How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe: The Minimalist Style Guide

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

-Leonardo da Vinci

capsule wardrobe

Cutting off and letting go can be quite the tasks, right? We cling on to some things a little too much than we should. The ones we genuinely want to get rid of; for instance the immutable belly fat, refuse to break up with you.

One thing you can however get rid of is clutter in your closet. Creating a capsule wardrobe will ensure your closet is a well-curated one, that contains intentional purchases only.

The end goal in building a capsule wardrobe is to only own essential clothing that compliment your body shape, aesthetic and specific fashion style, consisting of items that flatter and bring you joy.


What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

First things first, the definition of a capsule wardrobe may vary from person to person, but the main idea is standard. A capsule wardrobe is one that consists of a selected number of items (clothes and shoes) that are versatile and timeless.

Your capsule wardrobe should consist of items you absolutely love, and also ones that are in line with your personal style.

I use the term “selected number” because everyone’s number is different. The unfancy blog limits that number to 37. Yours can however be a 50 or a 70, depending on your lifestyle, profession and daily activities.

The capsule wardrobe rules suggest that these items should not include sleepwear, underwear, socks, fitness attire, accessories, and special occasion outfits.


Finding your style

Creating a capsule wardrobe will get you out of a style rut and enable you to not only find your style, but also own it. By starting a capsule wardrobe you will be able to identify specific and definitive items that you do not mind wearing every now and then.

More space

By working with a smaller number, comprising of items that you are guaranteed to wear, you will get more closet space, which gives you more room for future adjustments.

Saves you time`

If you are like me, debating on what to wear or having 10 outfit changes in the morning has gotten you late at one point or another. With a capsule wardrobe, your options are simplified and perfection-guaranteed.

Saves you money

You will find yourself immune to impulse buying. This will in turn save you money for other important areas in your life.

Don’t get me wrong, clothes are important; but ones that you are actually going to wear.

Simplifies your life

Everything in your space becomes easily accessible. With piles of clothing on the floor absent, misplacement and expenditure guilt will be a thing of the past, hence a clear mind.

Ahead, are tips that tell you how to do and achieve just that;

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe; Steps

capsule wardrobe

Declutter your closet

The first step to achieving a capsule wardrobe is to do major decluttering. To avoid looking into your very full wardrobe and sing the “I have nothing to wear” adage, you are going to need to do the dirty work and take the trash out.

They do not necessary have to be trash. These will include clothes that you no longer wear or ones whose style you have outgrown. Here, I like to apply two rules;

  1. If I was out shopping now, would I buy this item? If the answer is No, then that item has to go.
  2. If I haven’t worn a particular item over a year, then by all means it’s also a Bye-Felicia moment.
Classics are bae

Next you need to find pieces that defy and surpass time. These, we call the classics. For most women, they will include a classic leather jacket, black pants, denim shirt/pants, a simple tee, a few layering pieces, a sexy pair of heels and a chic pair of boots.

Personalize your capsule wardrobe

Include items that define your everyday style; every person has a unique style that comprises of 30 or more items. For me, on a typical day you will find me in jeans (denim) and ankle boots/sneakers. In that case, my capsule wardrobe bulks on these.

Find items that flatter your figure

Make an effort of knowing your specific body type/shape, and invest in items that flatter your figure. These may be ones that draw attention towards your best features.

Invest in neutrals

Neutrals here include the basics. Find pieces that are flexible and ones that go well with most items in your wardrobe. These include simple tees and jeans. In terms of color, you want to have a lot of the neutrals (black, white, nudes & grey). These will give you an easy time when coordinating, as they perfectly complement other colors and or prints.

Keep seasons in mind

The reason as to why you have to give it at least a year before you decide what you need and what you don’t is the fact that we have different seasons throughout the year. With this in mind, you will need to lock away some seasonal pieces, depending on the current season, and only let them out to play when it’s seasonally appropriate.

Items in a Capsule Wardrobe

  1. The black dress

Many people stress on the LBD (little black dress). I just say the black dress; in any length (I own at least 4). A black dress gives you so many options when it comes to accessorizing. For those days when you can’t decide what to wear, save yourself time and put on a black dress— pair it with flat sandals for brunch, or a strappy pair of heels for a fancy gathering.

  1. Simple tee

Have a simple tee in all the neutrals (black, white, nudes & grey). The versatility of this piece allows you to wear it to different places. Layer one with a polished blazer to work, or pair it with ripped/mom jeans for a casual feel.

  1. Denim

capsule wardrobe

By “denim” I mean: skinny jeans, a chic denim jacket, denim skirt and a denim shirt. A chambray shirt (often confused for denim) falls in this category as well. Denim is timeless and a must-have transitional staple. Most often than not, you will need denim to tone down an outfit.

  1. Nude pumps

I have a friend who keeps a pair of nude pumps in the office. To avoid the hassle of walking in heels all the way from home, she wears flats and only puts on the heels once she gets to the office. Needless to say, these shoes go perfectly with all her outfits (which are always on fleek). You can interchange these with black ones.

5. Button-up white shirt

A classic white button-up shirt may be the most important item in a capsule wardrobe. It suits every occasion effortlessly. It all rests on the technique: buttoning, tucking in and folding the sleeves. Pair yours with washed jeans for a casual look or tuck one into a pair of wide-legged official pants for the office.

  1. Black pants

In my post on style tips, I stress on the fact that it is the bottoms that matter. A chic black pair of pants is a must have in your capsule wardrobe. You just need to pair it differently to suit almost every occasion.

  1. Ankle boots

ankle boots

Ankle boots will go with almost everything in your closet. As I type the word “almost,” I am trying to think of something that they can’t go with, and if I’m being honest, nothing comes to mind. Find a pair that is comfortable and low maintenance (heel size and material)

  1. Wrap dress/skirt

These are among day to night transition outfits. At the expense of sounding repetitive, the transitional piece allows you to switch up your look, depending on the occasion, with just a layering piece here and an accessory there.

  1. Simple flats

Flat shoes

For a capsule wardrobe, you want to own a pointed toe as opposed to ballet flats. This is one style tip that is often overlooked. Since the idea behind building a capsule wardrobe is having less, a pointed pair is perfect for both official and casual looks.

  1. Layering pieces

Find a few layering pieces: blazer, light sweater, leather jacket, vest blazer, scarf— the list could be endless, but these staples will allow you to transition well between different weather conditions, while completing your outfit. For instance, pair a turtleneck top with a vest blazer on a chilly weather. Accessorize with a simple neckpiece and step out in style.

capsule wardrobe
Kendall Jenner | photo c/o Nick Smith/Getty Images

Maintaining a Capsule Wardrobe

The key to maintaining your capsule wardrobe starts at the very beginning. When you are sorting out and purging, take your time. Make sure to only include items that you LOVE and ones that are in good, maybe even perfect condition.

If you do not find enough of these, start with capsule wardrobe pieces that you currently have and add more with time. This way, you won’t rethink your decision midway through your minimalism journey.

As a guide, to maintain your capsule wardrobe, use the one in-one out rule: for every new purchase, get rid of something old.

I hope this aids you in building a capsule wardrobe that works. Feel free to comment down below and let me know other capsule wardrobe essentials in your list.


54 Responses

  1. Ash

    My wardrobe is so cluttered, I need to try implement some of this!

    Ash |

  2. Karen

    My wardrobe is an absolute mess, so I definitely need to implement some of these tips.
    Lovely post x


  3. Lanae Bond

    Having a wardrobe capsule does save money because you buy things you need. That is how I prevent from impulse buying seeing what I already have in my closet before I shop. If I have all I need I don’t shop.

  4. Tsvetty

    I’m always so intrigued by new ways to organize things in my life. I’ll definitely be trying this method out for my closet. I just hope I can stick to it!

  5. Zara

    I’m trying to create more of a capsule wardrobe but with no rules, and it’s definitely hard to start with but I’m finding it so much easier to decide what to wear each day! X

    • Marion

      I hear you. I try not to stress on the numbers that much. The idea is just having things that I love, no matter how much.
      Thanks for the read

  6. Kimmy Mason

    These are awesome tips. I’d never hear of a capsule wardrobe, but I’m definitely going to start creating one. Thanks for this.

    • Marion

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you found the tips helpful. Thank you for the read

  7. Ellyn Rebecca

    I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe, but I find it so difficult to part with clothes! I’m quite lucky with the design of my wardrobe, so everything does have a place but I do admit I probably should part with a few things to have it a little more streamline!

    Ellyn x | Life Of A Beauty Nerd

    • Marion

      Parting with clothes can be hard, that’s why you should do that when you really want to. Thanks for reading

  8. Molly @ Transatlantic Notes

    This is so useful! I have just been thinking about doing a capsule wardrobe and your tips are so helpful. I’m sick of feeling ‘meh’ about my clothes and the fact that I have them but never seem to have anything to wear because it has no organization or flow to it. Great post!

  9. Abbie

    This is a really informative post. Building a capsule wardrobe is something I’ve slowly started doing. Any new outfits I purchase, I do so with versatility in mind. My most recent buys included tops and trousers which I mix and match for work, evening and casual wear! Thanks for sharing a few more ideas.

    • Marion

      Thanks for the read… I also think the process of building a capsule wardrobe should not be rushed. That way, when you finally settle for one, it won’t seem like a punishment, and no matter the number of items, you’ll be in love with every item you own.

  10. Donna

    I have been trying to build one in a very long time but I feel so hard. I feel so connected with all my clothes and shoes…

    • Marion

      I totally get you… If you’re okay with your current wardrobe you don’t have to, but if you feel you could use some extra space, just put a few that you don’t wear anymore away (not throwing away… Just lock them somewhere safe) if you forget about them, then there’s your capsule wardrobe. If you don’t, and find yourself reaching back, then you must love the items dearly … And again, there’s your capsule wardrobe 😊

  11. Emily

    Love this post so much! I’ve been trying to simplify my life, including my knick-knacks and wardrobe. I’ve already started to declutter my closet, but I’d love to have a capsule wardrobe. I’d love to save money and yet have that chic effortless look. These were all really good tips! I’ll definitely be referring back to this post in the future as I work on my wardrobe 🙂

    Emily |

  12. Renee Thomas

    Great post. I’ve never heard of a capsule wardrobe, but it’s a great idea. You’ve inspired me to start looking through my wardrobe and getting rid of things that I don’t wear or need anymore.

  13. Alghashiyah

    I try to live by the rule buy something get rid of something. I think a black and or trench coat is essential otherwise I agree with everything you’ve mentioned. I need to purchase nude shoes I have nude sandals. Great read

  14. Beth Gray

    Some great ideas – I adopted this about 2 years ago, and what a difference it makes in my life. Simplified. Easy. No stress. And everything hands so nicely in my small closet.

  15. Laura

    Great post, and lots of useful information. I am amused by people who manage to stick to a capsule wardrobe, I’m not sure whether I would be able to, but to be honest I like the idea of having everything match perfectly. Searching for outfits is just such a pain in the ass sometimes. And the whole idea of personalisation and transitional pieces – that’s perfect.
    Laura /

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