Kickstart Your Capsule Wardrobe With These 8 Essential Pieces

by Karly Rayner

The capsule wardrobe is by no means a new concept, but the desire to make our wardrobes simpler and more beautiful resonates strongly with the fashion landscape of 2020. 

When asked to look backwards to a more streamlined time in style, few people would immediately imagine the ‘80s. However, one of the most iconic capsule collections was born as a refreshing antidote to the excess, novelty and camp high glamour which characterised the era. 

Donna Karan’s ‘seven easy pieces’ concept might have been dreamt up in 1985, but it still stands robustly today as living proof of its timeless appeal. While the idea of creating a carefully curated closet off the cuff can be a nerve-racking carousel of endless possibilities, using a template such as Karan’s ‘seven easy pieces’ idea can provide a perfect starting point. 

According to sustainable designer Sandra Garratt, a capsule wardrobe is “just like legos; it can be anything,” but it’s essential to lay out some ground rules to ensure the pieces you buy are truly the pieces you need for your lifestyle. This is the tricky bit. 

After all, what makes the capsule wardrobe such a liberating concept is living within a set of limitations which you have customised and whittled down to fit your own unique circumstances. Everyone has unique circumstances, so additional pieces can be added to a core collection as and when they are needed. This gentle, organic evolution allows your closet to genuinely reflect your life. 

Having a cornerstone to build around is the best way to kickstart your capsule wardrobe, and below is an example of how eight easy Donna Karan inspired pieces could set you off on the right foot.



Designer: The Reformation 

Piece: Juliana Bodysuit

Price: £‌74

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Comfortable, sleek and practical, the bodysuit is a wardrobe staple that can chameleon itself into so many fashion incarnations.

The Juliana Bodysuit from The Reformation — a brand created with sustainability at its heart — is versatile, flattering and kind to the earth. This particular garment boasts 15lbs of carbon dioxide savings and 250 gallons of water savings thanks to the eco friendly fabrics and design processes used.



Designer: People Tree 

Piece: Keira Pencil Skirt 

Price: £49

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With its high-waisted design and organic cotton construction, the simple Keira Pencil Skirt from People Tree has a contemporary look which you could pull off anywhere. Dress down with trainers or up with heels or boots. 

Even better, this particular piece was made by a social enterprise in India set up by Franciscan nuns to provide training and employment for deaf, mute and economically disadvantaged women and has been ethically produced. 


Tailored Jacket 

Designer: Raey

Piece: Single-breasted wool-twill jacket

Price: £595

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Made in Italy by Matches Fashion’s own brand, Raey, this single-breasted wool jacket offers a relaxed tailoring which would feel equally at home at an important presentation or the celebration at the pub later!

Matches are committed to sustainably and partnered with eco-age in 2018 to ensure that the company keeps up with green credentials. 



Designer: The Shirt Company

Piece: Mackenzie Black Trench Dress

Price: £30, reduced from £149

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Our own Mackenzie dress is a true all season stand out which can take you through the entire year with a little bit of creative layering — just pop the single layer cashmere jumper underneath and you're winter ready! It can also shapeshift into a jacket which makes it a flexible little number for a capsule wardrobe. 

Created in one of our audited factories from heavy cotton, the Mackenzie is fully-lined and skims the body for a flattering silhoette.


Leather Jacket

Designer: Jitrois

Piece: Gattaca 

Price: £1990

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A good leather jacket will last you a lifetime, and the quality of a Jitrois jacket is second to none. Crafted from lambskin by local craftsmen and materials, every aspect of a Jitrois jacket comes together in France, meaning a greatly reduced carbon footprint. 

Designed to fit like a second skin, the Gattaca jacket is edgy, feminie and elevated.


White Shirt

Designer: The Shirt Company 

Piece: Claudette 

Price: £105.95

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Utilising years of know how, The Shirt Company's own Claudette shirt has a silhouette which has been honed to work wonders for every figure. In short, it is the ultimate classic shirt with added lavish touches — including delicate mother of pearl buttons.

Created with the most luxurious 100% OCS certified organic cotton, the Claudette feels absolutely divine and it’s weight means it drapes artfully in all the right places. 


Cashmere Jumper

Designer: Mankhai 

Piece: Single Layer Jumper 

Price: £325

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Mandkhai uses cashmere harvested from free range cashmere goats kept by nomadic herders in Mongolia and employs exclusively women to knit and spin its garments, providing much-needed economic security. 

The single layer jumper could add a pop of colour to a mostly neutral capsule wardrobe and it has been spotted being worn by Bella Hadid, so you can be rest assured its fashion pedigree is fully vetted!



Designer: Begg x Co

Piece: John Booth Wispy Painted Paisley  

Price: £330

Buy Here


If you want a scarf which will go with absolutely everything, choose one featuring every colour of the rainbow and you’re good to go!

A big, colourful scarf might not be one of the original seven easy pieces, but Donna Karan thinks they are an essential wardrobe staples, and we totally agree. In Karen’s words: 

"There is nothing more important than the scarf because you can wrap yourself in it, you can hide yourself in it, you can go make it into a dress, you can wrap it into a pillow and go sleep on the plane. So you always have to have a scarf with you no matter where you are."



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