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In this post, we’ve got the ultimate simple wardrobe to share with you: our carefully-chosen set of 15 clothing items for a starter minimalist capsule wardrobe.
If you feel overwhelmed by our full Women’s Essentials capsule and want to know which basic pieces to start with, you’ll love this list.
These are the classic staple clothing pieces plucked right from the full capsule– 15 tops, bottoms, completer pieces, shoes, and accessories that are the most essential and versatile.
The Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe
If you are regular follower of Frump Fighters or maybe even own our Women’s Essentials Style Guide you probably already understand the concept of a capsule wardrobe.
But for those new to the concept, here’s a quick run-down:
“What is a capsule wardrobe?”
A capsule wardrobe is a purposeful closet of clothes that all mix and match easily.
To achieve a capsule wardrobe, you need to:
- declutter your closet and only keep what you love wearing and fits you right now (the rest can be stored or consigned/donated)
- moving forward, only buy clothes that you need (using a checklist like we provide helps insure you fill the gaps in your wardrobe and don’t just buy more of the same piece that you already have and don’t need)
- only buy clothes that mix and match with your other clothes (so that there’s lots of ways to wear it)
In short, think: CAPSULE WARDROBE = PURPOSEFUL WARDROBE
“Does a capsule wardrobe need to be small?”
Some stylists and bloggers would say yes. But at Frump Fighters, we say:
No, a capsule wardrobe DOES NOT have to be small! As long as every piece in your closet is loved and can be mixed and matched with your other clothes (not just sitting there cluttering your space) then you’ve achieved a capsule wardrobe!
Our full capsule wardrobe style guide has just over 100 number of items, including everything from earrings and purses to jackets and shoes.
But sometimes you may need to buy the most basic pieces of clothing because you are changing sizes or maybe you have a new baby on the way and don’t want to buy a big maternity wardrobe.
Or maybe you just want to update your wardrobe slowly without spending a lot of money and need to know where to start!
Ultimately how many items you have is up to you–a perfect capsule wardrobe is the one that works for YOU. (Corina loves a lot of variety, but many of our readers like to keep it ultra-minimal!)
Either way, with the 15-item list on this post, you’ll know exactly where to start–even if you may expand that later on!
It will help you take your unique style, your color palette, your current wardrobe, and helps you start to create many different outfits with hardly any effort.
Why Choose a Capsule Wardrobe / Minimalist Approach to Clothes
Your Investment in Clothes Goes Further
In keeping a purposeful wardrobe you can be more selective about what you spend money.
Because every clothing item purchased is purposeful (you’re shopping from a checklist, using your color scheme, and only buying what you 100% love) you end up wearing everything you buy SO MUCH MORE than if you just shopped based on what’s on clearance at Target. It’s okay, we’ve done that too 🙋♀️
And actually, once you know what you’re looking for and can confidently skip over what you don’t need (regardless of price), the clearance rack can be a gold mine.
Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. Buy something because it fills a gap in your wardrobe AND you 100% love it.
If you like to shop second hand or buy sustainable brands, you can take the time and effort to focus on the pieces that are the most important.
Simplifying Shopping with a Color Scheme
Maybe you struggle with too MANY colors in your closet or not enough color… do you have mostly black and gray in there??
A capsule wardrobe is the perfect way to purposefully use specific colors that mix and match. It makes your closet more versatile AND fun!
Loving What You Have to Wear
Being pickier about what you buy also means you’ll be so much happier about what you have to wear each day!
You can reap this benefit without shopping too… just declutter your closet and remove anything you don’t absolutely love to another closet.
Only leave what you enjoy wearing which leads to another benefit…
Eliminating Decision Fatigue
The minimalist style helps take any decision fatigue out of your mind and gives you a simple style that works every single day.
Fewer clothes might sound like the opposite of that. But when you have the right pieces you will be surprised at how many outfit ideas you will have!
No matter your reason, we have a simple solution – our minimal capsule wardrobe checklist!
A Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe: 15 Staple Clothing Pieces Every Mom Should Have
And yes, we actually have a printable checklist you can hang in your closet!
Grab it below!👇
Wardrobe Staple #1 – Basic White Tee
Top of our list is a basic white t-shirt. Short sleeve is most versatile but if you live in a predominately cold climate, you can get 3/4 or long sleeve.
Choose whichever neckline you like most: crew, scoop, or v-neck. But overall, choose something simple. It will go with more that way!
If you are worried because white shows dirt, invest in an on-the-go stain remover pen for your purse and gel stick for at home! The nice thing about white shirts is you can bleach them, unlike other colors.
Alternative: If white doesn’t work for you, go for another classic neutral like gray, navy, olive or black. If you like a dressier wardrobe, this piece can be swapped for a simple white blouse or a white button-down.
Wardrobe Staple #2 – Striped Tee
Again, short sleeve is best, and look for stripes that are white on navy/black or navy/black on white (for a classic look). You still want this piece to be in a neutral and easy to wear with many other pieces in your minimalist capsule wardrobe.
The magic in this piece is you instantly look TIMELESS and PUT TOGETHER when you wear a striped top.
Alternative: If you are plus size and don’t like wearing horizontal stripes, try another print you feel comfortable in. Or go for a darker striped tee: navy or black with ivory/white stripes. However, we do think any size looks GREAT in a classic striped tee!
Wardrobe Staple #3 – Graphic/Slogan Tee
The tee color itself can be in one of your accent colors or one of your neutral colors, but if it’s neutral it will go with more! Use this piece to show your personal style, whether it be with a saying or a cute graphic. If neither of those work for your wardrobe you can choose print like floral or polka dot.
This tee can reflect your personality more. There are so many cute ones out there… from TV show graphic tees, to verse tees, to Mama tees, to funny slogans. Get something that makes you feel happy and that you’d feel comfortable wearing pretty much anywhere.
Are you a busy mom who needs tips that are quick and easy? You may find these posts helpful!
Wardrobe Staple #4 – Long Sleeve Neutral Tee
This can be in any neutral color that works with your wardrobe. Black, grey, navy, white, cream, olive, etc.
This piece is so versatile in cold weather, worn by itself with a necklace, layered with a cardigan, or worn with a quilted vest.
🌞🔥 If you live in a hot climate, you can get this in a short sleeve or as a tank instead.
Wardrobe Staple #5 – Neutral Dress
Again, this can be any neutral color that works with your wardrobe. Knee-length is best because it will work with a wide variety of shoes, but if that’s too short for you midi or maxi length can work as well.
A little black dress is a great choice for this piece that has a timeless style (just avoid one with super trendy accents).
Ideally, find a dress that feels casual enough to wear with flip-flops and even a baseball cap, but simple enough to dress up with a necklace, flats, and denim jacket.
Wardrobe Staple #6 – Dark Wash Jeans
Any pair of jeans in medium to dark wash will work, whether it be flared, bootcut, straight or skinny. However, skinny jeans will work the best with a wider variety of other pieces. (For example, tall boots and duck boots only work with skinny jeans.)
Wardrobe Staple #7 – Color Pants (or Shorts)
We suggest an accent color that works well with other pieces in your wardrobe (like your slogan/graphic tee, any print tops, and your hoodie). Ideas could be coral, turquoise, red, mustard, etc.!
🌞🔥 If you live in a warm climate get shorts instead!
Want more than 15 pieces?
If you are looking for a slightly larger minimalist closet than the 15 pieces in the post, you won’t want to miss our free preview of the full Women’s Essentials Capsule for Moms! 👇
Wardrobe Staple #8 – Long Neutral Cardigan
By long, we mean hip-length or longer because it will be the most versatile. Get this in a neutral like camel, black, grey or navy! It needs to work with as many of your tops as possible, as well as your color pants.
Alternative: Go with a hip-length or shorter cardigan if you don’t like the longer style.
Wardrobe Staple #9 – Denim Jacket
This is a staple completer piece for any minimalist capsule wardrobe. Try to find one in a medium wash. If you can find one with little bit of stretch or “give” to the fabric, it will be quite comfortable to wear even around the house!
Wardrobe Staple #10 – Cute Sweatshirt/Hoodie
This can be a pullover style (with or without a hood) or a zip-up. It can be a solid neutral color OR if it’s a pullover you can get it in a fun print!
Wardrobe Staple #11 – Slip-On Sneakers
These can be any style of slip-on casual sneaker. If you get them without laces they tend to feel slightly more put together.
Neutral colors are best for this shoe. My go-to pair is black, but I have a light grey I love too!
Make sure whatever you find is comfortable to walk in all day so you’ll reach for them over your ratty old running shoes.
This upgrade to your shoe-wear alone will elevate your look SO MUCH!
Tip: Your socks should not show when wearing slip-on sneakers. These no-show socks are Corina’s favorite because they actually stay in place!
Wardrobe Staple #12 – Ankle Boots
Get these in a neutral faux or genuine leather/suede. Preferably without cut-outs on the side so you can wear regular socks with them.
Alternative: For very wet climates (like Washington state where we live!) you might instead like Chelsea-style rubber ankle boots (Corina has these and loves them–size up 1/2 size). However your leather/suede ankle boots are still best for slightly dressier events.
Wardrobe Staple #13 – Fashion Sandals
Any stylish flip-flop or simple, comfy sandal. This pair should be a little bit extra fun – one of your “statement pieces”.
Some sparkle, shine, pop of color, print, or texture will make them a fun staple sandal to dress up so many of your spring/summer outfits!
Wardrobe Staple #14 – Simple Stud Earrings & Minimalist Necklace
Choose either silver or gold tone for both of these so that they match!
The earrings can be basic gold or silver studs or they can be a gemstone or pearl.
For your necklace, get something that isn’t too long like a bar necklace or simple chain.
This jewelry instantly dresses up any outfit without getting in the way.
Wardrobe Staple #15 – Tote or Backpack Bag
If you have little kids a hands-free option like a backpack purse or crossbody is ideal! But you can’t go wrong with a chic tote style purse either.
Go with what you like and what reflects your style!
If you are looking for the essential pieces for your own minimalist capsule wardrobe, we hope you found this list helpful!
When you find yourself overwhelmed by your closet, don’t be afraid to set aside these 15 great pieces and keep it simple for a while.
Your wardrobe should be stress-free and if paring down to these classic pieces helps, then do it!
Don’t forget to grab the free printable PDF checklist so you can add your own notes and have the visuals close at hand!