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Style Advice

The ultimate winter capsule wardrobe

The ultimate winter capsule wardrobe

A common misconception of the capsule wardrobe is that it means owning five items and wearing them interchangeably every day. In reality, a capsule wardrobe can hold as many items as you like, so long as each piece works with the majority of the others. In the same way that there are 915 million potential combinations for six LEGO bricks, the same could be said (on a much different scale) for your capsule wardrobe – when you know how to get the combinations right, every garment you own can work really hard. 

Still feeling stumped? To help clear things up, we spoke with Thread stylist Toby Standing about the styles you’ll want to have on standby this season, and how you can combine them with ease.

Move over, minimalism

“When developing your winter capsule, don’t think of Bart Simpson’s wardrobe of 20 orange t-shirts and blue shorts,” Toby says. “That’s an example of minimalism, which isn’t for everyone. A capsule wardrobe can be, if you’re doing it right.” 

Another misconception of the capsule wardrobe is that it needs to be devoid of colour or pattern to increase the wearability of each piece. Somewhere along the way the phrase ‘capsule wardrobe’ has become synonymous with the idea of minimalism, but just because you’re working with a select amount of items, there’s no need to restrict yourself to pared-back and minimal clothing. Instead, it can be an opportunity to curate a selection of items that suit your style and the things you want to wear – as bold and colourful as that may be.

Look for the best layers

The first thing to consider when building a capsule wardrobe for winter is how well each piece can be layered. Consider whether it’s practical for colder weather as well as how much you want to wear it – so when you throw everything together to keep warm, your outfit should feel instantly cohesive. 

“A coat that works with both smart and casual styles, like a wool mac, will be easy to dress up for work or more formal occasions, but will look just as cool on the weekend with your sweatpants and trainers,” Toby says. And when the weather is warmer, look to alternative pieces from your capsule – like an overshirt or jumper – to become your outer-layer.

Consider your colour palette

Bringing colours into your winter wardrobe is especially important, as it’s a time where we can naturally find ourselves turning to a darker palette. Instead, look for rich tones that add colour while still feeling seasonally appropriate. “Knitwear makes an easy starting point if you’re new to bolder tones,” Toby says.

Blues, burgundys, and even contrasting neutrals are easy starting points, but if you want to truly invest in a truly seasonal colour palette, try introducing rich jewel tones that will add some depth to complement even the most basic pieces in your wardrobe. 


Pick versatile patterns

Forget the idea that patterns don’t go together, and instead select bold, punchy prints in colours that will complement the rest of your wardrobe. A statement shirt can go easily with plain trousers, but also works when layered under a patterned jacket if the colour palette is right.  

On the bottom you can add interest with interesting silhouettes, like wide-leg jeans that are casual but easily dressed up with sturdy boots and a knit, or cord trousers that add texture and a smarter feel.


Make it cosy yet considered

The goal of your capsule wardrobe is to be able to merge a casual Sunday look into a cool rugged outfit into a dressed-up smart casual combination. Picking base styles that are versatile instantly makes them more wearable. So while your burgundy knit might feel slightly daring in terms of colour, the shape and style will easily work with sneakers and sweatpants, jeans and boots, or smarter trousers and shoes. “It’s not about blending the colours and patterns into your outfit, but picking the right pieces that will fit into your look without feeling forced,” Toby says.

Words: Ella White
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Toby Standing