Creating mix-and-match wardrobe capsules is one way to alleviate dressing stress because you maximize the wearability of your items, and have “ready to go” outfit combinations in your closet. So having some idea about how the items in your wardrobe relate to each other is worth the upfront time and effort.
When I’m working with clients, we’re either building a mix-and-match capsule from scratch, filling in the gaps of existing capsules, or simply adding on to capsules by making them larger. A flexible structure like the one I’m using here provides a helpful starting point to mix and match casual separates.
Establish two things upfront:
- Colour Palette: Chose a spectrum of colours that are mix and matchable. I’ve chosen black, white, grey and cobalt with accents of yellow and rust. Yellow is fab matched with grey, and rust, as a variation on orange, complements blue.
- Fashionability: Decide which trends you’d like to incorporate so that your style feels refreshed. I’ve chosen to integrate trends like mixed media, fluid fits, boyfriend jeans, high-low hemlines, upscale sweatshirts, pattern mixing, patterned bottoms, black footwear, pointy toes, and Beatle booties. I’m grounding the trends with modern classics like a button-down shirt, a simple broad black belt, a blazer, scarves, and a moto jacket.
Create a casual capsule for Autumn using the following template as a guide: three bottoms, six tops, two toppers, two pairs of shoes, some accessories, and a bag. By selecting the right items, you should be able to wear all the tops and toppers with each of the bottoms and either pair of shoes. The bag stays constant and you’ll throw in some of the accessories to mix up the look.
Choose six casual tops (double the number of bottoms). Select an assortment of fabrics, silhouettes, colours, patterns and styles to prevent becoming bored with your options. I’ve chosen a mixed media sassy sweatshirt, white polka dot shirt, striped tee, cobalt sweater, panel printed tee, and colour blocked turtleneck. I’ve covered tailored, fluid and oversized fits. I chose stripes as the pattern because they are a great vehicle for pattern mixing.
The button-down shirt can also be layered under the sweatshirt, pullover and panel printed tee to create further top options. All tops can be worn with all three bottoms. Some tops can be worn tucked, while all tops can be worn faux-tucked, semi-tucked or untucked.
Choose three casual bottoms that are different from each other and make sure that they work with the tops. I’ve stuck to pants and jeans because they are more popular with my clients than dresses and skirts. Roomy boyfriend jeans that can be worn rolled or unrolled with booties, and with a belt. Stretchy black Ponte pants as a cozy and sleek option. And patterned skinnies with a fun galloping horse print. Of course, this capsule assumes that you will pattern mix a top and bottom. If pattern mixing is not your thing, choose solid tops, or solid bottoms.
Toppers are usually necessary for Fall. Choose two in different colours and in fabrications that work over the tops and with the bottoms. I’ve chosen a cobalt blazer and black moto because shorter jackets work best over boyfriend jeans. The shorter length works equally well over tight bottoms, especially if you’ve chosen longer, fluid tops to offset a bit of the tight on the bottom. Remember that all tops should look great sans topper so that you feel fab when you need to remove it indoors.
Two Pairs of Shoes
Two pairs of shoes is the minimum for this capsule. It’s Fall, so closed shoes are generally in order. I’ve stuck to streamlined ankle boots across two heel heights because they are the most versatile and practical choice with the bottoms. The black Beatle booties ensure a long leg line because of the pointy toe, despite the flat heel. The grey booties add height to outfits on days when you feel like being a little taller.
Choose one bag to wear throughout Autumn if you don’t like to swap them out. Choose a casual style that is somewhat structured for the best of both worlds. There is quite a bit of black in these outfits, so I’ve chosen a rust tote as a nod to Fall and happy contrast with the blue. There is life after black handbags, and if you’re a redhead, a rust bag picks up your hair in every outfit.
Belt and Scarves
I added a belt to the capsule because I chose boyfriend jeans as one of the bottoms. A black belt matches both pairs of booties, and although it is not essential to match your belt and shoes, it is an easy way to create a pulled together outfit. Scarves are also not essential, but a nice way to change up an outfit nonetheless. I’ve chosen a black and white pattern because it worked best with all the tops and pattern mixed well with the bottoms.
The aforementioned items are the foundation of the capsule and we can build on it quite easily. Solid rust, black, white, burgundy, grey and navy tops are no-brainers. So is a pair of black and white wedge sneakers, silver flats, tall black boots, or black flat oxfords. A grey tweed jacket could be fab, and a tubular knit pencil skirt could work provided you have the footwear to match. Add in jewellery, watch, eyewear, lipstick, or new hair colour as desired.
The capsule structure serves as a template that you can manipulate to reflect your own style, silhouette and colour preferences. As you add more items to the capsule, it’s not at all necessary that every item works with everything else. And obviously, there will be some combinations that tickle your fancy more than others so you’ll wear them more often. The mix-and-match capsule approach is merely a way to ensure that you think of your wardrobe as a whole, and how the items work with each other. That way you’ll have an easier time putting outfits together before you rush out the door in the morning.