Do you ever feel like you have a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear? We hear you. But despite what you might think, buying more clothes isn’t the answer. In fact, owning fewer clothes may actually make your life a lot easier. Allow us to introduce you to the men’s capsule wardrobe, a minimalist approach to dressing that ensures you’ll always have the perfect outfit for any occasion.
A capsule wardrobe is simply a selection of clothes that have been carefully selected to ensure that every item can be worn together. This means you never need to think about how to complement different garments because everything will match. The key is to choose simple, timeless pieces that will always look great, and never go out of style.
What men need in a capsule wardrobe
One smart and one casual jacket
Whether it’s a blazer and bomber, or wool blend jacket and a Harrington, having one smart and one casual option means you’re prepared for all occasions when it comes to jackets. The colors you choose are entirely down to you, though it’s worth noting the advice of men’s style guru Jeremy Hackett, who insists that a navy blue jacket is “the most useful item in any man’s wardrobe”. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find plenty of swish navy blue designs in Hackett’s coats and jackets range.
At least three shirts
Three button-down shirts may be enough for some men, but you’ll need a few more if they’re a staple of your work wardrobe. Make sure you check they fit properly, and buy at least one in a classic white. It’s also a good idea to reserve your highest-quality shirt for formal events.
At least four T-shirts
Having a range of t-shirts in a selection of colors will offer you more outfit options, and it’s best to buy them in high-quality cotton-polyester blends. These are soft yet strong and can withstand wrinkling. If you prefer a collar, swap your T-shirts for polos instead, or have an assortment of both at the ready..
A knitted jumper or cardigan
The ultimate transitional items, jumpers and cardigans are ideal for battling the winter chill, while also adding a light extra layer when it’s too warm for a full-on jacket or coat. Wool is the go-to fabric for knitwear, but do pay attention to the different types, as each has unique properties. For example, merino wool is extremely soft while mohair has a distinct, fuzzy texture.
At least one pair of casual trousers
Casual trousers like chinos and slacks can be worn every day, no matter the occasion, and are easily dressed up or down. Simply swap a collared shirt and brogues for a T-shirt and trainers, and your casual trousers can take you from work to the weekend in an instant.
Two pairs of jeans
Where would any of us be without at least one trusty pair of jeans? We recommend having one pair in blue and one in black, so you can wear your jeans casually or a little smarter if you see fit. Straight cut tends to be the most popular, though slim styles are good for men who want a closer fit without resorting to a skinny jean. However, it’s always best to consider body type when shopping for jeans.
A pair of shorts
One pair of shorts is fine to start with but you’ll probably have to buy more once summer arrives. Cotton styles are most comfortable and should be cut a couple of inches above knee-length for the most flattering fit.
One pair of smart and one pair of casual shoes
Oxfords, Derbys and brogues cover your formal occasions, while trainers, loafers and boat shoes complement casual outfits. Keep your lifestyle in mind when choosing between shoe styles, with dress code, comfort and weather all major factors into which to opt for on any given occasion.
Top capsule wardrobe shopping tips
The whole point of a capsule wardrobe is that everything should go together, but this can’t be achieved by mixing and matching clashing colors. Neutral tones like greys, browns and blues are always versatile, and it could help to look at your current wardrobe to see which shades you’re typically drawn to. However, that doesn’t mean every item has to be plain and simple. A couple of printed shirts or T-shirts or a pair of patterned trousers will inject personality while still maintaining a complementary capsule wardrobe.
A statement tie, soft leather belt or even a hat could be just what you need to rejuvenate an outfit you were on the verge of getting bored by. A selection of functional accessories gives you the perfect way to make the most of everything in your wardrobe.
Expect it to evolve over time
If you think your capsule wardrobe looks perfect now, it may look very different next year. For example, you could get a swanky new job that necessitates you wearing a greater proportion of formalwear, or you could move somewhere with a far colder climate, where just one jumper or cardigan won’t cut it. Life changes, so don’t be afraid to adapt your wardrobe to match.