Ten Classic Investments: The Capsule Wardrobe
Have you ever said to yourself, “I have nothing to wear” while standing in front of a closet overflowing with clothes? Quantity isn’t the problem, since you’ve got plenty of clothes, but somehow you just can’t find the right outfit for a particular occasion. This is a sure sign that it’s time to do some wardrobe editing and donate pieces you no longer wear. It could also be a sign that you need to invest in a capsule wardrobe.
The term capsule wardrobe was first used in the 1970s by London wardrobe expert Susie Faux to describe a collection of essential clothing and accessories that can be combined into dozens of outfits. A capsule wardrobe typically includes pants, skirts, blouses, sweaters and jackets, all in coordinating colors and prints that can be worn together or mixed with trendier items to create outfits that are appropriate for any occasion.
Although the capsule wardrobe concept isn’t new, there’s a new twist today with more shoppers focusing on high-quality basics. According to Joe Zee, one of the top stylists in the country and editor-in-chief at Yahoo Fashion, a woman’s closet should contain “70 percent staples and 30 percent trendy.” By spending more on high-quality basics and less on trendy items, suggests Zee, you won’t have to worry about finding something to wear for years to come. Unlike trendy clothing, the high-quality basics in your capsule wardrobe shouldn’t need to be refreshed every couple of years, so you could actually save money in the long run.
If you’re thinking about building your own investment capsule wardrobe, here are ten high-end basics to get you started.
Black Dress. There’s no question about the investment value of a classic little black dress. Use different accessories to keep it fresh and create different moods and you’ll be wearing it for a variety of occasions for years to come.
Cashmere Sweater. A classic cashmere sweater in a basic color such as navy, black, camel or gray is a timeless investment. Because 100 percent cashmere won’t lose its shape like inexpensive knits, a properly cared-for cashmere sweater can last for years or even decades.
Coat or Trench Coat. Depending on where you live, a coat could be a natural choice for a capsule wardrobe. The trench coat is a favorite among fashion editors and stylists due to its versatility and classic style, but you can also make a statement with a stylish full-length wool coat.
Blouses and Tops. Most stylists who are building an essential wardrobe include a classic white shirt made from cotton or linen. You can also make sure you’re ready for both dressy and casual occasions with a couple of blouses in a luxe fabric such as silk (add interest with subtle prints or stripes) and a couple of simple knit tops.
Trousers. Two pairs of well-fitting trousers, one dark and one light, are a must-have for any capsule wardrobe. You can expect to pay more for trousers that fit well and are made from high-quality fabric; consider professional tailoring if alterations will help achieve a perfect fit.
Straight Skirt. The straight skirt never seems to go out of style and is appropriate for both business and social events. As with trousers, it pays to shop around and find a skirt that really fits or pay for professional tailoring.
Tailored Jacket or Blazer. This versatile cover-up can be combined with a dress, skirt or trousers for the office or with jeans for a more casual look. Avoid trendy style details that could make your jacket look dated in a year or two.
Black Heels. Look for a pair of heels that can be worn with everything from a little black dress to jeans. You’ll find black heels at every price point and heel height, but when you’re shopping for investment heels look for timeless style, a comfortable fit and high-quality materials.
Sunglasses. This is one accessory that’s worth the investment. A pair of designer sunglasses with a classic shape and style can add timeless glamour to an otherwise basic look.
Leather Handbag. Every woman needs a go-to handbag, but you can take yours to the next level by shopping for an investment bag with classic style, the highest quality materials and craftsmanship, and proportions that flatter your shape.
If some of the items on our list sound a little too formal, make substitutions that fit your lifestyle. Instead of a blazer, perhaps you’d get more wear out of a classic leather jacket. Or if you spend most of your time in jeans, then invest in a couple of high-end pairs with a really good fit. Most important of all, you need to enjoy wearing the items in your capsule wardrobe if you want to see the best return on your investment. HLM
Sources: abcnews.go.com and SusieFaux.com.