In our "Ask the Experts" series, we pick the brains of the industry insiders with the most impeccable taste—from buyers to in-demand stylists—and ask them to let us in on the trends they're obsessed with right now, the pieces they're actually buying and their expert advice on how to build a better wardrobe. Today, we're tapping Lauren Faiers (also known as The Shopper)—a personal shopper and stylist with over a decade of experience in the most exclusive styling departments, including Harrods and Net-a-Porter. You may already follow her on Instagram for her elevated mix of high-low dressing, but here, she reveals "The Capsule 12"—her answer to building the most hard-working summer wardrobe, and the secret approach that she recommends to all her clients. Read on to discover her tips, and shop the products she's sharing with her inside circle now.
Clothes are an interesting thing, aren’t they? An outfit can make you feel your absolute best or really and truly dreadful. I’ve spent many years looking at people’s shopping habits (including my own) and I’ve finally come to the conclusion that having a small capsule that you can lean on is the solution to many of our dressing road blocks. This doesn’t mean you have to ditch all of your existing beloved pieces (even the ones you may only bring out once in a blue moon). It's more about focusing your attention on the pieces you really enjoy wearing. Once you've created your capsule around these pieces, it becomes much easier to identify the wardrobe items that you may have clung onto, but no longer serve you—that's when I’d recommend saying goodbye and giving them another home to be re-loved.
Now, let's get down to it. This is where my trick, The Capsule 12, sashays in. Trust me when I say this is a tried and tested perfect equation, catering to all your day-to-night needs for the current season and ahead. It may be a little neutral or not as exciting as some would expect, but hear me out—it’s my no-stress guide to dressing when the last thing you want to do is worry about what you’re wearing, or worse, packing. Everything in this capsule goes together to create at least 30+ looks and counting. It’s your foundation to dressing, and then your personality can be injected through shoes, bags and accessories, as this is where the most impact should come from. If you follow this formula it will make getting ready in the morning far less stressful and a lot more enjoyable.
So, what does The Capsule 12 consist of, I hear you ask? It's 12 simple pieces broken down into five easy categories: two jackets, two dresses (or you can swap out one for a jumpsuit), two pairs of trousers, two skirts (or swap one out for a pair of shorts) and four tops.
Some of the best outfits I’ve dressed my clients in aren’t singular items (apart from event dressing—that’s a very different ball game). Instead, it’s about all the ingredients that go into the outfit to make it a "look". It’s all about balance and adding in fun where necessary. But, most importantly (and this is absolutely essential) it's about allowing you to feel like the best version of yourself. The Capsule 12 is the foundation to your wardrobe, so this edit needs to be many things. Firstly, it has to blend well together, otherwise the equation won’t work. That's why my capsules can often look a little basic in parts, but the magic happens when it all comes together. It also needs to be functional, practical and lastly, take the stress out of feeling like you have nothing to wear. So, let's just make it easier for ourselves by consolidating things into 12 great pieces. Here are some options I'm recommending at the moment to get you started.
SHOP LAUREN'S 12-PIECE CAPSULE:
2x Dresses (or Jumpsuits)
A fitted black maxi dress is yet another great staple to lean on. It’s the perfect blank canvas to go in big with accessories for a dressier occasion, or pair down with flats and a little jacket for a more relaxed vibe. Quality is very important here, as many fabrics can lose their shape and sag, especially if you're sitting down for long periods of time, so Skims has got this down to a tee.
Donna Ida jumpsuits are my all-time favourites when I’m stuck on what to wear. This one is nicely fitted, has comfortable stretch, and has clever details like buckles on the waist for a synched-in silhouette without feeling restricted. Sharp necklines will sharpen softer features, so the Opal jumpsuit will have you feeling sleek.
Cargo pants are having a real moment, so if you want to try this look and freshen up an outfit, I’d add in a pair that are slightly more fitted than the typical cargo. I’ve had a few clients side-eye me when I’ve held these up, but when they put them on, I’m pleased to say they were pleasantly surprised.
A pleated tailored trouser is another overlooked staple and a piece you may have to try on quite a few pairs of to get the right ones, but it's worth the time investment. The Frankie Shop has a great selection at an entry-level luxury price point, and they feel far superior to their price tag.
2x Skirts (or Shorts)
You can never go wrong with a loose linen shirt, and this is a good one. Size up so it can be tied generously at the waist or worn open for a cool, relaxed feel. Tucked into jeans with a lace bra underneath, worn open over a dress, with shorts or skirts over a tank… it's ideal to have when you feel like you have nothing to wear.
Toteme is a strong favourite amongst the fashion set, and for good reason. The quality is beautiful and the brand does an excellent collection of basics. This Khaki top is a classic example of well-considered staples that lift a look without seeming try hard.
I’ve tried many bodies, and this one by Skims is one of many favourites. It’s double layered, cut well on the shoulders and comes in an array of colours.
A good chunky gold necklace is a classic for all the best reasons—it’s perfect for layering but has enough personality to be worn alone. Plus, it gives better dimensions to a look and has that air of, "Oh, I just threw this on", but in a cool, not so overdone way.
This silver diamanté Heavenly tennis necklace may have been around for a little while now, but it’s not going anywhere. Worth its weight in gold (or silver), it's a perfect outfit elevator. The Mon Coeur adds that touch of glam to any outfit, whether a classic jeans, t-shirt and blazer look, or a special occasion outfit, this is your key ingredient to finish it off.
If you’re toying with the idea of investing in a chunkier sandal but don’t want to pay some of the eye-watering prices, these are for you, my friend.
Whichever your metal of choice, it’s a good idea to invest in a metallic sandal to carry you through any event season. Try to keep it fluid, with the hardware on your jewellery and bag matching, unless you like to mix metals, in which case mix them well with a few varied styles.