Back to the basics

Story by Hannah Crisp | Illustrations by Katie Ulrich


The phrase “capsule closet” has been trending in the fashion world over the past few years. What is it, you might ask? At its core, a capsule closet is a small collection of wardrobe basics that can be mixed and matched to create simple outfits or to pair with pieces that reflect your personal style. The beauty of capsule basics is that they fit into every wardrobe seamlessly. Here are five clothing pieces that every well-rounded closet needs.


Basic tees

Every closet needs short and long-sleeve T-shirts in black, white and gray. They go with nearly every pair of pants and make great layers under jackets and cardigans, and they can be found at stores like Target, Gap and Old Navy. It’s important to look for high quality shirts in slim cut, relaxed fit or whichever style you feel most comfortable wearing.

Button-down shirts

Everyone needs a trusty button-down shirt! You can half-tuck it into jeans for a casual outfit, or you can pair it with slacks or a skirt for a more polished look. This is an especially handy piece to have in your closet for job interviews. White button-downs are best when keeping things classic, or you can spice up your ensemble with patterns to make things interesting.

Denim jackets

Denim jackets are so versatile! You can pair one with a dressier outfit to give it a more casual feel, or throw it on with a tee and jeans for an instantly put-together look. Levi’s men’s denim jackets are great, and Old Navy has some nice distressed options if that’s more your style. Plus, if you want more flexibility within your wardrobe, you can keep both light and dark wash jackets on hand.


A go-to pair of quality, well-fitting jeans can be among the most functional items in your closet. The right pair of jeans can be dressed up with heels and a blouse or dressed down with a tee and sneakers. The possibilities are endless! You can do some research with your favorite brands and find a fit that flatters you specifically.

Black pants

Another uber-versatile piece! Black slacks are especially handy for business casual events or job interviews. Throw on that button-down and a blazer (a knit blazer is another good basic), and you’re all set.


There’s a wealth of information about different kinds of capsule closets out there. Some people like to have one full of basics that can be worn year-round. Some have a capsule for each season along with timeless pieces they love that are made to last for years. However you design your closet, all that matters is that it reflects your unique personality and style! Have fun!