Capsule wardrobe. You probably heard this term a fair amount of times already. And although it is among the last trends on fashion and lifestyle, one could be surprised to learn that actually the concept of an essential-stapled wardrobe collection date back to the 70’s. Yes, the unpretentious era itself!
Here we will show you how to simplify your life curating a collection of quality staples that will have you well dressed literally everywhere. Less time choosing outfits and tiding up, more time left for yourself. We curated for you the ultimate designer’s capsule wardrobe.
We also wrote a guide for you to understand all the dos and don’ts of capsule wardrobes, who first thought about it and why, and WHAT TO CONSIDER when shopping for your own capsule wardrobe.
Have in mind that we made this capsule wardrobe by choosing staples made by the best retailers the market has to offer. However, you can definitely find budget-friendly versions of the essentials we show here.
Just remember that quality also means durability, and the whole idea of the capsule wardrobe is to invest in clothing you can wear always, and for quite some time.
If you need help finding different versions of those we recommend, just give us a shout on the comments!
1. A White Buttoned Up
The foundation of any men’s wardrobe, the white buttoned up will be with you from cool beach walks to important meetings. This shirt is a slim fit tailored in two-ply cotton from Thomas Mason (one of Europe’s oldest and most legendary mills) to J-Crew. Have a quality piece for a polished look, and if you are more a shirt than a t-shirt guy, add to your capsule wardrobe another (budget-friendly if you wish) version for daily wear.
2. Plain Neutral T-Shirts
Off course, the white and the black versions are über necessary among your curated capsule wardrobe pieces, but try and add some sprinkles of color. Remember the accent colors should be brighter than your basic colors, so your look doesn’t always become monochromatic or boring when you interchain the pieces. We chose an American Vintage blue t-shirt. This is a color that matches basically any other color. Oh, we recommend keeping something like 7 t-shirts in your wardrobe. If a new one goes in – another goes out.
3. Quality Rough Jeans
Now the fit, we leave to you to decide which you will wear more. Off course, straight fits don’t ever go out of fashion. But if you feel better in slim or tapered jeans (those that are slim only on the hem), go for them! Bet on non-distressed washes though, for a more versatile and timeless piece. Also, go for the darkest blue hue possible. These are Levi’s 501’s, a pair that sits at the waist and is regular through the thigh with a straight leg, and has just the right amount of stretch for performance and all-day comfort.
4. Very Well Cut Flat Front Formal Trousers
Flat… what? Yes, male fashion terminologies seem complicated sometimes. But it simply means that the trousers you’ll invest in and keep dearly for a while will be as minimal as it gets! Flat front trousers aren’t pleated, like your father or the Hitchcockian 1960’s actors would wear. This BOSS wool-blend pair is perfectly wearable with a shirt, t-shirt or blazer. There are also tailored pants produced with a non-iron technology, that are virtually wrinkle-free, like this Banana Republic pair. Extra easy!
5. A blazer with unstructured shoulders
The unstructured blazers are the perfect fit for people like us, designers, who don’t have a super formal workplace. They still cut sharp and mold to the body, but giving a softer, relaxed fit. Therefore, can be worn with jeans or tailored pants, night and day. Plus they are usually made thinner, perfect for a winter layer-on or for going solo on summer nights. This minimal Cos staple is all you’ll need.
6. Monk Shoes
For the occasions that demand a more formal dress code, you’ll need shoes to go with. Instead of Monks, you can also pick Oxfords or Loafers, but Monk shoes are the ultimate elegant, timeless style. They are either single or double strapped, and the brown suede version is among the few fashion items in the world that will be like, never ever outdated. However, they’re also a modern and stylish choice. If you are looking for dress shoes that can be paired with your jeans as well, try a Derby pair instead – although we will soon recommend shoes for that use to. This pair is from Magnani. If you want something less formal, here is a gorgeous single-strapped suede Mezlan. There are so many beautiful Monk pairs at Nordstrom, that they made quite hard for us to pick just one. Have no idea what all these shoe styles differ from one another? Here you go.
7. Versatile Shorts
These are Uniqlos. Uniqlo holds some really good gear technology. These shorts were developed together with Pro-golfer Adam Scott and are equipped with quick-drying DRY technology. They are made from high-performance material, being super comfortable yet looking sharp. Get some Uniqlo’s HeatTech under-shirts and socks for the best performance + looks possibility.
8. A chambray button down
A must have in every guy’s wardrobe, from fancy to artsy. The chambray cloth goes from summer to winter and its denim hue matches any other color. Here, a J-Crew Japanese chambray shirt.
9. A cashmere crew neck sweater
The idea here is to invest in high quality pieces, durable and timeless. So a cashmere sweater will keep you warm and will look the same still after many winters. The crew neck is the most minimal you can get. This piece is Lanai Collection and it’s 100% cashmere.
10. A V-Neck Merino Wool Sweater
Light and versatile, Merino Wool sweaters will still keep you warm when you need them to. This is a John W. Nordstrom sweater.
11. Leather Booties
Have you ever been to an Italian city? Well, if you did, you probably already own a pair of Italian shoes. It’s easy to understand why Italian shoes are the best in the world, and even easier to be impressed as literally everyone around has hugely convincing cases walking all around you. Truth is, you need a pair of leather shoes that can endure bad weather, be durable and be worn with jeans to tailored pants. Chelsea boots are the ultimate classic leather booties style, and these Prada sleek silhouette pair will be the star of your capsule wardrobe.
12. A Light Jacket Or A Denim Jacket
Maybe you’re a denim jacket guy, maybe you’re not. So here is pretty much up to you to choose the jacket’s style, as long as it’s a lightweight jacket that can be worn year round. Off course, as the whole capsule wardrobe idea is to optimize your choices so you can have less pieces, this NN07 car coat really comes in handy. Why? 1) It’s waterproof. 2) It’s long enough to be worn over suit or shirts. 3) It’s got a clean design so it’s wearable with virtually anything. And 4) it comes with a detachable zip-fastening gilet, to keep you extra warm or to be worn separately.
Needless to say, sneakers. Yes, sneakers. Off course, choose the ones you like better and the color that speaks louder to your heart. Just make sure they’re sharp enough to be also worn with tailor paints, like this Common Projects pair crafted in Italy.
14. The Best Suit You Can Afford
Giorgio Armani is known for having start the minimalism in menswear. He was the first designer to popularise a stripped-back and elegantly simple aesthetic. And a minimalist aesthetic can be adapt for casual or formal wear, with hardly any effort at all. Your suit will work better if it’s charcoal, so you can wear with your black boots or your brown dressy shoes. This is a (whose else?) Giorgio Armani masterpiece made of virgin wool in a slim fit. You might not wear suits often, but you will love it when you have to.
15. Cord Pants Or Chinos
Casual, non-jeans. Classic, comfy. Corduroy pants had their times of glory on the 70’s, with their thick, almost-always mustard version. These days they are made to look sharp and fit well. This pair is from Bonobos, french house that produces also a tailored, dressy version of cords. You can also go for chinos, if you’re not in love with corduroys. Although really, look at them!
16. A Reversible Leather Belt
A minimal, elegant piece for all the uses. Ted Baker reversible leather belt, in brown and black. Oh, if you want to be able to wear it as a dress belt, with your suit, pick a belt featuring a shiny buckle. A matte buckle as a dress belt looks bad and it’s a no-no (you’re welcome!). Also, belts shouldn’t be really wide, or really slim. Keep it as close to 4cm as possible.
17. A Polo Shirt
A good polo shirt will enhance your best characteristics, fit perfectly and have you looking a bit more sharp than a cotton t-shirt. Opt for the neutral colors to match everything on your capsule wardrobe, or get one in a bright, cool color for a change. Now, careful about the fabric choice: if you’re not super happy with your body shape these days, pick a pique cotton polo. It will help mask the not-so-loved parts of chest, stomach and belly button. If you are liking what you see on the mirror, go for a cotton or silk blends model. They have a sleek, modern look, but will point to the (aham…) less pretty parts. Also, beware of logos, please. No-logo is the way to go. If unavoidable, choose small logos on the same color of the shirt. This is the Sunspel Riviera Polo Shirt, and was made for Daniel Craig to wear as James Bond in 007 Casino Royale.
18. A Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
There is a fuzz on the internet about this Everlane staple. Due to its awesome fit, because it’s not overly casual, and to Everlane’s company policy that promotes transparency. On its website, the retailer breaks down how much it costs to make its clothing, and compare the price to traditional retailers. It seems that lots of people agree that this is one of the best basic hoodies in the market. And the price definitely adds up to it. Oh, and you don’t need us to explain why will you need a hoodie in your capsule wardrobe, do you? If you wanna upgrade your hoodie game, Everlane also makes a cashmere version.
19. A Thermal Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Wear this under your hoodies and they’ll instantly become outwear gear. Wear it under shirts and jackets for a extra warm ensemble. We talked about it before, and we reassure and recommend it – Uniqlo’s HeatTech technology is the bomb. Super effective warmness yet not-bulky minimal pieces. Uniqlo’s long sleeved HeatTech t-shirt.
20. Track Pants Or Sweatpants
Although sweatpants now left the gyms and feature all fashion magazines, and besides of being the biggest trend in men fashion this year, they still have two factors on their side that will make you add a pair to your capsule wardrobe: they are timeless and super comfortable. And if it isn’t enough, the designs and materials available in the market today, have absolutely nothing to do with the sweatpants you awkwardly wore to college. You can look damn sharp in one of those. Pick a pair like these minimal A.P.C Stores Italian fleece sweatpants and wear it (almost) everywhere. For a budget-friendly version, try these Uniqlo‘s.
21. An Overcoat Or A PeaCoat
If you were to choose only one winter coat to have in your capsule wardrobe, you would think that you definitely need a coat that can be worn with your dressy ensembles as well. So you should definitely go for an overcoat, classic. Watch for the fit and length when trying it on. It shouldn’t be too boxy, and it should definitely not be too long. Anything longer than your knee length is way too long, as it will gather dirt and look sloppy. Now, if you live in a warm climate, and don’t have to deal with snow on winter, a peacoat can work just as great for you. Also, we bet you don’t wear suits often. If you do, bear in mind that the overcoat is the only coat that can be paired with a suit. Therefore, we chose here a Theory Convertible Overcoat, that comes with a removable black shell placket and ribbed stand collar. The design is ultra minimalist, giving an equally casual and sophisticated look. However, if you’re more into a peacoat style, this is the classic Burberry Brit Peacoat.
22. A Merino Wool Long Sleeve Light T-Shirt
If you live in a city that often have all four seasons happening in one day, you will love the temperature-adaptable quality of the merino wool. If you are in a warmer place, opt for a short sleeve instead. Also, keep in mind the merino wool’s quick-drying capabilities and moisture management. Versatile and high-tech. Plus, really, really comfortable. This is from OD.
23. A Basic Yet Cool Pair Of Sunglasses
Those are never going out of trend. From minimalistic house Maison Margiela, handmade in Germany collaboratively with eyewear specialist Mykita.
24. A Leather Jacket
Ok, you can live without one, but let’s face it – they’re cool AF. Biker, bomber, tailored, aviator, it’s up to you. This is an affordable lamb leather racer style from Danish house Minimum.
With this dream team stocked in your wardrobe, you’ll need very few add-ups every season to dress like a boss. And practicing the capsule wardrobe concept doesn’t mean you won’t have as much comfort, looks, variety and quality as you aim. It just means you will have it all, however wasting much less time and energy when opening your closet every morning. Hurray minimalism! Long life capsule wardrobes!
Oh no, you aren’t a guy? So check our designer’s capsule wardrobe ladies’ picks.
And do share this post if you think that’s a cool and functional way to dress.