Creating A Capsule Wardrobe

How To Wear A Tunic Sweater
By Jess
15 Jan 2020

When I launched my first capsule my goal was to simplify my wardrobe and find joy in the things I already owned. I wanted to consume less, and be more mindful about the ways I shop, from the brands I support (avoiding fast fashion) to the fabrics I choose. I’m happy to report, a year later, I still really love everything in this capsule wardrobe and I have every single piece in my wardrobe. Since I first posted this capsule I’ve discovered new sustainable and ethical brands doing great things in the fashion industry. I took the time to update some of these pieces with more eco-friendly and/or ethical options and I wanted to re-post it for inspiration as we head into a new year.

I know looking at this has me so excited to wear all of these pieces again post-pregnancy. Also, I created two seasonal capsules this year, fall and summer, so if you happen to be going on a warm weather vacation, check out the summer capsule for great classic and versatile pieces. I hope this post will help you start a capsule wardrobe of your own and make getting dressed easier!

Creating A Capsule Wardrobe

I mentioned at the beginning of the year that one of my big goals for 2019 is intention (more on that here). I’ve done a lot of closet (and life) de-cluttering the past few weeks and it has given me a lot of clarity. Creating a capsule wardrobe felt like a good way to kick off 2019 and jump-start a new approach to personal style. I was so sick of having decision fatigue and building a capsule wardrobe seemed like a good place to start. A few things about this capsule wardrobe. I created this based on what I had in my closet (and kept) after my wardrobe clean out. These are the pieces I find myself wearing again and again, with the exception of the blazer I already have everything included below (I did have a blue blazer but it was too small so I had to donate).

I wanted to hone in on the items I wear most often and the pieces that are easy to mix and match. I almost never wear heels, and for the most part I don’t wear dresses (aside from special occasions/events or during summer). This post is meant to help you learn how to build everyday collection of core pieces that you can tailor to your own personal style. I’ve written more about each piece, why it’s included, and where you can find it below. I’ll be sharing different ways to style these pieces and how to get the most wear out of them here on the blog, on Instagram and on YouTube. I hope you enjoy this capsule wardrobe and have fun making it your own.

Jess Ann Kirby paired down her wardrobe to staple pieces including denim, neutrals and go-to accessories.

Leather Ankle Boots // Cashmere Sweater // Barbour Jacket
Camel Coat // Missoma Horn Necklace // Jean Jacket
Crop Chino // Cashmere Wrap // Crossbody Bag

Leather Ankle Boots:

Nisolo is an ethical footwear brand based in Nashville (they also have sustainable practices). I have their heeled chelsea boot which is the perfect heel height and are comfortable to wear for hours. I’m also a big fan of ABLE, an ethical fashion brand committed to fair wages for women in the fashion industry. The Eliza boots are really comfortable and well made.

Cashmere Sweater:

This cashmere crewneck by Nadaam is sustainably produced and cruelty free. Their cashmere is also super soft. Reformation also has a crewneck made from 70% recycled cashmere.

Barbour Jacket:

One of the oldest items in my closet and undoubtedly the most worn. The Barbour waxed jacket is stylish, durable and classic. I have it in sage but I also love the black. I recommend reading the website for sizing, I have a US 4 which fits slightly oversized (roomy enough to layer).

Camel Coat:

The Everlane Italian ReWool coat is made from recycled wool and nylon. It’s stylish and flattering and comes in several versatile neutral colors (I have it in the dark charcoal but also love the camel). It fits fairly true to size, I went a size up for layering. Eileen Fisher has a beautiful, sustainably made alpaca wool coat.

Missoma Horn Necklace:

I wanted to include some of the jewelry I wear everyday like the Missoma horn necklace. I love delicate pieces that can be layered or worn alone. I’ve also heard great things about ethical jewelry brand Aurate which uses sustainably sourced materials.

Jean Jacket:

The Levi’s Ex-Boyfriend Trucker Denim Jacket fits slightly oversized. I love the vintage look of the lighter wash. Looks like the jean jacket you’ve had for years. For a classic style I like this one from DL1961.

Crop Chino:

For something other than denim a straight leg cropped chino is a super stylish option that can be worn so many ways (and these are so comfortable and flattering). I also love this wide leg crop style from Everlane.

Cashmere Wrap:

I absolutely love my cashmere travel wraps. Wear them for a long flight, bundle up for a cold day, bring one as a shawl for a dressed up event, it’s definitely an item you’ll get lots of mileage from. Naadam also makes an affordable classic cashmere scarf.

Crossbody Bag:

You definitely do NOT need a designer crossbody bag. The Chloe Faye was a very rare designer purchase for me, and I use mine a lot, but it’s a big splurge. Another really beautiful style I love is the Sezane Heritage Victor Bag. Both are perfect styles for travel and anytime you’re going out but don’t need a big tote.

Jess Ann Kirby's new capsule wardrobe covers casual pieces, like jeans and Converse sneakers, and more upscale items such as a navy blazer and loafers.

Stripe Shirt // Cuff  Bracelet // Leather Loafers
Basic Tee // Boyfriend Jeans // Bandana
Sneakers // Wool Blazer // Polarized Sunglasses

Stripe Shirt:

I love the classic style of a Saint James minquiers tee (recommend sizing up). I wear striped tees a lot so I have a few. Amour Vert another sustainable fashion brand has an affordable stripe tee in super soft fabric.

Cuff  Bracelet:

Are you noticing a trend here? Aside from the heirloom pieces I’ve inherited Missoma is pretty much the only jewelry brand I wear everyday. This classic cuff is gorgeous alone or layered with others like this Malachite cuff.

Leather Loafers:

I can’t say enough good things about these Sam Edelman Loraine loafers, I’ve had them for over two years now. They are SO comfortable and a great price point.

Basic Tee:

I love Sezane’s organic cotton t-shirts, I have it in every color. I recommend going at least one size up (they shrink a bit). The new Entireworld organic cotton tees at Nordstrom also come in lots of fun colors.

Boyfriend Jeans:

My go-to sustainable denim brands are AGOLDE, AG, Boyish, RE/DONE and Sezane. For boyfriend fits, I love the AG Ex-Boyfriend Relaxed Slim. For a straight leg fit I’m a big fan of the the Stove Pipe by Re/Done.


A silk scarf or cotton bandana is a super versatile accessory to have. Wear it in your hair (video here), tie it around your neck or loop it onto your bag. I love this version from Madewell.

Converse Sneakers:

This pair of converse is actually slightly different than the regular chuck taylors. The All Star 70s oxford sneakers are a bit more comfortable with extra cushioning for your feet, and the style is a nod to the originals. The sustainable options I’ve added to my wardrobe are the Veja V-10 sneakers (fit tts) and the Everlane Tread (go up half a size).

Wool Blazer:

You just can’t go wrong with a classic blazer. Wear it with denim, a cropped chino, or a midi skirt. I love the Everlane Oversized Blazer and the tailored Newcastle Blazer from Reformation.

Polarized Sunglasses:

I actually bought these sunglasses while we were in Portugal because they were on major sale. They’re comfortable AND polarized. Another pair I love and wear all the time is this style from Smith (also polarized) and super lightweight.

creating a capsule wardrobe

Silk Camisole // Skinny Jeans // Cotton Sweater
Leather Tote // Signet Ring // Faux Leather Leggings
White Button Down // Denim Shorts // Slide Sandals

Silk Camisole:

I’m a big fan of the Everlane clean silk cami as it is great quality, reasonably priced and eco-conscious. It’s also double lined so no need to worry about it being see through. I recommend going a size up. I also have the Paloma top from Sezane in black and the embroidery detail makes it easy to dress up (fits tts).

Skinny Jeans:

My two favorite skinny jean styles are the Everlane Skinny High Rise Button Fly (fit tts) and Sezane’s Slim 7/8 in light blue (went one size up).

Cotton Sweater:

The classic look of this Reformation sweater is super versatile year round. One of my favorite brands for eco-conscious sweaters is Tradlands. I love their fisherman knit.

Leather Tote:

I use the Everlane Day Square Tote the most because it fits everything I need and I like that is has structure. For softer leather, ABLE’s classic tote is beautiful and great quality.

Signet Ring:

My signet ring is an heirloom piece I inherited that I absolutely cherish. This style from Missoma is a beautiful modern version that you can have engraved.

Faux Leather Leggings:

Honestly I’m surprised that I included leggings in a capsule wardrobe but I got this pair a few months ago and they do not disappoint (I sized up to a small).

White Button Down:

Sezane’s take on the classic white button down is timeless. I love the round collar. Pair it with white chinos for a chic monochromatic look or with a pair of skinny jeans.

Denim Shorts:

No surprise these were best sellers from 2019. I LIVE in my AGolde Dee denim shorts. They are so comfortable and flattering with a high waist fit and just the right length, not too short and not too long. They fit true to size.

Slide Sandals:

A more seasonal style but had to include this pair of slide sandals because I lived in them all summer long (and they’re great to bring along on your warm weather getaway). These sandals are crazy comfortable (the leather needs a little breaking in, the suede you can wear right out of the box) and come in a few different colors.

Feel free to use the below as a guide

creating a capsule wardrobe

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  1. Katie Gill wrote:

    LOVE this post! This is exactly what I needed to help piece together what I actually need vs what I default tend to default purchase (…another black t-shirt ha!)

    Looking forward to see more posts on how you style the pieces listed here.

    Thank you!

    2.4.19 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Yay! So glad. It was fun putting it together and also realizing I have all the things I need to love what I’m wearing but also switch it up and not feel bored.

      2.4.19 | Reply
  2. Megan wrote:

    I am so excited about this post! I’m rethinking my entire wardrobe as my husband and I prepare to move from Florida to Pittsburgh, and—as we are doing in the rest of our life—I want to simplify and focus on sustainability, quality vs. quantity, etc. Thank you so much for putting this together! xo

    2.4.19 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Yay! Congrats on the move as well.

      2.4.19 | Reply
  3. Young wrote:

    These are such great staples! I plan to add some pieces from your list into my wardrobe.

    The Style Intermission

    2.4.19 | Reply
  4. Ariana O'Neil wrote:

    Thanks for posting this! This will come in handy when I pack for my future trips because I loathe having to check a bag.

    The Everlane black jeans that you’ve been wearing do you own the regular or ankle style?


    2.4.19 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Definitely, I am the same way. I got the ankle length and I am 5’6″

      2.4.19 | Reply
  5. Monia wrote:

    These truly are staples! Excited to realize that I actually do have so many of these pieces already and that I honestly don’t need to buy anything (or much) else! Thank you!!

    2.4.19 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      That’s what I hope many will find with this. You really don’t need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, hopefully most have this in their closet already. xx

      2.4.19 | Reply
  6. Anna wrote:

    LOVE THIS! Thank you for taking the time to put this together, and for including the “cheat sheet” – so helpful!

    2.4.19 | Reply
  7. Jeanne wrote:

    Your Converse, do you have them in the parchment color or white color?

    2.6.19 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      The ones I linked to (the ones I have) only come in parchment.

      2.8.19 | Reply
  8. Lynn wrote:

    This Capsule wardrobe is so great! I’m in great need of cleanng out my closets and my drawers. You did an amazing job! The only problem that I had was getting into trouble finding on SALE my favorite of yours the striped travel pastel wrap from White and Warren for 70% off in SAKS. I’m so happy I’m jumping up and down literally !!! Now that was not the purpose of this post , but I can’t look at houses in lovely Vermont, so I’ll use it for sure on the plane on my trip to Atlanta next month. I love your hair and the outfits in St. Pete. Good luck with the house hunting. . I am pretty sure I know which one. You both will make it amazing!!

    2.16.19 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      That is a REALLY good find Lynn, those scarves are the absolute best, especially for travel. Safe travels to Atlanta. xx

      2.17.19 | Reply
      • Lynn wrote:

        Jess thanks!
        I was really floored and thrilled when after losing the Anthropologie chance to buy this scarf on the one day sale at a higher price, I found it on the Saks site. It arrived several days ago and it is so very pretty and soft. I had loved it immediately. I will wear it on the plane next week as I comfort myself from all that plane talk of grounding airlines. I’ll be armed with my recommended creature comforts and style. Lol. Have fun with your Family❤️

        3.14.19 | Reply
  9. Kara wrote:

    Hi! I remember you made a recommendation in the Agolde shorts between the Dee and the Parker (I think), but I can’t remember which you recommended and how you size them. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks!

    3.22.19 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      I like both. I have both but if I had to pick one it would be the Dee. They run tts in my experience. The Parker run one size big.

      3.22.19 | Reply
  10. Joanne Yang wrote:

    This is AMAZING! Please please updating this post with further suggestions!!!

    5.13.19 | Reply
  11. Alyssa Kobernick wrote:

    My favorite winter capsule item are the nisolo Chelsea boots! These boots per your recommendation have been such a staple I went ahead and bought two pairs. They work well for early fall days and I will be able to wear these through winter and we’ll into spring. Your fashion advice and perspective is so refreshing. It is something I look forward to each new season for advice and cannot thank you enough!

    11.4.19 | Reply
  12. Anna Z wrote:

    I like all these items. I have the same style and you are my fashion inspiration.

    1.15.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thanks Anna.

      1.16.20 | Reply
  13. Anisha wrote:

    I like this Cotton knit sweater and the necklace is quite cool.

    1.17.20 | Reply
  14. Sarah wrote:

    Hi Jess! I know it’s probably changed since you originally made this capsule, but do you remember what brand/style the brown leather ankle boots you included are? I’m looking for a pair just like that, and I’ve been thwarted in my search so far (the Nisolo chelsea boot looks really similar but with darker elastic… maybe that’s just online).

    9.27.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Hi Sarah! They are Madewell and I am pretty sure they do make a pair like this every year.

      10.2.20 | Reply

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