How many garments do we really need in our wardrobes?

With the topical issue of fast-fashion in the front of our minds, many of us are beginning to think twice before we purchase clothing. And of course, we are consider clothing that is higher quality and more sustainable fashion. It is easier said than done and choosing the basics for creating a capsule wardrobe can take some planning. 

Even if you don’t have a minimalist lifestyle you can always reap the benefits from having a capsule closet. One of those is preventing decision fatigue, or the concept that the more decisions we have to make during the day the worse they will be. Think of Steve Jobs and his “uniform” of jeans and a black turtleneck.

Regardless of what your personal style is, there are always some basics that one needs to have in our own capsule wardrobe. From a basic white shirt to trousers that stand the test of time. Find out how to get started with these capsule wardrobe basics.  


How many garments do we really need in our wardrobes? outwear and jackets

You’ll need outerwear for different seasons, and whilst that is true we recommend only having three to four outerwear pieces in your wardrobe, as long as they’re good quality they should last a while!

Two casual jackets

For those days when the weather is cooler but not too cold a casual jacket is an important item to have in the wardrobe. This could be a leather jacket, or a trench coat for some protection from the rain or even a denim jacket for those cooler moments in the day during the summer months.

One blazer

A blazer is great to slip on for a job interview with an Oxford shirt, or skirt and blouse for example. Also great for a dressy night out when paired with more of an informal outfit. Why not opt for a blazer in a bright colour to make it one of your statement pieces?

One waterproof/warmer jacket

It’s always a good idea to have a waterproof or warmer jacket in our wardrobes for practicality. Choose a staple colour like black, navy or grey so that you can pair it with many outfits.

Workout clothes

If you play sports or are athletic, then workout clothes are definitely a necessary part of your capsule wardrobe essentials. Consider having a few pairs of bottoms, tops, sports bras, and shoes to wear to the gym.

If you play a particular sport, for example, tennis, you will need to have your tennis kit in your wardrobe. Tennis shoes will be a must have and will be necessary to help you succeed on the court.


How many garments do we really need in our wardrobes? Tennis shoes and boots

Many of us can get carried away when it comes to buying shoes when thinking of the basics of creating a capsule wardrobe, but all you really need are three good pairs of shoes.

One pair of trainers or tennis shoes

We spoke of tennis shoes, but they aren’t solely for the tennis courts. If your style is more casual or urban, then it is essential to have a pair of tennis shoes or trainers in your wardrobe. For casual occasions or nights out when you don’t fancy dressing too smartly, a pair of trainers come in handy.

When it comes to colour choose a neutral color like white or black so that they can be paired with lots of different looks. Or choose a pair of shoes in the color palette of the majority of your clothes to make a statement.

One pair of smart shoes

These are great for work, interviews or more formal occasions. Leather is a good choice here as you can keep them shiny and clean and they’re less likely to tarnish in the weather as suede might. 

One pair of boots

Again good to mix and match between formal and casual events, a good pair of boots can’t go wrong. For women, a black heeled ankle boot can be paired with many outfits including dresses and skirts and for men, you can’t go wrong with a Chelsea boots!


How many garments do we really need in our wardrobes? Trousers, jeans, and bottoms

Six to eight garments in our wardrobes is also enough for trousers or skirts. This might depend on your preference though, if you prefer shorts or dresses in all climates then you’ll probably own less pants.  

Three pairs of jeans

One denim expert recommended owning three pairs of jeans in her wardrobe and it makes sense! The first pair is “this year’s jeans” which are a great pair of jeans that are used for casual meetings, posh dinners and night time events. Then you have “last year’s jeans” these are what you would put on to run errands or head out for lunch. Finally, “the year before last year’s jeans” which are essential for housework or painting. 

The best thing is that they don’t have to be a certain style. They can be skinny jeans, flare jeans, “Mum” jeans, or a pair of jeans that is a classic style – it’s all up to your preference.

One pair of office-appropriate trousers

For men this may be a smart pair of chinos and for women a pinstripe tailored trouser. Either way these should be more formal wear and trousers that are suitable for work and interviews. If you work in an office, however, you will probably need more than one pair. This is where you take your lifestyle needs into consideration.

Two pairs of bottoms for warmer weather

The garments that sit in this category include skirts and shorts. Feel free to wear them at all times of the year, but they’re always a go-to when the sun is out. It’s nice to be able to have alternatives to wear when the season changes. A capsule wardrobe shouldn’t be restricting, so always make sure to have the items that will work for your location as well.


How many garments do we really need in our wardrobes? Tops

Having six to ten tops in our wardrobes gives you enough variation to mix and match your looks. Again, it depends on your employment, if you’re always at formal meetings and events your top collection will probably look different to someone who has a manual job. 

Three casual tops

These are tops that you’d wear for heading out to lunch or local pub with your friends, or for visiting family on a weekend. Think short sleeve shirts, t-shirts in solid colors, or any other casual looking top.

Two “going out” tops

Going out tops are a must-have for men and women to have in their wardrobe. For women this might be a glitzy blouse or cropped top and for a man it may be a good shirt that they would probably not wear to the office.

Two tops for smart business wear

These are tops that you need to have in case of an unexpected business meeting or for an interview. It’s always a good idea to have at least two of these tops in in case you have multiple meetings with the same person or a follow-up interview.

Use these pieces to dress for different occasions. For example, pairing your formal top with ripped jeans would create more of an informal look and a casual top with smart chinos could become a suitable office outfit. It’s all about piecing outfits with these timeless pieces and always having mix and match outfit ideas that will always work.

The secret to a good first capsule wardrobe is to always have essential pieces that will work together. Of course, you can add bright colors or some of your all-time favorite pieces. It’s all about creating your own capsule collection that is to your taste. If you love the pieces you own, you won’t be at risk of having an overflowing wardrobe!

Of course, you might need to add a few extra pieces for special occasions. Like a little black dress for formal events or parties, and trendy pieces to truly make the capsule wardrobe work. In the winter, you might want to invest in more jumpers, for example. But, overall we think that you only need around 18-25 garments! Choose them well and you can mix and match to create plenty of outfits and outfit styles.

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