Skip to main content

How to build a capsule wardrobe

minute read

    If you're feeling bored and uninspired by your wardrobe, or even overwhelmed by the amount of clothing you have, you may want to try a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a carefully curated collection of timeless, high-quality staple clothing pieces that can be styled in a multitude of ways. Not only does it simplify getting dressed in the morning, but it can also be more sustainable. Keep reading to learn how to build one for your everyday needs.

    What is a capsule wardrobe?

    So, what is a capsule wardrobe exactly? It's a wardrobe that prioritizes simplicity, quality and sustainability. The pieces that make up your capsule wardrobe are designed to be mixed and matched so you're never left wanting more items, but you don't get stuck with decision fatigue every time you leave the house. Capsule wardrobes are meant to be mindful and intentional.

    Why a capsule wardrobe might work for you

    There are a few reasons why a capsule wardrobe may be right for you, ranging from sustainability to practicality.


    While the initial change to a capsule wardrobe may be an investment at first, you'll find it to be a budget-friendly option overall. The idea of a capsule is to have a simplified wardrobe that can meet every occasion. That means you won't need to purchase something new every time — you'll already have something that meets your needs in your closet. Additionally, the pieces should focus on quality, meaning you won't need to replace them often.

    Minimalist lifestyle

    A capsule wardrobe may also be a good choice for those who desire a minimalistic lifestyle. Minimalists try to only use and own things that have a purpose, which aligns exactly with the goals of a capsule wardrobe. It's about having what you need without a ton of excess.

    Ideal for frequent travel

    If you're someone who travels a lot, a capsule wardrobe can make packing a breeze. You'll no longer have to sort through piles of clothing to figure out what you want to bring or search at the last minute for a destination-appropriate look. Capsule wardrobes can help you quickly find exactly what you need, and you know that it'll fit and that you'll feel comfortable in it.

    Helps save space

    If your home doesn't have a lot of extra room, capsule wardrobes can be a great way to save space. A simple wardrobe can eliminate the need for extensive storage, and you may even be able to get rid of one of those dressers.

    How to build a capsule wardrobe

    If you're wondering how to build a capsule wardrobe, don't feel you have to compromise your personal style. However, it may be a good idea to try to purchase timeless pieces that won't soon go out of style as trends change. 

    Additionally, you may want to prepare to invest a little extra in your new pieces. Higher quality pieces will last longer, so you may find it's worth it to spend a bit more on your new clothing. 

    Lastly, keep in mind a color palette when you're shopping. While you don't have to buy all neutrals, it may be a good idea to rely on a more muted palette to balance out the colorful pieces to ensure your wardrobe is as versatile as possible.

    What should be in a capsule wardrobe

    Now that you know what it is — what should be in a capsule wardrobe? Below is a capsule wardrobe checklist to help you figure out exactly what you'll need:


    • Basic white t-shirts (2)
    • Neutral t-shirts (2)
    • Striped t-shirt
    • Black t-shirts (2)
    • White tank tops (2)
    • White button-up shirts (2)
    • Neutral turtlenecks (2)
    • Sweatshirts (2)
    • Neutral sweaters (2)
    • Heavier, chunky sweaters (2)


    • Leggings (2)
    • Slacks (2)
    • Jeans (3)
    • Sweatpants (2)
    • Shorts (2)


    • Trench coat
    • Denim jacket
    • Long, dressy coat
    • Winter coat
    • Neutral cardigans (2)
    • Classic blazers (2)

    Dresses and suits

    • Black dress
    • Casual dress
    • Skirt
    • Suits (2)


    • White sneakers
    • Dress shoes
    • Short black boots
    • Casual sandals

    Accessories and other

    • Warm scarf
    • Gloves
    • Sunglasses
    • Swimwear
    • Belts (2)

    Personalizing your capsule wardrobe

    There are plenty of ways to work your own personality into a simple and minimal wardrobe. You can let your personal style shine in the ways you accessorize your outfits, from statement earrings to colorful pocket squares. 

    There's also room to play with different fabrics, patterns and colors. Feel free to make one of those pairs of leggings a fun faux leather, or one of your button-up shirts your favorite shade of purple. You may also want to consider thrifting some of the items for your capsule wardrobe — that will make those pieces more unique. 

    If you're worried you won't have exactly what you need for that black-tie wedding coming up, there are many clothing rental services, both brick-and-mortar and online, that will let you rent formalwear for special events.

    What's more

    If you're looking to simplify your wardrobe and make getting dressed faster and easier, a capsule wardrobe may be a great option for you. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to build a capsule wardrobe that will be versatile, sustainable and still feel uniquely yours.

    What to read next