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These Are The 8 Basic Pieces You'll Need For A Stylish Capsule Wardrobe

Trim the fat in your closet — you don’t need hundreds of outfits if 30 pieces do the same trick. We show you just what you need.

Do you find yourself purchasing so many fast fashion pieces that you’re now suffering from cluttered closet syndrome? When it comes to fashion, you don’t need a bloated wardrobe to carry off the looks you’re going for. Consider the capsule wardrobe: a concept that intertwines style and practicality where you limit the number of pieces to less than 40 and ensure that each piece is versatile enough to play well with the others.

This way, you’ll eliminate decision fatigue and save the environment too. Sounds impossible? It’s not. With a bit of determination and guts, you can downsize your wardrobe without compromising on style. Here’s how you can take a cue from Caroline Rector, the blogger behind Unfancy, known for her 37-piece wardrobe. Going minimal need not be tough.

1. The definitive black blazer
Having a great blazer that fits you to a T is a must-have — in fact, it’s indispensable. Whether it is to serve as a quick fix to sharpen your work attire or to add some sophistication and French chic to a casual outfit, a black blazer is literally the key to all your closet crises. Pick blazers that fit your body silhouette: if you have a long torso, go for a long-line blazer which will give an illusion of longer legs (though you’ll have to pair it with high-waist skirts and pants). If you have a shorter torso, get a blazer that is shorter in length and keep it to just one or two buttons. Black is classic, but if it seems too mundane for your mood, go for navy. Black tuxedo styled blazer by Zara, S$119
Black corduroy blazer by Frame, S$995, via Mytheresa
Oversized velvet blazer by Stella McCartney, £995 (S$1,754), via Net-a-Porter
Patterned single breasted blazer by PS by Paul Smith, S$737, via Farfetch
2. A great T-shirt that can withstand a 100 washes
Give T-shirts from fast fashion brands a miss. Yes we know that they’re extremely affordable, but given the low prices, you can be sure these garments are not of top-tier quality. Instead, we suggest paying more for a T-shirt that can go through multiple washes and still maintain its shape. Besides, tees are fundamental basics that you can build an outfit around, so it’s a worthwhile investment by our books. White cotton slub T-shirt by Rag & Bone, £80 (S$141), via Net-a-Porter
Grey cotton T-shirt with logo detail by A.P.C., €70 (S$111)
Navy blue long sleeved cotton T-shirt by A.P.C., €165 (S$261)
Breton striped cotton T-shirt by Kule, US$88 (S$120)
3. A stylish knit for cool situations
A good jumper is an essential and will serve you well in all kinds of situations, whether it is to guard yourself against piercing weather while on vacation or if you’re just trying to stay warm in your chilly office. Our choice would be one that’s in a camel/nude hue, as this shade can go well with almost any colour. Knitted sweater by Agnona, £795 (S$1,404), via Net-a-Porter
Round neck knitted sweater by Zara, S$69.90
Turtleneck wool sweater by Raey, US$612 (S$835), via Matchesfashion
Cable knit wool sweater by Jil Sander, S$964, via Farfetch
4. An all-occasion black skirt
Move aside, LBD. Yes, a little black dress is a wardrobe staple that never goes out of style, but there’s a downside to this: almost everyone has one. Instead of blending in with this typical garment, go with a versatile and sleek black skirt that can be paired with an oversized shirt for work or a casual t-shirt during the weekends. With a skirt, you get a chance to play with multiple outfit combos. Win. A-line cotton skirt with velvet and lace detail by Red Valentino, US$555 (S$757), via Matchesfashion
Cotton poplin bouffant skirt by COS, $115 (S$157)
Satin maxi skirt by Les Héroïnes, £250 (S$441), via Net-a-Porter
Faux leather ruffled mini skirt by Isabel Marant Étoile, €210 (S$332), via Mytheresa
5. A really good shirt
Another fundamental piece you should own, shirts can carry you from day to night with just minimal tweaking. We recommend oversized ones, preferably from the men’s section, as these are the most versatile. Tuck your shirt in your pants or skirt for a more formal effect, and knot the hem at your waist once the work day is done for a playful vibe. During the weekends, wear it as a “boyfriend shirt with a pair of denim shorts. Blue striped cotton shirt by WNU, £80 (S$141)
White cotton shirt with tri-colour fox embroidery by Maison Kitsune, €150 (S$237)
Oversized red striped cotton shirt by Toteme, €188 (S$297)
Blue deconstructed cotton shirt by Thom Browne, US$790 (S$1,077), via Matchesfashion
6. A lasting pair of black shoes
This needs no introduction. Black shoes are the most versatile wardrobe essential of every capsule closet as its neutral shade can go with anything. Play around with fabric options like leather, satin or even velvet to give your footwear more personality. If you want a pair with crystal embellishments or an extra satin bow detail, go ahead. But make sure you have at least one pair of plain black leather shoes that you can easily slip on during lazy days. Classic leather pointed toe pumps by The Row, S$1,163, via Farfetch
Suede block heels by Jacquemus, S$727, via Farfetch
Collapsible leather loafers with studded details by Isabel Marant, US$703 (S$958), via Matchesfashion
Canvas sneakers by Superga, S$88.80, via Revolve
7. A collection of understated earrings
Accessories can make a huge difference to your outfit. A killer pair of earrings can speak volumes — they cast attention onto your face and showcase your personality. But when we say go for something understated, we don’t mean boring. Eschew typical hoop earrings and go for pieces that are dainty yet unique, and that won’t make your eyes gloss over them. Those from brands like Alighieri and Holly Ryan Jewellery are a good bet. Gold plated Picasso face with pearl drop earrings by Holly Ryan Jewellery, US$380 (S$518)
Gold plated twisted hoop earrings by Alighieri, £350 (S$618)
Silver toned fan earrings by Loewe, £295 (S$521), via Net-a-Porter
Crystal embellished earrings by Ryan Storer, US$239 (S$326), via Matchesfashion
8. Something from each season
Going minimal doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself once in a while. Getting a piece showcasing that season’s latest fashion trend can elevate your wardrobe, preventing your offerings from becoming too uninspired. But before you indulge in one, we say only take the plunge if you can see yourself wearing it multiple times. Will you be wearing that leopard print blazer for at least ten times in several ways? If yes, check it out of your shopping cart. If not, give it a miss and find something truly enduring. To pick something from the latest Fall/Winter trends, here are some of our suggestions: Silver sequin mesh top by MM6 Maison Margiela, US$421 (S$574), via Matchesfashion
Leather shoulder bag with western embroidery and tassel by Ulla Johnson, £820 (S$1,443), via Net-a-Porter
Python printed shirt by Zara, S$99.90
High-waisted tweed wide leg pants by MSGM, S$759, via Mytheresa