To prove it, we asked three bloggers to show us how to style them.

By Samantha Sutton
Sep 01, 2020 @ 9:15 am
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Images Courtesy of Alpa Rama, Makeda Saggau-Sackey and Michaela O'Shaughnessy. Design by Jenna Brillhart.

There are so many benefits to creating a capsule wardrobe — on top of thinking quality over quantity, less stuff equals less clutter, and ultimately, less waste. However, paring down is something that’s easier said than done, and like all great journeys, it must begin with baby steps.

One key to getting started is by thinking about the items you’ll get the most use out of, AKA your staples. Sure, pieces like white button-downs, white T-shirts, black dresses, and black pants may seem somewhat boring at first, but they’re versatile, and can be styled a variety of different ways, from fall through summer.

To further prove these not-so-basics work for every fashion aesthetic, we tapped three different influencers and had them style outfits that fit their unique sense of style. Check out how Makeda Saggau-Sackey, Alpa Rama, and Michaela O'Shaughnessy amp up these old reliables, ahead.

Makeda Saggau-Sackey

  • How would you summarize your style? "My style is feminine, sophisticated, colorful, classic, and polished."
  • What are some pieces that you consider to be wardrobe essentials? "My wardrobe is built around great staples like a midi skirt, a slinky little black dress, cropped trousers, and sweaters, with a classic coat in a neutral color. These five items make getting dressed a no-brainer. They never go out of style and can always be styled with trendier pieces."
  • Do you consider your closet to be seasonless? "I’d say 90% of my closet is dedicated to seasonless items with the remainder being seasonal complements. I layer most of my outfits when the temperatures dip, but most of my clothes can transition to spring and summer effortlessly."
  • Where do you typically shop for your essentials? "I love adding new striped shirts to my wardrobe at the start of every season and J.Crew has been my go-to since high school. I typically shop at Nordstrom, ASOS, H&M and Eloquii."

How Makeda Would Style a White Button-Down

Images Courtesy of Makeda Saggau-Sackey. Design by Jenna Brillhart

"This is probably my favorite look and go-to style. I own so many colorful midi skirts and the easiest way to style them is with a crisp white button down (Shop It: $90; universalstandard.com). Of course it’s Ankara print, which pays homage to my Ghanaian heritage."

people are now gravitating towards styles that make the most sense mentally and emotionally.

How Makeda Would Style a White T-Shirt

Images Courtesy of Makeda Saggau-Sackey. Design by Jenna Brillhart

"This is my no-fuss look to run errands on the weekends. It’s the perfect off-duty look that still looks put together. As much as I love getting dressed up, a soft tee (Shop It: $68; eileenfisher.com) and cozy pant is my idea of loungewear. "

How Makeda Would Style Black Pants

Images Courtesy of Makeda Saggau-Sackey. Design by Jenna Brillhart

"I never met a color or pattern I didn’t like and this look illustrates that. I would wear this outfit, complete with black pants ($180; universalstandard.com) to a cocktail party, with the cape to cover my shoulders on crisp, cool nights."

Alpa Rama

  • How would you summarize your style? "If I have to summarize it, I would say Parisian Chic with a twist."
  • What are some pieces that you consider to be wardrobe essentials? "My non-seasonal list of essentials would be an oversized blazer, smart black pants, a button-down white shirt, a loose fit white tee, a perfect pair of denim, a black little dress, a cute pair of flat shoes, and white sneakers, And let's not forget good quality golden jewels."
  • Do you consider your closet to be seasonless? "Absolutely yes. I don't typically shop every time a season changes or in that matter go for what's trending in the seasons. I try to buy pieces that I can wear throughout the year — and maybe living in Florida also helps!"
  • Where do you typically shop for essentials? "To be honest, I don't have a typical brand. I like to explore and not limit myself. The beauty of being a fashion blogger is you always discover new brands, so I like to try things out, especially independent French designers."

How Alpa Would Style a White Button-Down

Images Courtesy of Alpa Rama. Design by Jenna Brillhart

"This is one of my favorite looks to wear during summer. The khaki shorts and white button-down (Shop Similar: $56; everlane.com) are so elegant yet casual enough to carry me through [the season]."

How Alpa Would Style a White T-Shirt

Images Courtesy of Alpa Rama. Design by Jenna Brillhart

"This represents a typical outfit I would wear in Paris, minus the brooch, probably. On top of the white tee (Shop Similar: $29; nordstrom.com), it basically combines all the basics into one outfit."

How Alpa Would Style a Black Dress

Images Courtesy of Alpa Rama. Design by Jenna Brillhart

"For the little black dress (Shop Similar: $345; nordstrom.com), it's simple — I am so ready for Fall, I love wearing high boots, and this outfit would be my perfect transitional look. It represents the chic aspect of my style."

Michaela O'Shaughnessy

  • How would you summarize your style? "I always find it hard to summarize my style because as a 28-year-old living in NYC, where I'm constantly inspired by people and culture, I find that my style changes several times a year. In general, I would say that I have a pretty classic style, but sometimes I like to make a statement with a fun sleeve or a bold print."
  • What are some pieces that you consider to be wardrobe essentials? "A good pair of jeans that you feel comfortable and confident in — usually, I love a slightly high-waisted skinny jean with a little stretch, but recently I've been loving a more casual boyfriend fit too. L'agence and Levi's are my favorite brands for each. Then, a classic blazer that helps pull together even the most simple outfit. I have a long black blazer that I got at Topshop (Shop Similar: $110; nordstrom.com) a couple of years ago that never lets me down, whether I'm wearing it to work for an important meeting or over a dress when those summer evenings get chilly. And, a white T-shirt, because we all need a good white tee to throw on during those days where you want to be comfortable but still look decent. A friend of mine gave me a tip about buying a pack of white Hanes T-shirts on Amazon and it was the best thing I did."
  • Do you consider your closet to be seasonless? "Yes, definitely. While I do tend to wear more color and prints in the summer, those key pieces definitely carry through all seasons. That's why I think it's important to invest in those wardrobe staples as opposed to constantly buying trendy items. It's more sustainable, not only for the planet but also for your bank account."
  • Where do you typically shop for essentials? "I have a couple of stores that are my go-to places. I love & Other Stories for knits in the autumn, COS for evergreen basics like T-shirts, shirts, and workwear, and Frankie Shop for when I'm looking for something a little more edgy or trendy."

How Michaela Would Style a White Button-Down

Images Courtesy of Michaela O'Shaughnessy. Design by Jenna Brillhart

"Like everyone, I've been obsessed with the tie-dye trend that we've been seeing all over Instagram for the past few months. I wanted to show how I would wear a white shirt (Shop Similar: $198; fenoel.com) in a casual way by pairing it with a fun pair of jeans from MSGM (Shop Similar: $125; therealreal.com) and comfy Veja sneakers."

How Michaela Would Style a White T-Shirt

Images Courtesy of Michaela O'Shaughnessy. Design by Jenna Brillhart

"While working from home, I've been trying to get dressed properly each day so I feel like more of a functioning person! I picked out these pants because even though they look quite dressy, they're super comfortable and light, which is important in NYC right now where it's still pretty warm. For a fun pop of color against the neutral pants and white tee (Shop Similar: $10; amazon.com), I wore my Mom's vintage Versace bag that I adore because it matches my favorite shade of red lipstick."

How Michaela Would Style Black Pants

Images Courtesy of Michaela O'Shaughnessy. Design by Jenna Brillhart

"I think having a nice pair of black pants is so important, I love these Ann Taylor ones (Shop Similar: $98; anntaylor.com) specifically because of the fun gold button detailing. I paired them with a classic white shirt and pointy black heels for a dressier outfit that still feels comfortable and fun."