At Who What Wear, we're specialists in scouring the runways to bring you all of the trends you need to know for the upcoming season, and while winter 2023 is full of must-see moments and looks we want to add to our wardrobes now, we also think ahead to the pieces that will stand the test of time.
We know the runways tend to present an exaggerated interpretation of trends, and if you're considering how to realistically work them into your daily outfits, there is an easy solution to styling that will change the way you dress forever, and this is where my capsule wardrobe comes in.
After years of working in fashion, I've realised that the key to shopping timelessly is a mix of core neutrals, seasonal fabrications and nods to trends. In short, a well-balanced wardrobe will contain versatile basics—say, cosy knits for winter and cooling cottons for summer—and of course, the buzzy, trending pieces that we see on the runways and in street style. So if you manage to buy a handful of great items from each category that can be easily mixed and matched, you're already well on your way to a stylish season ahead.
Below, I've pinpointed the eight pieces you'll wear on rotation year in, year out (only needing to swap out one or two to accommodate changes in weather). But yes, you read that right—you only really need eight pieces to translate 2023's covetable aesthetic for the many more seasons to come, as these items are guaranteed to be huge for the foreseeable.
So keep scrolling to discover what you need in your 2023 capsule wardrobe and to shop my favourite finds for each category.
1. THE BLAZER
Style Notes: When it comes to fail-safe outfit formulas, you just can’t beat the blazer. From London to Paris, fashion's most stylish rely on the blazer and jeans, blazer and dresses, and sharp suiting for the simple yet stylish combination you can wear on repeat while still feeling polished.
2. THE T-SHIRT
Style Notes: It's one thing that's guaranteed to be on the shop floors all year round, so a good T-shirt is well worth investing in as you'll be wearing it through every season. From Breton striped to plain white tees, this staple style is endlessly versatile. Just look out for high-quality cotton that won't start pilling after a handful of wears.
Style Notes: A high-quality cross-body bag is the perfect finishing touch to every outfit, so it needs to tick a lot of boxes. Stylish, yes; practical, of course; but it also needs to be versatile, the kind of piece you can easily take from day to night and wear with every outfit. I recommend opting for an investment piece like a timeless Saint Laurent or The Row design and ticking off trends with more affordable bags.
4. THE TAILORED TROUSERS
Style Notes: Tailored trousers have outgrown their reputation as the stuffy office uniform, and now a well-cut pair of wide-leg or straight trousers is all you need to master the high/low dressing that we've spotted on all of our favourite influencers. Just add a pair of slouchy puddle pants with an easy tee and expensive-looking jacket, and whether you're wearing trainers or sandals, you've got a minimal-effort outfit with maximum impact.
5. THE SLIP DRESS
Style Notes: The slip dress might be the hardest-working piece in your wardrobe, as it manages to incorporate all the elements of a good outfit into just one piece. On the days you're in a rush, and the days you've got time to dress your best, a long dress is perfect for summer and winter, day or evening, and will cut your getting-ready time in half. As soon as the first blast of sunshine makes an appearance, we immediately reached for a chic slip dress—the perfect desk-to-dinner piece—and when autumn rolls around again, just layer a long-sleeved top or turtleneck underneath.
6. THE STRAIGHT-LEG JEANS
Style Notes: The prospect of shopping for jeans can be a daunting one, and we've all got our red flags that can make or break a pair. Will there be a gap at the back of the waistband? Will they fit my leg length? Are they stretchy enough to be comfortable? Whatever your concern, straight-leg jeans manage to be the most universally flattering pair we've found. High-waisted to nip in and create curves, loose in the leg so they won't feel restricting, and the perfect length for heels if you want to create a little extra height (or to pair with flats for the opposite effect). A great all-rounder that ticks the "everyday wear" box.
7. THE OXFORD SHIRT
Style Notes: Thanks to the likes of The Row, The Frankie Shop and (old) Celine, minimalist tailoring has become the timeless trend that we wear all year round, and the hero piece is the oversized cotton shirt. Worn all spring/summer with a midi skirt or open over swimwear and again in autumn and winter over a turtleneck and under a blazer, this is a buy that's more than worth its cost per wear.
8. THE MID-HEEL SHOES
Style Notes: Some moments call for casual flats, and the S/S '23 runways would have you believe that everyone is wearing killer platforms this year, but if you want a style you can rely on, there's nothing easier than mid-heel shoes. From sandals to mules, loafers to boots, these comfortable yet dressy shoes deserve a spot in your wardrobe for their fashionable yet functional take on the season's most popular styles. (We're just happy to back any shoes that don't require an emergency supply of blister plasters.)