How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe


Ever wondered how to pick the perfect OOTD, or what to wear to a wedding? Blogger Jessica Tham answers all of your Fashion FAQs in this column about all things fashion!

How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

While we love a good #OOTD, most of us tend to stick to tried-and-tested pieces for everyday wear. You know, that flattering and comfortable work dress that you’ve worn to death, or your favourite pair of skinny jeans that somehow goes with everything (and makes your butt look great).

So how does one put together a capsule wardrobe that will last through the seasons? We break it down for you, with the help of fashion blogger Jessica Tham (@tippytapp).

So, what exactly is a capsule wardrobe?

Some definitions of a capsule wardrobe refer to it as a 37-piece (no idea why it’s specifically this number, go figure) collection of clothes that is rotated every 3 months – but since Singapore has year-round tropical weather, you don’t really have to change it if you don’t want to.

A good capsule wardrobe should essentially contain a selection of versatile pieces that can work for different occasions – from a classic white shirt to a classy dress that will take you from desk to dinner.

What should go in my capsule wardrobe?

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to capsule wardrobes, because it all depends on your own personal style and taste. If you have a standard office job, you might want to build a capsule wardrobe with dressy basics and quality dresses that can be worn for both work or play.

If your schedule is more flexible and/or you are usually in casual clothes, perhaps a capsule wardrobe with a range of casual classics might work better. Think a denim shirt, a pair of white sneakers (they go with everything!) and maybe your favourite pair of jeans.

Here’s an example of some items you can consider for your own capsule wardrobe:

  • Classic white shirt
  • A flattering pair of jeans
  • A black dress in a classic cut
  • Striped tee
  • Grey cardigan
  • A pair of black pants
  • White or beige sneakers
  • A pair of comfortable pumps in a neutral colour
  • Black or beige ballet flats
  • Classic bag in a neutral colour
  • A work tote
  • A few statement accessories to jazz up your outfits

How do I determine whether something should go into my capsule wardrobe or not?

When it comes to your capsule wardrobe, it’s better to go for quality over quantity. Since you’ll be wearing these pieces more regularly, it’s fine to spend a little more on them than you usually would. Again, there are no set rules for deciding whether a piece should go into your capsule wardrobe or not, but a good way to decide if you should buy something new is to consider the following:

1. Is it versatile enough to work with different styles for various occasions?

2. How often will you wear it?/Will you wear it enough to make the cost-per-wear worth it?

3. Are you buying it because you like it, or because you feel like buying something? (Incorrigible shopaholics, we’re looking at you.)

For instance, the pair of skinny jeans Jessica is wearing in the photos above and below can easily be worn for different occasions. Pair them with a graphic tee, sneakers and a cute bucket bag for a casual look, or a statement blouse, killer heels and a clutch for a dressier look.

If your style tends to vary, a flattering dress in a neutral colour acts as the perfect canvas to mix and match accessories. The dress Jessica is wearing (which incidentally happens to be from her own label, check it out here) is a versatile piece which can be dressed up or down in a couple of seconds – no clothing changes required.

To dress up the look, add a pair of statement heels, an evening bag and maybe even a necklace. For a more casual vibe, pair the dress with sneakers and a tote bag instead.

What so great about a capsule wardrobe, anyway?

As much as we may like experimenting with new styles, there are always those few pieces in our wardrobes that we can always count on – for lazy days, fat days, important days or days when we just don’t know what to wear (even with a closet full of clothes).

Having a go-to selection of curated pieces will allow you to create foolproof outfits from your favourite picks, without having to worry about whether you’ll look or feel good in that outfit. As you build your capsule wardrobe, you’ll also have a better idea of what you like (or don’t like) to wear, so you can keep your preferences in mind when buying clothes or accessories in the future.

Help! My closet is a mess. Where should I keep my capsule wardrobe?

If your closet is bursting (hey, no judging here), it might be a good idea to get a separate rack to store the pieces in your capsule wardrobe. The IKEA Rigga rack is a popular choice among many, mainly because it’s simple, inexpensive and pretty damn Instaworthy. It’s also adjustable, so you can store both long and short pieces from your wardrobe.

Now, go forth and create your dream capsule wardrobe!

Got any fashion-related questions for Jessica? Email us or leave a comment below. For more of Jessica, follow her on Instagram or check out her blog. Check out other fashion articles from her Fashion FAQs column here.

Still want more? Here are some articles you might be interested in:

Tippytapp’s Walk-in Wardrobe

Wardrobe Essentials Every Girl Should Have

How To Pack Like A Pro

How To Style Sneakers