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Build a capsule wardrobe with six key pieces this winter

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watoday– Do you find yourself with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear? Take it as the perfect opportunity to build a capsule wardrobe.

While some define a capsule as being up to 50 items, starting off smaller, usually in neutral tones, provides a good foundation from which to build.

Stylist Lana Wilkinson recommends timeless pieces that will allow you to create many outfits over the season. “The key to an effective and functional capsule is to make sure that all pieces can be paired easily together.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. Stylist Caroline Tran says your rule of thumb should always be to purchase quality over quantity. “This doesn’t mean always buying safe. I like to go by the 80:20 rule: 80 per cent staples and 20 per cent trends.”

Begin with these six must-haves, check if you already own a couple, then go from there.

1. A duster coat

A duster coat, or longline coat, is defined by its hemline, which finishes at mid-calf. It’s ideal for days when you need more coverage than a cropped jacket or knit. And, while the shacket is the trending outerwear for winter, a duster is timeless and won’t age from season to season. Melbourne-based label Friends With Frank is a great starting point for coats that bridge the gap between trend-priced items and serious investment pieces. “This can be worn simply with jeans and a tank top, or over suiting, or a miniskirt and boots,” says Tran. “At the moment, I prefer a more man-style, oversized silhouette.” Also try: Unreal Fur, Banded Together.

2. A turtleneck knit

The beauty of a turtleneck is it’s a jumper and scarf in one. “A winter staple, hero and MVP, turtlenecks are easily styled with man-style trousers, denim or underneath transeasonal dresses,” says Tran. “They are the T-shirt of winter.” Look for merino wool or, if budget allows, a cashmere-wool blend from brands including A.P.C., Lady Kate, Saba.

3. Slim-leg jeans

As the skinny jeans battle rages on, we’re calling it: for your winter capsule, the slim leg is the cut of choice. Differing from straight-leg jeans, slim-leg jeans are fitted across the hips and upper thighs before falling straight along the legs. Good options include Australian-made Nobody Denim. “You can team the denim with an oversized blazer for an unexpected modern take on the look,” says Wilkinson.

4. A crisp, white shirt

For winter, opt for a fitted silhouette that shows off your figure and works well as a layering piece. For styling, don’t overthink the look. “A crisp white shirt goes perfectly with any
colour denim, and a leather belt,” says Tran. “It’s also easily worn with trousers and skirts.” There’s also no need to spend a bomb; try Country Road, Sportscraft.

5. A black denim midi-skirt

Winter is the prime season for experimenting with longer hemlines and denim midi-skirts are having a moment. To tie into the moodier hues that are on-trend this season, adding a midi-skirt in black denim is a key component of your capsule. For Wilkinson, the styling formula is simple: “Pair your denim midi skirt with tall boots and a chunky knit tucked in at the waist.” Try Rag & Bone from The Outnet. For men, consider a “dressy” jean in a brushed cotton or “non denim” fabric from R.M. Williams or M.J. Bale.

6. A structured black blazer

For Wilkinson, a black blazer is an essential part of her everyday wardrobe. “A black blazer, white tee and tailored trouser is my go-to outfit formula when I’m struggling to find something to wear but want to look chic and put together,” she says. Blazers come in a variety of shapes from stylishly oversized to cropped and boxy. Brands to try: Camilla and Marc, Rebecca Vallance, Zara.