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Top 10 Wardrobe Essentials

As a Personal Stylist in Switzerland, I am often asked about building a Capsule Wardrobe. Read this article to find out why I don't like the capsule wardrobe concept and find out my Top 10 Wardrobe Essentials instead.

Let me tell you a secret…

I’m not a big fan of the "capsule wardrobe" concept, because I fundamentally don't agree that we should all dress the same way.

More seriously, you won’t often hear me talk about a Capsule Wardrobe in the traditional sense because I don’t believe in a one-size fits all approach. I strongly believe that your personal style reflects who you are as an individual and since everyone is unique, logically your wardrobe should be unique too.

That said, there are items that I like to refer to as “Wardrobe Essentials”: typically, the timeless investment pieces that you’ll keep in your wardrobe for years. These items will often be rather classic styles and while they may not be at the cutting edge of fashion, they’ll often be highly versatile and they’ll always be stylish.

Here’s my top 10 Must Have Wardrobe Essentials:

1. Jeans: a great pair of jeans will undoubtedly be one of the most hardworking items in your wardrobe. Casual, smart casual or dressed up for the evening, a pair of jeans can take you almost anywhere. There are many wonderful brands out there, but my personal favourites are Levi’s and Sézane.

2. Blazer: whether you have a more casual, natural style or whether you are more dramatic and formal, and anything in between, a blazer is an intelligent addition to your wardrobe. Blazers can easily be worn with jeans, trousers, shorts, skirts or dresses and can make a casual outfit instantly chic. You can choose from a range of materials for your blazer, from a structured fabric like XXX to something more fluid such as jersey materials. Over the years I have bought blazers from Zara and Ted Baker, which I still own and wear today. I recently discovered an oversized blazer by Claudie Pierlot, and I am very happy with the quality and style too.

3. Denim Jacket: a great in-between seasons essential item that can easily be worn with summer dresses and trainers for a more casual look. It also works with various skirts or trousers too.

4. Trousers: a smart pair of trousers in a neutral colour will create endless outfit opportunities. You can dress up with your blazer and heels or down with your denim jacket and trainers. I love my Sézane trousers, great quality and effortlessly stylish.

5. Shirt / Blouse: whether you prefer your shirts plain, striped, floral, patterned or otherwise, this timeless essential never fails. Shirts are great items for layering throughout the seasons and can easily be worn underneath a jumper to create interest in the cooler months or open in summer as a lighter outer layer or as a cover-up. Sézane have some wonderful options but you can also consider COS and &Other Stories which have some great quality shirts too. If you’ve got a greater budget available Dea Kudibal have some wonderful silk options.

6. T-shirt: a great quality t-shirt can be worn underneath your blazer or denim jacket, or with a jumper or cardigan, or even underneath a shirt. This versatile item should be high quality for longevity otherwise you’ll find yourself needing to replace it frequently. COS have some excellent quality simple t-shirts.

7. Jumper: cotton, cashmere, merino or otherwise, a jumper will work hard for you all year round. It can be worn over your shoulders in summer, as an extra layer in winter, worn over your trench coat over your shoulders in autumn for a touch of colour and extra layer if needed and instead of a jacket in spring. I love the simplicity of the essential range of jumpers from Manor and GLOBUS in Switzerland.

8. Cardigan: a really versatile wardrobe essential which is great for the in-between season cover-up that also acts as a layering item in the cooler months. Wear with dresses, over shirts/t-shirts, with skirts, trousers, shorts. Depending on your body shape, style personality, lifestyle and budget, you can choose chunky or fine knit, wool or cotton, patterned or plain, short or long.

9. Dress: no wardrobe would be complete without a dress. Personally, I find dresses one of the easiest outfit builder pieces (*see my article on Outfit Builders), especially in the summer when a pair of sandals, handbag and a cover-up will complete your look. & Other Stories has some great timeless pieces.

10. Skirt: mini, midi, maxi, a-line, asymetric etc. there are so many options available. An easy option for Spring/Summer and Autumn too. Longer skirts will have more longevity especially as they can be worn year/round: in winter a long skirt can be worn with a thermal base of leggings underneath and long boots and a warm jumper on top. Mix and match with your t-shirts, shirts, denim jacket and/or blazer to create various looks.