Easy ways to wear your essentials in your capsule wardrobe

A round-up of black pants, pencil skirt, and white shirt. The essentials for a capsule wardrobe.

black and white clothes on hangers and folded representing essentials for a capsule wardrobe
Photo by Matt Moloney

“You work here?”

He couldn’t possibly be speaking to me I think as I look over my shoulder. I have this cute outfit on, why would he think I work here?

“Who me?” I ask.

“Yes you, in the white shirt and dark pants.”

This was at a gala for my kids’ school. The theme was Blue Jean Ball and I had on a crisp white shirt and dark denim jeans with big blue feather earrings. The jeans looked black in the lounge lighting, I’ll give him that. Plus he’d had one too many at the open bar. I later found out he was throwing insults at people all night and trying to pick up ladies. This isn’t a singles mixer dude, it’s a fundraiser for your kids’ school.

So I took his comment as an attempt to flirt with me. Not a dis on my outfit. I can tweak anything into a positive if you give me a minute.

But it does make you think twice about wearing black and white together. A white shirt, black pants, and pencil skirt are part of the essential 8 for your capsule wardrobe and when done correctly look nothing like a server’s uniform despite their black and white coloring.

Some of these items are affiliate links. This means I get a small commission if you buy from the link. There is no price difference to you, and this does not affect what I recommend. Only the best for you.

The essentials for a capsule wardrobe

Black pants, a white shirt, and a black skirt are the most essential of all the basics for your capsule wardrobe. If these are good, all of your outfits are great. Once the foundation is solid, it’s easy to take your look up a few notches from there. 

I tried to find some variety in these essentials and I even styled these pieces together to show how to add flair so that someone doesn’t ask you to bring them a drink when you’re at a party (or your kids’ school fundraiser). These are some of the best capsule wardrobe brands out there if you need additional ideas for where to shop.

I narrowed things down so you have a limited number of items to choose from. Just pick which one you like and click to purchase.

I like easy things. I’m guessing you do as well.

Black pants

White shirts

Black pencil (or not) skirt

Spice up your essential pieces

Now for the fun part. You have your solid essentials for a capsule wardrobe in place, but it feels boring. This is where you get to add in the color, pattern and texture to your wardrobe. Choose your color palette and then get busy spicing things up. Here are a couple of ideas on ways to do so.

white blouse, black skirt, tobacco colored boots and suede jacket with gold colored sunglasses.
Adding a suede jacket and boots kicks this “boring” look up a notch. Don’t forget sunglasses as an easy way to add punch to any outfit as these rust color shades do, and a bold earring is always a great statement piece.
white shirt, bow headband with floral pattern, black skirt, tennis shoes, cross body saddle bag.
This brown floral headband is the perfect fall accessory and flair for these essentials pieces. The green tennis shoes, small gold hoops, and cross body suede bag all dress this silk skirt down. This is an outfit you can wear running errands, at the soccer fields, or to lunch and look stylish while getting things handled.
silk white blouse, black cropped pants, oxford blood loafers, white croc tote.
Wine colored clay earrings and oxfords add a pop of color and style to these capsule wardrobe essentials. This big bold white faux croc bag is amazing and adds texture and interest while remaining neutral. The overall look is polished and pulled together, but looks effortless.
Not your average corporate look, yet professional and office ready for sure. The tall boots, scarf, matte gold hoops, and crocodile purse all add color and texture to these essential pieces. Making this outfit anything but boring.

Essentials for a capsule wardrobe next steps

There are some great options here to fill in any gaps you may have in your capsule wardrobe essential 8 pieces. Once you have identified these items, play with accessories that you own to change up the looks of your basics. If you need a thing or two, there are some great ideas included here, but I always suggest you start in your own closet with things you already own.

Tell me in the comments below, what is your favorite way to spice up your basics?



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I show women over 50 how to get noticed, stay relevant, and be connected through their wardrobe. Getting dressed is something you have to do each day, why not make it fun.



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