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Capsule Wardrobe Essentials

Mrunal Belvalkar Mar 2, 2020
Here is the ultimate solution for the spend thrift, for the impulsive shopper - a capsule wardrobe! Find out the most essential things that should go into your capsule wardrobe to make it as complete, compact and creative as it can ever get.
They say too much choice always confuses you rather than help you pick what you want. Have you noticed how we are more likely to actually pick up a jam bottle if there are only 4 or 6 flavors available, rather than if there are 24 assorted flavors?
You'd probably spend a long time in front of the counter or shelf, but you would most likely come home without a jam bottle. The same happens at ice-cream parlors. Something similar also happens when we take a bath and open the cupboard to choose what to wear for the day.
If there are too many clothes in your wardrobe, you are going to spend more and more time in front of it, wondering what to wear as you step out for the day. A capsule wardrobe could well be the solution to this problem.
A capsule wardrobe is one that has the basic bare minimum types of clothes in it that all go well with each other such that you can mix and match them and create a different look with just a few options. So what all should you include in a capsule wardrobe? Read on...

Must-Haves for a Capsule Wardrobe

Here is a complete capsule wardrobe with less than 25 items in it. It is as complete as a capsule wardrobe can get! I have also given 'My Tip' to help you choose the collection of items in each section.

Bottoms - 5 Items

Dark Wash Jeans

Team them up with anything and they still look wonderful. If there is one garment that you can never go wrong with, it is a pair of jeans. There is one for every skin tone, one for every size, one for every shape, one for everybody.
Any day you do not know what to wear to college, just pull on a pair of jeans, throw on a camisole or a tee, a pair of sneakers, and you are good to go. It is the absolute wardrobe essential - capsule or not!


Trousers make it to the capsule wardrobe because there is going to be some or the other occasion where you would be expected to present yourself formally; even if you are a student. A pair of black or slate gray trousers can go well on any of these occasions.


A formal skirt looks nice even for a casual dinner party, and is more feminine option for a professional/ business meeting. A casual skirt looks nice for a Sunday brunch. Keep one of each type.

My Tip

If you are a student go for 2 pairs of jeans + 1 trouser + 1 or 2 skirts. If you are a working woman, go for 1 pair of jeans + 2 trousers + 2 skirts. If you are a home-maker, you can even skip the trousers altogether and go for 2 or 3 pairs of jeans + 2 or 3 skirts.

Tops - 8 Items


A blouse is versatile, in that it can look good over a pair of jeans, a pair of trousers or even a skirt and give you anywhere from a casual to a casual dressy to a formal look. It is a capsule wardrobe essential for this very reason.

Formal Shirt

A formal shirt is a necessity for a formal skirt or a pair of trousers to complete the formal look.


For the days when you are absolutely not in the mood to dress up! A tee or a vest is the 'jeans' among tops - an absolute essential, capsule or not capsule.


You can wear a bear camisole on a pair of jeans on one of those hot summer days. You can even wear it inside a chiffon blouse, looks pretty. A slightly fancy camisole or camisole-top can look good on a casual skirt as well.

My Tip

Depending on whether you are required to appear casually more often or formally, you can choose the combination; 2 blouses + 1 formal shirt + 3 tees/vests + 1 camisole for the college goer, and 2 blouses + 3 formal shirts + 1 tee/vest + 1 camisole for the working woman.
The home maker can totally skip the formal shirt and go for 3 blouses + 3 tees/vests + 1 or 2 camisoles.

Extras - 3 Items


A cardigan makes it to my wardrobe essentials because it is very comfortable to wear and looks smart worn on any kinds of bottoms. You can even team up a cardigan with a vest or a camisole when it gets colder than the usual.


You would need a jacket when it gets really cold. A jacket would also complete the formal look. Choose a formal coat/jacket if you are a working woman. If you are a college student or a home-maker, a semi-formal or a casual jacket would suffice.


Every woman; tall, short, slim, plus-sized, working, home-maker SHOULD have a little black dress! It is mandatory, a pre-requisite, without which any wardrobe is incomplete! If not black, you could go for a different color too. But an LBD is almost irreplaceable.

My Tip

Each of these is a wardrobe essential, even if you 'feel' like you can do without one. Make sure to include at least one of each in your wardrobe... you will thank yourself for the purchase!

Footwear - 3 Items


Essential for the days when you want to hit the markets on a shopping spree Or when you just get tired of standing tall and walking perfectly in your heels. Flats look good on jeans and skirts, so they are quite versatile too.


Because heels are heels...! No woman really needs a 'reason' or an 'occasion' to buy a good pair of heels. They would be necessary to complete your formal look, and also for the LBD.


For your morning walk, for the gym, and for the jeans. Sneakers spell c-o-m-f-o-r-t, and are an essential for any wardrobe.

My Tip

If you do not fancy wearing flats much, you can go for 2 pairs of heels + 1 pair of sneakers. If you do not like wearing heels, go for 2 pairs of flats + 1 pair of sneakers. Even if you are a tom-boyish girl, do not entirely skip out on feminine footwear and buy only sneakers!

Accessories - Optional


Bags, though an obsession with most women, are a necessity as well.
Maybe not one to go with every outfit, with every skirt, with every top; but at least one casual and one formal bag would be a must. If you are not a working woman you can have just one casual bag.


A belt can be worn on a pair of jeans as well as on trousers. A carefully picked belt can even embellish a skirt.


For the days you step out in the sun. A scarf can be worn inside a formal shirt too. You can casually wrap it around your neck. Finally, you can even wear it as a hair accessory.

My Tip

You can entire skip on belts and scarves if you are not very fond of wearing them. But I would highly recommend you at least have a belt, if not the scarf. So you can choose from 1 bag + 1 belt + 1 scarf or 2 bags + 1 belt.
So I guess that should get you sorted about what all you need to include in your capsule wardrobe. A few general tips are: make sure you color coordinate everything so that even if you mix and match, any pair of footwear and any bag can go with any combination of top and bottoms.
The styles should not be so contrasting that they look like a wardrobe disaster when you mix and match them. The best way to ensure this would be to buy all the above items together, at the same time, so everything is in front of you for you to check.
That's all. Happy shopping!