Have you ever wanted to create your simplified capsule wardrobe but are not sure how to begin? Then this very detailed guide is perfect for you!
First, let’s clarify what a capsule wardrobe truly is because there are quite a few different ideas.
To sum it up, a capsule wardrobe is clothes that are made up of fewer pieces. These pieces are all well-fitting to make you feel amazing and they can easily be mixed and matched to create dozens of outfits.
So why exactly are people opting for simplified wardrobes?
01 | You spend less time worrying about what to wear.
02 | You have smaller laundry loads.
03 | Having limited outfits prevents unnecessary stress.
04 | The cleanliness of your closet is a lot easier to maintain
05 | Your confidence will soar knowing that you feel your best in everything hanging in your closet.
I’m sure there are more benefits to a capsule wardrobe, and probably a few drawbacks too. What matters is that if you feel that switching to a capsule wardrobe will help you will find inner peace and simplicity, then this is right for you!
Capsule wardrobes seem easy enough… that is until you try to create one and it just doesn’t provide you the benefits you’re searching for. There are a few reasons for that my friend, and the number one reason is that you did not develop any sort of plan.
That’s what you are doing here today! Develop your own capsule wardrobe plan to create the dream closet that you deserve. All this is going to take is eight steps. Are you ready for the change?
Scroll to the end of this post to get your free printable downloads. My Capsule Wardrobe Plan & Capsule Wardrobe Guidelines!
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STEP ONE | IDENTIFY YOUR STYLE
Sure you can scroll mindlessly through Pinterest looking at pictures of capsule wardrobes and think you would love a French minimalist approach to your wardrobe…but is it you?
This is where you need to truly figure out what you enjoy wearing, what your style is, and of course, maybe a few things you would like to change. The core of your wardrobe should always match your personality!
I have condensed the many styles down to three basic categories that almost anyone seems to fall into. Within these categories, you will be able to adjust your capsule wardrobe to your needs and wants.
01 | EVERYDAY CASUAL
This is my category for sure! Everyday casual is for the flannel loving, flip flop wearing, & skinny jeans everyday type of person. A nice chambray shirt is a must and don’t forget the loose t-shirts!
What is great about this style is that over time people have turned it from a 90’s grunge to a classic look that works well for those that like to look stylish and comfortable at the same time.
02 | BUSINESS CASUAL
I do love this category as well. People who find themselves in a more professional setting have to create a statement with what they decide to wear (men and women alike).
Gone are the days of sky-high stilettos and can’t breath pencil skirts. Now we are dressing in more lowkey professional looks that finally let you focus on that presentation and less of how bad your feet hurt.
03 | ELEGANT & TRENDY
Think trendy. Floral, skirts, ruffles, colorful, dresses, and unique! If you love to dress up, throw on those high heels, and make a statement with your wardrobe then this is your category. I know you may think that this isn’t you, but in a sense, this is everyone even if it’s just once in a while!
These categories can be mixed and matched to create a full capsule wardrobe for your life. But do not be afraid to figure out which style is your core style so you have a foundation on to build your capsule wardrobe on.
STEP TWO | FIND YOUR COLOR PALETTE
This is where capsule wardrobes shine! It may seem a little extreme but honestly, try to stick with three accent colors in your wardrobe.
This makes shopping for clothes a no-brainer. If you love blush pink and navy blue, you’ll gravitate towards those colors when purchasing.
This simple tactic prevents you from impulse buying that floral tank top that ends up hanging in your closet for months because it doesn’t work with anything you got.
Every capsule wardrobe has a color palette foundation that works with every style and you will want to make sure this palette is where you start.
BLACK, GREY, WHITE, TAN, JEAN BLUE
Your core pieces in your wardrobe should always fall into this simple color palette. A pair of blue jeans, a pair of black pants, a pair of white jeans, a black dress, a tan coat, etc.
Now, capsule wardrobes do not have to be black and white (pun intended). This is where you can let your personality shine through your capsule wardrobe by adding in your favorite colors!
Try limiting to three complementary accent colors to add to your basic color palette for your capsule wardrobe.
Look at the combinations below to get inspired, but this is all about you so make sure you pick out the most flattering colors that work well with each other.
NAVY | BLUSH PINK | CHARCOAL GREY
MUSTARD | COOL TEAL | EMERALD GREEN
ROSE | IVORY | RUST
WINE | LILAC | DEEP PURPLE
CORAL | PALE YELLOW | AQUA
RED | OFF WHITE | SMOKY BLUE
YELLOW | PINK | JEAN BLUE
STEP THREE | GET SPECIFIC
This is my opinion, is where people start to get a little lost when creating their capsule wardrobe. They know what style they have or want, maybe even what color palette, but then they just don’t know in detail what pieces they will need in their wardrobe.
Now is the time to figure out the core pieces that need to be in your specific wardrobe. To make things simple in every style of the wardrobe there are ten basic everyday pieces that everyone should have.
01 | LIGHT TO MEDIUM BLUE JEANS
The good ole’ classic blue jeans will never go out of style. The light to medium blue jean works for everyday ensembles.
02 | DARK BLUE JEANS
Dark blue jeans have a slightly classier effect than a lighter pair. When you need to feel a little more dressed up, or have a slightly more dramatic look, a dark blue of jeans can do the trick.
03 | BLACK JEGGINGS
Black jeans are great too, but the jeggings (flexible thick fabric) can work wonders on virtually any body type. From crazy casual to a night out, the black jegging is truly the most versatile piece of clothing out there.
04 | BLACK JACKET
Black is timeless and can work with almost any outfit. Find one that can work for casual and a night out. Pea coat style looks sleek and can be dressed down with jeans and tennis shoes.
05 | LOOSE PLAIN SHIRT
White, black, or grey a loose shirt will look good on anyone. Tuck in the front for the trendier vibe. Hair up, hair down, jewelry, no jewelry, a loose plain shirt can be transformed into whatever you need it to be.
06 | LOOSE PLAIN TANK TOP
Spaghetti strap, large strap, slightly fitted, or very flowy the loose tank top just like the loose shirt can be easily transformed into various looks. Front tie knot for a fun summer vibe or pair with a nice jacket or coat for a fall evening. The possibilities are endless with a loose plain tank top.
07 | SIMPLE LONG-SLEEVE SHIRT
Solids colors, patterns, or stripes the simple long-sleeve is a must in everyone’s everyday wardrobe. Roll up the sleeves or pair with a scarf. This statement top is a capsule wardrobe core piece.
08 | BUTTON UP LONG-SLEEVE
If your mind immediately goes to a starched white waiters button-up shirt this is not what we’re talking about here. The button-up long-sleeve can be flannel, chambray (jean shirt), something soft with rolled-up sleeves, or patterned. The button-up creates a lot more visual interest and depending on your independent style you will be needing some sort of button-up long-sleeve that suits your style.
09 | TENNIS SHOES
Converse, Vans, Nikes, sporty, slip-on, etc. Everyone loves a good tennis shoe and your capsule wardrobe will always need one. The great thing about shoes is how they dramatically change your look. A loose t-shirt, jeans, and slip-on tennis shoes look great during the day for shopping. Front tie knots the t-shirt and switches the shoes to an ankle boot, and you have transformed your look with minimal effort. Never underestimate the power of the shoe.
10 | DRESSIER SHOE
Sandals, high heels, ankle boots, full boots, wedges, flats, etc. Whatever type of shoe makes you feel confident, comfortable, and dresses up any outfit should be in your capsule wardrobe.
STEP FOUR | PURGE YOUR CLOTHES
By now you have chosen a style you that suits you, developed the perfect color palette, and identified the key pieces your capsule wardrobe should start with.
Now is the time you can attack your closet with a slightly better idea of what you are trying to do.
I understand if you can’t just donate all of your clothes, shoes, and accessories and go out a buy a whole new capsule wardrobe. I get it, but what you can do is donate pieces you know don’t fit your plan, and slowly start purchasing and developing your newly defined wardrobe.
Remove everything from your closet and create a “capsule wardrobe section.” In this section hang up any clothes that you know for sure will work for your capsule wardrobe.
As you go over each of your clothes piece by piece remember some of these key tips that might finally help you let some things go.
01 | Do not keep things just because they still have tags. Just because something is new, does mean that it will fit you perfectly, and fit your style.
02 | Do not keep something because it is a name brand. Man, how those name brands get into our heads! At the end of the day if a $5 shirt from Walmart makes you feel beautiful and those $100 pairs of jeans make you feel bad about yourself, why are you punishing yourself with the jeans? Let it go.
03 | Do not keep something because it is pretty or trendy. If it doesn’t look good on you or fit the capsule wardrobe style you’re going for then why keep it around?
04 | Do not keep things that do not fit with hopes you will lose weight. We are guilty of holding onto things for that “one day” when we finally lose the weight we want to. Chances are if you lose weight you will want to reward yourself with new clothes anyway.
Purge! Purge! Purge!
It’s ok if you have 10 things hanging in your closet! You might just have to throw in a load of laundry every 3 days instead of once a week until you build up a larger wardrobe.
It may feel odd having such a small amount of clothes left, but this is great practice for experiencing what it’s like having a capsule wardrobe. Which again is supposed to be on the smaller side!
STEP FIVE | START TO BUILD YOUR DREAM CLOSET
This is the million-dollar question everyone struggles with. What should I buy and how many items should I have?
I wish there was a specific answer for you but of course, there are dozens of factors that affect people individually.
Do you live in snow half the year? Do you live in a hot place like Arizona? Are you trendy? Are you a casual yoga pant lover? Do you have to dress in business attire 40 hours a week?
All of these things will play a factor in how you create your personalized capsule wardrobe. BUT… I still think it’s possible to come up with a “generic” guide for what you should have as staples items in your new capsule wardrobe.
Take a look at this guideline below but remember to tailor these numbers to what your lifestyle needs!
When you are out and about shopping and developing your capsule wardrobe keep in mind a few of these key tips to help you continue to succeed.
01 | Avoid thoughtless purchases. Sure that mustard yellow pompom-edged summer tank top grabbed your eye across the store… but stop and think… “Will this easily be able to turn into MULTIPLE outfits with what I got already?” If yes… go for it. If not… maybe you keep shopping.
02 | Gravitate towards your color palette. If you love emerald green, navy blue, and blush pink seek out those colors in stores as you shop and try to ignore the rest.
03 | Ask yourself is this a quality piece? The thing about capsule wardrobes people often forget is that your clothes get washed more frequently because you have fewer clothes to wear. If this tank top is going to stretch and lose its shape after a wash or two, is it even worth adding to your collection?
STEP SIX | ADDRESSING THE SEASONS
Spring floral, Summer shorts, Fall flannel, and Winter coats all deserve their place in your wardrobe even though they do not debut daily like your core pieces.
The seasons can make your streamlined capsule wardrobe complicated…if you let it!
Instead, opt for the TEN rule.
Ten additional pieces added to your wardrobe for each season!
This can be a fun challenge to expand on your capsule wardrobe. All you have to do is come back to the basics of how you created your core capsule wardrobe and implement those same strategies.
What is your style, what is your color palette, and what are your core pieces?
Do not let the seasons stress you out, instead take a breath and develop your plan for all four seasons.
Below are seasonal simple outfit ideas for you!
101 Simple Spring Outfit Ideas
Are you in need of some simple spring outfit ideas? Lucky for you, we’ve collected this years best minimal & easy DIY ideas that flatters absolutely everybody. Read More.
100 Casual Summer Outfit Ideas
Have you been searching for the perfect collection of casual summer outfit ideas? Look no further, this list covers it all! Read More.
101 Simple Fall Outfit Ideas
If you’re looking for some simple fall outfit ideas than you’ve made it to the right list! These 101 fall outfits ideas are gorgeous and easy to pull off for anyone. Read More.
50 Simple Winter Outfit Ideas
Are you in need of some simple winter outfit ideas? Don’t waste another chilly morning trying to figure out what to wear! These 50 styled winter looks might be exactly what you’re looking for. Read More.
STEP SEVEN | OVERCOMING OBSTACLES
Remember at the beginning of this article when I was talking about all the benefits of having a capsule wardrobe, but casually mentioned there are some drawbacks?
Well, nothing is perfect and neither is a capsule wardrobe. There are a lot of grey areas we need to address, and by not ignoring these obstacles and coming up with solutions, you should be able to effortlessly handle a capsule wardrobe for the rest of your life.
Let’s talk about some of these “grey areas” and figure out realistic solutions.
01 | SPECIAL OCCASIONS
Job interviews, weddings, nights out on the town, baby showers… GULP funerals… We all have situations outside of the capsule wardrobe norm.
Now is the time to reflect upon your life and decide what special occasions pop up most frequently to determine if you need to keep something outside of your capsule wardrobe “criteria” to have on hand for these situations.
A simple solution could be having one business suit you can mix and match the undershirt to create different looks. Or maybe you find one “universal” dress that with different shoes, a jacket, or different jewelry can take you from a baby shower in the am to a fancy dinner date in the pm.
02 | SHOES
Trying to narrow down shoes to only a few pairs, might be one of the hardest things to minimalize in a wardrobe.
So yes, you might need 10+different pairs of shoes for different occasions, but what you don’t need are duplicates. So to avoid duplicates try to choose neutral shoe colors or designs to help minimize how many pairs you have.
A pair of black flip-flops will work with almost any casual outfit, but those teal blue ones won’t.
03 | ACCESSORIES
Hats, scarves, jewelry, purses, etc. These small pieces yield a lot of power in their ability to transform ordinary into extraordinary.
Again though, we end up with dozens of duplicates in every category. This is where that neutral color and design mindset will help you with this issue.
A black or tan purse will match more outfits than a floral print bag. A silver or gold watch will match more outfits than a mint blue watch.
Remember to focus on what can work with EVERYTHING versus only a few outfits. This will help you maintain a stress-free capsule wardrobe.
STEP EIGHT | THE FINAL STEP
The last step in almost any major change is maintenance. Once you have created the perfect capsule wardrobe wonderfully tailored to your personality and needs, you must take care to maintain it.
You might be shocked after a few months of spending splurges that a few oddball things may have crept their way back into your wardrobe. So continue to purge with your vision for your wardrobe in mind.
After a few weeks, you may feel you run out of clothes too fast, maybe you need to add a few more pieces.
Or possibly you’re still not wearing everything you chose for your capsule wardrobe. Maybe the style you had in mind isn’t you?
Be true to yourself, don’t be afraid to purge, and remember one load of laundry on the weekends will always be better than three.
Congratulations you now have the tools needed to build your very own capsule wardrobe! Download your free guides below to get started today!