The minimalist approach, from spring to summer to all year round: what is a capsule wardrobe?
Put simply, a capsule wardrobe is a minimalist wardrobe, made up of 20 to 36 essential items that cater to all your clothing needs. Although some men might opt for a seasonal or more specific framework (e.g. a capsule wardrobe for summer or a capsule wardrobe for work) the ultimate capsule wardrobe is a selection of menswear that works all year round – during spring, summer, autumn and winter – and that’s perfect for any occasion, formal or otherwise. In a nutshell, it consists of interchangeable, easy-to-pair items that pretty much all match with one another, leaving you headache-free when it comes to choosing an outfit!
In addition to making getting dressed a whole lot easier, the advantages of a capsule wardrobe are that it’s time saving, means you never have a bad dress day, and helps you shop in a more sustainable, budget-friendly way. If you travel regularly, a capsule wardrobe will also make packing your case far less daunting, and there’s nothing to stop you even building a mini capsule wardrobe just for travelling on the side! So what’s not to like?
Mens capsule wardrobe top tips
It’s worth noting that underwear doesn’t fall into your capsule collection – you can have as many pants and socks as you like – and, with a few exceptions, the same goes for accessories! And since accessories can transform any outfit, keeping a good selection adds versatility, without cluttering your rail. Also, your capsule wardrobe does not have to be set in stone. Give yourself flexibility by swapping in one piece for another as the seasons and fashions change. You can even bend the rules a little by investing in multipacks. These offer you the same essential item but in multiple colours and designs, adding a little extra variety to your wardrobe at knock-out bargain prices, without complicating the streamlined capsule principle!
Key clothing concepts
Before building your capsule wardrobe, keep colours in mind! Your capsule wardrobe should revolve around several shades that work together, so if you want to get clued up before stripping back your wardrobe, read our ‘Easy tips for matching colours in your outfit’ article. While plain, neutral colours are the starting block of any capsule wardrobe – think grey, white, black, navy, and khaki – there’s nothing to stop you from occasionally branching out. Minimal doesn’t need to mean boring, so make sure you include some key items that are bolder in colour, or that carry a print or pattern! After all, you still want a wardrobe that expresses personality and your individual style!
Business casual or sporty and practical: how do you build a menswear capsule wardrobe?
It’s easy really. Opt for essentials in a variation of colours and styles, generally setting upon 2 or 3 of each item. Of course, you will want to adapt your selection of garments to your lifestyle. This may mean taking your work dress code into consideration, choosing more outdoors clothing if you’re an adventurer or sports fanatic, or picking items that are better suited to the climate in which you live, dependent on where you’re based in the UK. We’ve put together a general guide below, but feel free to change it in any which way you need!
Capsule wardrobe planner: your guide to top and bottom half essentials
Tops and t-shirts – men's essentials
First off, pick 3 t-shirts to cover your wardrobe basics. Useful for layering, you’ll want 2 tops that go with everything from jeans to a pair of chinos (i.e the classic white or black tee is a must-have) and 1 top that expresses your personal style a bit more, either through colour or playful patterns. Make sure to have at least one crew neck and one v-neck design.
Next, choose 1 long-sleeved dress shirt and 1 button-down Oxford Shirt for more formal events, special occasions and even the odd dinner date. Then add in 2 smart-casual shirts that can be worn anytime, anywhere. For these you might want to opt for a short sleeve model, or maybe go for a chambray shirt or pinstripe design.
Add a checked flannel shirt to the mix, or even an overshirt. Versatile, warm and endlessly stylish, these shirts are a must for every man.
You’ll then want to add 1 or 2 long-sleeved t-shirts to the mix and a sporty vest - to be worn on its own, or as a thermal layer in winter.
Last of all, shop for a nice hoodie or sweatshirt for relaxed occasions, and a couple of thin pullovers - perhaps a roll neck and a v-neck jumper - when you need a touch of class. If you’ve got enough space, throw in a chunky knit jumper for good measure as well.
A practical, solid coat or parka jacket, in a colour that will complement everything else, is a real essential for your capsule wardrobe. Choose a water-repellent model so that you're always ready to walk out the door, whatever the weather.
To this, you’ll want to add another 1 or 2 jackets that strike the perfect balance between smart and casual. This may be a denim jacket, a faux-suede jacket or even a lightweight puffer depending on your preferences. Whatever you choose, ensure it goes with a range of outfits!
What to wear on your bottom half
It goes without saying, 2 pairs of denim jeans that you can alternate between are an absolute essential! Go for black and blue jeans, or forego one to make room for a trendy dark wash grey pair! Maybe switch up the styles between them too (e.g. one that's a regular straight leg and one slim cut).
You’ll then want to choose a few other slightly dressier trousers to include among your capsule clothes; 2-3 pairs of chinos (maybe add some vibrant colour with one of them), and also a pair of corduroy or twill trousers. Top tip: to stay casual, match them with your denim jacket!
For the rest, add 1 pair of joggers, 1 pair of versatile shorts - we suggest bermudas - and 1 swim shorts option (or if you’re always on holiday, choose an array of swim shorts!).
Last but not least, don’t forget your shoes! 3 pairs (minimum) is the ideal. Think sophisticated boots, every day trainers, and a pair of sandals. Of course, if you’re a regular explorer, make space for some walking boots too!
While, as stated above, you can have as many accessories as you deem fit, there's a good chance you'll particularly want to make room for the following accessories in your wardrobe:
> a baseball cap - the perfect blend between sporty style and practicality
> a decent watch - business chic, or workout appropriate
> a pair of sunglasses - the perfect addition when the sun is shining
> a quality belt - we suggest a split leather one in brown on black
Buy today and have your capsule wardrobe ready to go in no time!
And there you have it! This is one fashion school of thought you'll definitely want to get behind. The beauty of the capsule wardrobe is that it really is simple. It just requires investing in the right pieces of clothing. If you opt for pieces that are suitable whatever the season, and that are good fits with your other wardrobe components, then the rest is fairly simple; choosing an outfit is guaranteed to become a walk in the park! You may already have a lot of the right stuff, but for anything else (or for those extra special items) shop our collection - available up to 4XL. If you're planning to keep your wardrobe on the smaller side and cherish its contents, then make sure it contains clothes you really love!