10 Capsule Wardrobe Classics

Happy New Year!

What do you wear immediately after Christmas in what is most people’s least favourite month? The shops are full of the dregs of the sales and it feels a long time until Spring. This is the time I recommend you update your classic capsule wardrobe items. Those pieces that work for more than one season, don’t date and form the foundations of many outfits. They will be different for each of us depending on colouring, body shape and lifestyle but below I’ve listed some of the most common and given you a designer and a more affordable High Street option.

Designer options

capsule wardrobe classics,

Trench // Blazer // Biker jacket // Sweater // T-shirt // White shirt // Trousers // Jeans // Tote // Loafers //

First up the Trench Coat or a raincoat that works in colour and style for you. If you are apple shaped look for a swing style coat and those with a larger bust will be better in a single breasted style. Tie the belt to give you curves. Wear it over suits to the office and with your jeans at the weekend, it’s the perfect capsule wardrobe multi-tasker that won’t date so choose a great quality version that will earn it’s cost per wear in your wardrobe.

The Navy Blazer is another great piece that works in all but the most casual wardrobe. Navy is better on most of us than black and again it’s a work to weekend item that does smart for the office or casual with jeans and trainers.

The Biker Jacket has been a style staple for some time now. Choose a colour that suits you and make sure you get the length right. Choose a longer style if you have a high waist to lengthen your top half. If you are curvy find the softest leather you can afford that moulds to your curves because a stiff leather will make you look bigger. If leather really won’t work for you look for a fabric with stretch. Pair it will a feminine full skirt or dress to make the outfit more edgy.

The Cashmere Sweater is a luxurious treat on a dull January day with its cozy softness. I’ve shown grey here but choose a colour that makes you feel good for a double dose of comfort.

A Striped T-shirt is a staple in most fashion editor’s wardrobe. The long sleeve breton or, as shown here, a lighter weight short sleeve version will take you from winter right through the summer months. Wear now with a cardigan and tailored or casual trousers and in the summer with shorts or crops.

Should we all have a classic crisp White Shirt in our wardrobe? I personally don’t think so. Pure white is only good on a small number of us, so a softer white or cream works better and crisp cotton is great if you have a small bust and a straight figure. If you don’t fit those categories choose one in silk, softly draping viscose or a cotton with plenty of stretch.

Tailored Trousers are an easy choice on days when you don’t know what to wear. Dress them up for work with a silk top and blazer or for the evening with lace or sparkle and make them more weekend casual with a T-shirt or sweater. Choose a tapered or slim leg style if you have a neat bottom or go for a straight or wide leg style if you are pear shaped. Buy a neutral colour, black, navy, camel or grey will give you the most outfit options.

Skinny Jeans are no longer new or a seasonal trend they are here to stay because they work so well. They allow us to wear volume on the top half to cover a tummy, while showing off slim legs. Tuck them into knee high or over the knee boots, wear with ballet flats or brogues for day or add a pair of heels for the evening.

A Tote Bag in a neutral colour is one of your best wardrobe buys. It goes with everything else and works for the office and weekend shopping trips. Choose one with classic styling rather than the latest “IT” bag and if you look after it well it will last a lifetime. Buy an investment bag you love and you won’t regret it.

Shoe styles come and go but the Loafer (Gucci’s original men’s loafer is 62 years old) has been around for longer than most of us. It looks great with mannish wide leg trousers softened with a silk blouse and equally good with your jeans, striped Tee and Trench.

High Street

capsule wardrobe classics,

Trench // Blazer // Biker jacket // Sweater // T-shirt // White shirt // Trousers // Jeans // Tote // Loafers //

Don’t know which are your best colours? Click here to receive your free download of my wearing colour booklet if you aren’t sure or choose the personalised colour dossier service which will give you all your colour details and how to wear them.


  1. Dawn
    January 7, 2016 / 7:01 pm

    I have all of these 🙂 so my challenge for the weekend is to wear them! Xx

    • Maria
      January 9, 2016 / 10:13 pm

      A great start to your capsule wardrobe. These basics are so versatile and you can add some Spring colour as it filters into the shops too. Have a lovely weekend.

  2. Wendy Cameron
    January 8, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    Thanks Maria, this was a brilliant blog post! Just what I was needing to affirm my faith in my wardrobe. You must be rubbing off on me as I have all these pieces now in my wardrobe apart from the Breton t-shirt which I am on the look out for. I got the biker jacket for Christmas in tan to go with my warm colouring and I’ve had lovely comments when I’ve worn it with my silk shirt and jeans.
    Love the fact you’ve shown high street options too. Fantastic!!
    January might not be so bad after all x

    • Maria
      January 9, 2016 / 10:16 pm

      Hi Wendy – ooh lucky you getting the biker jacket for Christmas! It sounds like your wardrobe is on the right tracks – Boden is good for breton t-shirts long and short sleeved and they usually do a whole range of colours too so you might be able to find one in one of your warm colours, but navy stripes would look good with your tan jacket too. Have a lovely weekend.

  3. Jane
    January 9, 2016 / 8:03 am

    Hi Maria, I love your site, so thanks for bringing great ideas to us every week. I love the idea of skinny jeans, but I’m short and have very muscular legs, and calves that make guys jealous (not a good thing!!!) I find it hard to find great jeans, but would love to find some to add to my wardrobe. The petite sections in the high street are truly awful fits. Any ideas!

    • Maria
      January 9, 2016 / 10:20 pm

      Hi Jane thank you for your kind comments. Have you tried Boden? Maybe try a slim straight leg rather than a skinny jean and Boden do a petite. I’ve had some success with Gap too although I’m not sure they do a petite, you may need to get them taken up but it’s worth it if you find a good fit. If I find any others I will come back to you.

  4. Caren
    January 9, 2016 / 8:26 pm

    For your online course title, how about:
    My Stlye, In Stlye
    That has been my journey with you-discovering my individual style and learning how to rock it! I’m 58 and look and feel better than ever. I just wish I lived on your side of the Atlantic so I could attend some events!
    Caren in North Carolina, USA

    • Maria
      January 9, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      Hi Caren, thank you for your comment and suggestion – I’m so pleased that you are enjoying the journey of discovering your style and feeling good about it too! I wish I could come there for an event, I’ve visited South Carolina but not North but I will be doing a webinar soon to launch my online course so you can join in virtually, if you subscribe to the Friday newsletter you will be notified when I release the dates and times.