How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe That Will Last in 6 Steps

A wardrobe with a lot of colorful and different designed clothes.

Spring cleaning has taken on a new meaning with all of this time spent at home. Have you organised all of the cabinets or colour coded your wardrobe yet?

A lot of people use this time to clean up a cluttered closet or go through the bottom of dresser drawers. If you are one of these people, maybe you have considered a capsule wardrobe.

A capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, a boutique owner in London. The idea behind it is to bring a few essential items together that can mix and match with seasonal items to create a wardrobe for any occasion. 

The key is to pick fashion staples such as skirts, jeans and coats.

If you are looking for a fun way to make getting ready even easier – when everything returns to normal – or a creative way to downsize your clothing storage, give a capsule wardrobe a try.

Let’s break down creating a capsule ward in 6 simple steps.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Narrow Down Your Clothes

Step 2: Consider Your Lifestyle 

Step 3: Choose Your Base Colours

Step 4: Add Texture And Patterns

Step 5: Shop For What’s Missing

Step 6: Wait 3 Months

Step 1: Narrow Down Your Clothes

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One of the first things you want to do is take a good look at the clothes you already have. 

You will want to narrow down your clothing pieces to the bare essentials and clothing that you LOVE

If you need help with this, check out our complete checklist on how to downsize your wardrobe.

The idea is to help minimise the time it takes you to get ready in the morning, fast fashion. Everything you can choose from has been carefully selected to go with all of your clothes. 

There is no precise number of pieces that you have to have. The beauty of the perfect capsule wardrobe is that you can customize it to what works with your personal style.  

When we reference pieces of clothing, that includes: 

  • Tops
  • Bottoms
  • Dresses
  • Outerwear
  • Pairs of shoes

We recommend having less than a total of 50 pieces of clothing for your first capsule to help stay neat and organised.  

To start, take every clothing item you have and lay them out so you can start seeing which tops can go with multiple bottoms, and vice versa. 

Separate your clothes into two piles. 1) Clothes you always wear, fits great, and you like 2) Clothes you haven’t worn in months, doesn’t fit

Keep doing this until you have a manageable pile of clothes. Sell or donate the clothes that you have been hanging onto in the hopes it would fit again. 

It’s important to take your time during this step because it will help make things easier as you go along. 

Once you reduce the amount of clothing you have that was just taking up space in your closet, it’s time to take a closer look at the pieces of clothing in the like pile. 

Step 2: Consider Your Lifestyle

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What kind of job do you have? Do you have to wear a button-down shirt five days a week or do you work at a laid back startup company that is flexible on your work-wear?

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Do you like to do workout exercises or do you like to lounge in your home watching movies all day?

All these factors will help you decide which clothing items are your wardrobe essentials and which ones you can store or decide to donate. 

It will also give you a better understanding of the number of clothing items you need to keep. If you work in an office, but also like to go out with friends, your wardrobe might be a little larger. 

If you work from home and generally like to be a homebody and do inside activities then your wardrobe will be a smaller selection, maybe between the 37-40 piece range.

Considering your lifestyle is an essential step you don’t want to pass over. 

When we decide what to wear for the day we tend to reach for the same rotation of shirts even though we have other shirts not worn in months. 

Take a few moments to really think about the last time you wore an outfit and the ones that make you feel the most comfortable and confident. 

Don’t think you have to permanently sacrifice your stylish pencil skirt that fits your body shape perfectly. Clothes that you don’t wear frequently enough to justify it being an essential item of clothing can still be a part of your larger wardrobe. 

Have these types of clothing that you wear, but not often, in a separate part of your closet so as not to take up space in your capsule wardrobe. 

Again, you want all the clothes that are in your capsule collection to be things that you would wear any day of the week for any occasion to cut back on the time it takes you to get dressed.

Step 3: Choose Your Base Colours + Wardrobe

Photo by Mia Moessinger on Unsplash

Now that you have a pile of clothes you love and have considered the type of clothes you wear on a weekly basis, we can get into more specifics. 

This step is important because choosing your base colours will help make all of your styling decisions easier. 

Use the clothes you wear frequently and the items that you love to help you determine what your base colours should be in the capsule wardrobe. 

A typical base wardrobe would include the following: a pair of jeans (or two), leggings, skirts, shorts, shirts and jumpers. 

If you have the perfect fitting pair of black skinny jeans and a stylish little black dress, your base colour might be black.

You can then branch off from that colour to make sure that most of your clothing items match. Complimentary colours to black will likely be grey and white. 

Go through your like pile and start collecting the items that would complement your main base colour.

You will want to keep your classic pieces neutral in colour so that they go with most outfits. Layering different tops with undershirts will help with the variety of your outfits. 

Most importantly when you are making these decisions, you should remember that it should be fun building your capsule wardrobe. There are no set rules. 

This is YOUR capsule wardrobe. If you have a little more clothes than what you were originally planning for, that’s okay. 

If you feel like you absolutely need 4-5 pairs of different coloured jeans because they all fit great, and they are a part of who you are, then add them all to your capsule. 

The main goal is to have a collection of clothes that you would wear regularly that fits your own personality and your sense of style. 

Step 4: Add Texture And Patterns

Photo by Jose Pablo Garcia on Unsplash

Are there certain patterns that you absolutely love? Do you like geometric shapes like triangles or stripes? Do you like the way floral looks with your outfit?

Having a variety of different textures and patterns will help keep things in your style interesting and fun to you. 

Feel free to choose 1-3 items in this category to help spice up your capsule collection so it’s not just plain shirts and bottoms that can become boring. 

Don’t think these patterns have to match with all your outfits. To justify having it in your wardrobe, make sure to have 3 other items that you could pair them with.  

This will help you in your decision making process with which items of clothing you keep and which ones you place in storage. 

Display your finished capsule wardrobe by hanging up clothing items or folding it nicely in your designated space. We encourage you to use different coloured hangers to help keep you organised. 

We recommend waiting at least 6 months before you get rid of the clothes that you have put away that didn’t make it into your capsule wardrobe. 

If you find that you haven’t worn the clothing in 6 or more months, then it’s probably safe to donate or get rid of your clothes as it’s just taking space in your closet. 

If you find yourself missing an article of clothing that fits you great but didn’t make the cut the first time, feel free to change it up and add it to your wardrobe at any time! 

Again, this should be fun and something that serves as a benefit to yourself. It might take you a few weeks/months to figure out what the perfect combination of clothes is for you. 

Now that you have hand-selected the 37-50 articles of clothing that will make up your first capsule wardrobe, you are almost ready to start experiencing the benefits of the capsule. 

Sometimes you may find yourself in a position where you are missing one or two pieces of clothing that you think would help bring together multiple outfits. 

Step 5: Shop For What’s Missing

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Normally we would advise against shopping for more clothes. 

The whole point in a capsule wardrobe is to practice minimalism. So why shop to add new items when you decided to cut back?

This step is most beneficial for the people who have gone through all their clothing and realize that they don’t have an essential clothing piece that they love to wear. 

To help fill in the gaps, go on a quick shopping run one time to get anything you think would help round out your outfits. 

For example, if you have a solid collection of pants and tops that you enjoy, but you don’t have a coloured cashmere cardigan that goes with most outfits, you may want to add that one piece.

Investing a few dollars in this cardigan would spice up the majority of your outfits, especially if you already have another coloured jumper that can be mixed and matched.  

You also want to make sure you are buying high-quality material because you’ll be wearing and washing them a lot.  

Ensure that it can last for a few years to minimise the shopping trips you take and so you don’t get in the habit of buying new clothing. 

We recommend following the one piece in, one piece out rule. 

For any article of clothing you buy, whether that’s tops or shoes,  you should remove a similar item from your collection. 

This can help you keep your collection to a manageable size without having your closet overflowing with clothes that you don’t wear. 

It’s important to keep these key questions in mind before you make a purchase on new clothing items:

  • Does it go with at least 3 other items you own?
  • Does it fit your own personal style? More importantly, does it fit?
  • How many outfits can you make if you add it to your wardrobe?

So your perfect capsule wardrobe is complete. 

Now when you get ready in the morning you don’t have to waste time thinking about what you are going to wear for the day. You only have limited options to choose from. 

You can now direct that energy to other important things that are going on in your life and focus on having a productive day every day. 

There’s just one last step you should consider when creating your capsule wardrobe.

Step 6: Wait 3 Months

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What you wear in the summer will be drastically different than what you wear in the winter. 

Reconsider your capsule wardrobe every 3-4 months so you can rotate your seasonal pieces. This will, of course, depend on your location and weather so keep that in mind. 

You might also start to grow old of the same colours over and over again. Revisit your capsule and go with another base colour which will open more complimentary colour options. 

Don’t think that the first colour palette you commit to is the only one you can dress in for the foreseeable future. This is your creative outlet to showcase your personal style.

If you find yourself still getting bored with the same clothes over time – try and have a different perspective about it!

The reason you probably started to create a capsule wardrobe is that you wanted to spend less time getting ready and wanted to love everything you wear. 

So get creative and try and style the same clothing items in different ways. Use accessories and other items to think of different ways you can wear your outfits. 

Try and stick with timeless accessories and not trendy ones to ensure that you can keep reusing them for years to come.

Wrapping Up

That’s it! We hope these 6 simple steps lead you on your new fashion journey but also help you declutter and organise your wardrobe.

Creating a capsule wardrobe is practical but can also be a fun activity while stuck indoors.

Own your style and take back your time getting ready in the morning.

Now that you know a bit more about how to create a capsule wardrobe and what should go into it, what are some of your essential clothing pieces?

bySTORED. Head of Digital at STORED.

Author: bySTORED.

The head honcho!

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