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It's the time of year when we're often hating everything in our closets and desiring to buy new new new! However, I hope this spring to summer capsule wardrobe will inspire you to shop your closet and see what you already have that can mix and match… and if you do need to shop, ideas on how to make more style with fewer items.
This spring to summer capsule wardrobe is all pieces that are available in plus sizes. Items that are not available in smaller sizes, I will link to similar. As I peruse the internet, most capsule wardrobes are geared towards those who wear smaller than a size 14; that makes no sense when you realize that 67% of women in the United States wear a size 14 or larger.
Some of the pieces in this spring to summer capsule wardrobe may be more expensive than you are used to. I do have a good mix, but I added some higher-end items thinking about the discussion in my M.M.LaFleur review about how buying better quality and the true item you desire and that works with your wardrobe may at first seem expensive but could save you money (and stress, and time) in the long run.
However, all pieces in this spring to summer capsule wardrobe are relatively classic styles that could be replicated with retailers at a lower price point. In fact, if you know of lower-priced yet still great quality pieces that could be swapped out, I encourage you to share them in the comments!
Spring to Summer Capsule Wardrobe
With base colors of beige and black with soft shades of rose and lilac for pops of color, this spring to summer capsule wardrobe can go from work to weekend, casual affairs and more dressy occasions. Thinking about what is already in your closet, you could extend this capsule wardrobe even further with a denim jacket, a graphic t-shirt, a different silhouette of pants (maybe a pair of high-waisted trousers or a pair of white jeans).
tan wide-leg stretch linen pant (sizes 18-24; link to sizes 00-16) | black cigarette pants (sizes 00-40) | cropped boyfriend jeans (sizes 00-40) | pink double-breasted blazer (sizes XXS-4X) | floral skirt (sizes XXS-4X) | white linen tunic (sizes 0-40) | striped Breton tee (sizes XS-4XL) | lavender viscose sweater (sizes XXS-7X) | cream peplum blouse (sizes 12-24; similar concept in XXS-XXL) | black square neck tank (sizes 00-40)
Shop the Items in this Capsule Wardrobe:
Accessorizing the Capsule Wardrobe
With previous capsule wardrobes, I usually stuck to just one or two pairs of shoes, one bag, and a handful of accessories. With this one, I got a bit more creative with the accessories because I think a lot of you grown-ass women have acquired a range of pieces over the years. The classic, the quirky, the functional, the fun. If not, I have links to all the pieces featured and you'll find similar items at mass retailers and resellers this season.
monstera necklace (available up to 22″) | thick short gold hoops | larger gold hoops | gold and black dangle earrings | pearl necklace | necklace extender | black sunglasses | reading glasses | tortoise sunglasses | matte sheer lipcolor | gold sandals | white sneakers | black heels | tan loafers | black flats | floral bandana | butterfly print scarf | tan tote | wicker purse | orange crossbody | cream purse | black clutch (budget-friendly alternative) | not above but in the outfit collages: black “don't tell me to smile” baseball cap
I focused on functionality along with style. Sandals with support, heels that come in wide widths, a tote that accommodate a laptop, lipcolor that can be swiped on in a second without a mirror, and a necklace extender to make all those too short on-trend necklaces more comfortable. I own the ballet flats and a similar version of the sneakers (read my Allbirds review), own the wicker bag, as well as several pieces from the company that makes the orange and tan bags and can attest to the quality.
However, many of the items can easily be replaced with what is already residing in your closet. Use this capsule wardrobe as a guide on how to restyle the same item multiple ways with a switch of accessories.
Shop the Shoes, Jewelry, and Other Accessories in this Capsule Wardrobe:
Ten Items, Over 33 Looks
As I mentioned, I was able to get 33 looks from this spring to summer capsule wardrobe of just 10 items of clothing. I probably could have made more, but I had to get home for dinner. I find these capsule wardrobes so fun to make because it really forces you to see beyond the basics and try something new.
Gallery of 33 Looks from the Capsule Wardrobe
Click on any of the images to see them larger. Use the arrows to scroll through all the looks, and then click anywhere outside of the slideshow (if on mobile) or click the “X” in the upper right corner (if on desktop/laptop) to return to the article.
I played with the garments in this capsule wardrobe. The linen shirt was left open like a “shacket,” it was tied and tucked in. The sweater in one look is tied around the neck. I don't mention with most whether the top layer is tucked in our left out because that is a personal choice (though if you're against tucking in your tops, I do encourage you to read this piece and the comments).
Building Your Own Capsule Wardrobe
My #1 advice for creating a functional wardrobe is think in capsules. The best way to start is to imagine styling any item you add to your closet in three ways. That denim shirt, you can wear it open over a tank and chinos, you can tie it at the waist of a midi skirt, you can tuck it into those high-waisted wide-leg trousers. Get this style three ways mindset, and you'll be less likely to have shopping regrets.
This is also a great way in determining what deserves to remain in your closet. I believe in statement pieces and signature looks that may not be as versatile but add fun and personality to a wardrobe. But for the more staple of garments, they should be able to lead at least three different lives.
This spring to summer capsule wardrobe is a good example of styling items at least three ways. Each piece is styled multiple ways, with different garments, achieving different levels of formality. Shopping slow and with care, thinking about the rule of threes, you may find you don't need to add much to your wardrobe to achieve your own capsule wardrobe!
I hope you like this spring to summer capsule wardrobe. I look forward to your feedback on it. Would you like to see more capsule wardrobes this season? Any certain hero item you'd love it to be centered around? Do you have a specific trip or occasion that could benefit from a capsule wardrobe? Share it in the comments and you never know, it may be the focus of my next capsule wardrobe!
Update on my Mango purchase–I love the look and fit of the flowered skirt, but alas, it snags like crazy. I am going to look it over closely and see how much the snags show, but I don’t think it’s long for this world. At least it wasn’t terribly costly, but I just ordered some similar items from Anthopologie and I hope I have better luck with them.
Bought most of the items here or already had them, subbed old navy for some pieces for budget. I’m a size 22 and size 11 shoe and I am so thankful for you creating something that I can shop and wear! Wearing my first outfit today! (Mango blazer black tank black pant black shoe :))
For those, like me, who find the Mansur Gavriel clutch a bit rich for our budget (and it’s considered the bargain version of a Bottega Veneta!), but who still like leather and investment bags, I recommend Loeffler Randall for a couple of similar looks. I have the Annaleigh in Dune but it also comes in black and it is a very chic clutch.
Yayyy, another capsule wardrobe – I always find these useful, so thanks!
As a slight side note, THANK YOU for posting the 33 looks at the end as individual pictures with the captions included underneath (rather than as a rotating carousel of spotlight photos) – much easier to compare than a lightbox setup!
However, your pop-up video share/follow/fave buttons & the ad in the bottom banner) make it difficult to complete my comment though, since they cover part of the comment box as I type & make it difficult to coordinate with pressing the captcha in time too (this is my third attempt now!) Just a heads up for those of us with accessibility issues!
Paula Spizziri says
Always love your capsule wardrobe posts and this is no exception. Thanks!
You work so hard for us! Thank you! Somehow, even though I love designers who make dresses from different patterns (Stella Jean, Duro Olowo), I cannot wrap my head around putting mixed patterned separates together. Strange!
Ann B. says
Alison – This capsule is so pretty and feminine. I love the skirt and the peplum blouse. You have definitely given me inspiration to shop my closet. And this capsule is perfect for back to work, in the office. (BOO!) I look forward to more capsules.
This is a very pretty capsule. I just decided to return some less expensive things and save my pennies for less items but higher quality, but sometimes it’s hard to find the trendier colors in higher quality lines. Still so much black, navy, khaki, or gray! So I may try Mango, figuring if it doesn’t last that long, at least it wasn’t a big investment. Fortunately I have some similar pants in my closet!
Karen S Weitzman says
I’d love a capsule for an upcoming 10 day trip to Alaska the end of May. We are going on a tour and will be mainly doing outdoors activities with the occational dinner thrown in. Or exploring/shopping of course. I’ve been following you since E was just a little baby! I’m always learning!
I love this capsule! I have now been inspired to go through my closet and create a little capsule from what I have so I’m thinking light blue, rose/pink and greens with my neutrals.. I have a few pieces that are similar to what you have shown but in different colours. But I also could not resist buying the floral skirt. I’ve always loved red or orange and lilac together, so I decided to get it. I know of at least two tops I already have that I can wear with it, maybe three depending on the shade of lilac so while it might not end up being part of my “capsule” I know it will get lots of wear.
Love this post! Alison does some of the best capsule wardrobes, and I think this is one of her best ones yet. In this capsule, I could really see the logic of how it was put together. First….having a pant and top in the two main “core colors” — in this case the black and cream. Adding an anchor jacket that works with both, and then a variety of tops in a variety of silhouettes that will go with all of the above. I could envision the basic outfit combinations right away, but then seeing how Alison brought the outfits up a notch with the suite of accessories was another learning. Please do more of these! Thx!
Long time reader, first time commenter! Love this post and love this capsule wardrobe! I have a few of these pieces in my cart right now! Separate question, do you have suggestions for other basic layering tanks? As a petite, larger chested woman I struggle to find pieces that aren’t too long, too revealing, or too heavy (showing through skirts or pants). Thanks!
Alison Gary says
I am obsessed with the microfiber tanks at Chico’s. They’re $29.50, come in a ton of colors. Silky smooth enough to play nice with a blouse over it, elegant enough to be worn on its own or under a blazer. Choose your usual size for a tank, go down a size for a very trim bodysuit-like effect. It isn’t bulky when tucked in, covers a standard bra for large busts, not too much cleavage but still a really lovely neckline. https://shopstyle.it/l/bGrps
You might also want to try j Jill, they actually have petite sized tanks (up to xl, which they say is 18P). The petite is 1.5 inches shorter than the regular. As someone whose all legs, but a D cup, these are the best fitting tanks I’ve ever found. And they are heavy enough that I could wear the white without layering (but I don’t), but not to heavy that I can’t tuck or layer.
Thank you for the suggestions! Very helpful.
Maggie S says
Awesome post!!! I LOVE capsules (I have been trying to get with the capsule wardrobe idea for a while). Maybe an article about how you start putting one together–do you start with one special piece -like the pink jacket!! I look forward to your posts -and it is the first thing I read every morning!
I don’t know how you knew I was in a panic about the possibility of having to go on-site with my next project (not having gone to an office in over 2 years) but I can’t tell you how flippin’ helpful this is!
Capsulte wardrobes are one of my favorite types of posts. In fact, looking for a capsule wardrobe was what drew me to Wardrobe Oxygen for the first time and I’ve been a loyal reader ever since. Keep the capsules coming!
Fantastic! So timely for me! We are traveling to England in June to see my son and his wife, he is based at Lakenheath AFB. We will stay 3+ weeks and my husband is a luggage Nazi….lol. So I absolutely have to pack very mindfully and this really has given me a great start! Thank you!
Paula Spizziri says
Maybe Alison needs to do a capsule wardrobe for men? 🙂
Love this, especially because I already have several of the US pieces! Wanted to shout out specially to that Dagne Dover Mara crossbody–I have it in black and absolutely adore it, and this has me wanting to go back for the orange.
Jennifer Porter says
I love this capsule. I’ve never heard of Mango before, but you’ve got a few pieces from this line. What can you tell us about the quality of their clothes?
I have also been wondering about Mango — have seen their pieces several places online but have not tried in real life. Looking forward to the response!
Alison Gary says
I have yet to purchase Mango, but my sister got a few pieces of apparel and accessories. I’d say it is similar to H&M or other retailers of the similar pricepoint. Not high-end, but some really nice basics in lower-cost fabrics and you can occasionally get a dud. She owns the skirt featured in this capsule, I added the blazer when checking out their offerings but don’t know what it’s like IRL.
Now this is a capsule. I’ve been seeing so called capsules this spring that brag about achievements like ‘5 looks from 15 pieces.’
Alison Gary says
Creating capsules for me is like completing a puzzle or Spelling Bee on NYT. I love the challenge of what else can I make that is realistically wearable and nice looking? What if I switch out that top for a different one, can I extend it even further? I’m glad you like it!
Your capsule wardrobes were one of the features of your site that I really enjoyed. Missed them during Covid. Am glad to see them back.