It's been a while since I last posted, but a lot of you have asked or DM'd me regarding how to make a minimal capsule wardrobe. With 2017 right around the corner, what better time to streamline your wardrobe?
Fist off, I'll say that this is NOT for everyone. Some people are all about trends, colours, patterns and experimenting with how far they can push their personal style boundaries. I'm (clearly) not one of those people. I like things to be simple, classic, well-made, tailored and unexpectedly expected. Every item I choose has a purpose and a future beyond the current season. That is the purpose of a capsule wardrobe. You may not use the pieces every season, but you will keep coming back to them eventually.
I'm all about experimenting with my personal style (I've fully embraced the grungy-chic dressing trend) but I keep things muted. I find classic lines and neutral palettes refreshing and unfussy. I love clean lines and mixed textures. There is a certain freedom of expression when you wear your clothes and your clothes don't wear you. We've all seen one of those cool / trendy / colourful outfits that just overwhelms the wearer and drowns them in a sea of trend-following fashion victim. It's not a pretty sight, but consider it this way, why do gallery curators tend to wear black or more neutral colours? Because the art is the real show and their outfits shouldn't distract from that. (IMO, of course)
If you consider for a second that you are the art, why would you want your clothes to drown you out? I'm of the mindset that the clothes should enhance what is already there.
There's also an aesthetic / economic component to having a minimal wardrobe. Minimalists generally like to keep things simple and orderly. Why buy a certain coat or bag if you don't really need it? (if you really want it that's a different story.) If you manage your money and your closet, you have more to spend on luxe basics (SUPER comfy Acne tees anyone?), jewelry, luxury handbags and shoes.
I've always admired women (and male bloggers too, you guys are amazing!) who could take a few basic pieces and throw together a killer look that screamed self confidence and urban cool. That being said, there is something to say for the daring ones, the ones who fearlessly mesh styles, fabrics and trends. Those who can crush "style rules" and blaze the way for the rest of us (The Man Repeller and Chriselle Lim, I'm looking at you). Those people know who they are, so now on to us, the Minimal Ones.
If you still wish to proceed with what is sure to be an unbearably neutral list, on to the capsule: If you have anything in your closet this season, you should already own all of these staples. If not, happy shopping; you'll use these time and again.
1.) A Little Black Dress - A piece that goes with everything. It's a cozy chic way to layer on the sweaters and cardigans and has a pj feel to it. It can be dressed up or down, worn with heels or flats and made casual with leggings or ripped jeans. For all my tall ladies (5'9 and over) I get mine from Asos. Just make sure to use the runway feature on Asos to see what the dress looks like in motion (modesty first), also, watch that European sizing!
Note: I couldn't find a good picture, but a white shirt dress is also an essential! It's great with jeans and a cozy cardigan and looks timelessly chic dressed up or down. A good white shirt dress will take you from day to night and can be worn year round.
2.) Hoodies / Sweatshirts - You should own at least one neutral solid colour hoodie, regular and zip up, preferably in grey or black. They are easy to layer for keeping warm and look chic tied around the waist when you get overheated. The same goes for sweatshirts. You should have a few neutral, solid colour basics and then you can start adding more. I'd go for a neutral graphic print sweatshirt like the one above. Try to mix form fitting and oversized options and try a bit of trend to! (Think distressed, camo, velvet and printed options).
3.) Leggings, Joggers and Jeans - These look great layered under a little black dress or skirt. Try to buy skinnier styles as they streamline the leg and even out the look. The absolute basics are a pair of good black leggings, skinny denim (preferably distressed) in blue and black, and a classic grey jogger. Running late in the morning? throw one of these on with a black t shirt dress and some slip on sneakers and you have a great outfit. If you don't like bulk with your look, you can always opt for denim leggings; super comfy and aesthetically pleasing without the bulk of the hardware.
4.) Accessories - I currently live in Canada, the frozen north. It's not an exaggeration that it gets pretty cold here. Layering a scarf can keep you warm and add interest to your outfit. Picking a scarf and beanie in a good material like cotton or cashmere will keep you warm and stylish. It may be a good piece to invest in since it's freezing 6 months out of the year.
Jewelry - is pretty standard across the board, but I'm often busy in the morning and stick to pieces that I don't take off often. My every day go-to pieces for accessories are gold bracelets, earrings and an apple watch. (I'm definitely a bracelet type of girl and if you're looking for stunning minimal pieces you have to check out my favourites by David Yurman.)
Watches - having a good watch is an investment and many bloggers go for old fashioned watches like the gorgeous Daniel Wellington ones. Picking your watch is essential to staying on track. My apple watch has my entire life scheduled in it (no lie, I'd be lost without it). Whether you go for a smart watch or a regular one (or both), a good watch is a must.
5.) Shoes - Now we get to the fun part. The great part about a minimal wardrobe is that often the shoes are a major focal point of the outfit. You may think your shoe-drobe is pretty simple in the winter because of the weather, but it's often more important to make the effort then. It's important that you have all of the basics for anything winter life throws your way.
First up, if you follow me on the 'gram you know that I have a thing for slip on sneakers, they are super comfy and add a sporty chic vibe to any look. It's also really difficult for me to find shoes that are comfortable, well made and not crazy expensive; it's a struggle for most shoe lovers, I'm sure. (My feet happen to LOVE Giuseppe Zanotti, Gucci, Vince, Charlotte Olympia, The Row, Marc Jacobs and Roger Vivier.)
That being said, I'm a hard core flats person. I have heels and like to wear them occasionally, but when you're tall, it's not really a need. (There's nothing like having to concentrate on not smashing your forehead into the subway door on your way out in heels. No lie, it's been a close call a few times.)
As pictured above, a black pair of sneakers is essential, but a sparkly pair adds a bit of brightness to the dreary season. (You'll also need a good pair of workout sneakers like Nikes for Yoga or the gym.)
A good pair of flats and loafers like the Tory Burch and The Row ones shown above, are great for indoors. If you work in an office like I do, they are great to keep inside to change into and add a bit of professional polish to your look.
If you live in Canada, or anyplace where the winter season is miserable and lasts forever, winter-appropriate footwear is a must. (There's nothing cute about wearing those cool sneakers and slipping and cracking your head open on the icy sidewalks.) I personally opt for Uggs because they are the only thing that keeps my feet warm when the temperatures really plummet, see the bow Uggs above.
When the terrain gets really bad and you're forced to take out the winter boots, I'd opt for a cute-but-clunky style like the matte black Timberlands above. They are cool, comfy and chic in a military type of way and they get the job done. (Tip for the shorter ladies - they are also great for a bit of a subtle height boost.) To be fair, a classic pair of riding boots should probably be on this list, but I'm not really a boot person. (My feet will make an exception for Stuart Weitzman, though!)
6.) Bags - This one's pretty simple, I've repeated it in every capsule post. I go for bags that are neutral and can be used all year round. A metallic bag and black, brown, grey and navy are good basics to start with and won't overwhelm your outfit. Go for good quality bags you really love and start building a collection.
7.) Cardigans / Outerwear - The parka is generally the big deal when the weather gets nasty, so getting a good quality one with a hood is a necessity. For cardigans, I opt for tan, black, navy and different shades of grey. These are great worn over blouses and sweatshirts or tied around the waist. It's a quick layer to add interest and keeps you nice and warm.
8.) Sweaters - The absolute sweater basics for me are neutral oversized sweaters. I love a good chunky knit and a slinky metallic cropped one too! See above for my basics. Try to get basic sweaters in navy, creme, tan, black and shades of grey and then mix up the styles. After you get the basics you can get cropped, slinky, turtle necked and distressed versions and build your closet.
9.) Tops - I'm all about plaids and stripes and mixing prints and layers. See above for my absolute wardrobe staples. A good white blouse is essential to the minimal closet, better if you have many styles and lengths. A blue blouse it great to dress up or down and looks great layered under sweaters. A denim shirt can be an outfit by itself or worn layered under a sweater or worn open over a tee. Plaids are essential for the fall winter season, and I tend to collect red plaids and black and white plaids more that other styles. Simple striped tee shirts and solid colour basics in maroon, grey, black, white and tan are also great for layering and playing with lengths.
Minimalism is pretty simple: find something you love and reinvent it every day. Some may find it boring, but who cares? If you like it, go for it!
- Joelle / The LBPS