I've Figured Out How to Build The Row's Capsule Wardrobe on an H&M Budget

I’m not saying The Row is entirely responsible for the minimal aesthetic that’s so popular right now, but it would be an understatement to say that it’s had a pretty big influence on it. From a wider perspective, the fashion world has been moving towards a less trend-focused and more classic-capsule approach for a while now, thankfully. It’s an important move in making all our wardrobes more sustainable and longer-lasting. But there’s no denying the Olsen twins’ luxury label made pieces like the simple white shirt runway-worthy again, spearheading the move to a simpler aesthetic in the designer arena. One quick glance at their offering on Net-a-Porter, and it’s clear to see their focus on versatile basics, from the perfect T-shirt to the dream pair of jeans.

Photo:

@abimarvel

Unfortunately, though, we know all too well that The Row’s price point is not what we’d call accessible or anywhere near affordable. It might well be justified at times by the quality—not just of the fabrics but of the creative processes, too—and, of course, by the fact that these are anti-trend pieces that will live in a wardrobe forever. But you’ll be glad to hear it is possible to achieve the same polished, timeless wardrobe on a more realistic budget.

Since I myself am a stylist with classic and often minimalist style, I’m always on the lookout for the most expensive-looking pieces that give off The Row vibes. So today, I thought I’d share with you my findings from years of research. Below, you’ll find my answers to achieving an affordable capsule wardrobe, from the ultimate high-street white shirt to the simple sandals all your friends will ask you about.

Keep scrolling to see the items, and shop any gaps you might be looking to fill in your own capsule wardrobe.

1. Shirting

Photo:

@anoukyve

Shirts are a capsule wardrobe staple— whether you prefer a crisp white, classic blue or perhaps a linen for summer, the high street has some amazing affordable options. 

An oversized fit instantly makes a shirt look more expensive. 

This neutral shade feels very premium. 

This could also work as a very chic beach cover-up. 

2. Wide-Leg Trousers

Photo:

@abimarvel

Choosing floor-puddling wide-leg trousers over a cropped tapered or skinny style instantly elevates your outfit whether the trousers are high-street or designer. Plus, they're surprisingly versatile, making them a great capsule piece. You can wear wide-legs with trainers and a tank top for weekends, heels and a nice top for date night and shirts and loafers for the office. 

This greige colour feels really elevated. 

If I didn't know, I would guess these were actually from The Row. 

Every time I see an influencer in these (which happens a lot), I always think they must be designer.

3. Minimalist Sandals

Photo:

@basicstouch

The simpler the sandal, the more expensive they look in my experience. The Row's sandals don't have shouty logos or garish features, which is what makes them so timeless and chic. So opt for similar minimalist options (in real leather where possible) on the affordable end of the scale, and you'll achieve the same look. 

The woven detailing makes these understated sandals anything but boring. 

Subtle details like a suede flatform sole can really elevate a basic sandal. 

When I first saw these classic leather slides, I couldn't believe how affordable they were. I'm sure they'll sell out, especially since they're a style that will never age. 

4. Simple Black Dress

Photo:

@smythsisters

A simple black dress has a place at the core of any polished capsule wardrobe. They're versatile, easy to wear and eternally flattering. Just be sure to look out for elevated details when shopping for styles on the high street. Whether that's bows, ruching or a dropped waist perhaps. 

A loose, throw-on dress can often look more expensive than a formfitting one. 

I love the ruched waist on this Tove-esque style. It's just been restocked in white as well. 

This is such a versatile style. 

5. The Perfect Jeans

Photo:

@raeannlangas

When searching for the perfect expensive-looking jeans for your affordable capsule wardrobe, my advice would be to look for darker denim, non-frayed hems and interesting silhouettes. 

These come in sizes up to a UK 26. 

These are & Other Stories' best-selling jeans for a reason. 

This barrel-leg shape is a twist on classic wide-legs that your capsule will thank you for. 

6. T-Shirts & Tanks

T-shirts and ribbed vests are valuable layering pieces in a capsule wardrobe, and since cotton is cotton, it's often the case that an affordable version will appear the same as a designer piece. For the most polished look, opt for heavier fabrics, organic cotton and crisp white or creamy colour tones. 

This slightly thicker cotton will last longer. 

I'd wear this with white denim all summer. 

7. Cashmere

Photo:

@theindiaedit

Cashmere is of course never cheap, but when you can be paying upwards of £1000 at The Row, a similar M&S jumper for £79 definitely counts as an “affordable” option. The best part? I’ve tried all of the styles below, and the quality has always held up against my designer cashmere pieces.

A wool knit might not be the first thing you think of for the spring and summer, but you’ll be grateful for that thin layer on cooler evenings in the UK and on holiday. It looks so chic thrown over shoulders or around the waist of a slip dress as an emergency layer, and then in winter, it comes into its own under coats, which is surely the key to a versatile capsule wardrobe. 

Our favourite affordable cashmere on the high street. 

This browny-grey colour feels very expensive. 

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