What Is A Capsule Wardrobe? Clever Closet Use For You

There’s nothing cooler, at this moment, in the fashion world than a minimalist wardrobe or capsule wardrobe.

You may be wondering what is a capsule wardrobe because that’s the big buzzword in minimalism now.

A capsule wardrobe is simply a small collection of clothes that you can mix and match with each other for a period of 3 months (one season). 

Then, after 3 months, you review the wardrobe and replace the items, often buying secondhand clothes to fill in the blanks, that don’t fit your next season’s style and perhaps sell the old ones online

Why Would You Want A Capsule Wardrobe?

There are many good reasons for simplifying your wardrobe into a capsule wardrobe and cutting down the clothes you buy and wear and they include:

  1. It’s good for your wallet. Sure, buying clothes is fun but there are all sorts of other fun things you can spend money on – when you buy fewer clothes, you can have more fun. Think of a capsule wardrobe concept as an investment in yourself and your personal style. You save money and look great!
  2. It’s good for the planet. This is fairly obvious but when you buy fewer clothes and you try to buy high-quality pieces which are often secondhand, you’re cutting down on the waste and pollution your wardrobe creates. It also means that the perfect capsule wardrobe tends to be full of classic pieces the sort that designer Donna Karan created. A capsule collection is what sustainable fashion is all about.
  3. It’s good for your mental health. Have you ever heard of the paradox of choice? It’s a psychological effect that means when we have too many choices, we find that process overwhelming and we’re less happy. By reducing the number of choices in your wardrobe, paradoxically, it’s easier to decide what to wear and more fun to do so! So, a capsule wardrobe helps to reduce stress too!
  4. It’s good for your home and living space. The fewer clothes, shoes, etc. you own, the less chance that your home starts to overflow with all this stuff and the easier it is to keep it inside closets, dressers, etc. Less clutter in your living space makes spending time at home nicer. 
What Is A Capsule Wardrobe?

The Basic Steps For Creating A Capsule Wardrobe

OK, you’ve decided that you want those juicy benefits from having a capsule wardrobe and are ready to build your own, but how do you go about it?

Well, the good news is that this is super simple and we’d use a 5 step process to get the job done. 

  1. You start by opting for a base color for your wardrobe – this should be black or navy blue or even royal blue. These colors are very easy to match with just about any other color and offer a whole range of classic looks. You only need a few core garments in this color scheme and then you build around it.  Just make sure it suits your skin tone.
  2. You add some neutral basic closet essentials. That is you pick some things in neutral colors that go along side your base colors – such as black, white, gray, beige, etc. Essentials are tops or bottoms that are always in style. Tee shirts, sweaters, shirts, etc.

  3. You add some accent color garments. Accent colors are the colors you can’t bear to live without, you can skip this step if you’re happy with just neutral colors. You try to keep this to a minimum just to offer a little flare of individuality rather to dominate the curated wardrobe.
  4. You add some patterned or layered items. You don’t need a lot of these things (maybe 3 maximum) and they can be anything you would wear from a coat to a skirt. We’d recommend that you opt for at least one tee with a horizontal stripe (black or navy) this makes it super easy to accessorize. Then go wild! 
  5. You add your coats and jackets. If it’s the season for cold weather, you will need to add a couple of coats or jackets that work with your wardrobe. 
  6. Finish up by accessorizing and picking your shoes. This is the easy bit, just make sure that everything you add complements what you already have.  And yes, you need some casual shoes as well as formal ones.

There is no fixed number of garments in a capsule wardrobe but we’d aim to have around 30-40 pieces total by the time you’ve finished.  The fashion industry will cry over the reduction in custom but you will have said goodbye to fast fashion for good!

The idea is that you should be able to mix and match everything in the wardrobe with everything else and thus, create enough individual looks for a period of 3 months that you don’t get bored.

When the season is over, you’re going to reinvigorate the wardrobe, though that doesn’t mean you will replace everything that you own rather that you’ll move some of the items out of your wardrobe and bring in some new ones.

Jeans, for example, are not seasonal and you don’t need a new pair just because 3 months have passed. 

Whereas that light spring top in a soft peach? That’s probably going to move on when summer arrives and you want more striking touches of color in your clothes. 

An Important Note On Capsule Wardrobes

A capsule wardrobe is an individual’s statement of their own fashion intent and no two capsule wardrobes are alike.

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to start a capsule wardrobe and you should feel free to experiment in any way that you choose.

Of course, if you’re having problems reducing the number of clothes that you have in your wardrobe? 

Then you might want to check out our guide to creating a minimalist wardrobe – it’s got a super simple process there for winnowing out the stuff you no longer need. 

Final Thoughts On Capsule Wardrobes

What is a capsule wardrobe?  It’s a streamlined, seasonal, collection of clothes that are easy to mix and match together to create a wide-variety of looks without being overwhelming.

The benefits are clear – it saves you money, it’s good for the planet and it’s good for your mental health to maintain a simpler wardrobe.

So, with that in mind, why not put a date in your diary to have your first attempt at building your own capsule wardrobe? 

Remember, you can’t go wrong with this process and it’s a lot of fun!