The UNDONE Glossary: Fashion Terminology You Need To Know

The UNDONE Glossary

Frequently mentioned on our blog and Instagram page, our style vocab forms a dictionary (The Undone-ictionary, if you will) of terminology that relates to building a forever wardrobe. From ‘basics’ and ‘staples’ to ‘capsule wardrobe’, you hear us use these terms all the time, but what do they actually mean? And how do they make getting dressed on the daily easier? Brush up on our go-to minimalist styling terms below.


Also referred to as ‘wardrobe basics’ or ‘wardrobe staples’, these are the hardest working pieces in your closet. They’re foundational in the sense that you’ll reach for them constantly. Think: a fresh white tee, crisp neutral shirting, a ribbed tank top or a great pair of blue jeans. They’re the items you really couldn’t live without because you turn to them, time and time again, to make everything else in your wardrobe work.

Smart shopping tip:

As these are the pieces we’re wearing the most frequently, and ultimately will need to wash more often, it’s going to pay off in the long run to invest a little more in these staples so they hold up and last the distance. If you’ve ever bought a budget fast fashion t-shirt and compared it to a well made designer t-shirt, you’ll understand there is a big difference to how these pieces wash and wear, and ultimately last. 

Wardrobe essentials
/ˈwɔːdrəʊb ɪˈsɛnʃls/

Wardrobe essentials include all your wardrobe staples and basics, but also the pieces that you wear a little less often but still on high rotation, and include pieces you wear for work or the go-to dress you reach for a special occasion. They have a timeless quality to them and elevate your Basics. From the perfect pair of tailored black pants, to the classic black heel, and go-to event dress, they’re usually smarter pieces you thoughtfully invest in so that you can love and wear them for many years to come.

Smart shopping tip:

Go slowly when investing in wardrobe essentials as you’ll be holding onto these pieces for the long haul. We like to make a list of the wardrobe essentials we’re looking at adding to our wardrobe, you can find our 40 Wardrobe Essential checklist here, and then slowly work our way through the gaps in our wardrobe each season.

Capsule wardrobe
/ˈkapsjuːl ˈwɔːdrəʊb/

A capsule wardrobe is an edit within your wardrobe of versatile basics and wardrobe essentials, that are curated to create the maximum number of outfits with the minimum number of individual items to make everyday dressing easier. A popular capsule wardrobe challenge is project 333, where you edit your wardrobe down to 33 items and only wear those pieces over a period of 3 months. We also like creating capsules for particular seasons or lifestyle needs, for example a curated workwear capsule makes dressing for the office every morning a cinch, and a perfectly executed vacation capsule means that you’re wearing everything you pack in your suitcase while always feeling like you’re wearing a new outfit combination. 

Smart shopping tip: 

A capsule works best when it’s narrowed down to a specific need and physically placed together and separated from the rest of your wardrobe. Capsules are really helpful to reduce decision making fatigue as you’re working with a really tight edit, yet all pieces should be able to be styled back together to achieve maximum outfit combinations. If a capsule sounds like the right path for you, it’s helpful to tick off the gaps in your wardrobe essentials first for a really functional capsule.

Uniform dressing
/ ˈyu nəˌfɔrm  ˈdrɛs ɪŋ /

Uniform dressing is one of your more subtle personal style techniques, where you wear the same style of clothes each day with subtle differences. It’s been highlighted over the years as an approach taken on by successful people to reduce decision fatigue so they can use their brain power on other tasks at hand rather than deciding what to wear each day. It’s also popular with creatives and people curating their personal brand as they become known for dressing in a particular way, and they stick to it. Another benefit of taking on Uniform Dressing is that it provides comfort and security, knowing that the outfit always works and makes you look and feel good.

Smart shopping tip:

Create your personal style uniform on the silhouette and styles that makes you feel your very best. A loose trouser and fitted top for example or a mini skirt and a boxier jacket. Once you figure out your uniform, you can give yourself permission to invest in those pieces in multiple colours or variations as you know you’ll be wearing them on repeat.  


The UNDONE Glossary - Terminology you need to know

Read next: How We’re Wearing Our Wardrobe Favourites

Need help building the foundation of your wardrobe? Shop our wardrobe essentials edit.

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