What Is a Capsule Wardrobe and How Can I Get Started?

 It’s not hard to let your closet get a little out of hand. Between impulse shopping, seasonal wardrobe changes and statement pieces, you might run out of hangers faster than you would like. Though spring cleaning sessions and closet purges make for some pretty impressive donation bags, you’re still dealing with a cycle of excess clothing. Isn’t there a better way? If you’re looking to simplify your closet and get the most out of your clothes, then a capsule wardrobe for work, everyday wear or even travel might be the perfect thing for you to try. Here’s what you need to know about the capsule wardrobe method, as well as how you can start your very own capsule.

Before you assemble your perfect capsule wardrobe, it’s necessary to get rid of the excess. This means selling or donating anything you don’t wear or pieces that don’t fit. Be sure to keep seasonal clothing and a few specialty pieces like swimsuits and rain gear for when you need them. When going through your clothing, think about what you wear the most and what you don’t. It’s also important to think about which pieces go with multiple pairings and can be dressed up or down with different shoes and accessories. 

Once your initial closet purge is complete, it’s time to gather the pieces that will make up your capsule wardrobe. Here’s what you might want to include:


  • Dresses or Skirts: If you wear these, it’s crucial to choose styles that you love and reach for often. For example, your capsule wardrobe would benefit from one or two of your favorite trendy dresses in black or other solid colors as opposed to less versatile prints and patterns. A good rule of thumb is to choose one short dress and one in a midi length or longer. 

Denim: Choose your capsule denim wisely! While printed and colored jeans are fun and trendy, it’s hard to wear them with more than a couple of different outfits. Instead, upgrade your capsule with two to three exceptional pairs. This might include a pair of straight leg jeans as well as a black pair and a pair of cropped jeans. For mild weather seasons, consider adding a women’s denim jacket to your capsule as well.

  • Shirts for Success: The concept of “shirts” is an umbrella that covers a lot of different styles, so it’s important to make a unique selection of capsule-worthy tops that works with your lifestyle. If you absolutely live in cotton t-shirts and nothing else, it’s a good idea to include a handful of these in your capsule wardrobe. If you work in blouses during the week but play in cute bodysuits and graphic tees on the weekends, curate this section of your capsule wardrobe to reflect that balance! 


  • Non-Denim Bottoms: Think about your most loved pants. Do you have any? Are they made of cotton, linen or synthetic blends? If you don’t have use for non-denim pants or shorts, feel free to add to your jeans or skirts category based on how often you wear those. 


  • Outerwear: This section is usually based on the season, though a warm weather capsule might still include one or two cardigans or lightweight cute jackets. In addition to a classic denim jacket, zip-up hoodie or bomber, your personal capsule wardrobe might include a blazer or leather jacket as well. 


These categories make up the bones of a great beginner capsule wardrobe. These items are meant to be supplemented by a thoughtful selection of shoes and accessories like bags, belts, jewelry and more. The most important part of your first capsule wardrobe is to narrow your closet down to a versatile and functional collection of clothing that benefits you and remains true to your lifestyle. 

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