Curate your dream capsule wardrobe: the 9 staples for effortless style

Posted by
Lara Faye
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

A capsule wardrobe can take you from overwhelmed to organised. If you have a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear then it’s time to start curating a closet of chic, timeless pieces that will have you falling back in love with fashion. 

We’ve all had those moments – typically before a big day at the office, or an even bigger night out with friends – when we’ve stood in front of a wardrobe overflowing with clothes and had absolutely nothing to wear. 

As Caitlin Moran puts it, “When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today”, a sentiment that we’ll wager resonates with even the most stylish women we know. But what if you could stand in front of your wardrobe and instantly pull out the perfect outfit for the woman you have to be today?   

That might sound like a far-fetched fashion fantasy but we’re determined to turn it into a reality. It’s time to wave goodbye to those daily dressing dilemmas and curate in an arsenal of effortlessly chic outfits at your immediate disposal. 

You may also like

Wardrobe detox: 9 simple questions to ask yourself about every item in your wardrobe

A curated closet is not only the end of frantic mornings spent sifting through piles of clothes, it’s also one of the most effective sustainable style hacks. With fashion now the second largest polluter after the oil industry, we’re all taking steps to minimise our environmental impact and reduce our consumption. Buying less starts with buying better, and when you start saying “no” to those late-night impulse buys you’ll find yourself with a lot more spare cash to say “yes” to that timeless It-bag or the incredible coat you know will translate seamlessly from the catwalk to your closet.  

You may also like

Wardrobe detox: 9 simple questions to ask yourself about every item in your wardrobe

The first step to the curating the ultimate capsule wardrobe starts with a deep cleanse. If it’s been years since you cleared out your wardrobe, then now is the time to dedicate an afternoon to a complete clothes detox. With your cleanse complete, you now have the perfect clean canvas to start building your new dream wardrobe – and it all starts with just nine key pieces to form the building blocks of the ultimate curated closet.

The oversized blazer

Street style blazer and boots

Effortlessly easy to wear and with a relaxed cut and a nonchalant attitude, the blazer has an endless everyday appeal. Whether worn over a midi dress or with blue denim and a classic white shirt, an oversized blazer is the throw-on and go staple that brings instant polish to every outfit - even if you put it together in minutes. You can even layer it over your gym leggings and a sweater to take you from barre class to brunch – far chicer than a hoodie. 

The statement gold necklace

What it comes to accessories, you don’t need stacks of bracelets to make an impression. In fact, the most effective route is often the most simple. An elegant gold necklace is the luxurious staple that offers all the after dark interest of fine jewellery but is still subtle enough to wear with casual daytime separates or office-ready suiting

The timeless trench coat 

NYFW street style: add embellishment to your trench for an update on the classic style / Image: Noor & Zee

In a world of here-today-gone tomorrow trends, you know that a piece with over a hundred years of staying power has to be something seriously special. Enter the century old design that fashion hasn’t fallen out of the love with: the trench coat. The epitome of cool French girl style, this chic coat is effortlessly easy to wear but never fails to bring a touch of elegance to even the most understated of outfits. 

Opt for a classic shade of tan that will pair with everything from blue denim to black suiting – as well as bold printed pieces. Wear belted at the waist by day and then take it straight into evening by wearing it draped from your shoulders over a little black dress. Just add red lipstick for all the after-dark drama you need. 

The wear-everywhere midi dress

Print clashes brought a brightness to all the beige / Image: Noor & Zee

We could write entire volumes of poetry about our love for the midi dress. Though endlessly wearable and universally flattering, the true beauty of this ultra-versatile style is that it works for every occasion. Seriously. 

Office outfit? Midi dress. Summer wedding? Midi dress. City break? Midi dress. Once you’ve chosen the perfect patterned midi dress, you can throw it on and make it work for quite literally every commitment in your iCal. Don’t believe us? Shop our edit of the chic midi dresses to buy now and wear again, and again, and again

The iconic It-bag 

When it comes to handbags there are always a plethora of new season styles available to choose from, but certain classic styles truly stand the test of time. We elevate these bags to the lofty status of It-bag, and they have the alchemic power to elevate your every outfit to new levels of chic. 

Can’t splurge on a big-ticket investment right now? We’ve found the highstreet styles that offer the same levels of chic, without a comma in the price tag. 

The love-forever jeans 

We like to think of denim as the sartorial equivalent of pizza: no one is getting tired of it anytime soon. Plus, there a hundred ways to wear the same pair of jeans without ever getting bored of them. A classic white T-shirt combination always feels fresh or if you’re heading out simply add a going-out top and you’re ready for whatever the evening brings your way. With the addition of an oversized blazer and a smart leather belt, the exact same pair can work for your 9-5 as well. Talk about a wardrobe hero. 

Whether you opt for a skinny style or a wide-legged design, there is a pair of jeans that makes every woman feel incredible. Find the cut and fit that works for you, invest in a style with sustainable credentials and you’ll be happy to wear it for years to come. 

The classic white shirt 

Printed sequin skirt with shirt
Printed sequin skirt with shirt

When you think of iconic Hollywood stars you might think of Audrey, Marilyn and Katharine … and their equally famous white shirts. Fast forward to more recent times and the white shirt still reigns supreme as the piece that might look simple, but always feels glamorous. 

Take your styling cues from Marilyn Monroe who was often pictured in blue jeans with a classic white shirt thrown on or imitate Meghan Markle’s impeccable style and pair yours with a pencil skirt (roll the cuffs up to avoid looking too ‘done’) and make it work for everything from office meetings to evening events. 

The little black dress

There are few styles so significant that they’ve earned their own acronym, but the LBD is one of them. Whatever the event, there is always a little black dress that perfectly rises to the occasion. Striking the sweet spot between sophisticated and sexy, this effortlessly chic style works for just about every evening event we can think of. Certain styles will even look as cool when worn with stomper boots and a colourful cardigan by day as they will with ankle boots and gold jewellery by night.

If you don’t have a killer little black dress in your arsenal, now is the time to invest in one. 

The cool-girl white trainers 

We won’t lie, streamlining our shoe wardrobe is a task that brings us out a cold sweat. But if we had to choose just one style to see us through, it would, of course, be the not-so-humble white trainer. 

The coolest shoe known to man, not only does the perfect white style trends lend nonchalance to every outfit, it pulls together all the other key pieces in your curated wardrobe. Wear them with your tan trench for Scandi street style-approved take on office dressing, or make your printed midi dress work for brunch, barbecues and rooftop bars by pairing it with sleek white sneakers. 

When worn with a pair of white Stan Smiths or Converse, your investment handbag doesn’t feel to dressy to wear on a laidback city break, and they are, of course, the perfect partner for those love-forever blue jeans

Are you saying ‘no’ to new? These timeless pieces have been around for decades, and you can find some of the best pre-loved versions of these wardrobe heroes at these online vintage and consignment stores

Sign up for our essential edit of what to buy, see, read and do, and also receive our 11-page Ultimate Guide To Making Your Home Feel Bigger.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Images: courtesy of Noor & Zee, Getty and brands.