If you decided to clean out your wardrobe so you could keep only what you love, and found that you love a lot of your clothes, you may still feel overwhelmed by the variety in your closet when you open it in the morning. I propose a solution: create a capsule wardrobe from the items you already have.

The concept of the capsule wardrobe has been around since at least the 80s, originally meant to help women select a few high-quality pieces they can wear year-round without having to worry too much about what outfit to wear or selecting new clothes to buy. However, it’s come to mean the opposite now: shopping around for a new capsule wardrobe you create seasonally. *sigh* Hurrah for consumerism.

I have no objection to buying new clothes, but the goal of a capsule wardrobe should be to get the most use out of pieces you already have, not buying more and more clothes. In addition to helping you simplify your options of what to wear, other benefits of using the capsule wardrobe system include:

  • reducing your carbon footprint because you’re not buying (as many) new clothes
  • saving you money, or allowing you to allocate your clothing budget to fewer, higher-quality pieces
  • defining your style by giving you a signature look
  • creating less laundry than you would normally have to deal with (which saves energy, water, and labor)
  • boosting your confidence, because you are only wearing pieces you like that you know go well together

Honestly, the only downside I could think of is that you may have difficulty making a capsule wardrobe if you have highly eclectic tastes. Even then, I would encourage you to experiment with mixing up styles. You may be pleasantly surprised!


How to start building your capsule wardrobe

1. Pick a number

Typically a capsule wardrobe has a limited number of items. Some set the limit as low as ten, while others as high as 37. I didn’t decide on a number until after I pulled out a few items to look at; after looking at what I had, I decided 16 was a good number. Keep in mind that this is just dresses, tops, bottoms, and sweaters; it does not include my winter peacoat, shoes, socks, undergarments, or accessories. You might choose to include such things; I didn’t because I have already limited my selection of outerwear, shoes, and jewelry.

2. Choose your colors

Limiting your color palette tends to help; some people go minimalist and keep their capsules to neutral tones, while others chose one or two main colors and three to four accent colors. I have caramel-toned skin, so my whole wardrobe tends to be warmer colors, with ivory/beige, olive, wine, and navy being the dominant tones. By default, this limited my palette.

3. Consider your environment

What do you normally dress for? You may need two separate capsules for work and casual wear, if your workplace requires business attire. Also, what is typical weather for this time of year? Where I live, winter is rainy and 30-45 F, though sometimes we have cold spells as low as 15 F. I’m going to be including sweaters in my capsule.

4. Start matching pieces

Select items that are versatile and easy to pair with each other. My Winter 2017 Capsule post details some of the possible pairings in my capsule. Generally, start with 4-5 of your most distinct pieces (for me, it was the dresses) and add in items that complement the outfits and are suitable for mixing and matching.

5. Wear your capsule with pride

You’ve narrowed your options and chosen your pieces – congratulations! You’ve completed your first capsule wardrobe. Push aside the rest of the clothes in your closet for now – they will be waiting for their turn next season – this capsule is going to rule the roost. Enjoy the simplicity of selecting from five items instead of 50. You may find that you’re more satisfied with your choice than you were before.

That’s all there is to it! Come check out my Winter 2017 Capsule for a real-life example. Also, follow me on Instagram @inspired_mundane for outfit photos!

Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe before? How do you feel about this concept? What pieces would you want to include?

Create a capsule wardrobe for free!