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You Only Need 5 Hangers… Creating the Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe

One of my friends recently bought a new house.  Actually, she bought the house off-plan approximately 2 years ago, and there have been so many issues, that she is now living at our other mutual friends house, with a couple of suitcases, determined to be in her brand new shiny house by Christmas.  Not sure whether this will happen or not.  But what struck me is that she had to pack all her belongings and put them into storage, and she has left herself with 4-5 outfits for work, and a couple of other pieces for the weekend.  And 3 pairs of shoes. She is normally a very fashionable person, who is beautifully presented, and although I have definitely seen her in the same outfit twice – she’s not Meghan Markle after all – my perception of her is that she doesn’t repeat often. So, how has she managed to find 4 work outfits that she wants to wear, and have only those for an undetermined amount of time?

This got me thinking.  I wonder how hard it would be for me to pare down my wardrobe to only 5 core work outfits.  When I thought about the outfits I would choose, I thought about my 4 favourite work dresses.  But the issue with that is that that is just it – 4 outfits.  What Emma has done brilliantly is choose 5 tops and 4 bottoms that are all fairly colour neutral, but that look different when put together.  Now, I am no Stephen Hawking, but the best thing about this is that the potential for outfits is now not 4, but 20 different outfits.  Throw in the occasional casual Friday, and add in a scarf of two, and she looks quite different every day.  And she only uses 5 hangers!  How can my wardrobe be so overfull, when 5 shirts or blouses, and 4 bottoms could dress me for the entire month??

So, if I was designing the tiniest little capsule wardrobe, let’s call it, the ‘I didn’t know I would be moving house and have to live out a suitcase for 2 months’ wardrobe, in honour of Emma, what would be in it, and why?

The Bottoms

First, let’s start on trousers.  Navy trousers.  I love Navy.  It is such an amazingly versatile colour, which can be warmed with some gold and camel tones, or cooled with silver, green or white.  The best style of trouser to choose should fit to the ankle, and be tailored, as these can then be worn with a heel, inside boots or with flats.  Hey presto, three outfits.  I love these ones from Sportscraft.


Whilst we are at it, if you feel comfortable in the trousers, and they come in black or camel, I would probably add them too.  Half the battle with a truly tiny capsule wardrobe is that you have to feel comfortable in every single piece, as you can’t afford to have something out of action.  So, my choice for trousers number 2 is the same trouser in either camel or black.

Thirdly, I would choose either an A-line skirt or pencil skirt, depending on your shape in either black or camel.  An A-line skirt is awesome if you are bigger on bottom than on top.  The pencil skirt is amazing for showcasing slender hips and legs, and rocking the overall hourglass for those who are bigger on top.

My final choice for bottom is a wide-legged palazzo pant.   These give such a different look to all the other bottoms chosen that they will make for a completely different image when worn with any of the tops.  As the palazzo themselves are generally a style statement, the chosen colour can be wider, albeit still with neutral tones.  I love these from Amelius as the split front adds that little bit of edge.

So, now we have four very different bottoms, and we can pair them with some tops to create at least 20 different looks.

The Tops

First in my capsule wardrobe for a professional and polished look is the classic white shirt.  It is so amazingly versatile.  The best shirt fit can be found here:  Make sure that you grab a Stop The Gape clip to ensure the fit of your shirt is perfect for your unique shape.

Secondly, I would choose another shirt, which is a slightly darker hue, but that matches both black and navy.  This daisy striped linen shirt from Sportscraft would be perfect, as it can worn with the sloan pants, flat shoes with the sleeves rolled for a casual professional look, or tucked in, with a killer belt, sloan pants and heels for the ultimate in tailored look.

Personally I would tuck it in for either occasion, but that’s just me.

Next, I would choose a more loose-fitting blouse or wrap-front shirt.  Worn with the sloan trousers and some heels, and you are instantly elegant.  Alternatively, worn with the palazzo pants it could look relaxed, with a sandal shoe, or ultra-glam if you rock it with a high strappy or studded heel.

My fourth item would be a short sleeved camisole top. In a similar vein to the wrap blouse, this would work amazingly with the pencil skirt, the sloan pants or the palazzo pants, and create completely different looks.  Choosing a soft pink like this one from Atmos&Here would complement all the other colours.

My final choice would be a more structured shirt, that is designed to be worn outside of the bottoms, potentially with an amazing belt.  This shirt from sass & bide is a great example.  Worn with a scarf as a belt, or a wide belt, it almost looks kimono-esque.  With the wide leg palazzo pant, this would be a relaxed look, with the pencil skirt it would look much more structured look.

So, there you have it.  Throw in a pair of strappy heels, a pair of sandals and some oxford flats or ballet pumps and work wardrobe is complete.

Now, excuse me whilst I go and vastly overhaul my crazily disorganized wardrobe and find 5 sturdy hangers.

Till next time,

Stop The Gape


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