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How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe for Men

Crafting Your Timeless and Versatile Style

By: Harry Rosen StaffDate: 2023-08-25

Are you waking up, peering into your closet, and increasingly asking yourself, “What on Earth am I going to wear today?” You might have the wrong clothes, or too many clothes, or a combination of both!

This is where the idea of a “capsule wardrobe” can help a man out. It’s essentially, a thoughtfully curated collection of indispensable and adaptable clothing pieces that can be interchanged to generate countless outfits, covering all your fashion bases. Not only is it convenient and timeless, but it's also impervious to trends. And fear not, the capsule wardrobe accommodates an extravagant pair of shoes or a flamboyant jacket if you so desire. Once you've taken stock of your lifestyle and clothing requirements, you're poised to gradually construct it.

As the seasons change, it’s time for a new beginning. This easy guide is your roadmap for creating a foolproof wardrobe that will last you for years to come.

A Few Key Principles

1.  Establish Your Colour Palette: Select a neutral colour palette as the cornerstone of your wardrobe. Neutrals such as black, white, grey, navy, and beige are versatile and harmonize effortlessly. You can also incorporate a few complementary accent hues to introduce diversity.

2.  Prioritize Quality and Fit: Invest in well-crafted pieces that are sturdy and meticulously made. Pay attention to the fit of your garments; they should be both comfortable and flattering for your body type.

3.  Ensure Adaptability: Verify that the items within your capsule wardrobe can be effortlessly combined to generate an array of outfits. This flexibility will ensure you maximize the utility of your curated collection.

Foundations of Your Capsule Wardrobe

T-shirts: Lightweight tees serve as comfortable base layers. If you're heading outdoors, opt for thicker fabrics that maintain their structure. Stick to solid hues in neutral tones like white, black, navy, and gray. Once you’ve got that covered, think about adding a classic Breton stripe.

Jeans: A dark pair pairs well with a range of ensembles and occasions. They work seamlessly with casual attire as well as a sport jacket. Make sure they're slim-fit, not overly skinny.

Casual Shirts: You can never have too many button-up shirts. Cotton Oxford shirts in white, blue, pink, yellow, stripes, and solids are your dressing essentials. Additionally, chambray shirts and plaid shirts offer a casually sophisticated workwear aesthetic. These should be slim enough to layer under a jacket but not excessively snug as you’ll want to occasionally wear them unbuttoned over a T-shirt.

Lightweight Knits: Essential lightweight knits, such as merino wool crewnecks and V-necks, are indispensable (wear them over a crewneck tee). Merino wool polo knits and lightweight turtlenecks also make layering easy.

Sweaters, Overshirts & Swackets: Heavier-gaugue sweaters are essential come winter. Look for style swith quality wool and wool-cashmere. You also can’t go wrong with a swacket (sweater-jacket combination) or an overshirt or chore jacket. Wear them over any of the above lightweight knits or tees.

Chinos: Opt for classic beige khaki and navy tones. A moderately slim fit is recommended.

Tailored Pieces 

Classic Suit: Acquire a traditional two-button suit crafted from wool fabric. One in navy and another in gray. These will be versatile for most occasions. The trousers can also be worn separately, and if the fabric is suitably informal (such as a textured hopsack), the jacket can be worn alone with chinos or denim.

Unstructured Sports Jacket: An unstructured sports jacket features minimal padding, allowing the shoulders and fabric to rest close to the body in a comfortable manner, akin to a sweater. It offers a relaxed appearance. Some even resemble cardigans, making them a splendid match over T-shirts, polos, lightweight sweaters, and button-ups.

Dress Shirts: cotton dress shirts are a requisite. If formal occasions are infrequent, a white and a light blue dress shirt with a crisp collar will suffice. If worn in professional settings, branch out into pinks, stripes, and other variations.

Grey Wool Trousers: Pair these trousers with your aforementioned sport jacket. They can often be worn with a tee or crewneck sweater for a juxtaposition of business below and casual above. Suitable for both summer and winter.


Black Oxfords: A staple for every man, even if worn sparingly. Suitable for business, weddings, funerals, court appearances – those occasions demanding your most formal attire.

Brown Derbies: Think of these as your go-to shoes for in-between occasions – not as formal as your dressiest pair, yet notably more refined than sneakers or slip-ons.

White Sneakers: White sneakers complement nearly everything. Leather versions are splendid for more formal events, while white canvas or deerskin sneakers suit warm-weather weekends.

Boots: For Canada's climate some above-ankle footwear is in order. A pair of leather Chelsea boots pairs impeccably with suits (lace-ups will do nicely as well), while the suede variety complements jeans. Opt for some striking hiking boots for the weekend.

Remember, while the capsule wardrobe emphasizes versatility, it doesn't discourage showcasing your personal style. Accessories offer a splendid avenue for crafting distinctive looks.

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