A Basic Year-Round Capsule Wardrobe

In this article I’ll be sharing what I believe is the ultimate basic year-round capsule wardrobe. These are the pieces that I consider to be absolute essentials in my closet. It can totally work as your year-round wardrobe on its own, or serve as a foundation to build on with more seasonal pieces throughout the year. I personally tend to use it as the second option; with each season I add in a few more colourful and trendier items to mix things up a little. You’ll have seen a lot of these items previously in my winter and spring capsule wardrobes.

The best part is that it has everything you need, including shoes and accessories (it doesn’t include intimates, active wear or swimwear, however). It’s also extremely versatile. With just these 40 items, I’m able to create looks for any occasion and any time of year, and they’ll never go out of style!

I thought this would be useful for capsule wardrobe beginners who need some direction getting started and paring down their closet to just the basics. It’s also for those of you who have already simplified their wardrobe, but are looking to build in more basic staples.

With all that out of the way, here is my basic year-round capsule wardrobe along with a few outfit ideas to give you some inspiration!

A Basic Year-Round Capsule Wardrobe

Basic Year-Round Capsule Wardrobe

Item List

I’ve curated this wardrobe over several years, which means the exact pieces I have are mostly not available anymore. That said, a lot of these are classics that don’t go out of style, so you should be able to find something similar at your favourite stores year-round. I’ve linked to some similar pieces in the list below, as well as at the end of this article.

You can also likely find good ones secondhand if you’re looking for a more sustainable option. If you follow this guide and decide to pick up a few new things, I would definitely recommend investing in high-quality items that will last you a long time.

Outfit Ideas

Look 1

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

This is an easy everyday favourite that can be worn year-round. Just swap out the wool coat for the leather or denim jacket in warmer weather, or add the cardigan to layer up in winter!

Look 2

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

This is just your typical office look. I love how the faint check pattern on the shirt gives it just a little something extra.

Look 3

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

I love layers, especially in Vancouver where you never really know what the weather is going to do! This is such an easy and cute outfit, and you can easily swap out the shoes depending on the occasion.

Look 4

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

This has got to be one of my favourites – it’s just so cool and chic. In the summer you could swap the flats for the sandals or sneakers as well!

Look 5

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

Just pop a bold red lip with this look and you’re good to go!

Look 6

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

A very streamlined and minimal look that can be dressed up or down, as pictured here with the sneakers.

Look 7

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

This is one of my favourite outfits in my closet. Whenever I don’t know what to wear, I can always come back to this.

Look 8

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

Love, love, love this look! Again, it could be switched up for the season by swapping the cardigan for a jacket and the sandals for shoes or boots.

Look 9

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

This is a simple and classic look for anything from date nights to more formal events. Because it’s so simple you can really play it up with your accessories, makeup and hairstyle to give it something extra and make it different each time.

Look 10

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

This outfit is perfect for the weekend or running errands. I pretty much live in these boots most of the colder months, in summer you could pair it with sneakers or sandals too!

Look 11

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

I had to throw in something ultra casual to be realistic, because honestly I wear stuff like this around the house all the time, and sometimes out of it too! I love that the joggers are still so comfy but are just a smidge elevated from your typical athletic sweats, which makes it okay, right? RIGHT?

Look 12

basic year-round capsule wardrobe

Finally, this last look is great for a day at the office or an evening out for cocktails. The low heel on the shoes makes it so easy to go all day without feeling the need to switch into something more comfortable.

That’s it for the outfit ideas! I get a lot of outfit inspiration from Pinterest, so if you want more definitely check out my street style inspiration board. And, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see daily outfits from my current capsule.

Thanks so much for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it!


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  • Hey Emily! Love this capsule! Just wondering if you add in different pieces for special occasions, such as weddings, or do you use what you have? Thanks!

    • Thanks so much! For the most part I just use what’s already in my wardrobe for weddings and special events. But, I tend to use this capsule as a base and then add in more seasonal pieces throughout the year. For example I have a slip dress which I featured in my winter and spring capsules that I absolutely love and which was great for a wedding I went to last year. That said the LBD in this capsule would probably do for a lot of formal events, so I think you could technically get by with just that if you wanted to!

  • I love it! And all your posts. Iโ€™m 65 but Iโ€™m thinking I can still translate these outfits to be age appropriate.

  • This is really hot!! With fashion changing by the season, its always refreshing to know their is hope for a consistently cute wardrobe. I so needed this because I tend to get something new, then, wear it until I chase it out of my wardrobe!! Haha! Thanks again.

  • I was wondering where you got the long black skirt (e.g., Look 12). I love the look of these long, slim skirts, but I’m never sure if it needs to be paired with a top you tuck in, or…? Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Itโ€™s from Aritzia but itโ€™s older so Iโ€™m not sure they still have something like it. It pairs well with a shirt tucked in at the front or a shorter top, especially with a crop top in the evening, but Iโ€™ve also worn it with a chunky sweater overtop and boots and I like that look too. Itโ€™s a really versatile piece and itโ€™s nice that itโ€™s form fitting but also long so not too revealing. You could even pair it with a black tank top to turn it into a kind of dress! There are lots of options which is why i included it in here ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Omg the leather jacket from your year round capsule is absolute perfection! Any chance you can tell me the make and style and or if itโ€™s still available where you purchased from? I have been in search for a while and just started following you and saw it!

  • Hi Emily just found your blog in Pinterest all your wardrobe ideas are so nice, wonder from where is the purse?? Itโ€™s nice

  • Hi Emily
    I have taken the plunge to cull my ridiculously overfull closet ( husband is building new closet cupboards, and Now is the time to get organised with just the stuff I really need ) I have found your Capsule Wardrobe list to be one of the easiest and realistically doable plans to follow , and am making it my inspiration guideline . Thanks.

  • I love your capsule wardrobe ideas, best I’ve seen yet! Where did you find the low blackboots and grey wool coat?

    • Thank you so much! The black boots are from Aldo and the coat is from Aritzia (the Cormac coat). Aldo typically stocks similar chelsea boots, I’d also recommend looking at Everlane for something ethically made. As for the coat, Aritzia often re-stocks this style so if you keep an eye out for it you might get lucky! Although if you’re in Vancouver you might also find one at a thrift or consignment store – I was just in one today and saw two, haha. Or online like Depop or something ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much, that’s so sweet! I love that you read my blog so right back at you ๐Ÿ˜‰ Definitely – both pieces are at least a few years old now, but the leather jacket is from Zara and the trench is from Aritzia (the Oliver trench I think). I definitely consider these basic staples, I get so much wear out of them! Good luck finding the perfect ones ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi! I got them from Aldo a few years ago. They still carry similar styles, or if you’re looking for a more ethical option try the ones from Everlane!

  • Where did you get the ankle pants and what appears to be leggings that you pair with the Chelsea boots? I love them!

  • The BEST year-round wardrobe capsule website that I’ve found! (And I’ve been looking through a LOT for a long time) Great selection of necessary items, and the outfit ideas makes it even better. Thank you!

  • Hi Emily!

    Also just found your blog via Pinterest and love it. We have such similar style but I often wear the same things because Iโ€™m too lazy to plan. Thatโ€™s why Iโ€™m so inspired by your outfit posts and also started following you on Instagram. A question: where is the blazer from? And the jeans shorts?

    • Thanks so much! The blazer is a really old Aritzia piece – I think I got this one 7 or 8 years ago. Everlane makes a really nice blazer if you’re looking for a similar but sustainable option – here’s the link! The cutoffs are similar to a pair of vintage Levi’s that I found at the thrift store. Hope this helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dear elily, I really like you stile.
    I like the wood coat (look one)
    Winter 2018.
    Are you able to tell me where to find some similar…
    I am in Italy, not easy may be to find here.
    But you can help me?

    Thank you daniela

  • Hi Emily!
    Recently discovered your blog/instagram and I’m obsessed! I’m using this wonderful post as a blueprint for my current capsule and selling/donating/recycling old things I just don’t wear. So liberating! I’ve been hunting for a simple pair of closed-toed low heels like the ones pictured, but I’m having trouble finding an exact match. Do you happen to remember where you got yours? Thanks!!

    • Hi! Thank you so much ๐Ÿ™‚ Those shoes were from Aldo but I got them ages ago. They might still carry a similar style, though!

  • Pingback: How to create your capsule collection – Stylegit
  • I just found this on Pinterest and I’m in love! Sometimes I want to completely downsize my wardrobe to these basics, but I would feel so sad getting rid of a lot of items that don’t necessarily fit this capsule. What would be your advice? Thank you!

    • That’s such a great question! In my experience, decluttering my wardrobe is not something that happened overnight – it’s taken a lot of time for me to slowly pare down to just the essentials, and I still probably have too much. While I’d love to have a very minimal wardrobe, I also like variety and don’t want to get rid of something just for the sake of it, if I can still get use out of it. So just slowly chipping away at it and decluttering will help you get to that balanced point that works for you! You could also try storing your clothes that you don’t consider essential and seeing how you feel. After a month or two, re-evaluate and see if you really need them or if you can get by without them!

  • That is a great collection of realistic clothes for today’s woman. Depending on styles chosen in the genre it is ageless. Ie my black dress will differ from a 25 year old’s one. And most older women would not choose ripped jeans. And the heels shown are actually wearable- not just for show. Even older women can wear them.
    Good work