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Create Your Capsule Wardrobe

When I started decluttering my closet, I was unknowingly creating a capsule wardrobe. It’s really a big thing in the lifestyle blogging world and is a great concept for simplifying your style.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

It is a limited collection of clothing and accessory items based on your personal style needs. The aim is to pare down your closet and focus on your style.

History of the capsule wardrobe.

Designer, Susie Faux first used the term in the 1970s and Donna Karan popularized it in the 1980s with her “7 Easy Pieces” collection.

“Faux defined it as a collection of essential pieces which do not go out of fashion and can be worn for multiple seasons. She suggested that you update your wardrobe with seasonal items to have something to wear for any occasion without having to buy a lot of things. Her list contained two pairs of trousers, a dress or skirt, a jacket, a coat, a knit, two pairs of shoes and two bags.” (source)

Donna Karan's collection consisted of a bodysuit, pair of pants, coat, jacket, blouse or turtleneck, skirt, and evening dress.  I think their lists were super minimal and serve as a good base to work from when creating your own capsule collection.

Number of items

There is not an absolute need to count your items or reduce them to a certain number of items, mainly because the right number of things is different for every person.

There is a popular challenge from Project 333 to create a capsule wardrobe based on 33 pieces of clothing.

Shopping for items to complete your capsule wardrobe.

How this generally works:

  1. You create a list of items (checklist) you think you need for the season or year.
  2. You look through your closet to find the items on the checklist that you already have.
  3. You go shopping to fill in the rest.

Tread lightly on #3. Remember you just decluttered your closet so you don’t want to go buying stuff that will clutter it up again.

Also, if you’re a recovering shopaholic, please do not use #3 as an excuse to go shopping. Scrutinize your closet and your list.

I guarantee you already have everything you need because what have you been wearing all this time? It’s really a matter of keeping it pared down. If you must buy something, make sure it is an absolute need.

Benefits of Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

  1. A closet that speaks to your style.
  2. Discover how creative you are with a limited wardrobe you must make work for 365 days a year.
  3. Less wondering about, “what will I wear today” and more style confidence.
  4. No more storing your off-season clothes in a spare bedroom, attic, garage, or storage unit. Ideally, all your clothes will fit into your closet.
  5. Savings galore! Less time wasted, less money spent, less hassle.

Tips for creating a capsule wardrobe.

  1. A neutral color palette is more versatile, but pick a color scheme that works for you.
  2. Accessories are everything. They can change the mood and tone of an outfit. You can also add pops of color via your accessories and makeup.
  3. Document your outfits. This is a great way to save time and take the guesswork out of figuring out what to wear. You'll have plenty of style options at your finger tips. The Stylebook app and Polyvore are great ways to have a visual representation of your wardrobe. I used Polyvore to create the images in this post.
  4. Consider your weekly activities (work, errands, church, leisure).
  5. Have two wardrobe subgroups: spring/summer and fall/winter. You can also do one for each season.
  6. Layering pieces are essential. Cardigans, blazers, jackets, and scarves help you create more wardrobe options and transition between the cooler and warmer seasons.
  7. Accent your capsule wardrobe sparingly with fun, trendy, of the moment pieces.
  8. Tops are more crucial than bottoms. You can wear neutral colored pants over and over again without anyone paying much attention, but use your tops to add variety.
  9. Know your body. Every item of clothing should accentuate the body you have.

My (current) capsule wardrobe.


black leather jacket

black suit (blazer + pants)

blue jeans

black jeans

stonewash jeans

grey twill slim leg pants

black twill slim leg pants

black + white striped dress

black dresses (2)

black mini skirt

blouses (black + white, long + short sleeves)

black cardigan

white cardigans (2)

grey cardigans (2)

green cardigan

black + white sweater

jean shirt/jacket

black flats

black moto boots

pink converse sneakers

nude sandals

black flip-flop sandals

cotton t-shirts (black + white, long + short sleeves)

black sandals

Creating a capsule wardrobe is a great way to discover your personal style. It may take some time initially, but it's worth the investment to have an edited closet with only the quality pieces you love.

What are the staple items in your capsule wardrobe?

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