Dreaming up a capsule wardrobe for the festive season

Holiday capsule wardrobe

By Renate Engelbrecht

Friday, Dec 03

Since I’ve recently thrown out half – no, three quarters – of my wardrobe, there is a lot of room for new fashion items. The secret is to go at it slowly, thoughtfully, and sustainably as that was what the whole exercise of throwing out was all about. Still, I have been dreaming up a holiday wardrobe capsule for a while now and cannot wait to start building on it.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

Did you know that the term ‘capsule wardrobe’ has been used in publications since the 1940s and it was revived by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique? The term is not new, even though it has gained some renewed traction over the past few years.

A capsule wardrobe includes a small collection of essential, classic garments – items that don’t go out of fashion – which can be augmented with seasonal pieces as fashion evolves. This doesn’t mean you need to have only one capsule – you can have different capsules, like a basic or classic capsule, a work capsule, a romantic capsule and a celebration-themed capsule.

What I love about capsule wardrobes is that it not only helps you to keep your closet decluttered, but it also encourages conscious buying and a more sustainable lifestyle when it comes to fashion, which eventually helps you to make a difference in the devastating world of fashion waste.

Apart from creating some order in my wardrobe, I am also embarking on a journey of trying to be more mindful and striving toward more conscious living, especially when it comes to fashion. My goal is to have a more minimalistic wardrobe, with more special and unique fashion pieces that will help me to develop my personal style.

My celebration-themed holiday capsule wardrobe

Item 1: A neutral coat or jacket

I’ve chosen this trench coat from Forever New (which can be worn with a little black dress, a glitzy celebratory dress or winter fashion all year round) for my celebration-themed holiday capsule. It’s simple, elegant and as classic as you’ll get, which means I will wear it for many years to come.

Trench coat for capsule wardrobe
A trench coat for my capsule wardrobe. Image: Forever New

Item 2: Leather / Pleather

FOUND Collection’s brown Heirloom Leather Tux Jacket may be on the expensive side, but once you have it, it’s for life. That’s also why a jacket like this is ideal, because it’s a timeless, figure-flattering jacket that goes with anything. It is made from locally sources genuine sheep Nappa leather and comes in black or brown.

FOUND Collection leather jacket capsule wardrobe
A leather jacket for your capsule wardrobe. Image: FOUND Collection

I am also in love with their inter-seasonal tan leather midi wrap skirt, made from sustainable sourced leather. It’s flattering and versatile, with its tulip hemline giving it that feminine touch.

Item 3, 4 and 5: The Denim Trio

For the more casual days, I chose these straight leg paper bag waste white jeans from Foschini, which can also be glammed up with a heal and a fancy top.

White paper bag waste jeans capsule wardrobe
White paper bag waste jeans. Image: Foschini

A denim top like this is also must-have for any wardrobe capsule, come what may and this one seems perfect for some summer holiday celebrations.

Denim fold detail top. Image: YDE

And, last but not least, a denim dress might just bring that festive cheer you’re after this holiday. Wear it with sandals or heals, with diamonds or pearls – it’s versatile, comfy and looks fabulous.

Long denim dress for your capsule wardrobe
Long denim dress for your capsule wardrobe. Image: Light In The Box

Item 6: A button-up shirt

This romantic Mamma Mia Blouse from The Romantic Collective is ideal for dressing up or down. Wear it with khaki shorts and sandals during the day, or turn it into evening wear with a pleather or sequin skirt, jeans or more fancy trousers.

White button mamma mia blouse the romantic collective
White button Mamma Mia blouse. Image: The Romantic Collective

I also want to add this BOH Button puff sleeve shirt to the capsule. It has a French flair to it that I just cannot resist, and it can also be dressed up or down, day or night.

BOH Button puff sleeve shirt
BOH Button puff sleeve shirt. Image: BOH Button

A khaki button up shirt would also be great. Still looking.

Item 7 and 8: Suit up

Suits have become quite fashionable for outings other than work outings. I’ve always wanted to invest in a blush suit and this month seems ideal to shop for celebration suits.

ZARA lady suit for capsule wardrobe
ZARA lady suit. Image: ZARA

This Join Life Zara lady suit boasts a classic cut, and it’s made from recycled polyester, which gives me so much more reason to invest in this specific option. Zara uses the Join Life label on clothing that is produced using technology and raw materials that help reduce the environmental impact of their products.

Item 9 and 10: Cardigans and T-shirts

I believe in supporting local where you can and when it goes for a good cause, even more so. This hoodie is something that you will always want to take with while travelling and it will look great with some leather pants on cooler, rainy days.

WWF Hoodie
WWF Hoodie. Image: WWF

Also, how beautiful is this MANGO cardigan, which could work for both casual and more elegant outfits. It’s also the ideal item to keep in your closet all year round.

MANGO cardigan for capsule wardrobe
A MANGO cardigan for your capsule wardrobe. Image: MANGO

I cannot resist this holiday-inspired mermaid T-shirt from The Romantic Collective, which also brings some humour into the mix.

Mermaid tee
Mermaid T-shirt. Image: The Romantic Collective

Woolworths has sequin camisoles that will do wonders to glam up your look this holiday with both the black and the silver being rather versatile when it comes to your holiday celebrations capsule wardrobe.

Woolworths glam sequin camisole
Woolworths glam sequin camisole. Image: Woolworths

MILKANDHONEY’s Ronica top – the one I’m wearing below – is also something I wouldn’t mind including in my holiday capsule wardrobe.

Milk and Honey Ronica top
Milk and Honey Ronica Top. Image: Hanneri De Wet

And, this flutter sleeve cotton T-shirt from Witchery will not only make a statement, but by buying it you will also support more sustainable cotton farming through the Better Cotton Initiative. It’s a crew neck tee with statement sleeves – the ideal fashion item to have in your closet this season.

Flutter sleeve top from Witchery for your capsule wardrobe
Flutter sleeve top from Witchery for your capsule wardrobe. Image: Woolworths

A salmon-coloured frill top like this frill top from Mr Price will also be a great add-on for your capsule wardrobe this summer.

Frill top perfect for summer. Image: Mr Price

Item 11: Black or charcoal jeans

As I already have black jeans, I am opting for the charcoal or dark grey option this season. H&M has some great options, and I might just add their straight dark grey jean to my wardrobe this summer.

Dark grey straight jeans from H&M
A capsule wardrobe must-have: Dark grey straight jeans from H&M. Image: H&M

Item 12: You capsule wardrobe needs white sneakers

White sneakers are not only in fashion, they’re also rather comfy and ideal for the holiday season. These Trenery Emma sneakers are definitely on my shopping list.

WATCH: The place to go when you want to buy new shoes

Trenery Emma White Sneakers for your holiday capsule wardrobe
Trenery Emma White Sneakers for your holiday capsule wardrobe. Image: Woolworths

Item 13: Tan and black shoes

I already have tan mules in my cupboard, but would love to add something more elegant to my holiday capsule. These square toed, block heeled shoes from ALDO will definitely do the trick.

ALDO shoes tan sandals
ALDO Shoes tan sandals. Image: ALDO Shoes

A pair of black sandals will also go a long way too. These broad strap leather sandals from Eden and Co are perfect for summer and with it being so timeless, they will form an important part of a capsule wardrobe.

Broad strapped leather sandals
Broad strapped leather sandals. Image: Eden and Co

Woolworths has some really elegant black ankle strap wedges which could also be a great add-on ideal for celebration outfits this holiday season.

Ankle strap wedges from Woolies
Ankle strap wedges from Woolies. Image: Woolworths

Item 14: Leather belts for your capsule wardrobe

The circle belt from the Cape Town based design house, Hannah Lavery should go with almost anything you wear – from jean shorts to dresses. It comes in tan and black – both perfect belt colours to have in your closet.

Hannah Lavery circle belt
Hannah Lavery circle belt. Image: Hannah Lavery

Item 15: A classic, versatile dress

This little black dress from YDE is perfect for summer celebrations, whether it’s with sandals or with heels.

Black Anglaise Mini Dress from YDE
Black Anglaise Mini Dress from YDE. Image: YDE


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