The capsule wardrobe is a simple concept: replace your out-of-control closet with several—37, to be exact—basic, good-quality pieces that you can supplement with seasonal items. Capsule wardrobes took off in the 1980s when Donna Karan created a capsule collection, “Seven Easy Pieces.” She introduced seven versatile and interchangeable workwear pieces.
Creating a capsule wardrobe will make your life easier. With some of the basics, like pants, a jacket, a few shirts, skirts, and a suit, you’ll have a solid foundation. You can add in accessories and trendy pieces as needed. Here are some tips to get you started curating your capsule wardrobe.
1. Start by Donating
A good reason to build a capsule wardrobe is to simplify your life and streamline your clothing. To start, weed out your current wardrobe. You may have clothes you never or rarely wear. Donate anything you haven’t worn in a long time or anything that doesn’t fit.
2. Build up Your Basics
With a streamlined closet, you’re ready to build the capsule with essential pieces. You may have discovered some good basics when doing a cleanout, and you can build from there. Consider keeping or adding these basics to develop your capsule collection:
- Pants– You only need a few pairs of high-quality pants that fit, including a couple of pairs of jeans in different colors and two pairs of slacks appropriate for work or a night out.
- Shirts– Your shirt collection should include several good t-shirts in basic colors, one or two long-sleeved blouses, a sleeveless blouse, and a basic sweater.
- Jackets– A blazer that goes over anything and a trench coat will cover most situations.
- Dress and skirts– Add a couple of neutral skirts and at least one black dress.
These are the items that form the base of a wardrobe. They should all work together so you can mix and match and add in more colorful on-trend items.
3. Create a Color Palette
Your capsule wardrobe’s color palette should be neutral, so you get continual use and versatility out of them. Stick with colors like navy, black, camel, and white, but focus on the colors you like best. If navy isn’t your style, get pencil skirts in black or chocolate brown. Choose white blouses for a classic look and pair them with jeans, skirts, or slacks.
Use seasonal add-ons for the pops of color and pattern in your wardrobe. T-shirts can also be more colorful. Basic white and black are essential, but also choose T-shirts in your favorite colors.
4. Plan for the Weather
Extend the usefulness and versatility of your wardrobe by planning for seasons and weather. A trench coat, for instance, is great for rain and stands up to at least three seasons of weather in most climates. If you have cold winters, also add a warm down jacket or wool coat.
Layering is also vital for tailoring your wardrobe to the weather. Your basic sweaters should stand alone and fit over blouses and Ts to give you more versatility. Of course, don’t forget seasonal must-haves like bathing suits, winter boots, and beach cover-ups.
5. Shop Shoes by Occasion
A practical capsule wardrobe is nothing without footwear. As with the clothing pieces, choose a few high-quality shoes. Match them to occasions: comfortable heels for work, dressier heels for Saturday night, sneakers for walking, knee-high boots for fall, and winter or rain boots for inclement weather.
6. Don’t Forget Your Accessories
No wardrobe is complete without accessories. Again, think foundational and versatility. These should be pieces that go with your overall color palette and style, but they can show a little more of your personality as accessories.
Essential accessories to add to your capsule wardrobe include jewelry, a couple of purses, belts, eyeglasses, and sunglasses. For the accessories you’ll wear daily, like glasses, stick with neutral colors. Click here to browse camel eyewear, a great color for your everyday frames.
Building a Wardrobe, One Piece at a Time
Creating a capsule wardrobe will transform your life. Your closet will be more organized, and choosing outfits so much more streamlined. If you don’t have the time or money to do it all at once, build your wardrobe a little bit at a time. You’ll get there eventually.