Do you want to know how to start a capsule wardrobe this year? Find everything you need to know to create the perfect capsule right here.
A capsule wardrobe offers the promise of a reset, which let’s face it, most of us need or have needed at
some many points in our lives. The best way to start a capsule wardrobe is with a clear plan. Knowing the purpose and goals you want to achieve with your capsule will help you determine what items are needed and how many.
You’ll learn the best method for creating a capsule wardrobe to suit your style and simplify your life for this season and many seasons to come for a year round capsule wardrobe. Here’s everything you need to know about capsule wardrobe definition, capsule wardrobe rules, capsule wardrobe checklist, capsule wardrobe formula, and the best capsule wardrobe brands.
This post is all about how to start a capsule wardrobe.
How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe
Capsule Wardrobe Definition
What is a capsule wardrobe? It’s important to understand the concept before we dig into how to create a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is basically a curated collection of clothing and accessories that are stylish, versatile, and functional. If you think of the first word, “capsule” which means small and contained, and the second word, “wardrobe”, it’s essentially that.
A capsule wardrobe differs from a traditional wardrobe in the following ways:
- A capsule consists of less items
- A capsule’s aesthetic is timeless as opposed to trendy
- All pieces in a capsule mix and match together to create many different outfits
There are more points, but this is the general idea behind a capsule. A capsule wardrobe helps simplify the process of determining what to wear, styling outfits, and spending habits. Some people rely solely on a capsule while others utilize one as their base wardrobe and supplement it with many other items. You can create a specific capsule for each season too. There’s no right or wrong because a capsule is unique for each person.
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Capsule Wardrobe Rules
To be honest, I cringe when typing the phrase “capsule wardrobe rules“. The purpose of a capsule wardrobe is to give you more freedom when it comes to style, time, and spending. A capsule redirects your focus to dressing purposefully and authentically rather than chasing every trend or Instagram ad.
Here are the guidelines for how to have a capsule wardrobe and be successful at it. They aren’t rigid, but if you start cold turkey (and ditch your entire wardrobe), it may be a big adjustment. I offer a more tangible approach later in this post.
- 30-70 items (varies based on personality, lifestyle, and climate)
- Must love every item
- Every piece fits you perfectly or almost perfectly (tailoring might be necessary)
- All the pieces mix and match together
- Items will last longer than a few seasons (in both style and quality)
- Avoid similar versions of a particular style if your lifestyle doesn’t require it (e.g. 3 black blazers, but you work from home and dress mostly casual)
- Replace items as opposed to purchasing duplicates
- Items serve multiple functions in your wardrobe (e.g. a pair of trousers can be worn for both work and play)
- Avoid one-hit-wonders (like those 8 dresses you wore to 8 different weddings and then never again)
- Purchases are based on need; wants are secondary
Are capsule wardrobes realistic? Absolutely. With proper planning and patience, you can make a graceful transition to a stylish capsule wardrobe you love.
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Capsule Wardrobe Checklist
If you want to build a capsule wardrobe online, I’ve created an easy checklist to help you get started. This takes away the work of creating the list on your own. Use this wardrobe essentials list as a guide when you walk through the steps below to create one.
The best way to create a capsule wardrobe is with a personalized approach that helps you define which capsule wardrobe essentials are actually essential to you.
Capsule Wardrobe Formula
Before you go out and purchase a capsule wardrobe in a box, I advise you to follow this formula. Curating a capsule wardrobe based on your own needs will ensure your success in purchases and actually wearing the items.
1. Determine Your Lifestyle Needs
Begin by listing out the activities and events that make up your day-to-day life. This could look something like the example below:
- Work in office 3 days a week
- Work from home 2 days a week
- Walk the dog daily
- Saturday night out with friends or partner
- Errands one day a week
- Community meetings once a week
Your list determines the types of outfits and clothes needed for these activities. Identify the overlapping activities where specific clothing and accessories can be worn. Do this for each season of the year.
A capsule wardrobe typically excludes clothes such as pajamas, activewear, formal wear, and other similar items. I recommend excluding these pieces at first and revisiting them at a later date if you want to minimize your wardrobe further.
The goal is to identify the clothing and accessories you need to support the activities you do on repeat. This will become your capsule wardrobe checklist. There will always be one-off occasions such as a mother-of-the-bride dress, but keep focused on your daily lifestyle where something like an LBD would be more appropriate.
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2. Categorize Your Capsule Wardrobe Pieces
The next step for how to start a capsule wardrobe is to categorize each item on your list by how dressy or how casual it needs to be. You want an item that’s versatile enough to be dressed up or down rather than needing two items and wearing them less. If you mostly live a casual life, most of your items will swing towards a casual aesthetic, and vice-versa. Be realistic about your goals and needs.
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Pick three colors for your capsule:
- 1 main color in a neutral
- 1 secondary color in another neutral
- 1 accent color in any shade
Assign these colors to each item in your capsule list (including accessories). Your main color is what most of your overarching pieces will consist of such as outerwear, a blazer, trousers, belt, and shoes. The secondary color is good for layering pieces such as knit tops, shirts, and skirts. Your accent is a good color for accessories, blouses, (and any other pieces you want in a patterned print that includes your main or primary color).
Once you’ve done this, you now have your core closet of required clothing and accessories ready.
3. Shop Your Closet
Now’s the fun part of how to create a capsule wardrobe: shopping your closet. It’s time to go through your closet and identify each item that matches your capsule wardrobe checklist.
Remember the capsule wardrobe guidelines mentioned above. While you may have several capsule wardrobe essentials, you may not love them. You may hate them. They might not even fit you correctly. If this is you, that’s okay. Welcome to everyone reading (and writing) this article…for now at least.
Set aside all items that match your capsule wardrobe checklist, including the ones you probably want to replace. Identify which items are a perfect match for your new capsule and which ones are temporary. The temporary ones either don’t fit you or you don’t like them, so they’ll be replaced in the future.
So, what to do with the rest of your current wardrobe, you might ask? That’s for you to decide. I don’t recommend discarding everything and starting a capsule wardrobe from scratch unless you’re spiritually and financially inclined to do so. Checkout my genius method for performing a wardrobe inventory in the post below.
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4. Prioritize Your Capsule Wishlist
Once you’ve crossed the capsule wardrobe pieces you already have off your list, it’s time to prioritize the rest of the items you need to purchase. Prioritize your wishlist based on any items you need for the current season and frequency of wear. For example, a pair of tall black boots would come before a pair of black sandals if you’re moving into winter.
Related Post: 12 Capsule Wardrobe Essentials To Jumpstart Your Style
Once your wishlist is in a prioritized order, you’re ready to shop.
5. Shop Your Capsule Wishlist
If you’re anything like me when I began the steps to making a capsule wardrobe, there were many items I realized I needed but didn’t own. I was totally guilty of buying too many dresses, shoes, jackets, and bags, but didn’t even own a v-neck sweater for layering (though I owned many other sweaters, lol).
How to start a capsule wardrobe and not repeat those mistakes? By remembering the capsule wardrobe guidelines and learning how to shop for clothes effectively. This means you do a lot of “window shopping” before making purchases. Research the heck out of things be it reviews, size guides, materials, etc. Try before you buy. If you’re shopping for a pair of straight-leg denim jeans, give yourself a few options of jeans. Add them to a Pinterest list and mull over it until the right choice and the right time to purchase becomes clear.
Do not purchase anything in haste. I repeat: do not purchase anything in haste.
This may be difficult for those dealing with FOMO (i.e., Fear Of Missing Out). But if I can overcome fashion FOMO, anyone can. And I mean that. This method will get you there and FOMO will become a thing of the past for you.
Related Post: How To Shop For Clothes Effectively
6. Wear, Rinse & Repeat
Maintain your capsule wardrobe by taking proper care of your clothes. Replace them when they’re worn and utilize the same method above for creating and shopping your wishlist.
The capsule wardrobe method is very rewarding when you begin to take sovereignty over your wardrobe and spending habits. Not only that, but you fall in love with every piece you own because it looks amazing on you. Styling becomes a breeze. And, you think twice before impulse buying and throwing off the harmony of your chic wardrobe.
Related Post: How To Style Clothes You Already Have
Capsule Wardrobe Brands
These brands offer some of the best capsule wardrobe essentials to build your capsule wardrobe.
- Eileen Fisher
- J. Crew
- Marks & Spencer
Now you have all the tools you need to start creating the capsule wardrobe of your dreams. What are you looking forward to the most about starting a capsule wardrobe? If you’ve already started one, in what ways has it changed your life? Comment below. Happy capsuling friends!
This post was all about how to start a capsule wardrobe.
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