How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

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Learn how to create a capsule wardrobe using this 6-step guide.

It is 7 am and time to get dressed. You are in your bedroom desperately looking for something to wear. Tops and dresses are all over the bed. Nothing you try on looks quite right.

Getting dressed for the day doesn’t have to be so stressful. If you are tired of being overwhelmed by a closet full of clothes, it is time to learn how to declutter your closet and build a wardrobe you love, with a curated selection of clothes you actually wear.

If you are ready for the less is more approach to your clothing collection, continue reading to learn all about building a capsule wardrobe.

Related reading: Wardrobe Basics Shopping List

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a small wardrobe made up of versatile pieces that you can mix and match. Each season, you reset your closet and pick new pieces to be in your capsule wardrobe. Your capsule collection is made up of a combination of items you already own, as well as new, high-quality items.

What are the benefits of a capsule?

When building a capsule, you shop only once a season. You’ll only purchase items that you need to round out your capsule. You won’t be purchasing tons of new clothes or purchasing things you’ll never wear. As a result, you will save money.

By putting together a smaller, yet versatile wardrobe, you will always have something to wear. Everything will match and fit. Plus, it will take less time to decide what to wear.

How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

How do you build a capsule wardrobe?

Building a capsule wardrobe can seem complicated. Don’t worry. The process can be broken down into basic steps.

Step 1

Take everything out of your closet. Then lay it out on your bed. This step is very important. You need to be able to see every piece of clothing you have.

Step 2

Sort each item into one of these four piles:

  • Love it and wear it all the time: These are the clothes you love and actually wear. Be diligent about making sure you don’t put clothes in this pile that you love but don’t actually wear.
  • Like it: This is the section where most of your clothes may fall. You like them, wear them sometimes, but they aren’t your absolute faves.
  • Lose it: This pile is for things you need to get out of your home. Pieces that you don’t like, things that don’t fit, and clothes that have sat unworn all need to go in this pile. These items should be donated to charity or sold.
  • Seasonal: This pile is for seasonal items like swimsuits or parkas. Pack away any clothes that are not appropriate for the current season.

Step 3

Determine your style preferences.

When you sorted all of the items you own, you probably noticed some patterns. If not, take some time to really look to see what jumps out at you about the clothes you love. This will help you determine your style.

Step 4

Determine your needs.

Your lifestyle and wardrobe needs will determine how many pieces you need in your capsule.

Identify different outfit types you need in a traditional week. Do you need outfits for work, going out, and around the home? You’ll probably need a larger capsule with around 30-35 pieces. Are you a stay-at-home mom? Then you could get away with a much smaller capsule around 20-25 pieces.

Step 5

Now it is time to build your capsule.

Before you put an item in your capsule, ask yourself two questions:

  • Does this item meet my needs?
  • Will it go with other items in my capsule?

Start with your wardrobe essentials. Essential items are tops and bottoms in solid colors, like black, white, gray, blue, and beige. These are classic pieces that never go out of style. 

Build on the foundation by adding in colored or patterned pieces.

Next, select any needed blazers, coats, and jackets.

Finally, select your shoes and bags.

Step 6

Put any remaining pieces in storage. It’s essential to keep the extra clothes separate.

You may be tempted to store your extra clothes in a vacuum-sealed storage bag, but we would discourage you from that unless you have no other option. We suggest storage made from natural linen or cotton since plastic bins and space-saving bags can increase the risk of mildew and discoloration.

Here are a few of our favorite storage items:

Shopping For Capsule Wardrobe Pieces

If you find your closet is missing a few pieces, it is okay to shop. Just make sure to shop intentionally. Before purchasing, make sure the piece meets your needs and will match other items in your capsule.

We prefer to spend a bit more on capsule items so they will last many seasons.

Some of our favorite retailers for quality pieces are:


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