WARDROBE ESSENTIALS - How to create a collection of your 'go-to' pieces

(Dress MLM Label, Bag Michael Kors, Heels Senso)

For the last few years I have been making a conscience decision to apply the ‘less is more’ rule when it comes to the amount of clothing I buy, essentially creating a modern take on a seasonal ‘capsule wardrobe’ (well my version of it anyway) with the core value being quality over quantity. I guess it has been a natural progression, as I hate clutter, mess and things that have no purpose or sentimental value collecting dust in my home! I have heard the term ‘capsule wardrobe’ floating around on social media and various blogs for a long time, the more I looked into it the more confused I became trying to piece together only a select few styles for an entire season. Traditionally a capsule wardrobe is made up of a few classic pieces that can be mixed and matched to make a number of outfits, I however decided to put my own spin on it and take a slightly different approach. I LOVE trends and am constantly re-evaluating the pieces in my wardrobe throughout the season so I’ve decided to call this process ‘wardrobe essentials’ as it is not a capsule wardrobe in the traditional sense. While some of the same core ideas apply I like to think of it as being more about assembling and refining your absolute favourite pieces (as your styles changes) to create a collection of ‘go-to’ styles that are functional, stylish and suitable for all occasions that fit in with your lifestyle. I only have three rules: less is more, quality over quantity and if I don’t ‘really’ love it – re-evaluate, sell and move on. I thought I would write a blog post explaining how I create a wardrobe consisting of only the pieces I really love and share a few tips on how to get started.

My Spring/Summer collection of wardrobe essentials is currently a work in progress, I still have a few pieces I am yet to purchase and a few items I am considering getting rid of. It is made up of investment pieces, basics and styles that I consider to be seasonal trends (including items I have purchased specifically for upcoming events such as weddings and parties) and necessary items such as lingerie and sleepwear. I ‘refresh’ my wardrobe twice a year (Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer) and re-evaluate what is needed at the start of each season. I’m not going to lie I do go shopping in-between but ask myself ‘is this something I really, really love/need?’. I like to stick to a minimal aesthetic as best I can, this usually means if I want to purchase something new, something older has to go. The key is to create a wardrobe consisting only of your absolute favourite pieces.

(Top Kowtow, Shorts One Teaspoon, Sandals Aldo, Sunglasses Prada)

Before I go any further I should probably explain how I ‘break down’ my wardrobe into four categories.


For me this includes (but is not limited to) denim, shoes, accessories (bags, sunglasses) + coats and blazers – I spend the most on these pieces and always go for quality over quantity. To me investment pieces are items that I will get at least 2 years wear/use out of, they are not necessarily defined but price (as I do occasionally buy on sale) but I do find quality often comes with a price tag. I look for pieces that I love, fit well, wear well and what I would consider to be wardrobe staples. I buy investment pieces throughout the year but not often – maybe 8-10 pieces a year if that. Many of the investment pieces I have purchased over the years are still in my wardrobe today and still look ‘as new’ even though I have worn them hundreds of times!


Together with ‘basics’ these are the pieces I generally purchase twice a year (Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer). For me this includes on trend tops/blouses, skirts and dresses for special events, statement tees, that ‘must, have, need, want’ item that I love but know I will probably get over in six months time. I LOVE trends but I love to make them work for me, the key is knowing your style, what brands fit your body shape and if these on trend pieces gel with your existing wardrobe and aesthetic. I am all over off the shoulder tops and dresses this season! My seasonal ‘on-trend’ styles are the pieces I tend to sell at the end of each season.


Tees, casual dresses, shorts, basic knits, pants – under the umbrella of ‘basics’ I include everything I would wear on a day-to-day basis. During Spring and Summer I pretty much live in tees and shorts or a simple casual dress. I find basic pieces get the most wear so like to replace them every six months. I tend to keep it pretty simple in terms of colour when it comes to basics– stripes, white, grey and black, colours that are easy to mix and match with a focus on beautiful cuts and quality fabrics. From experience I have found buying about 5 good quality tees a season more cost effective than purchasing more from lower quality brands. There is nothing worse than a tee that stretches out of shape or shrinks to half the size after the first wash.


For me this includes lingerie, hosiery, sleepwear and swimwear. I don’t purchase these items seasonally as they are essentially pieces you have to have therefore I exclude them from my core ‘wardrobe essentials’.


My Spring/Summer ‘wardrobe essentials’ currently consists of 60 pieces (excluding necessary items). This might seem like a lot but I challenge you to count every single item in your wardrobe (including shoes and accessories - but excluding items that fall under the necessary category mentioned above). What number did you get? Before I did my first major closet cull I was sitting at almost 300 items eek!

Some of the pieces I have kept for this season are more suited for the Winter months but I do still wear a few of these styles on colder days so decided to include them in my Spring/Summer collection of wardrobe essentials. In addition to these 60 pieces I have 20 items I have put into storage until next winter, these are investment pieces that I will pull out and re-evaluate when its time to put together next seasons wardrobe. I have a ‘wishlist’ of the pieces I am still planning to purchase this season, these are styles I love and really want, or something I need and don’t already have. If I purchase all the items on my wishlist it would bring my total up to 67, I like to keep it at around the 60 items mark so in order to do this I will be re-evaluating my current wardrobe essentials and deciding on 7 pieces that can go.
60 items might seem a lot for some or maybe you have triple the amount in your wardrobe, I don’t think the final number is that important, it will be different for everyone, the focus should be about creating a collection of pieces of you absolutely love but doesn’t leave you feeling overwhelmed when it comes to deciding what to wear.

I thought I would break it down and share with you the 60 pieces that currently make up my Spring/Summer wardrobe; it includes investment pieces, on-trend styles and basics. Ideally I would create a montage of clear-cut images to show you all the pieces in my collection but unfortunately I don’t have a spare week up my sleeve to source 60 images! It is important to note not all the pieces in my wardrobe are ‘new season’ I don’t purchase an entirely new wardrobe twice a year (wouldn’t that be nice) but start with older pieces I have kept (and still consider absolute favourites) and work from there before buying anything new.

Accessories and footwear:
Bags – 1 x handbag, 1 x evening bag, 1 x wallet
Hats x 1
Shoes – 2 x sandals, 1 x jandals, 1 x boots, 2 x lifestyle, 3 x heels
Sunglasses x 1
Total: 14 items

Shirts – 2 x white, 1 x black, 1 x patterned
Tee Shirts – 1 x grey, 3 x stripe, 2 x white, 1 x black
Anorak x 1
Lightweight L/S sweat x 1
Lightweight L/S knit x 1
Knit Jumper x 1
Dressy tops/blouses x 3
Cardigan x 1
Blazer x 1
Total: 20 items

Jeans x 5
Denim shorts x 3
Black pants x 1
Skirts x 3
Lounge pants x 2
Casual shorts x 2
Total: 16 Items

Casual dresses x 6
Formal dresses x 4
Total: 10 items

Grand total: 60 items!

(Anorak Portmans, Tee Bare Bones, Jeans One Teaspoon, Shoes Converse, Glasses Spec Savers)


So I guess I should share how to get started….The first place to start is by pulling every single item out of your wardrobe, and I mean everything! From here you want to create four piles:

-       Love/Must Keep (These are your absolute favourite pieces, it might be sentimental or just an item you really love, fits well and you always wear or maybe its something you have just purchased and haven’t had a chance to wear yet)
-       Investment Pieces (items that stand the test of time, wardrobe staples like quality blazers, coats, boots, handbags etc.)
-       Don’t Wear Often/Never At All (this is essentially your sell, gift, take to hospice pile)
-       Necessary (items you need everyday, lingerie, sleepwear etc.)

From here tackle one pile at a time…

Love/Must Keep - if it has sentimental value (but you never wear it) and must keep it, create a new pile for the pieces you will put into storage. This also applies to items you want to keep but aren’t suitable for the current season. Go through everything and ask yourself how many items are much the same. Cull, cull, cull – be ruthless! Do you really need 8 items that are basically identical? Keep your absolute favourites only.

Investment Pieces – Ask yourself if you actually wear these pieces, you might be holding onto it because it cost a lot of money but if you purchased it years ago and have only worn it once its time to say goodbye! My rule of thumb is ‘doubles’ when it comes to investment pieces – two pairs of good quality boots, two bags etc., but make sure they are different styles or colours. It might be an investment piece but if you have 6 handbags you hardly ever use what’s the point? Hold onto your ‘go-to’ pieces and cull the rest.

Don’t Wear Often/Never At All – this should be the easiest pile to sort through, use common sense; you will know what pieces are dust collectors and need to go.

Necessary – Even though these pieces are things I need everyday I still go through and do a big cull about twice a year. For hygiene reasons old lingerie should go straight in the bin, anything with twisted underwires, broken elastic or that sexy skimpy lingerie set circa your early twenties needs to go now!

Once you have done this, go through everything and do it again – seriously!

At the end you should be left with your absolute favourite 'go-to' pieces, have a look at what you have left, if you don’t already know your ‘style’ these pieces should give you a good indication. It should be obvious the things you are missing i.e.: need to purchase to start establishing a collection of wardrobe essentials. You will also have a huge cull pile (hopefully). From here I sort my cull pile into three separate groups: SELL – GIFT – DONATE. Anything in good condition I keep to sell, I gift and donate the rest. My top tip would be to set up a bank account specifically for selling and buying, I have been doing this for years, and it works amazingly and is pretty much self-funding! Once you have sold off most of your unworn/unwanted items you should start to build a nice little spending pot, this is what I use to fund my new purchases for the season.

That initial cull is the hardest but it’s the best place to start.  

(Shirt Portmans, Shorts Banana Republic, Boots La Tribe)


Care For Your Clothing - read washing instructions, if in doubt hand wash and never use a dryer! We personally don’t own a dryer and never have (by choice), after years of working in retail and with fabrics heat is pretty much the worst thing for (most) fabrics! You know those stretch denim jeans that always feel super nice and snug after coming out of the dryer? Sorry to break the bad news but you are ruining them! The heat in the dryer actually breaks down the elastane making them baggy and ill fitting in the future, sad but true. The reason I am discussing the importance of caring for your clothing is because it has two main advantages – it will last longer and will keep your pieces in pristine condition adding to the on-sell value. Most of my second hand clothing I manage to sell for a really good price as I look after it, meaning more money to spend on new things hurahhhh!

Budget – After your initial cull its best to set a realistic budget for the pieces you need to purchase to create a collection of wardrobe essentials. I break my six monthly budget down into three parts: I allocate 35% to investment pieces (4-5 items every six months), 50% to basics and seasonal pieces (15-20 items every six months) and 15% to essentials (as needed). The important thing to remember is that everyone is in a different financial situation and has a different budget; this does not mean you cannot create an amazing wardrobe, if anything it will be better in the long run. If you are on a tight budget I suggest shopping end of season sales to keep for the following year, still look for quality just at a discounted rate and only apply this rule to basics, not on-trend styles that will date quickly. Sign up to mailing lists and shop around. If buying online look for stores with a good exchange policy – there is no point building a capsule wardrobe of pieces that don’t fit! And remember if you want to purchase something new, something older has to go.

Plan – Look at what you already have, what you still really love and can keep and what you actually need. Do you have a special event coming up? Keep this in mind when purchasing for the season. I have lots of birthdays, engagement parties and weddings this Summer so factor this in when deciding what to buy.

Find Brands That Fit ‘YOU’ – Look for brands and styles that fit in with your budget, body shape, style and lifestyle. My collection of wardrobe essentials is tailored to suit my lifestyle, it consists of pieces that fit in with me being a busy mum and working from home however I still like to dress up on the odd occasion I get to go out for dinner with the girls! Everyone’s wardrobe will look different, are you someone that lives in active wear? Has a corporate job? All things to consider. Things you ‘need’ can still be things you ‘love’.

Hopefully this has been somewhat helpful, it’s not a method that follows traditional principles of how to create a capsule wardrobe but its something that works for me. I’m a big believer in quality over quantity and less is more but still love to base this around the idea of owing pieces you absolutely love!


Disclaimer – none of the items mentioned above were gifted or sponsored; I purchased all of the pieces shown in the photos above with the exception of the Bare Bones Tee that I won in a giveaway.



  1. I saw your Instragram post about this on the way home from work, I came straight in and read the whole thing from top to bottom and some bits in the middle twice! Thank you so much for writing this blog, I've read a few different takes on the capsule wardrobe but have been too intimidated to really commit to recreatng my wardrobe....until now! I am so inspired and will be starting the cull this weekend. Would you mind telling me which platforms you sell your clothing on?

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Thank you so much! How did you get on?
      Mostly just trade me to be honest, tried a few FB buy/sell pages but not as much luck.