We all know the struggle of a messy closet with too many clothes you haven’t worn in years. It’s so tempting to simply purge everything and start anew, but that can easily lead you back to where you started. Enter the capsule wardrobe– a small collection of clothing and accessories that can be mixed and matched to create a multitude of outfits. Capsule wardrobes are great because they reduce the headache of trying on several outfits every day and they help you to save money. Since fewer clothes mean less stress, you won’t dread the morning rush of trying to figure out what to wear. But where do you even begin?
Step #1: Sort what you already own
This is actually a more crucial step than it might seem at first. You’re going to want to take everything (and yes, that means everything) out of your closet. Chances are, you’ll already have some great capsule pieces buried within there! After your closet has been migrated to your floor, sort everything. There’s no one perfect way to sort, that’s up to you and how you work. If you find yourself more attracted to colors, then sort by colors! Most importantly, you’re going to eventually want to separate your clothes into four piles- love (the usual suspects that you always wear), maybe (those clothes that you want to keep but don’t exactly have a reason for), donate (items that are still decent quality but you don’t want anymore), and trash (the clothes that make you wince and go “why do I still have this?”).
Step #2: Plan, plan, plan
Once everything is sorted, you should create a game plan. Having a set goal in mind is going to make this whole process much easier. Capsule wardrobes generally range somewhere between 20 and 40 pieces in total for each season. You can follow the calendar seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter), but chances are, many of your items will overlap between seasons. If you want to create four smaller capsules, go for it, but you could also make two larger capsules, one for spring/summer and one for fall/winter. If this seems like a lot too quickly, don’t fret. Plenty of wardrobe planners (like this one) exist for helping you create your game plan.
Step #3: Colors
Alright, you’ve got your game plan and your clothes sorted, so what’s next? Let’s actually get started on creating the wardrobe itself. The first step of this is choosing your colors. For a capsule wardrobe, you’ll have your “major” color and your “accent” colors. Your “major” colors will most likely be a neutral color, since those are easy to match with anything. Classy Yet Trendy suggests either black or navy as your major. If you’re confident you can still keep the amount of clothing low, you can do two major colors, but it’s best to stick with one if this is your first capsule. After that, choose your accent colors. You can choose between one, two, or three accent colors that can be anything from neutrals to brights. The most important part of a capsule wardrobe is that it’s made of clothes you like to wear, so don’t choose all neutrals just because you think they’ll be the easiest to match.
Step #4: Capsule!
Once you know what colors you want to feature in your wardrobe, it’s time to curate your wardrobe! This is where those wardrobe planning sheets are going to come in handy. Every person, depending on their lifestyle, is going to have a different spread in their capsule. If you wear a lot of dresses and skirts, for example, make sure that your capsule reflects that. The most important part of creating your capsule is that every piece works with at least three other pieces already in your capsule. The whole point of a capsule wardrobe, after all, is that everything coordinates and can be used in multiple outfits.
However, with every in life, there are dos and don’ts. We’ve gone over how to actually create the wardrobe, but what shouldn’t you do when capsuling?
DON’T: Throw out everything that isn’t in your capsule wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe consists of the pieces you rotate through on a daily basis. It is not everything you have in your wardrobe. Most stylists, when creating capsules, don’t include workout clothing, sleepwear, or underwear in their capsules. These are essentials that don’t need to be coordinating with your capsule. Unless you have an extreme excess of pajamas or are 100% committed to looking cute while sweating at the gym, you can save those from the purge. Only throw out or donate items that you genuinely will not wear ever again. If it’s been collecting dust in your closet for more than a few years, it might be time to say goodbye. If that isn’t the case, pack it away. You might find yourself itching for that cute top that you packed away, and that’s okay!
DON’T: Be afraid to use patterns in your capsule
Many guides on creating capsule wardrobes will encourage you to stick to basics/essentials for your capsule. However, this does not mean everything you wear needs to be a singular solid color. If you like patterns, include them! As long as they coordinate with your colors, there’s no reason that you can’t have patterns in your capsule.
DON’T: Forget to add accessories into the capsule
Accessories and shoes are a crucial part of the capsule. Make sure to include a few pairs of shoes that go with everything in your wardrobe, along with a few accessories to spice up your outfits. No one said a capsule had to be boring, you just have to find what works best for you.
Everyone’s capsule wardrobes are going to be unique to them, it is still fashion, after all. Don’t worry about following any of these steps exactly the way they’re laid out, capsuling is a conscious choice and every decision involved in it should also be conscious. Now that you know just how to capsule, go out and rock it! Your wallet will thank you later.