Wardrobe Building: Capsule Foundation Bottoms

Before you can begin building a capsule wardrobe, you need to have a strong foundation.  This week I’d like to talk about some workhorse basic bottoms – the pants and skirts that can be worn again and again and will act as the basis of your capsule.  While you don’t need ALL of these pieces to start a capsule, you will find it easier if you have at least three or four of them.  As basics that will get a lot of repeat wear, I’d keep details clean and minimal.  We’ll get to some fun stuff a bit later!

Spring/Summer Casual Capsule Foundation Bottoms
Spring/Summer Casual Capsule Foundation Bottoms
Spring/Summer Casual Capsule Workhorses – Bottoms

When choosing basics noted below as dark, try to stick to your most favored dark neutral. Black for many of us but this could also be charcoal, dark taupe, navy or chocolate brown.  Other neutral pieces can be in the same dark neutral or in a lighter tone such as dove grey, lighter taupe, khaki, ivory or white.

For fabrics, I’d look for denims, cotton/cotton blends and ponte to keep things comfortable and in line with the casual feel.

  • Moderately dark to dark jeans – I prefer a skinny but if another cut is your favorite, go with that!
  • A white jean
    • Articles of Society Sarah – get good reviews for opaqueness
  • A dark crop pant
  • A neutral crop pant
    • Budget: Old Navy Pixie or Harper
    • Mid-Range: Banana Republic Sloan or Avery
  • A dark pencil skirt
    • Budget: Merona Ponte Pencil
    • Mid-Range: Gap Ponte Pencil
    • High: Eileen Fisher Knit Pencil Skirt
    • High: Citizen’s of Humanity Karmen – love this denim version for casual wear.  It goes OOS often but you can be notified when back in stock
  • A neutral a-line skirt
    • Budget: Uniqlo Women’s Flare Skirt
    • Mid: Zara Faux Leather A-Line – OK, maybe black leather isn’t ultra spring-summery but could work in a cooler climate or going into fall
    • Mid: JCrew White Button Front Denim
    • High: Whistles Denise A-Line
  • A neutral short – the sateen finish on the shorts below make them easy to take from day to night
    • Mid-Range: Banana Republic Avery Short
    • Mid-Range: Garnet Hill Slim Walking Short
Spring/Summer Office Capsule Foundation Bottoms
Spring/Summer Office Capsule Foundation Bottoms
Spring/Summer Office Capsule Workhorses – Bottoms

As with the casual suggestions above, try to collect your foundation pieces in your most preferred dark neutral.  For the office, look for multi-season lightweight wool or wool/silk blends for the greatest versatility.  Refer to this post on suiting for dark pant/skirt options.

  • Dark trouser in a skimming cut – the typical suit pant
  • Dark pencil skirt – again, typical suit skirt
  • Neutral pencil/a-line skirt in a lighter neutral, subtle stripe or tonal tweed
    • Mid: Halogen Pencil Skirt in a light, neutral tweed
    • High: Reiss Russel Skirt

Author: Betsy Ramsey

Betsy Ramsey is the author of Natty Gal. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, she now lives there with her husband and Bichon-Frise, Dolce. A mindful fashion & capsule wardrobe enthusiast, she travels extensively, visiting 56 countries to date. Betsy is committed to helping others live their most fulfilling life!

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