10 Capsule Wardrobe Essentials For Endless Outfit Options


I’m a big fan of capsule wardrobes. My guide for starting your own is still the most popular post around these parts. And even though I’m inclined to stick them into the ‘trend’ category since capsule wardrobes are all ANYONE can talk about, I’ve personally found a minimal wardrobe ridiculously helpful when it comes to getting ready in the morning.I can be running late to work (which is always) and know that almost every piece in my closet could be paired with another without me looking like a clown.

I’m sure you want to feel like you always have something to wear, right?

No matter your closet size, one thing that seriously makes life simpler is having a solid foundation for your wardrobe. Building your closet around a few basic items that can be worn year-round will guarantee that you always have something to wear. I know they may not be the most exciting of clothes, but basic pieces can end up being the clothes you hold on to for the longest. Once you find the perfect white tee, it may easily become your favorite item in your closet.

Now, I didn’t mean for this post to be super long, but I wanted to make it as useful as possible. Here’s what I’ve done for you, my friend:

1) listed the reasons why basic items are super helpful

2) given examples of the different styles of basics you could choose

3) thrown in some outfit ideas that show how versatile these pieces are, AND

4) made you a free printable to make sure your closet isn’t missing anything

P.S. Want to pin this now so you can read it later? Click here!

Wardrobe Essentials 101

How Basics Pad Out Your Closet

Your essential items are intrinsically basics: neutral, subtle, versatile pieces that pair well with anything. You don’t want them to detract from your statement pieces, but rather balance them out.

What’s great about them? You can easily dress them up with accessories, you can use them to transition from day to night quickly, they make traveling a breeze, and people won’t notice you’re wearing the same thing over and over again.

How To Make Basis Last Longer

Since you do end up wearing basics a lot more than your other clothes, they can end up looking worse for wear if you wash them too often. I used to be the person who washed my clothes after only wearing them once, but now I’ve realized that you really don’t need to wash them unless there’s a stain or they smell a bit too obviously – it’s also better for the environment to wash them less. I recommend looking for basics that are a little looser around the armpit area.

Finding The Perfect Essentials

You’d be surprised at how many factors can go into basic items. You have to consider things like the style (neckline, pant style, length), fit (loose, fitted), and fabric (cotton, rayon). For example, I personally think I look better in scoop necks than v-necks. No idea why. Just try a variety of styles at the store and see what you like best.

Why You Should Invest In The Essentials

If you’re going to spend money on clothes, I honestly recommend spending it on basics. You’ll appreciate having a high quality $25 black tee rather than a $2 one from Forever21 because it’s going to last you so much longer. Basics will never go out of style, which means you won’t regret investing in them.

10 Capsule Wardrobe Essentials

Here’s what I consider to be the top 10 essential items for your wardrobe. You can definitely get by with only one of each, so just choose which color/style works best with the rest of your closet.

01. Tank Top

Black | White | Gray

I wear a black tank top under my shirt every single day. It makes a somewhat see-through blouse totally wearable.

02. Short-Sleeve Tee

V-Neck | Scoop Neck | Crew Neck

The most versatile piece of them all. Tuck it to a skirt, throw on a blazer, maybe even sleep in it.

03. Long-Sleeve Tee

White | Striped | Black

Perfect on it’s own or underneath a sweater during the winter.

04. Blouse

Button-Up | Printed | Wrap Style

The great thing with blouses is you can wear them to the office or pair them with some jeans for a casual look. I feel like everyone should be obligated to own a chambray shirt.

05. Sweater

Round-Neck | Crew Neck | U-Neck

I like lightweight sweaters that can be worn on chilly summer nights, but work well for layering under a coat in the winter too.

06. Black Dress

Long Sleeve | Tank | Skater

I’m not saying you need a little black dress, but some form of a black dress will get you through a million and one occasions.

07. Cardigan

Waterfall | Button Up | Open Front

Keeps you warm AND covers up coffee stains on your shirt. Brilliant.

08. Blazer

Classic | Long | Waterfall

You can look instantly put together with a blazer #GIRLBOSS

09. Jeans and/or Ankle Pants

Boyfriend | Ankle | Skinny

Does anyone not own a pair of jeans? Invest in a pair that make your butt look fab. If you work in an office, ankle pants are a great alternative to super-serious slacks.

10. Black Skirt

Skater | Pencil | A-Line

Choose one that works for your body. My backside does not agree with pencil skirts, but it sure does like the skater variety.

Ways To Wear Them

Here are a few outfit ideas to show how a basic item can go from casual to dressy without much effort.

Plain Tee

Black Dress

Black Skirt


Wardrobe Essentials Checklist

To make sure you always have something to wear, I’ve put together a free checklist for you! All you have to do is write down the ideal color, style, and fabric of the item you’re looking for, decide the maximum you’re willing to spend and where you’d like to buy it, a few other pieces you can pair it with, and whether you already own it or if you’re still looking. Happy planning!

Download The Checklist!

What are your wardrobe essentials? Are you feeling satisfied with your closet right now?

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link or purchase an item from a link, I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you).

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