This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure page for more info.
Do you find it difficult to choose an outfit each morning? Do you feel like you have nothing to wear even though your closet is full? You are not alone! Many people find it hard to decide what to wear each day.
If you are sick of your wardrobe and have no idea what to wear, a capsule wardrobe may be for you. You can have a small but versatile wardrobe that you can mix and match to create many different looks. When you have a capsule wardrobe, you will always have something to wear, no matter the occasion.
What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing that doesn't go out of style. It typically includes staples like button-down shirts, tee shirts, jeans, black pants, and cardigans, but it also has a few seasonal pieces to keep your wardrobe fresh.
You can switch the items to create many different outfits, from casual looks to formalwear and work clothes.
A capsule wardrobe is a great place to start if you want to simplify your wardrobe. Strategically investing in a few key pieces can create a flattering, flexible, and fashionable wardrobe that is easy to maintain.
Why You Should Have a Capsule Wardrobe
There are several advantages to having a capsule wardrobe.
1. It saves you money
A benefit of a capsule wardrobe is that it makes shopping much easier. You know exactly what you have and what you need.
By investing in a few high-quality pieces that will last for years, you can avoid constantly buying new clothes to replace low-quality materials or keep up with the latest trends.
It also forces you to be more mindful of your clothing purchases, making you less likely to impulse buy or overspend on items you don’t need. Instead, you purchase clothes you truly love that will fit nicely into your existing collection.
2. It saves you time
A capsule wardrobe saves time by streamlining your clothing choices and simplifying getting dressed.
When you only have a few pieces to choose from, you won't spend hours agonizing over what to wear since you will already have several possibilities in mind.
They are perfect for busy or lazy people who want to look their best with minimal effort.
Ready to make your first budget?
Enter your email and get the free template
3. It simplifies your life
Having a closet full of clothes you never wear can be overwhelming. A capsule wardrobe will help you eliminate this problem and make it easier to find the clothes you need.
When you have fewer clothes to choose from, you avoid decision fatigue and adding unnecessary stress to your day. You'll also have more time to enjoy the things you love because you won’t spend as much time shopping and getting ready.
Creating a capsule wardrobe is also an opportunity to declutter your home, organize your closet, and save space.
4. It helps you dress better & boosts your confidence
With a capsule wardrobe, you only have clothes you love that fit you. You'll feel more confident when you know you look good in what you're wearing. This boost in confidence can help you be successful in all areas of your life.
Although you may have to get creative with your outfits, this can be a fun challenge that will help you develop your style and a cohesive look. And you know you will always look your best!
How I make $11,000 per year renting out my spare rooms?
Get access to my FREE guide now.
5. It’s eco-friendly
A capsule wardrobe is more sustainable. It contains fewer clothing items, requiring fewer resources to produce. That's good for the environment.
Additionally, having a capsule wardrobe can help you be more conscientious about your clothing choices and how they impact the environment. Fast fashion is ruining our planet, after all. You'll be more mindful of what garments you purchase and what clothing companies you support.
Overall, a capsule wardrobe can help you to save money, time, and stress and is better for the environment.
How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe in 10 Easy Steps
Whether starting from scratch or overhauling your current wardrobe, building a capsule wardrobe is a great way to invest in timeless pieces that you’ll love wearing for years to come.
Creating a capsule wardrobe is not as difficult as it may seem. There aren’t any “rules” to creating a wardrobe you will love, but here are the steps to follow:
1. Organize Your Current Wardrobe
Start by taking an inventory of the pieces you already own and decide what you wear the most.
Take everything out of your closet and dresser drawers, and organize them. You could sort by type (shoes, skirts, tops, etc.) or by how much you like and wear each item (love it and wear it, like it but don’t wear it often, or hate it and never wear it). From there, you can build your collection by starting with the clothes you already own and wear.
2. Define Your Style
Now that you’ve gone through your clothes, reflect on your personal style.
Do you tend to gravitate towards casual or more formal looks? What colors make you feel confident? Do you prefer timeless pieces or trendy items? These questions will help you find what works best for you.
3. Make a List of Essential Items
Think about your capsule wardrobe's clothing and accessories before you start curating it. To get started, list essential items that you feel would work well with your style and everyday life.
Your list will probably include clothes for:
- casual, everyday
- working out and exercising
- lounging and sleeping
- formal events
- layering and underwear
4. Purge your closet
Donate, sell, or get rid of anything that you don't like, doesn’t fit, or is too damaged to be fixed.
If you have clothes with the tags still on them, figure out why you haven't worn them yet. Is it because they don't fit? Or you don't like the style? Is it because you're waiting for a special occasion?
It’s okay if you have clothes you’re not ready to let go of, in case you change your mind later. Just because you haven’t worn something in a while doesn’t mean you can’t revive it with a few new pieces. Set them aside, and if the season or year passes without needing these items, you can purge them.
5. Shop slowly
It can be tempting to rush out and buy a bunch of new pieces you think you need to complete your capsule wardrobe, but that’s a bad idea. Doing so could completely defeat the purpose.
You want to shop slowly to ensure you buy only what you actually need.
Before you go shopping for new clothes, shop your closet first. Chances are, you already have some pieces that cover what you need.
6. Start With the Basics
A capsule wardrobe should include neutral pieces or clothing that follows one color pallet that you can wear in various ways. These basics might include a white button-up shirt, dress pants, jeans, a classic blazer, and a little black dress.
If you don’t already own these items, consider whether or not you need them (and will wear them) before making any purchases.
7. Add a pop of color
A capsule wardrobe doesn't have to be boring. You can experiment with colors and patterns with a few statement pieces like a printed dress, a cute jacket, or a bright-colored scarf. The key is ensuring they all match each other and add interest to your looks.
8. Choose versatile pieces
The perfect capsule wardrobe pieces are those that you can dress up or down. A pair of black jeans, for example, can be worn with a blouse for work or a t-shirt for a casual weekend. A few well-chosen, interchangeable pieces will take you far!
9. Invest In Quality
Choosing well-made pieces that will last for years is crucial because you want quality over quantity. Investing in a few high-quality pieces is better than filling your closet with cheap, trendy items.
When you find something you love that fits you perfectly and is well-made, don’t be afraid to buy more than one! (Especially if it comes in multiple colors.)
10. Edit your wardrobe regularly
Add new pieces as your taste and style evolve so that your capsule wardrobe continues to work for you and reflect who you are. Be careful not to add too many more pieces, or you will slowly become overwhelmed again.
To maintain your capsule wardrobe, follow the “one in, one out” rule. Every time you add a new item, get rid of one you no longer use.
Once you’ve curated your wardrobe, you will be amazed at how many different looks you can create.
Capsule Wardrobe FAQs
How Many clothes should be in a capsule wardrobe?
A good rule of thumb is to start with around 30 pieces. You can adjust this number based on your needs and preferences.
If you have a busy lifestyle, you'll need more pieces than someone who is more low-key. And if you live in a colder climate, you'll need more clothes than someone who lives somewhere warm.
Rather than overwhelming your closet, consider storing your seasonal pieces separately. You don’t need shorts and sandals in the middle of winter or sweaters and jackets in the summer.
How Many shoes should be in a capsule wardrobe?
You likely need anywhere from 3 to 7 pairs of shoes to complete your capsule wardrobe, depending on the types of shoes you choose to include.
For example, if you only wear flats, you'll need fewer pairs than if you wear a mix of heels, flats, and sneakers.
How do you build a capsule wardrobe on a budget?
You may need to get creative when sourcing your capsule wardrobe items on a budget. Thrift stores, consignment shops, and online retailers can be excellent sources for affordable clothing. You can often find high-quality pieces for a fraction of the price. You can also look for deals and coupons to help offset the cost of your new wardrobe.
What Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Do I Need?
Everyone should have a few capsule wardrobe essentials in their closet.
A basic white t-shirt or button-down shirt is a great start, as is a pair of jeans. You can dress them up or down, and they'll always look great.
A little black dress is perfect for any occasion, whether you're going to a party or a meeting. Pair it with a blazer for a professional look, or add sparkle with jewelry and heels for an evening out.
And, of course, you need a great pair of shoes to complete your look. Whether you prefer flats or heels, make sure you have a pair that makes you feel confident.
How do you build a capsule wardrobe for work?
A capsule wardrobe for work should be professional, comfortable, and affordable. Depending on your profession, your work clothing may include:
- a tailored blazer in a neutral color (white, black, grey, and navy)
- a dress you can wear for work or formal occasions
- comfortable professional-looking trousers
- button-down shirts in neutral colors
- a cardigan or two
- comfortable flats or heels
- a few tops
With these capsule wardrobe essentials, you can create various professional-looking outfits for work.
Is a Capsule Wardrobe Worth It?
Having a capsule wardrobe can simplify your life. It can help you save money and space in your home. It can also help you get dressed more quickly. If you are looking for a way to simplify your wardrobe, a capsule wardrobe may be the perfect solution.
This post originally appeared on Hello Sensible.
Amanda Kay, Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.