How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe

How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe: The Beginner’s Guide

If you’ve been paying attention to home and lifestyle trends this year, you’ve probably heard of a capsule wardrobe. One part of the minimalist movement, capsule wardrobes are a fantastic way to declutter your closet and your mind.

But first, what is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a set number of clothes, shoes, and accessories that can be mixed and matched at minimal ownership. People differ on how many items should be in a capsule wardrobe – some swear by 25 items, others need exactly 33, and some even go even higher – but for the intents of this article, we’ll define it as between 25 – 50 items, including shoes.

Usually, the process is to curate two sets of clothing – one for the warm months, one for the cold – and switch out when the seasons change. Others have four sets that they switch out for spring, summer, fall, and winter. The purpose of creating a capsule wardrobe is to curate clothes that you will actually wear and love, and cut down on wasteful spending.

And contrary to popular belief, they don’t have to all be black and white! You can create a capsule wardrobe with any of your favorite colors.

Why are we talking about it?

Great question! Did you know that on average, we only wear 20% of our clothes? We’ve all got those shirts that fit just a little too snug, or shoes that are too expensive for everyday – or maybe any day – use, but why do we keep them if we always end up going back to our tried and true basics?

That’s where the capsule wardrobe comes in. Not only does purchasing excess clothing waste time (and valuable storage space), but having too much clutter is probably stressing you out.

Before we move forward, reflect that you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Here are some problems that a capsule wardrobe can help you solve

  1. You will declutter, which keeps you from getting stressed.
  2. You will own clothes that you actually love and wear.
  3. You will spend less on new clothes, which leads to a happy wallet – and more money for things you actually need, or experiences you’ve been dying to try out.

Capsule wardrobes are not new clothes that you purchase and throw out with each new season. It’s not a yearly spending spree. It’s the purposeful selection of a few high quality pieces that will last you throughout the years to come!

How do I create a capsule wardrobe? What should be in it?

While your wardrobe can include anything you know you will love and wear, here are some tips that can help you keep your clothing options versatile. 

Clear your calendar.

If you’re like the average consumer, then you probably own a LOT of clothes. You’ll want to clear out at least a day for this entire process, so choose a weekend that you don’t have too much going on. You could also spread it out over your free afternoons. Remember, this process will be SO rewarding when you’re finished!

Set out all your current clothes.

That’s right, everything. Put it on your bed so you’ll be motivated to finish it before the end of the day. You’re going to be sorting through pretty much every article you own, including shoes and accessories – and that doesn’t just mean jewelry! This counts for men, too. If you’ve got a nice but perhaps dusting collection of belts, or maybe a rack of ties that you don’t wear anymore, set them out!

Sort your current clothes into four piles: keep, put away, donate, and trash.

In your keep pile, pick everything that  you enjoy wearing on a regular basis and is high quality, including off-season clothing. Try something on if you haven’t worn it in a while and determine if you like the current fit, style, color, and quality enough to keep it.

Next, take everything from your keep pile that won’t be included in this season’s wardrobe (for example, if you love those summer shorts but know that you won’t be wearing them ANYTIME soon) and place it in your put away pile. 

Finally, determine the clothes which of the remaining clothes should go into the donate or trash pile. Items for the donate pile should be clothing, shoes, and accessories that are still in pretty good shape, but something you don’t wear anymore and/or doesn’t currently fit you. Items for the trash pile should include articles that have significant wear and tear, something that you couldn’t pass onto someone else (even if you have a hard time letting go of it!).

Determine what’s missing.

Once you have sorted through your clothes, take a look at what’s remaining in your keep pile. Make a list of what you own and how much of it. Determine if something is missing that would need to be purchased or replaced. Check out common capsule wardrobe staples right here.

In order to keep your future self from cycling through clothes, it would be a good idea to research brands that sell high-quality, durable clothing. Purchasing from these companies will ensure that you don’t have to switch out your clothes every few months because they keep ripping or stretching (which can actually save you money in the long run), and also prevents you from consuming more fast fashion, which usually promotes poor labor conditions and has a harsh environmental impact.

If you’d like to move one step further, take a look at these ethical clothing companies, who might use less water, recycle old materials, use sustainable packaging, and more. 

Remember, the aftermath is just as important as the sorting!

Once you’ve gone through your clothing and shopped for what’s missing, keep up the process as you encounter new obstacles. A good rule of thumb is to donate one item of clothing for every new one you purchase. We hope this list helped you understand what a capsule wardrobe is, why you should curate one, and how to go clean out your closet yourself! Let us know on Instagram what you think!