It Took Me 3 Years to Build My Perfect Capsule Wardrobe

Last year, I embarked on a spending ban for the entirety of January—and I’m doing the same this year. Some people go vegan or take on a crazy fitness routine, but this exercise taught me a lot about the way I shopped last year. I’m hoping it will set me up for another year of shopping smarter and not wasting money on throwaway fashion. Overall, this challenge is about getting the most out of my wardrobe. Never again do I want to say “I have nothing to wear” while looking at a wardrobe full of perfectly fine clothes. We’ve spoken a lot about our style uniforms on A Style Album and the pieces in our wardrobe that work hard for us. During #EmsNoSpendJan, I’m turning to those pieces more than ever. Doing this made me think of the pieces I turn to daily—regardless of whether or not I’m in the middle of a challenge.

Photo:

Emma Rose Thatcher

There are 12 pieces in my wardrobe I wear a lot. I suppose this is good, as I’m getting my cost per wear out of them, but it means that I’m also neglecting much of my wardrobe. If I owned just these 12 pieces, I’d be quite happy. And should I ever get a bit bored of them, it’s simply a case of updating here and there rather than feeling the urge to buy a whole new wardrobe.

Cropped Black Trousers

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Emma Rose Thatcher

I’m really into my black trousers right now, but I know they’re a classic I’ll always come back to. I bought this pair from See by Chloé about six months ago, and I love the cut of them. I’ve been teaming them with a graphic tee and heels for a night out or trainers and my black blazer for daytime.

Tees

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Emma Rose Thatcher

Okay, I’m cheating here slightly, but I could literally live in my black and white Summa tees. I also love my Anine Bing striped tee and my Phoebe tee from The Frankie Shop (my last purchase of 2018).

Leopard Midi Skirt

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Emma Rose Thatcher

I’ve been wearing my Raey leopard-print midi skirt on repeat. I wear it in the evening with court shoes, a fine black knit and leather jacket, or with my biker boots and blazer for a more casual look. It’s the first thing I reach for when I need to look smart.

Trainers

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Emma Rose Thatcher

I own a lot of trainers, and I don’t mean for the gym. These are definitely my downfall. You can’t go wrong with black Converse, plain white tennis shoes or old-school Nikes.

Crossbody Bag

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Emma Rose Thatcher

For function, practicality and (let’s not kid ourselves) style, I love a crossbody bag. My Chanel works so hard for me; it’s a huge but smart investment. You will never regret buying a classic Chanel bag.

Jeans

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Emma Rose Thatcher

I’m obsessed with button-front jeans right now, and my Citizens of Humanity pair in the style Olivia are getting worn on repeat. I bought a black pair first and loved them so much that I went back for the blue. They look great with a tucked-in tee or knit.

Vintage Jewellery

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Emma Rose Thatcher

Jewellery is essential for making my black-and-white pieces and denim looks slightly more interesting. I’m in love with my vintage Chanel necklace I got from Susan Caplan a few years ago. Even if I’m wearing jeans and a tee, when I add my vintage Chanel, I instantly feel pulled-together.

Black Blazer

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Emma Rose Thatcher

I’m obsessed with my black blazer and wear it at least twice a week. It’s the perfect way to smarten-up any look. I invested in a Blazé Milano (the best blazers in my opinion) two years ago, and it was worth every eye-watering penny.

Simple Jumper

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Emma Rose Thatcher

I’ve had this fine black knit from Raey for years, and I can honestly say I wear it too much. Nearly every time I go out for dinner, I reach for it, as it works with everything and suits my aesthetic of never wanting to appear overly dressy. It’s low cut, so I team it with a lace bra and my vintage Chanel necklace.

Flat Ankle Boots

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Emma Rose Thatcher

Jimmy Choo stole my heart this year with its lace-up army-style boots. They work well with all the pieces I’ve listed above. These shoes have hardly left my feet.

Leather Jacket

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Emma Rose Thatcher

I’m glad I invested in my Coach leather jacket a few years ago. I love it just as much today, even though I’ve worn it a hundred times. It’s the perfect throw-on for every outfit—from jeans and a tee to a midi dress to a tracksuit. It instantly gives my outfit an edge.

Court Shoes

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Emma Rose Thatcher

Manolo Blahnik courts are the comfiest, but Topshop has a very similar style that will give you the same look for less. These are simple, elegant shoes you’ll be glad to have on hand.