7 Easy Staples You'll Find in Every Londoner's Capsule Wardrobe

The UK is a wonderfully eclectic place, boasting a wide spectrum of personalities and tastes—sartorial and otherwise. It's one of my favourite things about living here. There's outfit inspiration to be found wherever I go. Even a quick bus journey can leave me frantically searching online for the vintage bag I spotted on a stranger or wondering if I could pull off a pair of printed flairs.

That being said, there are certain markers of British fashion that feel unique. And I'm not just talking about the impressive dossier of talented designers. The culmination of weather, history and the ever-changing zeitgeist has filtered out the items that just don't feel quite right in a British wardrobe, and a select few have emerged as non-negotiables. By that I mean pieces that make getting dressed for the climate and lifestyle easy; those that work together season after season to create an endless array of polished looks.

As someone who works in fashion, I spend an alarming amount of time analysing and deconstructing outfits I like. In doing so, I've identified the pieces that crop up time and again. If you're a Brit who's in the process of building a capsule wardrobe, or you're a curious non-Brit, scroll on to see the wear-with-everything staples that should be added to your wish list.


(Image credit: @styleidealist)

1. Striped Jumper

This one might be borrowed from our French neighbours, but British women have wholeheartedly embraced the Breton jumper—particularly the monochrome variety.


(Image credit: @francescasaffari)

Style Notes: I love the idea of top-to-toe cream for autumn.


2. Longline Coat

The UK's weather is responsible for this necessity. Just because we have to put up with a year-round breeze and consistently cloudy skies doesn't mean we can't look good doing it.


(Image credit: @brittanybathgate)

Style Notes: A trench coat is a great year-round option.


3. Chunky Footwear

Be it loafers, combat boots or Derby shoes, when it comes to footwear, the chunkier the better. While Parisians typically reach for dainty pumps and heeled boots, Londoners love a thick sole and bulky silhouette. We're truly indebted to the original Dr. Martens.


(Image credit: @bubblyaquarius)

Style Notes: The contrast between sheer tights and heavy shoes is incredibly chic.


4. Straight-Leg Jeans

Really, straight-leg jeans belong in capsule closets globally. No matter where you live and however you describe your personal style, this easy essential offers unparalleled versatility. 


(Image credit: @lizzyhadfield)

Style Notes: Fuss-free and effortless. Aka, the perfect everyday outfit.


5. Leather Jacket

The leather jacket has undergone a renaissance in recent years, with fashionable Brits trading in their biker silhouettes for blazer and boxy iterations. While the former is still a staple, this more refined take has proved immensely wearable with all kinds of outfits.


(Image credit: @chloepierreldn)

Style Notes: This elevated jacket can be worn casually on a day-to-day basis.


6. Printed Midi Dress

With sandals in the warmer months and boots when the chill hits, a printed dress is a foolproof all-in-one option. Make it a midi to defy the seasons, and slip it on when you want to feel put-together.


(Image credit: @emmarrosestyle)

Style Notes: A printed dress can so easily be dressed up for the evening and office or down for the weekend.


7. Black Slip Skirt

Every capsule wardrobe should have a day-to-night option. For Brits, slinky maxi skirts have proved to be endlessly versatile. This simple staple looks just as good worn with an oversized knit and converse as it does with heels and a matching silk shirt.


(Image credit: @femmeblk)

Style Notes: When in doubt, stick to a monochrome pairing. Black, white and tan will always look good together.


Next Up: I've Created the Perfect Autumn Capsule, and It's Made Up of These 11 Pieces

Freelance Fashion Editor

Bébhinn Campbell is an Edinburgh-based fashion and lifestyle writer and editor. She started her first blog at age 14 and went on to intern at print and digital publications in Berlin and London, including Dazed & Confused and Indie magazine.

A job at a fashion startup took Bébhinn from Ireland to Scotland in 2019, where she now works as a freelance journalist and copywriter covering everything from travel and interiors to styling advice. As a contributor to Who What Wear, Bébhinn always keeps her eyes peeled for emerging trends and looks worth writing about. She prides herself on her ability to cut through the noise and identify solid investment buys, exciting new brands and fresh takes on classic design.

In her spare time, Bébhinn enjoys perusing Edinburgh’s best vintage shops, working through her out-of-control book collection and watching dog reels on Instagram.