How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule wardrobes are all the rage in the minimalist movement at the moment. A capsule wardrobe includes a set amount of clothes for each season. This means that you have a box of clothes for summer, a box for winter, a box for fall and a box for autumn. If you’d like to become ultra-minimal, you can condense these into fall and winter in one box, and spring and summer in the other box.

The amount of clothes you choose to have is up to you, but the idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to create a small wardrobe in which you can mix and match numerous ways. Creating your capsule wardrobe will take a tiny bit of work and a little bit of thinking.

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

Why Should You Consider a Capsule Wardrobe?

Creating a capsule wardrobe will simplify your mornings, save so much stress of figuring out what to wear, and keep your home clean and tidy. Getting dressed in the morning will become so much simpler, because your closet will have less clothes, and you will love all of them. You’ll no longer have to rifle through shirts that don’t fit or pants that are unflattering.

Things to consider as you build your capsule wardrobe:

1.What are your favorite neutrals?

Neutrals are the easiest to mix and match. My capsule wardrobe is filled with different styles of mostly black shirts, with one white shirt thrown in, and a green dress. I like to wear jeans most of the time, either in pants or shorts form, so any of my tops go with any of my shorts/pants. It is important to make sure all of your clothes can match with any bottoms – this gives you so many more options. For this reason, I tend to stay away from prints, and go for solid tops and bottoms.

2. What styles suit you best?

This is something that I learned mainly through trial and error. I love wearing tank tops and think that they are universally flattering. However, there are some styles that just don’t work on me. Though crop tops are super trendy, I don’t own any because I just don’t like the way they look on me. When building a capsule wardrobe, take into consideration what you prefer, not what is on trend.


3. What kind of clothes suit your lifestyle?

How to build a capsule wardrobeIn terms of styles, make sure that you aren’t just thinking about what looks and feels good on you, but also what will best suit your lifestyle. For example, if you work in a corporate job, most of your clothes should be workplace appropriate. If you work from home, you’ll have a bit more freedom in this area, but make sure you include clothes in your capsule wardrobe that will work for any occasion that you may need.

4. What do you do for fun?

It’s important to make sure you include clothes in your capsule wardrobe that you can wear on your occasional weekend event. I like to keep something that can be dressed up or down for this, like a simple black dress. That way you can still wear it in your everyday life, but dress it up a bit more if you need to. I like to have two options for events, so that I am not always wearing the same thing out. If you go to events often, it may be better to keep more options in your wardrobe that can be dressed up.

5. What do you most often wear?

In building a capsule wardrobe, I like to think about what I prefer to wear most of the time. I built my capsule wardrobe around my “uniform,” aka my most loved outfit. Because I prefer to live in warm environments, my “uniform” is shorts and a tank top. I own two pairs of shorts and about five shirts, all of which I can mix and match. Getting dressed in the morning could not be easier, since all I have to do is grab a pair of shorts and a tank top.

how to build a capsule wardrobe

How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

When I’m creating my capsule wardrobe, the first thing I focus on is what I wear most often already. I like to keep my outfits super simple, mainly focusing on black tops and jean or khaki bottoms. This works well for me because everything matches. To make my life as easy as possible, I just have a couple shirts in my favorite style (black tank tops), and a few black shirts in different styles – short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, and one black and white striped top. I wear all of my clothes often, and I can pick any top to go with any bottom.

To create your own capsule wardrobe, think about what you already wear and what you need for your lifestyle. Put together a simple list of items that you can wear regularly and create a set of clothes that all work together.

Building a capsule wardrobe will simplify your morning routine. By spending less time and energy focusing on what you are going to wear that day, you’ll have more energy to focus on more important things.

Your Turn!

  • Do you have a capsule wardrobe?
  • Do you think a capsule wardrobe would suit your lifestyle?




  1. So we live in a THOW and this was our one exception to downsizing. We travel often (monthly small trips and several international trips a year) and we both work professionally. Additionally, we are very involved in our place of worship. Needless to say our wardrobe goes from serious travel clothes to camping gear to dress clothes. We use everything except the camping gear just about every week. We are in a hot and humid climate but we often travel to where it is cold. This was our big challenge. We decided it was worth it to extend our trailer four feet and put his and hers closets under the loft just outside the bathroom. It may not look like much if you are still living big but it is huge for us! We also have a ton of storage cabinets for the things we can fold. I have a love of sweaters (I can’t give them up) so those I put in plastic storage bins until I can figure out how to part with them. I also love my shoes! I got rid of hundreds of them but I found I still can keep a lot on the back of my closet door with a clever over-the-door-storage from the Container Store. It’s amazing. So, if you are worried about giving up your fashion sense or not having the right clothes to do your job, it can be done!

    • Do you have any pics you could share? We have downsized to a small 432sf cabin and storage is at a premium..

  2. Where I live, coastal Northern California, the seasonal temperature varies less, but daily it varies more. Mid-May it can be in the mid-70s by day and still gets into the 40s at night, so I often wear sweaters. I also spend time in much warmer places within half an hour of here. So I don’t really have seasonal wardrobes. But as I continue to thin out my belongings I do notice that I wear a small number of garments a lot. My situation is complicated by the fact that because of chemical sensitivities, I can’t use laundromat. I have a Wonder Wash hand crank washer, spin dryer and a drying rack outside, but it’s labor intensive so I tend to save up laundry and do it twice a month at a friend’s house in the city. I can see that a better laundry system would allow me to have fewer clothes. I’m from the Caribbean and enjoy bright colors. Black is my go to neutral, with some white, but I like having some bright pants I can wear with neutral tops. I like leggings and long tops–tunics/short dresses and oversize shirts. It’s rarely hot enough here for tank tops/camisoles, but I do like those as well. But they go with fuller pants or jeans, not leggings. Yoy’ve gven me some things to think about. Thanks.

  3. Really great round up!

    I find that most capsule wardrobe lists are geared towards women. As a man I decided this needed to change, so I started this site at the beginning of the year. Funny thing is, it has made me reduce the amount of clothing I own! Fashion is one of my passions so I find the capsule wardrobe mindset to be essential in keeping me in check.

    Minimaldrobe (DOT) com is the address 🙂

  4. Jeans and t-shirt, flats and earrings — dressed and out the door! Dress up with a tailored jacket or white blouse over, dress down with a big comfy sweatshirt. One “little black dress”, one denim skirt, and one pair of nice black pants mix and match with a few patterned blouses when I want to dress up and feel girly. One or two shorts and tank tops (after this summer — a necessity!) Gym clothes, undies, pjs. Never been a big shoe girl, but I feel like 6 to 8 pairs is not crazy, especially with variable weather.

    Don’t forget that keeping your hairstyle simple can cut down on a lot of clutter and small implements.

  5. When I worked in an office, I made a chart of how many combinations I could make with the various solid colored slacks and shirts I had for work. I also had a black blazer and two cardigans.Now, I wear more black and more beige and less red.Friends and neighbors give me T shirts to wear in the summer. I give my older clothes away.

  6. I have so much love for you all who can do this wardrobe reduction so well. I love colors! I love everything fun and flowy and soft. I have weird toes and change shoes 3 times a day. I gain and lose weight between 2 sizes. How do you do it? Can y’all move in with me??? I am joking but not entirely. It all looks so appealing and so impossible.

  7. I am trying to to build a capsule wardrobe. Just finished purging the first amount of clothes and only kept what still fit and what I would wear.

    Turns out my colours are neutrals (black, white, grey) with some light colour thrown in (red, dusty pink and greens).

    Still have too many clothes right now, some of them are really old and will only last another season or so. I’m keeping them until I can replace them with some quality pieces that will last longer.

    I’m a jeans person so I own 6 pairs of jeans which is a lot (3 straight, 3 bootcut a dark wash, light wash and black). Then I have two black pants (ponte knit) for dressier occasions.

    Tops as well is way too many, five t-shirts, 3 tank tops, and 2 sweaters for summer. For the winter I have 3 turtlenecks and 3 v-neck sweaters. Those are the ones I keep going back too. I have way more tops though so I’m going to pare down even more as the season progresses (winter is fine, but summer I have too many). I promised myself that I would donate or sell any summer clothes I haven’t worn at least twice this summer, so we’ll see how that goes down.

    Whenever I build a capsule wardrobe I include 3 bottoms, 5 tops and a dress. Shoes are the biggest problem because weather is finnicky here. I always have a pair of sneakers, ankle boots and ballet flats ready. In the winter that is upgraded with added boots.

    I don’t count my athletic gear because I do exercise a lot but that is tech clothing and not something I wear outside of sport.

    Whenever I travel to mixed climates I basically pack a capsule wardrobe as well, if it’s to warm weather the above mentioned capsule works well enough (with added sandals). If it’s going to be cold I add a pair of leggings (totaling 4 bottoms) so I can layer them underneath the other pants).

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