Everything You Need to Build the Ultimate Spring Capsule Wardrobe

‘tis the season for layering

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Dasha Burobina for PureWow

April shower bring May flowers, and also a whole lot of sartorial confusion. One day it’s chilly, the next it’s bright and sunny and the next it’s raining and gloomy all over again. But getting dressed for this transitional season isn’t nearly as frustrating for those who’ve managed to perfect the art of the spring capsule wardrobe. So, to ease your way from March through to summer, we’ve pulled together a list of the best spring capsule pieces to help you build out a chic, mix-and-match wardrobe.

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The Top Spring Capsule Wardrobe Pieces at a Glance


A Workhorse Jacket

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An Oversize Blazer

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Midi Dresses

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Lightweight Sweaters

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Layering Tees

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How to Create a Spring Capsule Wardrobe

Creating a capsule wardrobe is all about selecting pieces that can be easily mixed and matched with one another and that are appropriate for your typical day-to-day activities. For one person that might mean building a selection of tailored separates that are both office-ready and relaxed enough to pair with casual pieces on the weekend. For another that may mean stocking up on comfortable items you can run around in as you hop from one thing to the next. Your first step should be to gather the items you already own that you wear more than any others. Then start to think about any gaps you might be seeing—do you own lots of chunky sweaters, but no lightweight knits? You have a warm winter coat, but do you have a breezier spring jacket? Are all your jeans the exact same wash or silhouette? Once you know what’s missing, you can make a shopping list and look around at the best of the best to invest in for a timeless, effortless capsule wardrobe to cure those “but I have nothing to wear” mornings.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to look for items you can layer to fit the changing weather patterns. That means T-shirts and tops that fit under sweaters, jackets and button-up shirts. Lightweight knits that won’t leave you overheating when afternoon hits and at least one all-purpose coat or jacket are musts. As for shoes, you’ll similarly want things that feel easy and light, the opposite of your heavy go-to winter boots. And don’t forget accessories—‘tis the season for experimenting with sunglasses, hats, bandanas and even statement socks.

The most important item in any spring capsule wardrobe is the all-purpose jacket. This is the topper that will take you through any and all types of weather, and should be roomy enough to layer over lightweight blouses as well as thicker knits. Classic options include denim jackets, trench coats, sporty anoraks and barn coats, but you can also opt for leather (faux or real) or shearling, if that’s more your style. Just be sure whatever you choose will look chic worn over all your other capsule wardrobe separates.

We love a good oversize blazer for any time of year, but in spring it can double as a jacket on warmer days, making it a key item you won’t want to skip. Similar to your workhorse coat, your blazer should comfortably fit over a thinner knits to really maximize the number of outfits you can work it into. As for color, opt for lighter patterns or colors over super-dark hues (a beige plaid will feel more spring-y than red-and-green or chocolate brown). That goes for fabric as well—cotton, lighter wools, leather and even linen are better options than thick tweed.

3. Midi Dresses


It’s not quite sundress season just yet, but midi dresses are a phenomenal option for spring when you just can’t stand to wear pants yet again. On colder days, you can layer them over knee-high boots or under a sweater. And when true spring warmth hits you can pair them with flats and a light jacket. Styles you can layer over (or under) will be most versatile, but if you just can’t resist a good puff sleeve, then we say go for it.

At this point you’ve probably figured out that building a spring capsule wardrobe is all about picking items that can be layered to fit whatever weather Mother Nature has in store. Which is why the lightweight knit is such an important piece to include. Whether you prefer cardigans or pullovers, these sweaters should work both with your favorite pants and skirts, as well as your go-to spring dresses. Natural fibers, like cashmere, cotton and wool, are more breathable than synthetics and are more likely to feel comfy and cozy all season long.

5. Layering Tees

Universal Standard

Tank tops, T-shirts and long-sleeve tees are staples we just can’t live without come spring. Layer them under a sweater for some extra warmth, or tuck them into jeans or a skirt for an easy, breezy outfit onto itself. Much like knits, the best versions are made of natural fibers, but feel free to invest in whatever colors or even patterns you like best—so long as they can be worn with at least three bottoms in your wardrobe.

6. Oversize Button-Up Shirts

Frank & Eileen

You can never really go wrong with a classic button-up shirt (yes, even if you have big boobs), but in spring they often pull double duty as a quasi-jacket or shacket, if you will, making them a definite must-have. Look for one that’s just a little bit oversized—casual, but not baggy—to give you the most versatility when it comes to building your outfits. And while white will never go out of style, we also love a good washed blue or even stripes.

7. Light-Wash Jeans


Put down the indigo denim and step into the light. Even if the weather isn’t cooperating, you can still transition your go-to denim to feel more seasonally appropriate. Look for light blue washes, or even white or cream, to ring in the change of seasons. As for silhouette, we say go with whatever you find most comfortable, be it a trendy low-rise pair or a classic straight leg.

Much like midi dresses, midi skirts are the ideal length to wear with just about any shoe style, from knee-high boots to strappy Mary Jane flats. And mini skirts—even when worn with thigh-high boots and a pullover sweater—can’t help but evoke images of warm weather and the summer days to come. As for fabric, stick with materials that have a bit of heft to them (i.e. not linen or floaty cotton) to ensure your skirt doesn’t feel totally out of place and can mix well with those cozier pieces in your wardrobe.

Whereas in winter it’s imperative you have a good pair of winter boots you can walk and stand in, for spring that pivots to a good pair of everyday sneakers. Retro silhouettes, like the incredibly popular Adidas Sambas or the Meghan Markle-approved New Balance 327 sneakers, are easiest to wear with both pants and skirts or dresses, but if you prefer a chunkier, sportier or funkier design, then by all means go forth.

Ballet flats are having a major comeback for 2024, but in general spring is the time to start breaking out those daintier shoes that aren’t quite as light as sandals. That could be flats, or you can opt for loafers, backless mules, slingback flats or a closed-toe sandal (like huaraches). This way you don’t have to stress over maintaining that pedicure just yet.

The best way to round out your capsule wardrobe is with a suite of accessories that can dress up or down your outfits to fit any mood. The beauty of these items is that they don’t take up a lot of space. So while you may be hoping to pare down the number of clothing items stuffed into your closet, you likely have more space for multiple pairs of sunnies or a handful of fun hats. Other spring-y options include straw hats, baseball caps, colorful jewelry, lightweight bags, statement socks and sunglasses (both classic and kitschy).



Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...

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