How to build a Capsule Wardrobe in 5 Easy Steps

How to build a Capsule Wardrobe in 5 Easy Steps

Building a capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds. In fact, it should leave you feeling the exact opposite. You should feel more relaxed and at ease when picking something out to wear. The reason? Simple. Everything you own, you will love, and, it will all match. Score!

A capsule wardrobe is a term that was derived in the 70’s, in England, by Susie Faux. According to her, it’s a small collection of clothing that never goes out of style. Staple skirts, pants, and coats that can be worn seasonally and interchangeably. In 1985 Donna Karan brought this genius idea to the states as she released a collection of, interchangeable, work clothing that contained only seven pieces. To this day, her bodysuit trends in her fashion line as one of those staples.




There are no rules when it comes to building a capsule wardrobe. Even though there are a thousand different ways to approach this, it’s best to listen to yourself and do what feels great. Don’t push or rush this. Take it slow and at your own pace. Let’s get real. When you start this journey, it isn’t going to be simple or easy. It’s kind of an emotional process, to be honest.



Five easy steps that I, personally, followed to start my capsule journey are below. Simple, direct, and most importantly, realistic. Not all of us want to live a minimal lifestyle. Don’t be tricked into thinking you have to change your whole life because you want a capsule wardrobe. The idea is that all of your items don’t sit any longer, in your closet or dresser, for more than 30 days. (Seasonal items, like a classic winter coat, are the only exception here – especially if you live in the desert)


Step 1

Evaluate why you are making this decision. Get emotional here. Really dig into the reason(s) behind this. Make sure this is something you truly desire. This has nothing to do with being the cool kid on the block. Why are you doing this? If you understand and commit to the questions below, I promise, the next four steps will be much easier. Don’t move on to the second step until you’re solid on your “why.”

1. Are you trying to make fewer decisions in life to relieve extra stress? (One less choice to make.)
2. Is this something you HAVE to do because perhaps, you’re downsizing your home?
3. Too much needless spending? This is a fantastic way to save extra cash.




Step 2

It’s time to figure out what you wear on a regular basis.  Also, time to find those items in your wardrobe that you really LOVE. You know, that shirt that you wear at least two times a week, and, those sandals you can’t get enough of. Focus on what currently fits, what makes you feel beautiful, and, what makes you feel like you. (This is NOT a list of what you think you might wear.)  Grab some colorful markers and paper to get started. List out the following;

1. Colors – They should be colors you love and wear on a regular basis. Your favorite colors! Two staple colors and two pops of colors. Black and grey are great staples, and, yellow and blue could work for your pops of color. (And, they all match each other)
2. Staples – Think about your climate, job, and weekend activities.  Do you wear dresses year round and to work or do you need a heavy coat for rain or snow? Or, If you live in the North West, chances are you want to have a classic raincoat year round.
3. Accessories – Shoes, purses, scarves, and hats. Keep this simple, choose one or two colors that will work for your staple and pop colors.
4. Seasonal – Include things that you use to travel and think about what you wear during different seasons. Including shorts, sweaters, coats, jeans, tank tops, and long sleeve shirts.
5. Other – Pajamas, socks, undergarments, and bathing suits.  Active? You’ll need to list your workout attire here. Again, keep simplicity going here, one or two colors, and items, that match everything.




Step 3

Now that you have your list of clothes that you are in love with, it’s time to get down to business. It’s time to say goodbye to clothing that doesn’t bring you joy. It’s time to let go of items that you didn’t write down, things that don’t currently fit, and articles of clothing that you haven’t worn in ages. Let’s get ready to sort and organize!

1. Grab four boxes or make four imaginary piles.
2. Label each box with the following; LOVE, DONATE, CONSIGNMENT, NOT SURE
3. Not using boxes? Use a marker and four sheets of scrap paper to wite-out each word and place in front of your imaginary pile.




Step 4

Here comes the fun part. Empty your closet and dresser. I’m serious. Throw everything single article of clothing you own on your bed. EVERYTHING that is not on your list goes out. Everything that IS on your list gets hung up or folded. Let the sorting begin!

1. Grab one and only one item at a time.
2. Find something new, designer, or in great shape? It goes into the CONSIGNMENT pile.
3. Articles of clothing that have been worn a little more but that have more wear go into the DONATE pile.
4. Discover a shirt in one of your colors that you forgot about and might love? That goes into the NOT SURE pile.




Step 5

The final step in this capsule wardrobe journey is addressing the “NOT SURE” pile. Why is this pile important? Because I believe it will lead you to have a better understanding of what you really need, use and what truly brings you happiness in your wardrobe. Here’s what to do:

1. Keep that pile or box close to your wardrobe for the next 30 days. No longer.
2. If there is something in there that you want to wear, pull it out and add it to your capsule. (You obviously love it!)
3. If you haven’t removed an item from that pile or box in 30 days, say goodbye. Let it go.
4. Donate or sell the remaining articles of clothing.





Now that you have your capsule wardrobe set up, there is one more thing that needs to be addressed. Buying new or used clothing. It’s bound to happen, am I right? Styles and seasons change, items become boring and uninspirational. Balance is a must when it comes to keeping a capsule wardrobe. What to do when it’s time for a new feel:

1. When you purchase a new or used piece of clothing, think of it as a replacement for another item in your capsule. For instance, accidentally staining a favorite pair of jeans from a spilled glass of red wine.
2. Donate or sell at least ONE item as it’s replaced. (I personally donate two items for everyone one thing I buy – it really makes me think twice before I pull my wallet out.)
3. Ask yourself, is this a need or a want? Only buy when it’s a need. It really is that simple.
4. Ready to replace a few items because they don’t inspire you anymore? Donate or sell BEFORE you make a new purchase. Doing this will totally let you know if you’re ready to let go.




A capsule wardrobe isn’t for everyone. It’s for those of us that want to value and LOVE what we own, save cash, and create more space to declutter our homes and minds. This is your journey and your life. If your capsule contains 50 articles of clothing, it doesn’t matter. What counts is that all of those items make you feel amazing and that you wear each of them in a 30 day time period.


So, let’s quickly sum up a capsule wardrobe:

1. Clothing that you love to wear, in a few of your favorite colors.
2. All articles match and can be easily interchanged with each other.
3. Items are functional for your everyday life (and traveling).
4. You’re wearing everything in your capsule in 30 days or less.



Pretty simple, right?!  You should also know, that even though, these steps may not come easy at first, they eventually will. I believe that you will have less stress, more money in your saving account, and, truly enjoy the clothing you wear on a daily basis. Not to mention, way less laundry to do!

Capsule wardrobes are one of my passions, and I would love to hear how this transition went for you! Have questions along the way? I’m here for you! Email me or comment below, let’s talk less!









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