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Capsule Wardrobe Pieces

Selecting the Right Capsule Wardrobe Pieces


One of the biggest challenges I have as a Personal Shopper and Stylist is communicating the important of great key pieces – I swear sometimes I must sound like a broken record!

The reason that great capsule pieces have become the area that I spend a great deal of time on; is that women tend to get distracted by bright colours, wild patterns and things with sparkles on. It’s like food shopping when you’re a bit peckish – you come home with lots of tempting and yummy food but nothing you can’t really make a nutritious and filling meal from combining any of them.

capsule wardrobe pieces style advice

Every wardrobe needs a foundation; key pieces on which to base your style around – staples if you will, like bread, pasta, milk and eggs if we continue to use the food analogy (hmm I’m getting hungry). Without such staples, it becomes impossible to construct an outfit of quality, style that fully represents total ‘you-ness’.



Some of the most common investment pieces I hunt down for clients include jeans – usually a straight or skinny and bootleg or flare style (depending on their personality and lifestyle). Straight and skinny are fab for the school run to throw on with flats, or alternatively to glam up with platforms for a quick pinot on a Friday night.

Boot or wide leg offer a more classic look with heels, if you’re wearing a shorter, more fitted tops or blouses. Loads of women think they can’t get away with a straight or skinny; but I’ve yet to have a client who hasn’t been reformed when they’ve discovered the right quality pair. 

Layering Pieces

Other investment pieces that clients often never thought of getting, but now can’t live without include a great black knitwear piece, like a cardigan or alternatively a jacket or blazer. Women’s wardrobes need layering pieces, firstly to cope easily with the fluctuating body temperatures we experience in a day/week/month but secondly; to disguise a bit of bloating on the tummy, or bingo wing syndrome. By investing in a black cardigan or jacket that you love to wear, you’ll find that it will open up so many more options for you, and tops that don’t work by themselves, will suddenly have a style revival. 

Basic Tees and Tops

Basic quality white or ivory tops are also often nowhere to be seen when I visit client’s wardrobes for the first time, and without these, it’s very hard to add in colour, pattern or accessories and maintain a strong look. A good investment white tee or vest can be dressed up with heels, statement necklace and mini for painting the town, or chucked on with jeans for truly effortless glamour. Some women may say ‘but it’s just a white top?’ Wereas the way I see it is; with a cheap white top, you notice the cheapness of the top, rather than admire and aspire to the woman wearing it.


A lot of women tell me they would like to look ‘effortless’. Achieving this is all about quality, cut and well fitting monochrome pieces, punctuated with colour, accessories or pattern that reflect who you are.

It’s really hard to achieve effortless in cheap fabric or loud brights, which is capsule pieces in more basic colours are a must-have for those effortless days.


Those who understand the foundations of their wardrobe; and have strong key pieces as a base, always have a strong style ID.  My Nan always used to say, you buy cheap, you buy twice; and when you buy twice, your style loses consistency and focus. You end up buying everything or nothing, rather than the right things. Spending a little more on your capsule, can’t live without, pieces, means that you can mix and match anything with those pieces and they only serve to enhance who you are, rather than distract us from it. 

Don't forget to read our style advice blog for the best fashion picks when it comes to capsule and investment pieces and like our facebook page to keep up to date with our latest high-street picks for real women

by Nicola Fulstow