How to build a capsule wardrobe

Here at AW, we like to call it the minimalists wardrobe. Minimum fuss, easy selection and quality items that you’ll feel confident wearing daily. So how do you create a wardrobe that needs minimal thinking time. We show you how…

I’m one of those people that like minimalism. I don’t want lots of ‘stuff’ I can’t stand mess and pick at the slightest mark on the wall, which by the way is really tough when you have three kids who crash and bash against them daily.

I’ve just gone on a spring cleaning rampage. Seems the clocks have sprung forward and I have also quite literally sprung into action. Six load of black bags out the door (clothes bank) and I’m looking thinking why on earth did I buy any of this stuff. I have ballgowns like I go out to BAFTAS, Oscars and all sorts, when reality has it that I actually mainly slob at home on my very rare days off or in jeans, a jumper and a bit of red lippy to perk myself up. (Don’t ask ?) or wear sharp Tailoring when I’m at work.

This led me to think about why we choose the pieces of clothing that we do in our wardrobes, and have broken down what you can do to make style and dressing for the occasion more enjoyable.

Simplifying your wardrobe

I have a casual wardrobe and I have a work wardrobe and I also colour code. My life’s crazy and the less choices I have to make, quite frankly the better. I love fashion but I don’t want to spend an hour scratching my head every morning wondering what to wear… Mark Zuckerberg apparently wears the same thing every day to erase this issue.

I’ve been asked to make three shades of suits and to just keep them coming for my customer then to add a crisp white or blue shirt and an assortment of ties; job done. Whatever works for you, my guide will at least give you some helpful tips on what you need for the following:

The weekend

  • T-shirts – Keep them plain in a pure cotton, with a little stretch if you like them more fitted.
  • Smart chinos – For a christening or formal lunch with the parents, these are ideal. For variety, experiment with colour.
  • Casual blazers- Either with a firm shoulder for formal or light construction (relaxed) for a chilled BBQ, lunch date. Always have a classic, navy to hand, a lighter weight plain, textured tweed and something with a bit more fun.
  • Smart trainers (please no hi tech clunky trainers!) We love these from Oliver Sweeney
  • Relaxed brogues or loafers These are ideal to wear with dark jeans and smart chinos. Like these from Oliver Sweeney 

Sporting occasions / Weddings


  • Slim fit, sharp business suits- You ideally need 4-5 suits for a great rotation
  • Business shirts- 5-10 twill and Oxford shirts that last. Hard collars are recommended to look sharp.
  • Smart shoes Classic, Italian lace ups
  • Ties Keep classic width ties, with subtle textures, patterns and spots.

Sarah Gilfillan of Sartoria Lab commented on what she finds herself shopping for with her clients:

“The things that I find myself recommending and shopping for over and over again with clients are dark wash jeans, chinos, a navy blazer or bomber jacket (depending on their lifestyle), shirts in white, pale blue and a darker colour like navy, and fine knit sweaters. You can buy any of these in a casual or formal style and in a shape to suit your physique”.

We’d love to hear from you about how you make your wardrobe choices, what are your staple pieces and if you have a capsule wardrobe. Want to speak to one of our tailors? Just pick up the phone or send us an email, we’re always happy to help! We have stores in Shoreditch & Bishops Stortford and a Savile Row showroom.

Written by Alexandra Wood