15 Spring Capsule Pieces That Embody Quiet Luxury
Photo:Imaxtree/Coperni; Imaxtree/Deveaux; Imaxtree/Hermés; Imaxtree/Lanvin; Imaxtree/Beare Park
"Buy less, choose well, make it last" was a motto that the late Vivienne Westwood became known for during her lifetime. It's a stance that sometimes feels like it directly opposes the fast-moving state of the fashion industry today. Not only are trends being turned out more rapidly, but the average consumer owns 63% more clothing than they did three decades ago. It can be overwhelming to keep up with the sheer volume of apparel in the world, making the minimalist approach all the more appealing.
Simplicity may seem "stale" when our entire TikTok feeds are filled with try-on hauls, but recent sentiments have shown a shift in tides. Over the past few months, more of the fashion set has been adopting the quiet luxury aesthetic—an approach to shopping that centers on buying less and instead investing in well-made pieces that can stand the test of time. It's basically a resurgence in the point of view that the designer, Westwood, held, but it's been reimagined to speak to a new generation of minimalists.
Taking part in this movement isn't about picking "boring" things but instead finding pieces that strike that perfect balance between long-term functionality and fashion. And to prove that point, I've scoured the spring/summer 2023 runway collections of the best quiet-luxury brands and style influencers to identify which 15 pieces are key players in building a minimalist capsule wardrobe. While you don't have to invest in every staple listed in this story, you should pick and choose based on your style. These items are a great starting point for minimalists trying to inject a few trend-forward things into their daily rotation or newbies trying to adopt a more streamlined approach to their style this season.
Photo:@nlmarilyn; Courtesy of The Row; Imaxtree/Ashyln; Imaxtree/Beare Park
Not to sound like a broken record, but the key to building a minimalist capsule wardrobe is investing in pieces here for the long haul (e.g., great outerwear). And while there's no shortage of investment-worthy outerwear, when thinking about shopping for spring, it's imperative to pick pieces that work well for transitional weather—enter longline coats. The maxi-length coat emerged last fall and was ever-present in both spring/summer 2023 and fall/winter 2023 collections. Its dramatic yet tailored silhouette embodies luxury, but its longevity (excuse the pun) makes it the perfect purchase. We recommend opting for a longline coat with more spring-inspired fabrics (e.g., satins, linens, suedes, and cotton) to make it the ideal transitional piece.
Pro tip: Opt for light-weight fabrics so you can wear the coat during spring, summer, and even fall.
Photo:Imaxtree/PeterDo; Imaxtree/Bottega Veneta; Imaxtree/Aeron; @daniellejinadu
It may be reductive, but I will say it anyways: Suiting is one of the safest investments anyone can make for their wardrobe. While suiting has been cemented as a must-have staple for minimalists everywhere, spring/summer 2023 runway collections reminded us that they're always in style. We saw numerous designers take "simple suiting" and add small twists that made them feel luxurious. For example, an oversized suit came in a subtle pop of sage green at Aeron. At the same time, we saw a blazer tucked into layered oversize trousers at Peter Do. Also, at Bottega Venetta, an ultra-sleek black suit was styled with its sumptuous Sardine bag made from woven leather and a gold handle. In short, designers proved that simplicity could be stunning with the help of great tailoring and styling.
White suiting will always embody luxury to me.
Pair with the matching slacks ($20).
Meet the perfect pair of trousers.
Pair with the matching '80s Blazer ($175).
Yes, minimalists can wear color!
Pair the matching Batton Pants ($405).
Every wardrobe is incomplete without a good pair of trousers.
Pair with the matching Waisted Wool-Blend Blazer ($275).
Photo:Courtesy of The Row; Imaxtree/Deveaux; Imaxtree/Tod's; @deborabrosa
It's no secret that ballet flats have been having a moment since their return last fall, and it looks like that's not ending anytime soon. We've seen ballet flats continue to be the footwear of choice both on the runway (including at The Row, Deveaux, and Tods S/S 23 shows) and among the fashion set. And while this footwear is definitely trending right now, they're the type of shoes that also lends themselves to being a worthwhile long-term investment for a minimalist's capsule wardrobe. After all, their innate versatility (both in variation and styling possibilities) makes them the prime purchase for anyone wanting to get the most cost-per-wear out of one pair of shoes.
The wrap-up ankle detail on these flats adds the perfect trendy touch to an otherwise classic shoe style.
Photo:Courtesy of Tibi; Imaxtree/St.Agni; @shhtephs; Imaxtree/ Ermanno Scervino
For minimalists, warmer temperatures require an arsenal of staples that keep you looking stylish without breaking a sweat. No other staples are more fitting for the task than tube tops and tank tops. While most may think these tops are far from "luxurious," designers have given these tried-and-true staples their due over the past few seasons. The secret to making these formerly "relaxed" staples feel more polished came down to two factors: textiles and styling. Designers were choosing to opt for more decadent fabrics and styling them more sophisticatedly. For example, at St. Agni, the top was styled with a pencil skirt, while at Ermanno Scervino and Tibi, they were paired with trousers. The looks proved that quiet luxury isn't about spending excessive amounts of money—it's all about how strong the staples are on their own.
You'll want to pin this market image for later styling inspiration.
The key to making a tank feel elevated lies in opting for ones with innate details (e.g., the one above with its sweetheart neckline and contrast lining).
Photo:Imaxtree/Salvatore Ferragamo; @thatgirlyusra; Imaxtree/Tod's; Courtesy of Max Mara
What's another item worth adding to any minimalist's capsule wardrobe? The column skirt. While this silhouette was first popularized in the '90s, it has returned in recent seasons. But before you pass this off as just another skirt trend, let us state that it's not only stayed a present part of collections since last spring, but the luxurious elements added to this style for S/S 23 also made them even more relevant than before. For instance, at Max Mara, a cropped turtleneck was styled with a maxi-linen column skirt—a look that feels meant to be worn in the South of France. While at Ferragamo, the signature fit-and-flare of the silhouette was shortened to create a suede skirt styled with a matching coat. The overall result was a series of looks that managed to skirt this silhouette's former "dated" preconceptions and catapult it into a new era.
Linen skirts are a staple you'll never regret buying.
Will also be pinning this for later outfit inspiration.
Photo:Imaxtree/Rokh; Courtesy of Tory Burch; Imaxtree/Hermés; @kristenmarienichols
For some, investing in designer pieces is a way to show off one's material wealth flamboyantly. In contrast, others see it as a way to buy better items that last longer—minimalists often fall into the latter. The idea of "quiet luxury" is directly opposed to those flashy and buzzy items of the moment and is, instead, about picking pieces that whisper rather than scream. And there's no better example of that than the rise of the anonymous bag. Dubbed by industry experts, it's essentially the wide embrace of functional handbags that are minimal to their core. They often come in ultra-functional shapes (e.g., handbags, shoulder bags, and totes), have contemporary hardware, and have minimal or no brand logos. In essence, it's a bag that can only be recognized as elegant and extravagant by those with a trained eye (and elevated taste).
The beauty of a bag trend that centers anonymity and austere minimalism, is that you can buy an affordable bag and it will still be ultra-chic.
Shades of yellow can be minimalist. Case in point? The bag above.
While the anonymous bag doesn't center on one specific It bag, I've found that many devout minimalists can't stop raving about Ralph Lauren's Polo ID shoulder bag.
Photo:Courtesy of Sandy Liang; @annaquanlabel; Imaxtree/Lanvin; @_marisamartins_
Every spring wardrobe needs a great dress, but buying the cliché floral print frock isn't going to cut it for minimalists. That being said, there is one style that's a prime addition to any capsule wardrobe: drop-waist dresses. While this silhouette has been around for a long time, it played a more prevalent role in the spring/summer 2023 runways. We saw drop waist dresses appear in collections of Sandy Liang, Lavin, and Anna Quan, all in paired-back neutral tones. And while a simple beige, black, or off-white dress may seem as reductive as a floral flock, in truth, the attentiveness to tailoring that this style centers on is what makes it stand out. Like all truly minimalist pieces, it strips back the pomp and circumstance to focus on what truly matters: flattering and functional clothing.
This dress is as exciting as it gets for minimalists.
You'll own this dress for years to come.
Photo:@oumaymaboumeshouli; Courtesy of Saint Laurent; Victor VIRGILE:Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images/ Bottega Veneta; Courtesy of Coperni
If you identify as a shoe fanatic, embracing a minimalist approach to your closet might be more challenging. Investing in styles that can outlast the running trend cycle is the key to kicking a few extra shoes to the curb. Of course, the thrill of being a shoe person lies in showing up to dinner in the season's hottest shoes. But luckily for you, embracing minimalism and still being on point this season is possible thanks to one specific trend: pointed shoes. While this silhouette is forever relevant, designers have given it an extra edge in their spring/summer 2023 collections.
For example, at Bottega Veneta, we saw Matthieu Blazy sharpen the style by creating wedges with pointed toes, metal slingback straps, shiny black patent leather, and even metallic finishes. In contrast, Saint Laurent sent satin ankle strap pumps down the runway, Coperni added zippers to their kitten heels, and Tory Burch added a point to flat slingback slides. No matter how varied iterations of this trend got, each one still was still sleek enough to make it past one season and become a beloved staple for any shoe fiend.
Please stop scrolling to admire the metal strap on these shoes.
You'd never guess these weren't designer shoes.
Pair these with your favorite suit and watch how cool you feel.
Photo:Courtesy of Bottega Veneta; Courtesy of The Row; Courtesy of Khaite; @thevisuelofgrace
Whether you're a devout minimalist or have more maximalist tendencies, it's safe to assume that you know the importance of owning at least one blazer. In many ways, this basic is one of the most foundational blocks for building a wardrobe. And while the universality of this piece is undeniable, the truth is that not all blazers are made alike. When you're trying to streamline your wardrobe, it's imperative to invest in well-made pieces—including an ultra-tailored blazer. We saw many designers pivot away from oversize blazers in their spring/summer 2023 collections and instead focus on tailoring.
For designers, it was about taking this classic silhouette and adding more luxurious elements through nipped-in waists, lapelless necklines, and dramatic shoulders (see Bottega Veneta, The Row, and Khaite's collections). Investing in this trend for spring will not only ensure that your piece sticks out in the sea of oversize blazers, but it will also nod to the return of tailoring.
Birgitte Herskind's pieces have become beloved among the minimalist fashion set.
I own this blazer, and it's by far one of the most flattering pieces in my closet.
Notice the draped detail at the waist? That's what I call divine tailoring.
Photo:Courtesy of Victoria Beckham; Imaxtree/Matteau; @dawn.tan; Imaxtree/The Garment
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I can't stress enough the importance of owning suiting separates you love. These pieces (especially trousers) are the secret sauce to crafting that perfect minimalist capsule wardrobe. Of course, there are plenty of pant silhouettes to choose from, so should you need a place to start, look no further than relaxed trousers.
Sure, this suiting separate has been trending for a hot minute, but that hasn't stopped its wide adoption by designers. We saw the style pop up in various spring/summer 2023 shows, including Victoria Beckham, The Garment, and Matteau's collections. And while overall, the style wasn't too groundbreaking, the continued proliferation of this pant style proves that if you love something, you should absolutely continue wearing it.
Style these trousers with a tank and ballet flats, and you'll have the perfect outfit for spring.
Pro tip: Don't be afraid to spend a little more on a pair of trousers that'll last longer.
You had me at the exposed waistband.
These trousers continue to be a best seller among our readers month after month.
Photo:@gosiaboy; Imaxtree/The Garment; @dinahansen; Imaxtree/Coperni
Owning a great pair of trousers or a blazer is an obvious must-have for building a solid capsule wardrobe. But there is one other surprising separate worth your consideration: waistcoats. The item has long been considered a staple for menswear collections and has slowly become the same for womenswear collections too. We first saw this suiting separate bubble up last year, and it's remained ever-present with the fashion set and on the runway (see Coperni and The Garment's collections). That popularity is partly because you can style this piece with just about anything—from cargo pants to trousers to miniskirts and dresses. But what's more, is that it's the simplest single purchase you can make that will surely spice up your staples.
Linen separates will be your saving grace once summer roles around.
The asymmetrical buttons on this vest make it cooler.
You can layer this over a button-down on cooler days or as a top on warmer days.
Photo:@sylviemus_; Courtesy of Tibi; @anna__laplaca; Courtesy of Tibi
Another crucial part of any closet? Denim. There's no shortage of different types of jeans one can invest in for their wardrobes, but if you're anything like me and are over having to wear pants after months of layering, there is a simple solution: denim skirts.
Much like other pieces in this story, this silhouette has always been around, but it's seen a surge in popularity over the last few months. That uptick is partly due to how quickly the fashion set has incorporated denim skirts into their wardrobe, but it also has to do with the style's prevalence on the spring/summer 2023 runway. We saw every type of brand (e.g., Tibi, Diesel, and Altuzzara) dull out every length, wash, and silhouette of denim skirts possible. Demonstrating that denim skirts can be just as versatile as jeans if you're willing to give them a try.
Denim maxi skirts are a trend-forward way to tap into this timeless staple.
Pair this miniskirt with an oversize button-down and blazer for a more put-together look.
How hot is this low-slung denim skirt, though?
Photo:Imaxtree/Michael Kors; @astyleedit; Courtesy of Nili Lotan; Imaxtree/Tod's
The entire point of building a capsule wardrobe is to identify the staples you need for your everyday life and invest in them. So while the idea of something as small as a belt may seem trite, it's actually not. For functional purposes, everyone needs a belt—how are you supposed to keep those relaxed trousers from becoming too low-slung after all? But on a more fashionable note, we've seen more looks both on and off the runway center of this small accessory. It began with the wide embrace of unnecessary belts in F/W 22 collections and has since morphed into a more minimal take in spring collections. From Nili Lotan to Michael Kors to Tod's, we saw thin belts peeking outside oversize button-downs, accentuating trousers, and even layered over minimal knit dresses. It was a subtle way of bringing back belts that felt very-on brand for minimalists everywhere.
Photo:Imaxtree/Beare Park; @emilisindlev; Courtesy of 16Arlington; Imaxtree/Lanvin
Minimalists aren't necessarily about to adopt the most significant color or print trends of the season, but a luxurious textile is another story. When crafting an austere wardrobe, the excess found in other's closets through more trendy pieces is made up through textured pieces. You don't have to opt for the most out-there item to attract attention. Instead, invest in one piece made from a more sumptuous textile (e.g., suede, leather, linen, and cashmere). In fact, if you're only going to choose one "luxurious" piece to buy for the season, then you'll want to turn to one specific textile: satin. We saw this material take over S/S 23 collections, including in the form of longline pastel coats at 16Arlington and Victoria Beckham, a sleek button-down black dress at Lavin, and an asymmetrical slip dress at Beare Park. Each iteration of this trend was a reminder that even the most basic staples can feel "rich" simply by opting for a satin version.
Ice may be thawing out, but you'll still be sleek in this satin-finish blazer.
The best thing about this piece? It can be dressed up for special occasions or worn on a daily basis.
Photo:@sasha.mei; Imaxtree/Deveaux; Imaxtree/Jil Sander; Courtesy of Tory Burch
You've made it to the end of this story, and hopefully, by now, you've gleaned a few ideas on how to update (or build) your very own capsule wardrobe. But should you need one more nugget of parting wisdom, let it be the following: Jewelry is always the answer. If you don't have an unlimited budget to update your closet this season, investing in a contemporary sculptural piece can give you that shiny-new feeling you want. You don't have to go overboard with the jewels—less is more, after all. But investing in one great piece at a time (even if it's just jewelry) is the key to building a wardrobe you love over time.
Rings are that finishing touch that can make any ensemble feel more luxurious.
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