What Exactly Is A Capsule Wardrobe? Here’s How To Create One For Yourself!

A wardrobe that represents you, no matter what you pick!

Despite having a wardrobe packed with clothes, we regularly wear only a handful of them. And let’s be honest, we’ve all done it! One of those days when we just can’t figure out what to wear. It happens to the best of us – standing in front of the wardrobe, looking at ourselves in the mirror, wondering if the shirt would look better with jeans instead of a skirt. And then, we end up saying something that’s never good: ‘I have nothing to wear!’


What if we tell you the solution to all your struggles is an easy one; and it’s right here in this article! Yes, you’re right – A Capsule Wardrobe. It is more than just a trendy buzzword. A significant perk of having this is that it spares you the daily struggle to figure out what to wear. So, here’s everything you should know about a capsule wardrobe and a complete guide on how you can create one for yourself!

What Is A Capsule Wardrobe?

Susie Faux, a London boutique owner, first coined the term “capsule wardrobe” in the 1970s. Donna Karan later popularized the concept by creating the “Seven Easy Work Wear Pieces” collection in 1985. The idea behind a capsule wardrobe concept is simple: it’s a wardrobe that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Instead, you can easily see what you have in your closet. And, more importantly, how they all perfectly complement one another.

Today the definition leans more towards a small collection of items that form the foundation of your entire wardrobe. Rather than making impulsive purchases, you should choose to consciously invest in fewer but classic and high-quality pieces, that allow you to build outfits with great versatility.

capsule_wardrobe_diary / Instagram

The Capsule Wardrobe is great for people who don’t want to spend a lot of time doing a huge pile of laundry. Or those who don’t want to purchase a bunch of clothes they won’t ever wear. The whole point of having a capsule wardrobe is to make life easier while still looking good. So, no matter what combination you pick from your capsule wardrobe essentials, it effortlessly matches your vibe, while also saving you the time to put together a unique outfit each morning.

This, however, is just one benefit of having a capsule wardrobe. So let’s dig deeper to learn more about why this concept is gaining popularity these days.

Why We Love This Idea?

The concept resonates with simple and sustainable living as it promotes the idea that ‘less is more!’ A sustainable capsule wardrobe eliminates excess; it gives you the flexibility to create outfits that work best with your personal style, body type, and/or situation. It also promotes minimalism and sustainable consumption.

In fact, it’s a proven point. In a recent study, participants opted for a 3-week capsule wardrobe. The results showed that “participants felt less stressed, detached from fashion trends, found joy in their fashion style, and a capsule wardrobe enhanced their awareness of conscious consumption. The findings highlight the richness of minimalism, sustainable consumption, and self-expression through an innovative and relevant phenomenon.

Another explanation why more people are openly adopting this lifestyle change is the growing awareness about fast fashion, and the impact it has on the planet. Instead of buying cheaper low-quality clothes every now and then, you should create an interchangeable wardrobe with a few pieces that will last a lifetime, which is much more appealing to individuals and their wallets today. Also, it is the perfect way to put all those – ‘styling a piece of clothing in numerous fun ways‘ videos you binge on, to best use!

How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe?

A well-curated capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be boring or consist of only neutrals and basics. Instead, you can choose to focus on neutral colors like black and navy blue because they’re easy to club together, but feel free to experiment with bright colors if that’s more your style! It is entirely your decision. So, here is a complete step-by-step guide to help you build your own capsule wardrobe.

Step 1: Sort Everything You Already Own

The very first step is to sort clothes and other wardrobe essentials you already own into two piles: Keep and Sell/Donate. It’s not about getting rid of stuff like a regular declutter; it’s more about figuring out from things you have – what works, what doesn’t work, and what you could use more of. Don’t worry about picking out complete outfits yet. Instead, just choose the individual pieces that you wear most frequently. Take each item one by one and ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it fit me well?
  • Is it comfortable?
  • Does it look good on me?
  • Does it make me feel good when I wear it?
  • Is it unique and versatile enough that I can wear it in different ways?
Stylearc / Instagram

Go through your entire closet and pick out a few versatile pieces of clothes, accessories, and footwear that you love to wear the most. Donate or sell items you know you will never wear again or are out of style. If you have something that doesn’t fit well, but you still love it, take it to the tailor for alterations (or do it yourself).

Step 2: Decide A Number & Theme For Your Capsule Wardrobe

Next, it’s a great time to take stock of what you have left and decide on the number of items that will make up your capsule. The number of items can vary, but most people recommend anywhere from 30 to 50 items. You can start with a bigger number, and then bring it down to a smaller one. It should include tops, bottoms, and shoes. You can also choose to have outerwear and dresses if you like. Note that: this number does not include your accessories, intimate wear, or sleepwear. You can have as many of those as you’d like (or as few of them, for that matter!)

slow.choices / Instagram

A theme is the simplest way to get started, and it can make the process more fun. It draws your focus towards one or two things, and then you can build your wardrobe around it. For example, do you want to create a capsule that’s all about neutral basics? Or is there a specific color palette you’re drawn to? The theme you choose can be as simple as a color palette (like neutrals, cool or warm tones) or a style preference (such as casual or formal). It will also help you keep your look and style consistent.

Step 3: Invest In High-Quality Items That Work With Your Existing Wardrobe

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating your sustainable capsule wardrobe is to buy cheap, low-quality clothing. In order to get the most out of your closet, invest in high-quality pieces that will keep their shape over time. This means swapping trendy items for more timeless pieces. The same goes for shoes and accessories, as well. Investing in well-made pieces that can be paired with various outfits is better than buying cheap, trendy options that will go out of style quickly.

If you’re planning to build a capsule wardrobe on a tight budget, look for quality fabrics and construction details like double stitching and side seams. These tell you that the item was made with care and will last much longer, than one made with poor quality craftsmanship. Similarly, it’s okay to spend more on essential items like tops, jeans, and shoes because these are the items that you will wear most often. You can save money by buying less expensive accessories like jewelry and scarves since these are easier to replace over time.

Also, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying new clothes, but don’t go overboard! Only buy things that fall into the categories you’ve already decided on, and try not to deviate from this list too much. And once you’re done getting the final pieces together, your capsule wardrobe is ready!

Check out these ethical & sustainable clothing brands to help you shop more consciously.

To Sum It All Up

Now, you’ve learned that building a capsule wardrobe is easier than you think. In fact, it’s not much more work than trying on different outfits and pairing them off. The only real differences here are the number of clothes you choose to bring with you, and the type of clothes they are; But overall, it’s a pretty easy process.

Capsule Wardrobe Inspo
Everlane / Goodguilt

Most importantly, though, we hope we have convinced you that building a capsule wardrobe is totally worth it. It can save you lots of time, money, and effort buying new outfits for every occasion. If nothing else, we hope we’ve shown you that you can build a capsule wardrobe yourself if you have even a tiny bit of motivation! And that is the first step towards establishing a new life filled with fashion bliss!

What works for you to get your wardrobe down to a “capsule” will differ from person to person, depending on their lifestyle. But if you know the what, why, and how of building a capsule wardrobe (which you do now), and are really motivated, then all you must do is get started!

If you’re searching for more information on sustainable fashion brands and products, do check out the Fashion section of our website!

We hope you love the products we recommend! All products featured on GoodGuilt are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn a commission on the sale. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication.

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