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10 Capsule Wardrobe Essentials For Endless Outfit Options

Capsule Wardrobe Basics

I’m a big fan of capsule wardrobes. My guide for starting your own is still the most popular post around these parts. And even though I’m inclined to stick them into the ‘trend’ category since capsule wardrobes are all ANYONE can talk about, I’ve personally found a minimal wardrobe ridiculously helpful when it comes to getting ready in the morning.I can be running late to work (which is always) and know that almost every piece in my closet could be paired with another without me looking like a clown.

I’m sure you want to feel like you always have something to wear, right?

No matter your closet size, one thing that seriously makes life simpler is having a solid foundation for your wardrobe. Building your closet around a few basic items that can be worn year-round will guarantee that you always have something to wear. 

They may not be the most exciting of clothes, but basic pieces can end up being the clothes you hold on to for the longest. Once you find the perfect white tee, it may easily become your favorite item in your closet.

Now, I didn’t mean for this post to be super long, but I wanted to make it as useful as possible. Here’s what I’ve done for you, my friend:

1) listed the reasons why basic items are super helpful

2) given examples of the different styles of basics you could choose

3) thrown in some outfit ideas that show how versatile these pieces are, AND

4) made you a free printable to make sure your closet isn’t missing anything

P.S. Want to pin this now so you can read it later? Click here!

Wardrobe Essentials 101

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Stripes

How Basics Pad Out Your Closet

Your essential items are intrinsically basics: neutral, subtle, versatile pieces that pair well with anything. You don’t want them to detract from your statement pieces, but rather balance them out.

What’s great about them? You can easily dress them up with accessories, you can use them to transition from day to night quickly, they make traveling a breeze, and people won’t notice you’re wearing the same thing over and over again.

How To Make Basis Last Longer

Since you do end up wearing basics a lot more than your other clothes, they can end up looking worse for wear if you wash them too often. I used to be the person who washed my clothes after only wearing them once, but now I’ve realized that you really don’t need to wash them unless there’s a stain or they smell a bit too obviously – it’s also better for the environment to wash them less. I recommend looking for basics that are a little looser around the armpit area.

Finding The Perfect Essentials

You’d be surprised at how many factors can go into basic items. You have to consider things like the style (neckline, pant style, length), fit (loose, fitted), and fabric (cotton, rayon). For example, I personally think I look better in scoop necks than v-necks. No idea why. Just try a variety of styles at the store and see what you like best.

Why You Should Invest In The Essentials

If you’re going to spend money on clothes, I honestly recommend spending it on basics. You’ll appreciate having a high-quality $25 black tee rather than a $2 one from Forever21 because it’s going to last you so much longer. Basics will never go out of style, which means you won’t regret investing in them.

10 Essentials for Your Capsule Wardrobe

10 Capsule Wardrobe Essentials

Here’s what I consider to be the top 10 essential items for your wardrobe. You can definitely get by with only one of each, so just choose which color/style works best with the rest of your closet.

01. Tank Top

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Tanks

Black | White | Gray

I wear a tank top under my shirt every single day. It makes a somewhat see-through blouse totally wearable.

02. Short-Sleeve Tee

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Tees

V-Neck | Scoop Neck | Crew Neck

The most versatile piece of them all. Tuck it into a skirt, throw on a blazer, maybe even sleep in it.

03. Long-Sleeve Tee

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Long Tees

White | Striped | Black

Perfect on its own or underneath a sweater during the winter.

04. Blouse

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Blouses

Button-Up | Printed | Wrap Style

The great thing with blouses is you can wear them to the office or pair them with some jeans for a casual look.

05. Sweater

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Sweaters

Round-Neck | Crew Neck | U-Neck

I like lightweight sweaters that can be worn on chilly summer nights but work well for layering under a coat in the winter too.

06. Black Dress

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Black Dress

Long Sleeve | TankSkater

I’m not saying you need a little black dress, but some form of a black dress will get you through a million and one occasions.

07. Cardigan

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Cardigans

Waterfall | Button Up | Open Front

Keeps you warm AND covers up coffee stains on your shirt. Brilliant.

08. Blazer

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Blazers

Classic | Long | Draped

You can look instantly put together with a blazer.

09. Jeans and/or Ankle Pants

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Pants

Boyfriend | Ankle | Skinny

Jeans are a classic closet staple. If you work in an office, ankle pants are a great alternative to super-serious slacks.

10. Black Skirt

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Skirts

Skater | Pencil | A-Line

Choose a skirt that works for your body type.

Ways To Wear Them

Here are a few outfit ideas to show how a basic item can go from casual to dressy without much effort.

Plain Tee

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Plain White Tee

Black Dress

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Black Dress

Black Skirt

Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Black Skirt


Capsule Wardrobe Basics: Blazers

Wardrobe Essentials Checklist

Wardrobe Essentials Download Link

To make sure you always have something to wear, I’ve put together a free checklist for you! All you have to do is write down the ideal color, style, and fabric of the item you’re looking for, decide the maximum you’re willing to spend and where you’d like to buy it, a few other pieces you can pair it with, and whether you already own it or if you’re still looking. Happy planning!

What are your wardrobe essentials? Are you feeling satisfied with your closet right now?
Capsule Wardrobe Basics

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link or purchase an item from a link, I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you).

About the Author
Picture of Catherine Beard
Hi, I'm Catherine! As the creator of The Blissful Mind, I love exploring ways to make life more fulfilling, especially when it comes to our daily routines, habits, and well-being.

45 Responses

  1. I started buying more basics and bought a super cheap plain white tee but found that I haven’t worn it simply because the material is so thin that I need to wear a cami underneath it so it’s not see-through. I rarely wear it because I find it uncomfortable to wear like this. I sooo agree, next time I’m going to purchase a slightly more expensive but higher quality plain white t-shirt!

  2. This is LITERALLY perfect. I consider myself lucky to go to a school where sweatpants aren’t the norm but at the same time, it means I eventually get tired of my jeans and sweater combo. Can’t wait to hit up New Look with my next paycheck and this post!
    xx, Pia
    @ gymbagsjetlags

  3. Aha saw this just before I was going shopping and it seriously helped me not overload on clothes to later dump them in my closet and never look at them again! Awesome ideas + the pictures really helped!

  4. Once I found this blog, I almost immediately started shopping for my own capsule wardrobe and donated 95% of my closet; I couldn’t believe just how much of the clothing I own that I don’t wear! Just FYI, though pricey, I think Lululemon has the most perfect t-shirts. For my black and white T’s, I bought the Love Tee II and it serves as they are perfect. Super flattering and comfy.

  5. I have to say – I don’t have jeans, I don’t like them. Honestly, I hate trousers. But I do have my jeans skirt, so it’s the same.

    Thus, I find many wardrobe capsule patterns difficult. Generally, your ideas are nice and thanks very much for them.

  6. i hate everything about capsule wardrobe…i need variety! i might be feeling rocker chic monday and boho on tuesday.

    1. Oh so glad I’m not alone!! Would love to not have to jam all my clothes into my closet!! But like you i will suddenly want to wear an item that i haven’t touched for 3 months!!! For this reason I am not going to live with only 33 items!! I to love many different styles! Boho.. hippy.. country.. etc. I to say.. keep it all lol!!!

  7. This is one of my fave capsule wardrobes I’ve stumbled across Catherine!

    I struggle with the idea purely because I am a bit of a experimenter and I don’t always follow what suits me best aha I get attracted to bright ridiculous patterns.

    But I love the simplicity but also stylish look hese items amount to.


  8. where is that grey cardigan from ??? (the one in the big picture between the black sweater and the black blazer) i am in love !!

      1. Omg yes it is !! Thank u for the reply! Ps never knew about Cuyana but I am obsessed – I love good quality basics !!

  9. I am just starting out on getting the basics. Can you recommend a few stores in Michigan fir buying good quality but afforable pieces.

  10. Where did you get the striped long-sleeved t-shirt between the white t-shirt and denim button down? I know it’s simple but I love it for some reason!

  11. I don’t understand how you are reading a blog about minimalism but then complain about it. Why?? Great read and very helpful for someone who is interested in applying this lifestyle!

  12. Hats? Wide brim for sun, ballcap for casual, wool hat for winter, palm for summer….Don’t forget a belt or two (leather, chain) and scarves to keep your neck warm in winter or serve as a shoulder wrap on summer nights.

  13. Great article! I suppose I am one of the small percent of people men and women included that does not own a pair of jeans. I have not worn jeans now for at least 4 or 5 years. I feel constricted when I wear jeans and I prefer the free flowy feeling that I get when I wear a dress or skirt. Everything else was on point. Thank you.

  14. Really liked the simplicity of your plan. The photos are well-done and a nice touch, in fact I really like the uncluttered design of your site as a whole. For the jean haters, I don’t wear anything else so the skirt would go for for a couple more pairs ;) plus a nice black turtleneck for midwestern winters.

  15. Some people seem to have missed the point that these are the basics that you really need, but that you can always put on something else that you have to add colour or fun.
    For women my age, tank tops should mostly be illegal, unless worn under a long sleeved shirt!

    1. Shelia, i was thinking the same thing. These are the (awesome) basics and do, grow, be you after having them.

  16. Great start on essentials for a basic/ mini capsule wardrobe. I’m wondering how you’d complete this list with a couple pieces of outerwear and a few footwear choices.

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