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The perfect capsule wardrobe guide

The perfect capsule wardrobe guide

Getting dressed is complicated. Here at Thread, we make finding the right things a lot easier. But even when all your clothes fit and look good, figuring out precisely what to put on every morning can be a challenge. Especially if you’ve got other things to worry about, like whether the kids are actually up yet.

Which is where a capsule wardrobe comes in handy. “It’s a collection of just the basic essentials,” says Thread stylist Alexander McCalla. “The most important pieces, all of which go together and which mean you’re covered for everything, from weekend drinks to a wedding.” It also takes all the effort out of putting looks together, because everything complements everything else. “You could get dressed in the dark and still look fantastic.”

A capsule wardrobe is good for any man, but it’s particularly handy if you’re short either on time, or budget. “It means you need to buy fewer items, because they all work together,” says Alexander. “So you can create a lot of different outfits from just a handful of key things. And because any combination of them looks good, it saves you time deciding what to wear in the morning.”

The hard part is picking the right pieces and adding them to your wardrobe in the right order. Which is where we come in. “You should prioritise the pieces that you’ll wear the most,” says Alexander. “So things like jeans, t-shirts, Oxford shirts. Look for neutrals, so you don’t have to think about whether your colours clash, and avoid pattern or branding. A rule of thumb is that if it feels timeless – like something you could have worn in 1955, or could still be wearing in 2055 – then it’s worth investing. Finally, add seasonal pieces when they become relevant. You can hold off on an overcoat until the start of winter, or shorts until your summer holiday.”

Oxford shirt x 3

“These go with everything from a blazer to jeans – they’re the perfect balance between smart and casual. Get white ones first, then you can add colours like navy or olive.” 

T-shirt x3

“The right tee goes with anything from jeans to a suit. The key things are neckline – generally, crewnecks are more versatile and flattering – and getting a good fit. Start with block colours then introduce classic patterns like stripes.”

Blazer x 1

“Grey or navy are the best starting points as they go with everything. Just be careful with the cut – short and slim, or long and baggy, aren’t as versatile. A bit of structure is good as it means you can wear it formally too.”

Chinos x 3

“Because they work smart and casual, you can wear chinos for 90 per cent of the year. Stick to classic colours – navy, then tan in the summer and khaki in the autumn.”

Jeans x 1

“If your work is casual, then jeans can replace two pairs of chinos. You could wear them every day, so they’re worth investing. Just don’t get anything too wild – slim-fit indigo works smart with a blazer, casual with a jumper, and anywhere in between.”

Trainers x 1

“Stick to something clean and simple, so they work with your chinos and your jeans. Black or white trainers are best if you're going to wear them to work, because they're smart enough for a lot of offices. But colours look great if they're just for weekends.”

Smart shoes x 1

“If you’ll wear them to work, invest. If not, it’s still good to have a pair for smart occasions, but you can save some of your budget. Brogues work everywhere – look for round toes and a sole that’s a medium thickness, to hit the sweet spot of versatility, comfort and longevity.”

Knitwear x 1

“This should be something you can easily throw on. Your knitwear should be casual enough to go with jeans, but stick to neutral colours so that it works smart too. But the key thing here is comfort.”

Overcoat x 1

“You can wear one for more than half the year, so it’s worth investing. Look for a great fit that complements your shape – your stylist can suggest the best silhouette. Just make sure there’s enough space to fit layers underneath, so it’s still warm enough in midwinter.”