Living YSE(ly)

The Capsule Closet is the Solution to Your Style Crisis

Written by Elizabeth Gehl

The transition from winter to spring is the season of fashion meltdowns. You’ve exhausted all your cold weather looks, it’s too soon for the spring dresses, and all you want is to feel put together – but that effortlessly elevated look also feels incredibly hard to nail. 

What people often don’t realize is how important the base layer is to a good outfit. Quality everyday pieces are the building blocks to a well-curated outfit, and just like skincare, if your base isn’t well prepped, the rest won’t lay right on top. Consider your makeup the statement piece, and your skin prep the basics that serve as a foundation. If you invest in the good stuff, it’ll make everything easier. 

And though the idea of curating a capsule closet may seem daunting, there is in fact a foolproof way to build your staple wardrobe… and after many trials and tribulations, we’ve locked in the best of the best.  

From tanks and tees to bags and denim, here are the classic pieces that every woman needs in their collection for an amazing outfit curation – every time.

The Plain White Tee

It all starts at the top, and a classic tee is a girl’s best friend. From sweats to jeans, trousers to a mini skirt, throwing a crisp basic over top is any day’s go-to. We love Toteme’s basics collection – they wash great, the cotton blend is buttery soft and cut to perfection. Reformation and J Crew are also great starting places for classic tees and tanks, especially if you’re looking for universal styles to stock up on at a fair price point.

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Brands shown: Toteme, Reformation, J Crew.

Timeless Denim

A must in your collection – everyone needs (at least) one straight leg jean. Not too skinny, yet tailored just enough, a classic straight is an amazing staple for day and night.  Throw them on with a sweater and sneakers for a coffee run, or belt them with a pointed toe heel and a sexy dress shirt for a dinner date. Sourcing the right pair can be a journey, but once you find a wash you love with the waist that best flatters your figure, the rest comes easy.  Moussy can do no wrong when it comes to denim, and The Danielle by Khaite is a cult fave (we recommend sizing down!). For an everyday jean, Agolde is a forever favorite.

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Brands shown: Khaite, Moussy, Agolde.


The mother bear of your closet. Assertive, classy – and it keeps everything in order. A structured blazer will immediately elevate a plain white tee and jeans, but is still understated enough to throw over a funky dress and lug sole boots. Whether you prefer a boxier cut, or a tailored fit, a black blazer is a forever piece that you’ll pull out again and again. The Row’s Alda Jacket is a classic option with a modern lapel design that brings the piece an edge. If you love a statement, Sézane does an amazing rendition of the double breasted jacket with their tortoise shell buttoning, and for a more relaxed shape, Everlane nails the slouchy blazer at a great price point. 

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Brands shown: The Row, Sézane, Everlane.

Year Long Knitwear

To bundle up on a colder night, or throw over your shoulders for a daytime meeting, a good quality sweater is the best way to implement texture in an everyday look. Throw over a maxi dress to freshen up a familiar piece, or layer with a crisp collared shirt to liven up a pair of trousers. A good sweater is a quintessential layering piece for transitioning seasons, and believe us – a neutral knit will stay with you for the rest of your life. We’ve been obsessed with Sézane’s parisian chic pieces as of late, and adore the neckline on the Frank & Eileen Monterey Sweater. And of course, Jenni Kayne always knows how to make a sweater feel cozy and elevated, all at once.


When in doubt! A classic black dress is all about the silhouette, and once you find the one, your last-minute night outfit will come together a lot easier. It’s important to focus on a quality fabric that feels high end enough to stand alone, which is why we love Cinq á Sept for current classics.  But you can’t have just one, Mango released some stand out styles this season featuring playful necklines and cut-outs (the classy ones, of course). And if you’re looking for the true black dress homeland, Reformation has the ultimate collection  – short sleeve, halter, strapless – you name it. Pair her with sheer tights and a statement heel, or even dress her down with ballet flats and a cardigan. Versatile is her middle name.


Itty bitty handbags are the seal for a good outfit. With a minimalist two-piece set and sandals, a clutch is the finishing piece. YSL is always our winner for a timeless structured clutch case, but Mansur Gavriel does an amazing mini that can be worn as a crossbody, over the shoulder, or even as a belt bag (not to mention their colorway selection!). And nothing says forever piece like personalization, which is why we love Mark and Graham’s Isla Wicker Clutch. Handcrafted natural wicker with a monogrammed leather clasp all for under $150… are we dreaming?

Catch-All Totes

And of course, THE closet essential for the woman on the run… a tote is basically a chic file cabinet. Owning a bag that fits everything is non-negotiable for your day to day, whether you’re running errands, hopping on a flight, or on your way to work. A tote is a functional, yet universal, staple that looks good dressed up, dressed down, messy or neat. 

First, you can’t say tote without mentioning the Khaite Medium Lotus, the bag of all bags. The Everyday Zip by Mansur is also special because of its zip closure feature, and the pebbled leather blend is the ideal mix of slouchy and structured. Cuyana’s Classic Easy Tote is available in a handful sizes and styles – and pro tip, their tote insert is spectacular for in-bag organization. But if you know us, you know we left our heart in the Goyard Saint Louis Tote. She’s chic, classic, and will stand the test of time… plus, she’s reversible. Not much else to say about that one.