Welcome to the fourth post in our series on building a capsule wardrobe. Today’s focus is on dresses and outerwear. We’ll wrap up the foundation pieces next week with shoes and with a strong foundation in place, we’ll move on to the fun stuff!
Spring/Summer Casual Capsule Foundation Dresses
- Dark Neutral T-shirt Dress
- Budget: Old Navy jersey swing or fitted v-neck tee dress
- Mid-Range: Gap Softspun A-line tank or tee dress
- High: Eileen Fisher ballet neck dress
- Shirt Dress in a solid, denim or stripe. NOTE: A style that buttons all the way down (as opposed to a popover) increases versatility by letting you style it as a dress or unbuttoned as a layering piece over trousers.
Spring/Summer Office Capsule Foundation Dresses
- Neutral Sheath Dress (a fit & flare style works if you find sheaths a difficult silhouette to wear)
- Budget: Liz Claiborne sheath and NY & Company 7th Avenue sheath, Target Merona sheath and Old Navy sleeveless sheath
- Mid-Range: J. Crew offers several good options including the cap-sleeve v-neck, the buckle dress, the portfolio dress and the resume dress
- High: Theory Eano sheath, Theory Betty sheath, Boss Dirusa sheath and Kate Spade Sicily sheath
Spring/Summer Capsule Foundation Outerwear
- A sporty, lightweight jacket. This could be a denim jacket, lightweight moto or bomber in either a cropped or just-at-the-waist length for layering over tees and dresses.
- Neutral Trench in black or tan/taupe. Mid to upper thigh lengths are most versatile.
- Budget: Old Navy trench
- Mid-Range: London Fog Heritage trench, Michael Kors hooded trench or Calvin Klein trench
- High: Burberry Kensington or Sandringham
Friendly Reminders for Capsule Foundation Pieces
- You don’t need every recommended piece but should work toward collecting at least a few of them.
- For most foundation items, buy the best you can afford. These will be the workhorse pieces that get a lot of repeat wear.
- Keep foundation piece silhouettes clean and minimal. Decorative details are fun but limit versatility.
- Commit to a primary color palette for the season – a dark base of either black/charcoal, navy or brown with a light base of either light grey, white or ivory for black/charcoal and navy or either tan or ivory for those choosing a brown dark base.