When the term, ‘capsule wardrobe’ first entered our collective consciousness, it seemed like a radical idea. Along with the suggestion of a considered, streamlined wardrobe came the implication that we should overhaul our shopping habits. When I first heard about it, as a newly-salaried graduate with money to spend on clothes for the first time in my life, I quickly disregarded the idea.
But in 2022, my attitude to shopping has completely changed and I’ve naturally gravitated to a more capsule-like wardrobe. I’m definitely not alone in adopting a more thoughtful approach; many of the influencers and celebrities whose style I admire lean toward classic, versatile pieces that are easy to mix and match. Between the environmental impact of fashion and the short-lived nature of trends, there's a strong case to be made for focusing on timeless designs crafted from high-quality materials.
If you're a Londoner who's starting your journey towards a capsule closet, I know exactly where you should start. Taking the unpredictable UK climate and perennial Brit-girl favourites into consideration, I've curated the perfect beginner's capsule—comprised of just 12 easy-to-style, trend-defying essentials. Scroll on to see and shop.
1. Belted Coat
Style Notes: In London, a longline coat is essential—especially at this time of year. The belted variety is particularly popular; not only does it give you shape, but it also successfully keeps the cold out.
2. Chunky Chelsea Boots
Style Notes: After you notice one pair of chunky Chelsea boots in London, you'll suddenly see them everywhere you go. It makes sense—in unexpected downpours, thick soles are a necessity.
3. Neutral Cashmere Knit
Style Notes: The key to keeping warm? A cashmere knit. Opt for a neutral hue (think beige, sand and rust tones) to maximise the versatility of this core item.
4. A-Line Mini Skirt
Style Notes: A black mini skirt goes with just about anything. Cardigan tucked in? Trés Parisienne. Turtleneck top? Oh-so ’60s. Complete the look with black knee-high or ankle boots.
5. Bucket Bag
Style Notes: British celebs like Suki Waterhouse and Alexa Chung have solidified the bucket bag as a must-have. Practical and polished, this it-accessory is perfect for everyday use.
Style Notes: Loafers, particularly the cleated-sole variety, are being walked all over the streets of London right now. But they're not just a trend piece—invest in the right pair and you'll be reaching for them day in, day out.
7. Printed Midi Dress
Style Notes: When in doubt, throw on a printed midi dress and voilá: you're ready to go. No staple is as effortless as this one, especially if you go for for a comfy smocked silhouette.
8. Straight Blue Jeans
Style Notes: As much as we love a jean trend at Who What Wear (right now, wide-leg denim is in the spotlight), there's no matching our affinity for straight-leg blue jeans. Apparently, the London style-set feels the same way.
9. Oversized Blazer
Style Notes: A boxy blazer is a fail-safe outerwear option, whatever the season. Treat it as a light cover-up in the summer months, and layer it under a wool coat come winter.
10. Breton Top
Style Notes: The Breton top may have originated in France, but it's safe to say Britain has wholeheartedly embraced it. Wear your stripes in cardigan, jumper or T-shirt form.
11. White Cotton Shirt
Style Notes: Whether you're dressing in the depths of December or during a heatwave, a white cotton shirt is about as wearable as it gets. Tuck into trousers, layer over a tank or tie a knot and turn it into a crop top.
Style Notes: Silver-toned jewellery is having a moment, but gold is enduringly sophisticated. Stack your rings and layer your necklaces to elevate every ensemble.