinny jean is an iconic silhouette and is actually quite flattering to almost all body types. (If you are petite, be careful what you pair your skinny jeans with though. Heels or pointed toe flats or loafers are best for you with skinny jeans!) Also, the newer high-waisted styles are a dream come true for moms! I know it can be hard to find the the perfect pair of jeans, but these skinny jeans from Paige are my absolute favorite pair of jeans I’ve ever owned. They keep their shape all day long and can be worn many times in between washes.

Black leggings

Sure, there’s a lot of debate out there about whether leggings are pants. My opinion is that yes, they are … as long as they are high quality and don’t allow for any see-through! I love these black faux leather leggings from Spanx! They live up to all the hype for sure. With light compression, they help make your legs and bum look more toned and firm. And the faux leather look will end all debates about whether they are pants or not!

Straight jean

dark straight jeans are great for a fall capsule wardrobeThe straight jean is a perfect capsule wardrobe essential piece because they are so functional. This pair from Paige Denim has a slight flare at the bottom, which makes it ultra flattering. You can easily pair these with tops and shoes of all types!

Joggers

utility joggers for fall capsule wardrobeJoggers are the ultimate in comfort, and deserve a spot in any capsule wardrobe! Most often they are paired with sneakers, but don’t be afraid to try them with flats or even some fun heels for an unexpected and glamorous look! I really like this pair of olive joggers because of the unexpected utility details and finished waist.

Maxi skirt

the perfect maxi skirt for capsule wardrobesWhile many moms swear that their leggings are their most comfortable item in their wardrobe, nothing beats a maxi skirt in my book! Also, wearing a skirt elevates your look and helps you appear more put together – and you don’t have to sacrifice an ounce of comfort! I’ve owned this gorgeous navy maxi skirt from Boden for three years and it’s still in great shape. You can pair it with any type of top – from a simple t-shirt like I show in this article – to a flowy top or a chambray shirt tied at the waist. Capsule Wardrobe Essentials: Outerwear Regardless of the season, you’ll want to have these four capsule wardrobe essentials in your closet!

Denim jacket

Similar to the the chambray shirt, a denim jacket is worth its weight in gold! It is so functional and coordinates well with everything. Even if you are wearing something a bit fancy, you can throw on your denim jacket to add an instant dash of cool and casual. This white denim jacket is a fun twist on the original and will still coordinate extremely well with your wardrobe!

Trench coat

a trench coat is an iconic piece for any capsule wardrobeA trench coat is an incredibly flattering silhouette for all body shapes.

If you are tall and thin or have a rectangular shape, choose a double breasted style. (Two vertical rows of buttons, like the one shown here)

If you are a more rounded shape or are large chested, you’ll look best in a single breasted style. (One vertical row of buttons)

Blazer

The best way to look pulled together is to pull on a blazer!

It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers – a blazer like this gorgeous blue tweed version will increase your polish immediately!

Similar to the trench coat, if you are tall and thin or have rectangular shape, look for a double breasted style.

If you have a more rounded shape or are large chested, choose a single breasted blazer like this one here.

Moto jacket

A “moto” or motorcycle jacket exudes coolness and glam.

Like a blazer, it can pair well with anything – from a dress to your favorite pair of leggings.

This faux leather option from Spanx is a great choice to put on your capsule wardrobe essentials wishlist!

Capsule Wardrobe Essentials: Shoes

In addition to bottoms, shoes are another great area to invest in your capsule wardrobe.

Aim to buy essential shoes that are high quality and will last for at least five years!

Depending on the weather where you live you’ll need to round this out with summery options, such as sandals, or wintery styles, such as weather boots.

White sneakers

white sneakers are a capsule wardrobe essentialDo you remember the days when Keds were the coolest things ever?

Well, the white sneaker has certainly made a full comeback!

I love this pair from Superga because not only is it machine washable, it’s also the same type of white sneaker that my style icon, Duchess Kate, wears on the regular.

If you’re looking for white sneaker, you can’t go wrong with these ones!

Booties

short boots are perfect for any fall capsule wardrobeA beautiful pair of brown booties will get a lot of use over the years if you live in a place that gets any cooler weather.

The short stacked heel on this bootie from Boden is perfect for moms who are on the go all the time. It provides a bit of flattering lift, but is still comfortable to walk around in all day!

Flats

pointed toe flats for capsule wardrobeA lovely pair of well-made flats should last for several years.

To elongate the look of your leg and flatter your shape, look for a pointed or almond shaped toe.

The very best flats I’ve ever worn are these beauties from Rothy’s. They are actually made from recycled water bottles and are machine washable!

Loafers

loafers for capsule wardrobe essentialsLoafers are a fantastic option if you aren’t a huge fan of flats.

They also pair well with a blazer and are a fun and surprising contrast to a moto jacket or denim jacket too!

This long-wearing pair from Boden features the classic fun fringe that many loafers today don’t have.

Athletic shoes

athleisure shoes for momsYou know already that there are so many options for athletic shoes out there!

But having a great pair that allows you to chase after your little ones or keep up with your big kids is an essential need for your capsule wardrobe!

I love this pair because it is such a fun and quirky twist on the typical athleisure shoe! And with that awesome rainbow stripe, you know it’ll coordinate with everything!

21 capsule wardrobe essentialsFinal thoughts on the 21 best capsule wardrobe essentials

Okay, so that’s the roundup of the 21 best capsule wardrobe essentials!

As you’ve probably noticed, almost every one of these pieces is a neutral color. And that’s absolutely on purpose!

With a basic foundation for your capsule wardrobe, you can come up with a color palette of 5-6 colors and add those in on additional pieces and accessories.

If you have any questions about these pieces here or how to start your own capsule wardrobe, don’t hesitate to reach out.

I’m so excited for you to create the wardrobe of your dreams!

Related articles about capsule wardrobes

7 Awesome Tips to Know How to Shop for Clothes Online

The Best 29-Piece Capsule Wardrobe for Fall You Need to Copy

The 33 Piece Easy Summer Capsule Wardrobe You Need to Copy

3 Easy Tips to Help You Be a More Fashionable Mom

Are there any other items you’d add to the list of capsule wardrobe essentials?

The 21 Best Capsule Wardrobe Essentials You Need ASAPThe 21 Best Capsule Wardrobe Essentials You Need ASAPThe 21 Best Capsule Wardrobe Essentials You Need ASAPThe 21 Best Capsule Wardrobe Essentials You Need ASAPThe 21 Best Capsule Wardrobe Essentials You Need ASAP

Jen Bradley is the creator of The Confident Closet

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here. I am a mom of five kids who is trying to live a stylishly intentional life and help other moms do the same. Read More …

 

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