How many times do you wake up in the morning dissatisfied with your wardrobe options? The days when everything looks tired, worn out or just plain boring. When your wardrobe seems a mismatch of trends past and present, and all you want is a complete overhaul. Well it’s never too late – moving to a capsule wardrobe may seem like a minimalist’s pipe dream, but it is actually a lot easier to achieve than you may think. By moving towards just a selection of key pieces – you will be able to achieve a sense of wardrobe order that has previously seemed impossible.
Obviously, this article should only serve as a guideline. We are not suggesting you throw out all of your old classics, or just only wear the essentials we outlay below – but this should be a starting point to removing your wardrobe clutter and starting afresh.
A Great Pair of JeansYves Saint Laurent once said ‘I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.’ Since their advent, the blue jean has never gone out of style, and it is for this reason that the jean should stand at the centre of your casual wardrobe. A pair of Levi’s is always an assured bet – try 501s if you are young and skinny, otherwise a slim cut 511 or a tapered 508 work well on most body shapes. If looking at other brands, go for a selvedge denim with a slim leg in dark blue – this will give you a crisp look that can be dressed up and down. A pair of black jeans can also be part of the repertoire – again, go for a simple, slim cut.
An Oxford ShirtThe pieces in a capsule wardrobe should all be based around versatility – pieces that can be worn again and again with different things to create outfits that are new, fresh and interesting. An Oxford shirt is perfect for this. Tucked into chinos it is automatically smart, untucked with jeans it can easily be worn on a night out. It also can be worn under jumpers, or with a blazer for an occasion. Get a couple in white, but also play with pale primary colours that will add a touch of preppiness to your outfit. Head to Uniqlo for very reasonable prices, or if you are looking to spend a little more, you can’t go wrong with Ralph Lauren.
Classic KnitwearHigh street knitwear has much improved over recent years, and there is now no excuse for baggy, bobbly jumpers. Invest in a cashmere sweater in dark grey, navy or black and you will be surprised at how much you will use it – it looks casual with a tee underneath, and instantly smart with a shirt. Cashmere is also a good year round piece of knitwear – warm in winter as a layer, but thin enough for summer evenings. Another versatile piece of knitwear is the cardigan. Go for one in merino wool (lambswool can be a little thick and cumbersome) and choose a classic navy, grey or black – alternatively, add a little colour with a red, mustard or even purple.
Good Quality T-ShirtsLike underwear, t-shirts should be regularly replaced. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but make sure that your t-shirts are 100% cotton and soft to the touch. It is always best to go for the classic crew neck shape, but also get a couple with a lower neckline to go under jumpers. Get plenty in white (you can’t go wrong), but also some in marl grey, black and in some bright colours. Try American Apparel, Uniqlo and COS for reasonable t-shirts.
Wool TrousersSimple, classic and smart enough to wear for work, wool trousers should always have a place in a man’s wardrobe. They look great with knitwear, shirts, and can even be worn with a t-shirt for a laid back take on formal wear. Always buy them so that they sit just above the waist – a tapered style is the most fashionable option, but a classic slim fit will never go out of style. It is worth getting a few different colours – a traditional black, a softer grey and perhaps a brown, or even a green for something a little different.
ShoesA good capsule wardrobe allows a greater focus on accessories because the rest of the outfit is so simple. Shoes are very much a personal taste, but we would recommend a few styles that go well with all the aforementioned pieces. A classic brogue will work with almost everything – from jeans to wool trousers, the colour you choose is up to you. Trainers are back with a vengeance, so purchase a pair of Air Max Nikes or New Balance sneakers, both of which look great with jeans. A pair of converse boots are also a good option for year round style, as too are a pair of Doc Martens shoes. Keep styles simple, but don’t be afraid to experiment with colour.
A BlazerA blazer is another very versatile item of clothing. Not only great to smarten up an outfit, it can also be worn as a kind of thin jacket during summer and spring, or even autumn with a warm scarf. It is up to you what sort of blazer you go for – a thick wool blazer in crisp navy or a black, a looser, more casual cotton blazer or even a tweed jacket if your style is a little more eclectic. This decision can often be based on what you wear to this office – always tailor your style for real life situations.
Obviously, your wardrobe cannot survive on these items alone. But using them as a starting point, you can de-clutter your wardrobe, and in turn, your life. It is surprising how dressing well can completely change your mood – and a wardrobe downsize can help you do that. Always remember to experiment – everyone has their own sense of style.