How to create a capsule wardrobe

Building a clear sense of personal style and filling your wardrobe with only pieces that fit that style can take years and a lot of focused effort. But with an all-season capsule wardrobe, you can fast-track your way to a curated closet where each piece of clothing sees regular wear.

Gone are the days of digging through an overstuffed and out-of-control closet in search of an outfit each morning. With a capsule wardrobe filled with carefully chosen pieces, getting dressed each day is a breeze.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

Creating a capsule wardrobe means filling your closet with a small number of pieces that can be mixed and matched to create many different outfits. The clothing you include in your capsule wardrobe should fit your personal style yet consist of timeless silhouettes that won’t be out of fashion next season.

Each new piece that is added to a capsule wardrobe generally pairs well with many other pieces already in the collection so that it can be worn in a variety of different outfits. This creates a highly curated closet that never goes out of style.

how to create a capsule wardrobe

What’s so great about a capsule wardrobe?

Besides making it easy to get dressed in the morning and put together great outfits, capsule wardrobes are awesome for other reasons as well.

  1. You’ll have fewer pieces in your wardrobe. No more worrying about running out of space in your dresser drawers or on your closet rack. Plus, you won’t have to dig to the bottom of a drawer in search of that one shirt that would go perfectly with these pants.
  2. It’s more sustainable. A focus on slow fashion and limiting consumption helps to reduce waste and contributes to a more sustainable fashion industry. Choose high-quality, timeless pieces that will last for many years to come.
  3. Save money in the long term. While each piece of clothing will likely cost more than your typical trendy fast-fashion item, you’ll save money over time by investing in quality pieces that won’t go out of style. Once you have a fully functioning capsule wardrobe, you usually won’t have to buy more than 1 or 2 items of clothing each year.
  4. If you’re a sewist, you can lovingly create pieces for your capsule wardrobe knowing they’ll be worn regularly. However, even if you know how to sew, don’t feel pressured to create every single piece you need for your curated closet if you don’t want to.

How to get started on a capsule wardrobe

Even a capsule wardrobe will take time and iterations to get right but getting started is key! You can always make changes and fine-tune your closet as you go.

Here’s how to get started right creating your capsule wardrobe.

Evaluate your style and make a plan for your capsule wardrobe

First, evaluate your current style. Think through what you wear on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes, keeping a journal and recording each outfit for a few weeks or a month can really help you to nail down what items of clothing you regularly wear and pair together in outfits.

You can also save some inspiration photos to Pinterest or an album on your phone – but remember to be realistic about what you’ll actually wear. I must admit, I’m guilty of often saving photos of clothing that look great on the models, but that I would never feel comfortable wearing myself.

Once you have a clear vision of what your personal style is and what items of clothing you regularly wear, it’s time to make a plan. Record the quantity of each item that you will need to have a small, but functional wardrobe. For example, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of non-denim pants, 2 pairs of shorts, 10 tops, 5 sweaters, 3 dresses, 3 light jackets, 1 heavy coat, 5 pairs of shoes, and 2 swimsuits could be a great capsule wardrobe. How many of each piece of clothing to include in your plan is a very personal choice. I tend to wear pants and rarely wear skirts or dresses, so I err on the side of having more pants and fewer dresses, but your style may push you in the completely opposite direction!

Go through what you already have

Next, go through all of the clothing that is currently in your closet and sort out the items that fit your body and your style well. It can help to sort into 3 piles initially: 1) keep, I wear this regularly, 2) maybe, I sometimes wear this, and 3) donate, I never wear this. Once you have your 3 piles, go through the maybe pile again and carefully consider how each piece would fit into your capsule wardrobe.

how to create a capsule wardrobe

Find the holes in your wardrobe

Now that you’re only left with the pieces of clothing that fit your new curated closet, it’s time to find the holes in your wardrobe. What pieces do you need to add to fully build out your capsule wardrobe based on the plan you made at the beginning of the process?

Round out your capsule wardrobe with quality pieces

Fill in the holes in your wardrobe with high-quality, timeless pieces. If you’re a sewist, it’s now time for the real fun to begin – choosing patterns and fabrics that will complement the clothing already in your closet!

Tips for creating your all-season capsule wardrobe


Tips for creating your all-season capsule wardrobe

Creating a capsule wardrobe that you can wear year-round is key to maintaining a minimalist, low-maintenance closet.

Choose seasonless fabrics

Try to avoid fabrics with a clear seasonal feel to them. For example, you may want to steer clear of super bright, summery colors and prints that would look out of place layered under a coat for winter. Neutral colors and fabrics that can transition into different seasons are best when the focus is on creating an all-season wardrobe.

tips to create a capsule wardrobe

Include good layering pieces

Layering is key to building a year-round closet. Choose “summer” tops that can easily be layered under cardigans and coats for winter. Go for light outerwear pieces that layer well for both fall and spring but can also be layered under a coat for winter. And don’t forget to experiment with different layering combinations – you might find that some of your dedicated warm-weather pieces can transition well into cooler seasons!

Focus on quality and classic styles

Finally, focusing on creating or purchasing high-quality, timeless pieces that will last for years to come helps to build a wardrobe where each piece can be pulled out year after year and season after season. If you’re tired of fast-fashion and closets overflowing with disposable clothing, give creating a capsule wardrobe a try!





Melanie Coultas