I’m going to be brutally honest; the concept of a capsule wardrobe has always bored me near to tears. Along with articles trying to convince readers that they are an “apple” or a “pear” (what is up with that? You are a person, not a fruit) and therefore should avoid certain colours and styles. The articles on capsule wardrobe building have always gotten nothing more than a quick side-eye from me as I scroll through my timeline trying to figure out why Hedi Slimane has been appointed Creative Director of Céline and finding new recipes – and whether Kylie is really pregnant, naturally.
The capsule wardrobe, as it has been sold to us, is always more or less the same:
- A sharp button-down white shirt
- A pair of black pants
- A coat
- A pair of heels that goes with everything
- A little black dress
Maybe it’s the lack of colour that always put me to sleep, or simply the restrictiveness of the whole exercise. As a concept, I can fully see the appeal; a capsule wardrobe signals control and order, two things sorely lacking from my cupboard. A capsule wardrobe means that your budget is always under control. A capsule wardrobe supports sustainable fashion and investment buying. And a capsule wardrobe means that you can never be late to anything, because you know exactly what you’ll be wearing.
At this point, I am kind of selling the idea, even to myself. Maybe I just need to shift my perception of the capsule wardrobe woman. In my mind, the capsule wardrobe woman still wears brown lipliner, and not in a 90s throwback kind of way. Her hair is always in a low ponytail no matter the occasion, her shoes are sensible and she works in an office that has a lot of fake plants and hoards of files that haven’t been touched in years, but may never be moved.
But what if the capsule wardrobe, and its owner, was a bit more of a minimalist. The chic kind, who owns three pieces of perfectly carved furniture yet her home looks complete. The kind who always looks like she’s just had lunch with Phoebe Philo but it’s no big deal, and who drinks black coffee and eats lots of bread in a nonchalant manner.
It’s with this woman in mind that I decided to figure out a new kind of capsule wardrobe, as designed by a maximalist with minimalist intentions.
The white sneaker is the new every day, every wear shoe
The quintessential capsule wardrobe always recommends buying one pair of shoes that goes with everything and effortlessly switches from formal to low-key. This would usually be a heel of some sort, in a neutral tone. I guess a beige shoe with a reasonable heel has its time and place, but when I imagine a typical day for the modern woman, it entails a coffee run, a full day of work, drinks with friends after work or some kind of social gathering, cooking a meal or doing meal prep, and a myriad of other activities that just don’t go with a heel in a sensible shade of camel.
I propose that the white sneaker is the modern answer to this, preferably in a svelte design. If cared for properly a white sneaker will stay its original snowflake hue and thus add a polished touch with all the benefits of comfort and ease. Just throw your pair into a pillow case and chuck into the washing machine (But remember to remove the laces.)
The jumpsuit is possibly a capsule wardrobe all on its own
I love a good jumpsuit, and can honestly say that every one that I own is on heavy rotation in my wardrobe. In summer I prefer my white jumpsuit, which I either wear with a great sandal or a pair of, you guessed it, white sneakers. Comfort levels aside, it doesn’t get more effortless than a jumpsuit. You put it on and voilà your outfit is done. No worrying about proportions, or matching items, or figuring out a whole look. The jumpsuit IS the look. And for night time it only needs heels, maybe even a kimono if you’re into layering.
A friend once told me that the key to looking sexy for a night out is to not have one element that you don’t feel good about. You can be wearing a great outfit, but if you’re constantly worrying about how it looks when you’re sitting, or tugging at your straps or hemline, the whole illusion gets ruined. A jumpsuit leaves very little room for error and is the perfect solution for nights out.
Forget the little black dress, and consider the little black skirt
I spend a lot of time on street style sites and IG accounts. Looking at pictures of Parisians rushing to work in their Céline suits and cool girls from Copenhagen drinking coffee in their Acne studios attire is my daily bread. And one of the items that every girl worth her Margiela Tabi boots seem to own, is a really great, slinky black skirt. The more I studied this skirt, the more I realised that it truly is worthy of the crown that the LBD has for so long been hogging.
It looks good on everyone, it goes with just about everything. If you own one great slinky black skirt, then you’re sorted for the bottom half of an outfit allowing you to splurge on a luxury knit or statement shirt. It looks killer with a blazer and statement tee, and downright show-stopping with a sequined crop top and heels.
This classic can stay though
Yep, a blazer always looks cool. Wear with jeans and a T-shirt for a Parisian touch to daywear, don with a pencil skirt for a fresh take on office dressing and style over a mini-dress for Saint Laurent levels of cool. You will never regret buying a blazer, this we can guarantee you.