Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Seven Classic Pieces Worth Owning

We all dream of owning a wardrobe stocked with fantastic outfits that translate from the office to an evening out without missing a beat.

What we’re really looking for are a slew of versatile and flattering clothing pieces that mix and match with ease. Ideally these will be classic pieces that are hard to grow tired of, and that don’t float in and out of fashion with the changing of the wind.

Fortunately, having a highly functioning wardrobe is attainable and it doesn’t take Victoria Beckham’s budget to achieve it.

With the right foundation pieces and a little planning, you will save money, save time, save space in your closet, and most importantly – you’ll always look amazing.

First up, a tip: Consider your lifestyle! The Australian capsule wardrobe needs to reflect who we are in real life. For instance, do you work from home or do you have a million frequent flyer miles? Do you dine out a lot with friends or are you always at the beach?

Be sure to consider the climate, as well as your best colours (note: these are not necessarily your favourite colours!) You may consider enlisting a colour professional to help you with this if you are not sure. Work around base colours in your capsule wardrobe and add interchangeable accessories for pops of colour.

Here are the wardrobe building blocks to pave the way for a capsule wardrobe that is adaptable and versatile.

capsule wardrobe australia white tshirt

Item #1 – The “Right” White T-Shirt

Include a few white t-shirts in your wardrobe and you’ll wear them in an infinite amount of ways. White t-shirts (V-necks and crew necks) go well under a blazer or with jeans, pencil skirts or shorts.

Your white t-shirts can be dressed up with statement accessories for an evening out, and they adapt perfectly for casual Fridays in the office as well.

capsule wardrobe australia white tshirt

Shopping Suggestion:

Jac+Jack Columbia Tshirt

A white t-shirt + great jeans + a stunning black leather jacket = a classic combo that will never go out of date. So having a flattering pair of jeans to team with t-shirts is imperative. Choose a classic-wash pair with a lean fit and a straight leg. An ever-so-slightly flared jean flatters most body types, but steer clear of anything too retro.

capsule wardrobe australia black leather jacket

Item #2 – A Timeless Leather Jacket

Complete the look with a tailored leather jacket. (The leather jacket is another timeless piece that will get a lot of mileage. Click here to read our tips on leather jackets.)

Adding a leather jacket to a t-shirt and jeans and you have instant rock chic style, OR your jacket can be thrown over a feminine dress to add some edge.

capsule wardrobe australia black leather jacket

Shopping Suggestion:

Stanzee ‘Harley’ Leather Jacket

Always try and invest in a quality piece that will hold up for many seasons, so go for a jacket with a classic cut and tailored lines and avoid those with heavy studs, chains, and heavy embellishments that will look passé after the season ends.

capsule wardrobe australia blazer

Item #3 – A Classic Blazer

The classic blazer in black, grey or navy is an essential part of any woman’s capsule wardrobe. It will be your go-to piece to throw over a cocktail dress for nights out, or over a blouse and slacks for a business meeting.  A black or navy classically-cut blazer needn’t be boring, and pulls a look together no matter what else you are wearing.

A celebrity favourite, and spotted on just about every stylish female anywhere, the classic blazer also adds instant glam to an everyday tee and jeans ensemble.

capsule wardrobe australia blazer

Shopping Suggestion:

Mossman ‘The Sartorial’ Blazer

Splurge on a blazer made from quality material and with a lean tailored fit. Say “NO” to studs, appliques, sequins and any other detail that detracts from the classic look.

capsule wardrobe trench coat street style

Item #4 – A Neutral Trench Coat

Your trench coat should be considered an investment piece. You’ll wear it in the spring and autumn as a transitional piece, over everything from jeans to dresses. Trench coats are a perfect inclusion for the Australian capsule wardrobe as our weather is so much milder than our northern hemisphere counterparts, and the coat is endlessly versatile.

capsule wardrobe australia trench coat

Shopping Suggestion:

Manning Cartell ‘Military-Esque Trench’

Purchase a trench with a figure flattering silhouette and an added belt to cinch at the waist. Black, tan or navy are the best bets when it comes to purchasing a classic trench for your capsule wardrobe. They’ll work seamlessly with most other garments.

capsule wardrobe australia black ankle boots

Item #5 – Black Ankle Boots

Ankle boots are a no-brainer when it comes to creating a versatile capsule wardrobe – they work with everything are a daytime staple. You can team them with jeans, suits, and dresses, shorts and skirts.

capsule wardrobe australia black ankle boots

Shopping Suggestion:

One Teaspoon ‘Superior Ankle Boots’

Always invest in leather, with either brown or black being the most versatile. Pair black ankle boots with jeans, black leather jackets, or sleek dresses.

Brown boots go well with feminine dresses (an edgy/boho look), blazers (everyday sophistication), and preppy outfits.

Olivia Palermo in the little black shoe

Item #6 – The Little Black Shoe (LBS)

Black leather pumps are a year round fashion favourite and no fashionista’s capsule wardrobe should be without them! A classic black pump will be your go-to shoe for day and night wear, elevating an average outfit into a masterpiece in seconds.

capsule wardrobe australia black pumps

Shopping Suggestion:

Joanne Mercer ‘Eliza Dress Shoe’

Whether you get them in plain black leather, suede or patent leather (slightly less versatile but still a winner) black pumps add polish and sophistication to almost any outfit. A beautiful black pump will also do wonders for your posture and poise, it’s like an instant jolt of lady-like!

capsule wardrobe australia

Item #7 – A Little Black Dress (LBD)

You know you should own a little black dress, but make sure to purchase one that makes you feel like a million dollars. Whilst a LBD is the perfect canvas for showing off some great accessories, it’s better to start off with a dress that has some detail built-in.

capsule wardrobe australia black dress

Shopping Suggestion:

Rachel Gilbert ‘Belinda’ Dress (on sale)

For instance, an eye-popping belt, a flattering neckline, and or some other interesting design feature are some qualities you can look for in your LBD. This dress needs to fit you right, so it’s vital to purchase a replacement if your dress size changes.

MORE – One Easy Outfit Trick To Instantly Look Expensive

MORE – How To Flatter Your Shape With This Season’s Key Pieces

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  • Vickey Friday 7th October, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    so beautiful bags…. of course photography too…!

  • becci19 Friday 4th July, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Need to buy a LBD now!

  • coyleshana Wednesday 25th June, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Classic blazer always great!

  • Viggy
    Viggy Thursday 12th June, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Gah! I need to get shopping!

  • sommy7
    sommy7 Monday 2nd June, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    The simple white Tee never goes out of style

  • amanda6393 Friday 30th May, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Yep, staple stuff.

  • BellaB Thursday 29th May, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I agree with a lot of this, though if a blazer doesn’t fit your style a good jacket that leans towards classic style will do.

  • betelgeuse Thursday 29th May, 2014 at 9:51 am

    thanks for the tips!

  • yslyenom Thursday 29th May, 2014 at 1:24 am

    I’ve been thinking of getting a good pair of ankle boots myself.

  • Mkett57 Wednesday 28th May, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Great article, love Carey’s LBD.

  • judi1
    judi1 Tuesday 27th May, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Good wardrobe staples!