How to start a winter capsule wardrobe from scratch

For countless outfit combinations and zero stress to get dressed, wrap up in style with a winter capsule wardrobe.

Last updated: 23 April 2024

Capsule wardrobe meaning

A London fashion-store owner named Susie Faux coined the term ‘capsule wardrobe’ back in the 1970s, defining the trend as ‘a limited number of essential or staple items you can wear for multiple seasons.’

We reckon a winter capsule wardrobe is a perfect place to start if you’ve been wanting to try whittle down what you wear, as the pieces you need at this time of year (like coats, boots and tops) will be the building blocks for your wardrobe all year round.

A capsule wardrobe will declutter your bedroom, and help you pick an outfit.

Why you should create a capsule wardrobe

For no stress fashion and bringing the joy back to picking an outfit, this capsule thing sure is a great idea! Plus, investing in items of higher quality tends to result in a smaller selection of clothes that are guaranteed to last longer, saving you money in the long run.

Less stress to get dressed

Your winter capsule will consist of a small collection of clothes you’ll be able to mix and match for reliable outfit combinations. When the only things in your wardrobe are pieces that work with each other and fit you great, getting dressed in the morning will be a breeze.

Have fun!

You’ll find it easier to express yourself when the only pieces in your wardrobe are reliable. Plus, you can sell seasonal pieces throughout the year on Trade Me and be part of a sustainable fashion ecosystem.

How to create a capsule wardrobe

Let's start at the beginning, use these starter tips to get you on your way to your first capsule wardrobe. Once you nail the basic principles, you'll never look back!

1. Audit your apparel

Pull out all the clothes you haven’t worn in ages and look for the common thread. It might be a colour, style or pattern that just doesn’t suit you or feel right anymore. If you need some extra help parting with your clothes, channel your inner Marie Kondo and ask yourself, "does this spark joy?"

For the clothes that don't make the cut, sell them easily using the Trade Me app and make some Ping that you can re-invest for your capsule purchases!

Putting aside what doesn’t work will leave you with all the clothes that do. Use these items to help you make decisions for your new winter wardrobe.

Channel your inner Marie Kondo.

2. Keep those funky favourites

Have five or so statement items that reflect your personal style. Choose things made in quality fabrics, fun prints or pieces with sentimental value. This could be a treasured pair of vintage shoes, a tailor-made suit or brightly coloured scarf. You do you!

3. Add a whole new layer (literally)

We know that layers make staying warm the norm. But when it comes to creating your capsule wardrobe (especially a winter capsule), layering will take your looks to the next level.

A stylish puffer vest from North Face or Huffer, a cosy coat or a vintage cardigan will provide you with the versatility to create dozens of different looks.

The winter capsule wardrobe essentials

Having the basics sorted will help you tie together all the staple looks that work for you. If you need some inspiration for your winter layers, jump onsite to explore!

1. Luxe loungewear

Whoever decided to mix activewear with pyjamas was a hands-down genius. You can choose to either buy a matching set, or go for a soft-fabric top and tracksuit pants in your favourite colour for a DIY set.

To wrap up warm inside, team your loungewear with Ugg boots. When you need to brave it for brunch, slide on some sneakers and layer on a jacket . Or, wear the top or bottom with separate outfits and voila – four looks in one!

2. Sweater weather

The cuts and fabrics you choose are key when it comes to making your sweaters super versatile. For example, a cashmere crew can be worn all year round – dressed up with a collared blouse beneath or dressed down with denim. A woollen jumper or turtleneck will add texture and depth to your outfits while keeping you warm at work, or on your evening walk.

Check out Propaganda Clothing or Chances Surf for hoodies by Huffer, or Shine On for cute cardigans and crews. Whether your style is button-up or pullover – the sweaters you snag this winter will become fundamental favourites for years to come.

Sweaters are a comfortable and versatile option.

3. Jackets & Outerwear

From trench coats to blazers – it’s no simple task to reduce your outerwear to a select few pieces. However, investing in coats and jackets that suit the rest of your wardrobe is key if you want your capsule to work.

Waterproof commuter jackets from Mountain Warehouse are also a great addition, as they’re bulky enough to layer on top of your work attire without detracting from the outfit underneath.

4. Denim for days

Ever since jeans became popular in the 1960s, denim has stayed in style – and for good reason. Dress ‘em up, dress ‘em down. Slim-cut, boot-cut. Ripped, flared. Acid-wash, dark-wash. If it sounds like we’re listing the items in your wardrobe, it might be time to reduce your jean collection to a couple of classic cuts.

Search for trusted brands like Levi, Rollas or Ksubi and type in keywords to refine your search like ‘high-waisted’ or ‘wide leg’ – whatever styles suit your body.

PS: Don’t succumb to denim trends! Carefully choosing a couple of good quality jeans in different styles and different washes that you love will provide you with the versatility and longevity that makes a capsule wardrobe so appealing.

How many pairs of jeans do you actually wear regularly?

5. Tops and tees

Merino singlets and vests are an essential winter addition to your capsule wardrobe, as the breathable base layer makes it possible to wear your favourite summer tees without feeling the cold!

If you’re updating your t-shirt collection, choose a variety of long-sleeved and short-sleeved options in neutral colours and simple patterns, as well as bright shades and unique prints.

Tops (including dress shirts and blouses) are the easiest outlet in your capsule to express your mood each day – check out Love Simple for textured tops and Augustine for patterns and prints.

6. Five ace accessories

Accessories are an easy way to keep your capsule on trend, but it can be easy to get sidetracked and end up with a drawer of jewellery, bags and hats you never wear. Instead, keep it simple with these five dependable items:

  • Watch
  • Belt
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat (winter beanie)
  • Scarf (chunky-knit scarf)

Don’t underestimate the power these ace accessories will have on pulling your outfits together! When spring sets in, swap out the beanie for a fedora and the scarf for a cross-body bag or backpack. Remember to choose your watch, belt and sunnies in a timeless design if you want them to be a permanent feature of your capsule.

A few well chosen accessories can go a long way.

7. It’s a shoe-in

Whether you’re more likely to wear a pair of gumboots or Doc Martens – a practical winter shoe is last on our winter essentials, but by no means the least important. Whether they’re tramping boots from Kathmandu or a brand new pair of Beau Coops, choose at least two winter shoes that will also transition your outfits between seasons.

As well as a pair of sports shoes, the ever-versatile white sneaker is your final capsule wardrobe essential. Our top picks include Veja, Superga and Reebok.

For a wardrobe that transcends trends, explore our stores and start creating your winter capsule today.

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