Building blocks: where to begin your capsule wardrobe

Building block: where to begin your capsule wardrobe


Are you exploring the idea of a capsule wardrobe but don’t know where to start? At Swahlee we would love to help you with the building blocks of your capsule wardrobe. In this Journal article we list our top six pieces we think are key to beginning a capsule wardrobe. Each of these 6 items below can be found at Swahlee.

But first of all, what is a capsule wardrobe?

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of carefully chosen items that mix and match to create outfits for a variety of occasions. These clothing fundamentals can be styled for casual or more dressy occasions.

The term capsule wardrobe was coined by Susie, Faux, the founder of a London boutique called Wardrobe in the 1970s. According to Faux, the idea is to build a small wardrobe of essential and timeless items which can be augmented with seasonal pieces.

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What are benefits of a capsule wardrobe?

Easier decisions to simplify getting dressed.

Modern life often comes with decision fatigue. Choosing what to wear shouldn’t be a cause of it. While building a capsule wardrobe requires thoughtful decision making on the front end, it decreases the decisions needed to make while getting dressed.

Investment pieces that will last.

When you are buying less, your clothing budget will go further. This allows you to invest in better made garments made with higher quality fabrics. The goal is to build a wardrobe of fewer, better pieces.

A more ethical & sustainable wardrobe.

Brands that value excellent garment construction and great fabrics often also value ethical and sustainable production. As these things cost more, they often (not always) go hand-in-hand.

(Note: A high price for clothing does not mean it is necessarily ethically & sustainably made. Sometimes brands charge a lot simply for their name brand, not because of the garment quality or ethical practices.)

6 key pieces for a capsule wardrobe

The idea of building a capsule wardrobe can be daunting. At Swahlee we want to help make it easy. Here we list our top six pieces we think are essential for a capsule wardrobe. Each of these items are designed to get a lot of mileage in your closet. You won’t regret investing in these six pieces.

1. Sleeveless Reversible Top / Sleeveless Reversible Top 2.0

  • Appropriate for most settings from work to play.
  • Easily layers under cardigans & jackets.
  • Made with elevated natural fabrics, including linen & handloom cotton.
  • Essentially 2 shirts in one – wear the v-neck with buttons in the front or the back.
  • Available in a variety of colors: natural, royal blue, chambray, natural with sage stripes, black, marsala.

Sleeveless Reversible Top round neck Sleeveless Reversible Top v-neck

2. Wide Leg Trousers / Cropped Trousers

  • Comfort & elegance of linen.
  • All 3 colors are extremely versatile, especially the black & natural.
  • We love the idea of a matching set for a timeless, classic, elevated look. These 2 staples form a powerhouse for your capsule wardrobe.
    Wide Leg Trousers in natural linen
    Cropped Trousers in marsala linen
    Cropped Trousers & Sleeveless Reversible Top 2.0 in black linen

      3. Little Black Dress

      • Our Riverine Dress in black linen is an elegant, timeless option. So is our Brave Dress in black handloom cotton.
      • As an alternative for those who don’t love wearing black, we recommend our Wrap Dress in navy blue.
      • If dresses are not your thing, we recommend having a sophisticated jumpsuit in your wardrobe like our Terra Jumpsuit in black.
      Riverine Dress in black linen with pockets
        Wrap Dress in navy linen
        Terra Jumpsuit in black linen

          4. A Statement Piece

          • These pieces are unique conversation starters with a story.
          • The tops and skirts in our Upcycled Sari Collection are each one-of-a-kind.
          • If bold patterns aren’t for you, we recommend our beautifully textured Eri Silk Blouse in olive green or soft pink.
          • Each of these pieces easily pairs with the timeless neutrals in your wardrobe. For example, we love an Upcycled Sari Button Midi Skirt paired with the Sleeveless Reversible Top in Natural or Chambray.
          • Can be worn with everything from jeans to elegant trousers & skirts.

            Upcycled Sari Button Midi Skirt
            Upcycled Sari Square Neck Top
            Eri Silk Blouse

            5. A Versatile Skirt: the Button Midi Skirt or the Wrap Maxi Skirt

            • Skirts in neutral colors & muted patterns serve as an alternative to pants.
            • Both of these styles can be dressed down with sneakers or dressed up with sandals or heels.
            The Button Midi Skirt
            The Wrap Maxi Skirt

              6. “That Shirt”

              • You know “that shirt” in your wardrobe that you reach for over and over? It instantly elevates your outfit but yet is so easy and versatile.
              • It can be dressed up or down.
              • We recommend our Stand Collar Tunic, especially if skinny jeans or pencil pants are your go-to.
              • We recommend our Chrysanthemum Block Print Top if you prefer sleeves and a touch of pattern. This shirt has coconut shell buttons in the back for a touch of whimsy.
              The Stand Collar Tunic
              Chrysanthemum Block Print Top


              As you curate your own wardrobe, it is most important to choose pieces you feel good in. We hope this list will be helpful as you build your capsule wardrobe!

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