If you’re even tangentially interested in fashion, you’ve probably heard of what’s called a capsule wardrobe. At its most basic definition, a capsule wardrobe is an interchangeable set of basic wardrobe staples that you can mix and match to create an (almost) endless supply of outfits. The benefit, of course, is that you have a preselected batch of outfits to choose from, which makes getting ready for work in the morning a cinch. (You’re also less likely to impulse shop if you can’t figure out more than a handful of ways to incorporate it into your existing capsule wardrobe.)
“A capsule wardrobe forces you to think more purposefully about your personal style,” says Aemilia Madden, a fashion writer and consultant. “Choose pieces that not only make getting dressed easier but better reflect what fashion and dressing up means to you.”
And stylist Kathryn Typaldos, who’s based out of Los Angeles, agrees: “Having a semblance of a uniform — which is what a capsule wardrobe really is — alleviates any stress of choosing an outfit from scratch,” she says. “Plus, because you’re using a foundation of classics, the right capsule wardrobe should feel timeless.” That doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone, though, especially based on what sort of job you have. “You can use your own means to refine and subvert these basics as a way of self-expression.”
But how do you start to build a capsule wardrobe for work? Well, you start with the basics. According to Typaldos, that can include pieces like a great-fitting trouser, the perfect white button-down, a blazer, a classic heel and a boot, among a few other pieces that are more climate- and dress code-driven. In addition to adjusting your capsule wardrobe based on your office culture, “The capsule wardrobe should be interpreted through a coastal lens as well,” she says. “If you’re in a cooler climate, chunky, lug-sole boots might take the place of sneakers — and if you’re in a warmer climate, you can probably ditch a turtleneck in favor of a great crewneck sweater.”
“Play with the idea of fit and silhouette, dress things up and down, but when you have these elemental pieces for winter, you can transfer them from season to season,” Typaldos says. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of pieces, they’re definitely the most fundamental parts of a capsule wardrobe for women.
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