Our Dream Clothes Capsule Wardrobe For Spring
Have you seen the “dream clothes” trend on Pinterest? As we head into warmer weather, we’re ready to embrace this wispy, nostalgic take on curating our wardrobes for spring 2023. Think: patchwork patterns, looser fits, and vintage overalls for an easy, comfortable look. Top it off with some simple sunnies and chunky shoes, and you’ve got our 90s hearts racing.
Below, you’ll find which types of garments we’re styling this season, as well as our favorite selects from sustainable brands at a range of price points. While you won’t find $30 sweaters or $10 tops on this list, consider it inspiration for creating your own dream capsule by shopping your closet first (it’s a great season to host a clothing swap with your friends). Plus—we’re including a few DIY and upcycling tips, too, so you can customize your capsule on any budget.
When it does come time to invest in new clothing, we turn to vintage and sustainable clothing for pieces we’ll wear for years to come. These are the 18 garments and accessories that are inspiring our spring capsule wardrobe. Be sure to share in the comments what garments you have on heavy rotation this season!
If you’re embarking on a capsule for the first time, or want to get inspired by the variety of capsule wardrobes people practice, check out our deep dive into what capsule wardrobes are here.
1. The essential simple tank
Transitional seasons like spring and winter always call for layers—we love keeping a simple tank on hand for layering under button downs or jackets. But perhaps what we’re most excited about is wearing tanks under a dreamy pair of overalls and basking in the 90s nostalgia for a few moments. (You can even turn some of your old graphic tees into tanks with this tutorial).
2. A casual button down
Key word here is casual—the last thing you want to be worrying about on your way out the door on a spring day is a wrinkly top. A cotton or jersey button down lays nicely, and is a versatile piece to wear at work and even out with friends. Our editor’s favorite chambray button down is full of patches and functional embroidery experiments, so don’t hesitate to mend your existing pieces. (Oh and check out how cute these DIY flower buttons are if you want to spruce up your button downs!)
3. Add a classic tee
Did anyone else have those paper-thin, transparent white tees in their younger years? This season we’re searching for something much more opaque so we can go with or without bras as comfortably as possible. If your current tops are looking a little dull, here are some ways to whiten them without bleach.
4. And a springy sweater
We all had one of those kitsch hand-me-down sweaters from a cousin that never quite fit, right? Just us? Either way, we’re embracing another throwback with pastel-y sweaters and cardigans to keep the layering party going. If you’re looking to add to your wardrobe, we definitely recommend searching for secondhand—you never know what knitwear you’ll find in the aisles of your local thrift.
5. Top it off with a quilted jacket
Quilted patterns are everywhere right now, and it’s probably thanks to the lingering cottagecore trend and our collective desire for simpler times. You can get this look by quilting your own upcycled sweatshirts, or attach leftover fabric pieces to the back of a denim jacket with some thermal binding tape and a few well-placed stitches. (Heads up, if you’re in a warmer climate, Aaron Asunsolo also makes quilted bikinis that we can’t stop thinking about).
- Etsy ($50+)
- LA Relaxed ($128)
- Patagonia ($134)
- Lisa Says Gah ($171)
- Aaron Asunsolo ($210+)
- Cleobella ($298)
6. A vintage-feel sweatshirt
Have you heard enough about layers yet? Our editors credit this wardrobe preparedness to their midwestern-US upbringings, where a humid, sunny day could turn rainy and cold in an instant. Sweatshirts are also great to search for at thrift stores, since vintage and oversized are both in style (and supremely comfortable).
7. Go long (or short) with a skirt
Skirts are so versatile—wear them with sneakers or heels, day or night and you can’t go wrong. We’re especially drawn to pairing contrasting textures like silk and knits, or linen and cotton. To expand the range of outfits you can create with your capsule, try pulling a skirt over your favorite dress for a tucked-in top look.
8. Don’t sleep on the slip dress
The simple slip dress doesn’t get enough credit. While they’re a great base layer for sheer dresses, they can also be quite handy for layering with sweaters and tees. Here’s a masterclass on styling these versatile dresses (our editor once layered the Boody slip under a sequin top for a comfy party look!)
9. Dreamy long dress
This is a dream capsule for a reason—everywhere we look, we’re seeing stunning dresses in timeless silhouettes and patterns (including the quilted look!). A wispy dress that makes us feel good is one of the cornerstones of this season’s capsule, and we’re especially excited about dresses with generous waistlines and stretch for our ever-changing bodies. If a new dress isn’t in the budget (they get expensive), here are some tips on styling robes that don’t all look like loungewear.
10. Flowy wide-leg trousers
What is it about a flowy piece that feels so dreamy? We’re skipping the skinny jeans this season in favor of some voluminous trousers. This tutorial walks you through how to turn your tight pants into ones with a little more breathing room for your ankles.
11. Light wash denim
Mom. Jeans. Are. Back. They’ve been back—turns out, mom was right all along. We’re searching for high waisted, light-wash denim that offers the right balance of structure and softness. If you have more time and patience than budget, here’s our guide for finding vintage denim that you’ll love for years to come.
12. We’re not over overalls
This one isn’t going to be for everyone, but I think we can all appreciate the idea of a garment that gives us room to breathe. We’re unabashedly searching thrift shops for overalls—because if they worked for Rachel Greene, it works for us! Alternatives do include jumpsuits, but overalls are winning for their easy-in and easy-out flexibility. You can find the pair we featured at the top of this article (and more pairs like it) at this Etsy shop.
13. Tote bag
The small bags trend of the last few years has taken so much from all of us—like our full-sized lotions, books, and secret snacks. All that to say, we’re thrilled that the large totes are back in style (because for us, they never left.) But this trend isn’t just relegated to expensive bags—any tote you’ve come across or make yourself will be the cutest addition to a spring look.
14. Throwback shades
Vintage-inspired sunnies transport us to roadtrips and poolsides like nothing else can. We’re excited to revisit some of our favorite classic shapes! For budget-friendly shades, search thredUP for sunglasses that are like-new. Or, promotional sunglasses you can get for free often come in these trending shapes, just make sure that they offer some form of UV protection!
15. Twisted jewelry
Sparkles aren’t just for stones—we’re loving twisted jewelry that adds a little shimmer without the price point. This style is perfect for layering with your existing pieces! If you’re looking for more affordable options, check out vintage twisted jewelry on Etsy or search “twist” on shopgoodwill.
16. Easy slip-ons
There were times when spring meant cute high heels and complicated strappy sandals—no more. We’re looking for easy slip-ons this season so we can get outside without all the fuss. Repair your most well-loved slip-ons with Shoe Goo using this video tutorial.
17. Chunky loafers
There’s bound to be a rainy day or two this season, so we like to keep a pair of water-resistant shoes on hand. A pair of these thick-soled loafers will do the trick—and it’ll offer a little extra grip on slippery floors and sidewalks, too.
18. Simple sandals
Whether it’s a casual slide or a simple ankle strap style, we’re embracing the warmer weather with some go-to sandals. Most of our sandals are many years old, since they tend to hold up season after season, but some of the leather pieces can get cracks over time. Here’s how to repair cracked leather and keep your shoes in good shape!