Casual Capsule Wardrobe on a Budget

This week I have created a mini casual capsule wardrobe inspired by an email from one of my lovely readers. She said “I run my partners business from home, I do the school run etc and meet friend for lunch and coffee, I can’t bring myself to throw on sweatshirt and trackie pants everyday. A few ideas on looking reasonably put together for Mums like me would be great please. Practical yet stylish.” I know this is a concern for many of us who work at home (believe me if it weren’t for the school run, on days when I am working from home there’s a good chance I would still be in pyjamas at 11am! I’d be working but just not properly up and dressed)

So with that in mind, and having listened to comments about some more budget friendly options here are my suggestions:

  • Look for easy care and wear fabrics – T-shirts and machine washable trousers and skirts
  • Use accessories to add style to a plain jeans/T-shirt combination
  • Wear colour, choose coloured jeans rather than blue
  • Choose layers that you can add or remove depending on the temperature
  • Buy new when the pieces you have are worn – just because you are casual you don’t want scruffy
  • Choose a few key trend items so you look modern, but don’t spend too much on them – here I’ve chosen a denim skirt, but in Ivory rather than blue and espadrilles, both key seasonal trends

My favourite places to find these capsule wardrobe essentials at purse friendly budgets are Marks & Spencer, Next and Uniqlo (caveat here though, check on the quality. Choose natural fabrics like cotton, linen and viscose where possible)

Below I’ve put together a mini capsule and shown a week’s worth of outfits (but there are more combinations not shown) to extend it add a couple more coloured T-shirts that work with the bottoms and a third bottom, perhaps another pair of coloured jeans. You can also wear all of the top combinations with blue jeans you already have.

You will see that by adding a few key accessories the outfits go from plain to stylish.

The pieces

Casual capsule wardrobe

Red cardigan // Olive jeans // Neutral shirt/jacket // Ivory skirt // Red T-shirt // Olive vest // Stripe jumper // Necklace // Linen shirt // Red espadrilles // Trainers // Scarf // Bag // Moss T-shirt // Neutral cardigan //

Seven days of outfits from this mini capsule wardrobe:

casual capsule wardrobe

casual capsule wardrobe

This capsule wardrobe can easily be adapted to suit your colouring by changing the accent colours of red and moss green and the neutral olive green to colours in your palette.

Find out your best colours for creating a capsule wardrobe by ordering my online colour analysis service.


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  1. Debbie
    July 15, 2015 / 1:11 pm

    Hi Maria, I love all your posts Maria & the monthly magazine, my wardrobe is really starting to shape up thanks to you…. I don’t work from home, but do have a lot of errands to do at the weekend & these outfits are superb for that, just one question, I am not keen on khaki, is there one colour that I could replace it with but leave all the other colours which are gorgeous.. Thanks Debbie ..

    • Maria
      July 15, 2015 / 3:05 pm

      Hi Debbie, Thank you! I think I remember that your colouring is deep? You could easily replace the khaki with a neutral like navy, black or chocolate brown or teal would also work.

  2. Liz
    July 15, 2015 / 1:56 pm

    Great post! I have deep colouring, so everything except the moss green works really well for me. Could you suggest an alternative accent colour to the green?



    • Maria
      July 15, 2015 / 3:13 pm

      Hi Liz thank you for your comment. You could swap the moss green for turquoise which is a suits all colour, or maybe a primrose yellow, which is more neutral than a warm buttercup yellow or maybe go for another darker green like pine.

  3. Ruth
    July 15, 2015 / 10:07 pm

    Hi Maria – I’ve just found your blog and have spent a blissful day *cough* or two *cough* browsing all the wonderful posts.
    As a stay at home mum I’ve looked rather enviously at all the elegant clothes in the capsule collections – but now realise I can make up my own casual version for the school run!
    No clue what colour I am but I know what I like which is hopefully a start!
    Thanks again.

    • Maria
      July 16, 2015 / 9:58 am

      Hi Ruth, thank you – I’m so glad you have found plenty to keep you reading! Knowing what you like is a great start because if you like something you will feel confident in it and that’s really the aim. Have fun creating your own capsule and shout if you need help.

  4. Lynne
    July 17, 2015 / 8:08 am

    These outfits are great. Good to see more high street price ranges.
    I’m not sure these would all work for me.
    Can I just ask what colouring and body shape this client is?

    • Maria
      July 17, 2015 / 8:54 am

      Hi Lynne, thank you for your comment. These outfits would suit someone whose skin has a warm undertone, Deep and warm, Soft and warm or Warm. Body shape wise they would work best on a column or neat hourglass. An apple shape could get away with them if the T-shirts hang loose enough and for a pear I’d add more waist emphasise and swap from skinny jeans to a straight leg. Hope that helps.