In a world of innumerable trends, fast fashion, and the constant pressure to be “in style,” it can feel like you are trapped in a constant rat race of buying new clothes only for them to be virtually unwearable in a matter of months. Like most everyone else, I too have found myself staring at my closet in the morning looking at my pile of clothes and thinking, “I have nothing to wear.” It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the idea of a capsule wardrobe, or a small collection of clothing that can be interchanged and worn together. This concept, (along with personal realizations about what I do and do not like), completely changed my outlook on fashion. No longer do I buy overpriced shirts designed to be worn with one pair of pants for 2 occasions. Instead, I have invested in quality, functional, and timeless pieces designed to be used in limitless outfits. So, here are my clothing staples I’ve relied on to build my capsule wardrobe.
If COVID and quarantine has taught me anything it is that a sweat set is one of the most comfortable yet stylish things you can wear. Sweat sets, as opposed to unmatching sweatshirts and sweatpants, make you look so much more put together and like you put in way more effort than you actually did. Nothing can match the power of a sweat set. They are available pretty much everywhere, but my favorites come from Aerie and Artizia.
Black and White Tees and Tanks
This should go without saying, but black and white basics are essential in a capsule wardrobe. They can be easily dressed up (with a jacket or blazer) or dressed down (with a zip-up hoodie). Target has great options for these, especially the high neck racerback tank tops.
Blazers/ Trench Coats
Not only are these necessary in the professional world, but they have made huge waves in terms of casual fashion. Throw one on with jeans and you have a casual outfit. Where one to the office and you’re prepared to conquer the world. As previously mentioned, these would also go great over a black or white tank. I would recommend places like Zara or H&M for these.
Neutral Hoodies and Zip-Ups
It wouldn’t be a closet essentials post without any mention of a hoodie. As much as I try to stay away, I find myself gravitating towards them every day. Neutral hoodies go great with leggings or sweatpants but can also be dressed up with jeans and maybe a blazer for a more high-fashion look. Zip-ups are great because you can easily throw them on over pretty much everything while not covering up your original outfit. Especially in college, where classrooms are kept as cold as walk-in freezers, zip-ups are extremely necessary. My favorite hoodies, hands down, are from the Boyfriend line from Aritzia. They are on the pricier side, but they are worth every penny. For a cheaper option, Amazon has great options for plain hoodies and zip-ups.
When it comes to jeans, I’ve boiled it down to three styles that I cannot live without. Within each style, you really only need one or two pairs. The first is a skinny jean or straight legged jean. These are perfect for casual yet professional settings and look great paired with blazers. The second style is mom jeans or a loose fitting jean that can be worn in very casual settings, especially when going out. On the topic of going out, I find myself reaching for my favorite pair of black, loose jeans every weekend. These are essential when it comes to going-out looks. My favorite place for jeans is Abercrombie, but American Eagle is a close second. I’ve had some luck at Gap before too, so it is definitely worth checking out.
When I think of nude neels I think of Hailey Beiber or Kylie Jenner throwing them on with sweatpants, walking down the streets of LA unbothered by the looming paparazzi. I’m not saying I would be able to pull that off, but nude heels are a staple in my closet for many other reasons. First of all, I wear them with pretty much every dress I own, for any occasion, in any season. They would also pair well with jeans, a basic tank or tee, and a jacket for a dinner look. The point is, nude heels are probably the most versatile shoe on the planet. Marshalls or TJ Maxx have great options for these that won’t break the bank.
Taking the cake for the second most versatile shoe are white sneakers. Though the type of sneaker that has been the most “in style,” (Vans, Converse, Nike, etc.), has changed over the years, the concept of a casual white sneaker has been constant. My two favorites are Nike Airforce 1’s and platform Converse. These sneakers can be worn going out, with casual looks, or thrown on with a sweat set.