Spring Capsule Wardrobe Part 6 – Choosing Tops

This week, with the majority of the Spring capsule wardrobe decided, I am moving on to tops. This is where you can start to add some colour and your own personal style to make the wardrobe individual to you. As tops generally aren’t as hefty an outlay as a suit or jacket you can bring in some seasonal colour to update suits or separates you had from last year. You can also add personality by your choice of prints.

So here is what to look of and what to consider in choosing tops for your capsule wardrobe:

You need to consider colour/print, and the shape or style of the top.

It’s always useful to have a top in one of the capsule’s neutral colours so that you can wear it with coloured separates. you can also bring in a print that includes a neutral and an accent colour. This works really well when you have a jacket in one colour and your skirt or trousers in another.

Capsule wardrobe example, Tops for capsule wardrobe,


For example in this capsule if we wanted to put the soft white skirt with the navy jacket we could then add a print that included both colours  as shown above. The second image above shows a print skirt and plain top picking up one of the colours in the skirt. Or a third option breaking up the navy suit with additional colours.

So colour and print can add interest or pull pieces together to make the outfit work.

Choosing tops to suit your body shape – your choices come down to shape, fabric and prints – starting with shirts and blouses:

Capsule wardrobe, Tops for capsule wardrobe,

Shirts from top row left to right – Cream shirt Baukjen // Soft white silk shirt Uniqlo // Print silk shirt Boden // Aqua shirt Uniqlo // Duck egg silk blouse Jaeger // Navy silk shirt Jigsaw // Navy/White print blouse Somerset // Stripe blouse Reiss // Cream linen sleeveless shirt Uniqlo // Coral linen shirt Poetry // Mint linen shirt J Crew //

Most capsule wardrobe examples I’ve seen say that you should have a white shirt as a staple. I disagree with this for two reasons; firstly pure white isn’t very flattering for most women and secondly a crisp shirt is a nightmare on a curvy body (take it from one who knows, just think button gape!)

You can of course include shirts in your capsule wardrobe but they need to be in the right fabrics and colours for you. If you have curves avoid the masculine style stiff cotton shirt and go for something like the first 3 in the top row above, in viscose or silk. Leave the more structured style on the top right for those with less curves.

As far as prints are concerned this comes down to your scale – are you tall, plus size or petite? For petites look for a smaller print that won’t drown you and for tall or plus size ladies look for a larger print. Vertical stripes like the Pussy Bow blouse above are also best kept away from curves – otherwise you will end up with a wonky stripe!

A final note here on shirts and blouses if you are small on top add detail here like bust pockets and ties, obviously if you are busty the opposite is true.

Capsule wardrobe, Tops for capsule wardrobe,

Navy/white print top Phase Eight // Stripe crossover top Boden // Navy print top Reiss // Plain mint top Hobbs // Cowl neck top Boden // Orange T shirt Baukjen // Stripe top Hobbs // Orange short sleeve top Jigsaw // Stone cami Jigsaw // Navy and orange camis Boden //

Jersey tops are for me a key item in a capsule wardrobe. They are easy and comfortable to wear and more often than not easy to wash and care for. Many will also do double duty in the work and leisure sides of your wardrobe making them cost effective too.

If you are wearing one to the office go for good quality (rather than a plain T-shirt) look for tops like the top row of the above group. The middle row works better for weekend and camisoles are perfect under dresses and tops that have low necklines that make them too revealing or under cardigans.

Choose draping and crossover styles if you are curvy or straighter lines if you aren’t.

Capsule wardrobe, Tops for capsule wardrobe,

Orange cowl neck top Hobbs // Duck Egg top Hobbs // Stripe top Reiss // Taupe print top Boden // Taupe silk top Jigsaw // Navy top Boden // Mint top Reiss // Cream top Marella //

Shell tops are also multi taskers. They work well under work suits and jackets but can be dressed up for the evening too. Look for silks, and satiny fabrics that drape for curves and straighter lines or pin tuck detailing like the duck egg one above for small busts. Sheer is a big trend this season but you can keep it work appropriate with a top that is double lined like the taupe/duck egg print and the plain taupe silk tops above. A longer line asymmetric top like the cream one is great for those who are tummy conscious.

Next I will be looking at Knits and finally the accessories for the capsule, then the fun of creating all the outfits.

There is loads more information on creating the perfect capsule wardrobe in my upcoming book – sign up here to be kept up to date on release details.

If you would like a done for you capsule wardrobe you can buy online here.