How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

Have you ever woken up, looked at your closet full to bursting and thought: "I have absolutely nothing to wear."?  Me too.  How is it that you can own so many pieces and still feel this way?  Maybe you're like me, surrounding yourself with mediocre pieces and wearing your few favourites over and over again while avoiding the rest.  Well, enough is enough!  I am finally creating a capsule wardrobe and I couldn't be more excited to share my journey with you (and hopefully inspire you to follow suit).  Read on to learn how you can create the perfect, concise, wardrobe; full of clothing you love and want to wear every single day!

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a small, intentional, daily wardrobe made up of pieces you love, fit you and your lifestyle, and all work together.  For me it is comprised of 40 pieces (but you can pick whatever number works for you!) including tops, bottoms, dresses, rompers, shoes and outerwear.  It does not include workout clothing, audition and special occasion wear, accessories, and loungewear for around the house.  A capsule wardrobe is intended for a specific season (like fall) and is worn for 3 months, without any new clothing purchases!

The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to...

  • Simplify your life.
  • Reduce the amount of time spent deciding what to wear and increase the time available for doing the things you truly love.  
  • Cut down on spending and get the full value out of your clothes.  
  • Find your style and revel in it.

Sound good?  Then keep reading to learn how to create yours!

How to create a capsule wardrobe of your own.

ONE Get inspired.

Head over to your style board on Pinterest (I know you have one!) and take a look at the pins.  Is there a style that sticks out at you?  Which are your favourite looks?  What pieces show up again and again?  As you scroll through and analyze you will begin to get a sense of what your style aesthetic is.  It may be far from how you dress right now, or look exactly like your current wardrobe.  Either way, this is the style you're drawn to and what you should base your capsule wardrobe on, just so long as it fits your lifestyle!  You could even start a new board and pin all of your absolute favourite that fit the season you're working on to have all of your inspiration in one, easy to find, place.

Don't have a style board?  Feel free to look through mine!

Also feel free to take a look at my Fall and Winter capsule wardrobes!

TWO Come up with 3 words that describe your style.

Or five, or twelve.  The number of words isn't important.  What is important is that you can describe your ideal style in a clear and concise way.  This will only help you as you build your capsule!  Try looking at the list below for some inspiration:

Now get out a pen and some paper and write down the words that describe your dream (yet practical) style.  Seriously, do it!  

THREE 'Tis the season.

Think about the season you're building your wardrobe for.  Is it winter in Canada?  Then you probably won't need any shorts.  Think about temperatures, weather like rain or snow, and the colours that you like to wear during that season.  Keep these things in mind as you choose your pieces!

FOUR Pick a number.

Next you want to pick your number of pieces.  I decided to go with 40.  This breaks down to:

  • 17 tops;
  • 9 bottoms;
  • 3 dresses and rompers;
  • 7 pairs of shoes, and;
  • 4 pieces of outerwear.

Your numbers don't have to be the same as mine, and they may change slightly as you go, but I find it really helps to have a structure to work in while selecting your pieces. 

FIVE Go through your wardrobe.

Now it's time to go through the clothes you already own and make 5 piles:

  • Capsule (love it, in season);
  • Seasonal (love it, out of season);
  • Maybe (unsure due to style, fit, cost, etc.);
  • Donate or Sell (don't love it or wear it), and;
  • Trash (too worn to be donated).

Go ahead and throw out your trash pile, separate your donate and sell pile, and store your seasonal clothing in a box under the bed or in a closet.  Then, collect your capsule pile and write down what you have by category.  How many items do you have?  What are you missing?  Is there something you need for your capsule hiding in your maybe pile that could do the trick?  If not, add the item to your shopping list.

Need more help sorting through your clothes?  Check out Marie Kondo's book on decluttering your life! (Click on the book cover to buy it on Amazon! This is an affiliate link.)


SIX Plan your capsule.

As you go through your items think about the overall cohesiveness of your wardrobe.  The aim is to have items that work with as many other pieces in your wardrobe as possible.  This can be achieved through colour palette or style.  I like to keep the majority of my wardrobe neutral, consisting of black and white, to allow for easier mix and matching.  Analyze your items for holes:  is there a sweater you need to pull together multiple outfits?  What about a pair of shoes that would make that dress and those jeans really pop?  Continue adding to your shopping list until you reach your golden number and have each piece you need to make your wardrobe work.  This step requires a bit of shuffling around to find the perfect combination of items that gives you the most bang (and outfits) for your buck!


Once you're happy with your list, it's time to shop!  Make a budget before you go to ensure well thought out purchases.  You're looking for items that are high quality, fit well, and radiate the style you're going for with your capsule.  Bring inspiration images with you and remind yourself of your style words each time you pick up an item.  Does it say what you want it to say?  Will it merge seamlessly with the wardrobe you're building?  Will it last through repeated wear for at least the next 3 months?


Hang up your capsule wardrobe and get the rest of your clothing out of sight.  You will feel a calmness descend over you (I guarantee it!).  Welcome to your new life!  Now comes the fun part: styling outfits!  You can take photos of the items you chose for reference or to upload to apps like stylebook to help with outfit building, or just wing it.  You can also take photos of each outfit you build to keep track of the ones you really love for reference as you build next season's wardrobe.  Enjoy your pieces for the next 3 months, then start planning for capsule #2 in the last couple weeks of the third month.

Be sure to check back to see my fall capsule wardrobe on the blog next week!

Until next time,

How do you feel about capsule wardrobes?  Would you ever try one?

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