5 is the Magic Number: The Perfect Capsule Wardrobe

Ah the staple wardrobe. A phrase that gets thrown out quite a bit, but usually followed by a question. What should be included? I had this conversation with Gok Wan earlier this year, and he reckoned about 18 pieces. Now not to disagree with the lovely Gok, but I think we can do with less and make our wardrobes work harder for us.

We need to be practical about what we invest, how often we will wear it and how we style it with what we already have. Still with me? OK, so in no particular order, here is my take on the staple/capsule/what-you-need wardrobe.

The Black Blazer

Left, Jacket €60, Red Herring at Debenhams; Blazer, €120, Phase Eight Left, Jacket €60, Red Herring at Debenhams; Blazer, €120, Phase Eight

I am always asked what my "go-to" outfit is and why. When I reply with some form of ensemble, one piece is always a black blazer. It's the all-rounder jacket. It matches everything from work to party clothes. It's structured to flatter and we all love black (well most of us). The key is to find one that's not too "office-y".

Fit is key, so ensure that it cinches at the waist to work with the natural silhouette of the body. I particularly like a longer style jacket which flatters the proportions of my shape (I'm 5ft 8' and have a broader hip). Stores like Dunnes, Next, Asos.com and River Island carry these all year round emphasising that this piece is timeless not trendy.


Jeans, H by Henry Holland, €127.50 Jeans, H by Henry Holland, €127.50

Skinny, boyfriend, mom, straight cut, bootleg, flare, classic; no matter what style you like, jeans are our favourite clothing asset. Once again, fit is so important so try not to buy a pair without trying them on to ensure they sit on your hips or waist depending on whether you like low or high rise waistbands.

Not to spend too much time on this one though, as later in the week we'll be chatting about what style suits you!



The hardest working fabric around. It keeps you cool and warm whenever you need it to do so. Natural fabrics like cotton hold their shape when washed, and are the perfect layer for under knits and jackets alike.

Invest in styles (t-shirts, long sleeved, sleeveless) that are 100% or have a cotton content above 90% these are of high quality and will last longer. But if you just want some to keep you going, H&M have a huge range to choose from.

Pencil /A-line Skirt

Red Pencil Skirt, €20, Heatons; A-Line Skit, €52, Next Red Pencil Skirt, €20, Heatons; A-Line Skit, €52, Next

Depending on your body shape, pencil and a-line skirts are generally a perfect piece to style with various tops. Pencil skirts suit those who may be an hourglass shape, or have a broader lower half. The shape of the skirt skims along the lines of your hips and accentuates those curves.

A-line skirts suit a body shape that's narrower on the lower half, so that the "A" balances out the body's proportions. Tuck in a blouse, layer a chunky knit, match with a short leather jacket; the skirt is a basic we cannot be without in winter thanks to its incredible versatility for all occasions.

The Stiletto


Shoe boot, €73, Next; Midi Heel Shoe, €95, Dune Shoe boot, €73, Next; Midi Heel Shoe, €95, Dune

It doesn't have to be sky high! You can opt for a midi-height heel which is more appropriate (and comfortable) for day time. The beauty of the pointed toe is how it suits pretty much any outfit.


Trousers seem not to bunch over them, they elongate your calves, and they empower any work outfit. If you fancy a very indulgent treat, then Christian Louboutin are the obvious choice, but I am rather liking the selection from Next right now.

So I've decided five is the magic number on the staple wardrobe, what do you think? Can you add to our list?

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