What is a Capsule Wardrobe, and Why Do You Need One?

How many times has this happened to you? You find a cute, trendy top, wear it once, and stumble across it in the back of your closet months later in your search through dozens of items despite having “nothing to wear.” If you’re tired of being overwhelmed by options or are looking for a practical way to cut back on costs without compromising your style, then a capsule wardrobe may be for you.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

Simply put, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of those key pieces of clothing that can always be counted on to help you look and feel great. Capsules are comprised of a well-rounded rack of items you can’t live without, and that can carry an outfit years down the line when paired with pretty much anything, no matter what’s in style that season.

So, What Goes in a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is comprised mostly of the basics, those staple items you can mix and match to create a great look. Most collections top out at around 35 or so items, but because customizing your capsule is intended to make your life easier, the exact number that goes into yours will ultimately be up to you (just try not to go too much higher — a good capsule is all about simplicity).

We broke a typical collection down into six categories to help you start compartmentalizing your closet for spring:

Tops

Solids are generally a good idea when it comes to shirts, whether short sleeve, long sleeve, a V-neck, or button-down, but if stripes or a tried-and-true print makes your heart sing, you can add that in too! Creating your capsule shouldn’t feel like a punishment, it’s just meant to make things easier. Be sure to stick with tones that compliment your complexion, and find tops made with a fit and fabric that feels great every time you put it on.

         

Pants

To stick to the staples, three types of pants work well for most people — a pair of light wash jeans, dark jeans, and a fitted trouser. As far as fits, you know what works best for your body and lifestyle, so stick to something that always has you feeling and looking great, and watch your life improve as you no longer struggle to “make it work”!

                        

Dresses and skirts

One long and one short in each of these styles is a great place to start. A general rule of thumb is to stay away from trendy cuts, graphics, and prints to allow for more versatility over time, but, again, this collection is custom-tailored to serve you, so if you know you’ll get a lot of uses out of it, add away.

                         

Outerwear

A comfortable hoodie and a light jacket should be all you need to get through the spring. A fitted denim variety tends to look great on anyone, no matter what your aesthetic, and range in colors from white to black, and all the blues in between, making for an easy match depending on the colors of your capsule.

                          

Footwear

A functional flat, comfortable heels, and shoes you can walk in like sneakers and booties will be sure to carry you through the spring and even summer season, and because most shoes are created in simple, classic colors like black, brown, and tan, they are already easy to pair with pretty much any outfit. Just make sure they fit perfectly and are in great shape, because remember — creating a capsule is all about simplifying! Wearing your clothes shouldn’t require work, so if you can’t slip them on and slide out the door, toss and make room for a pair that does the work for you.

                           

Accessories

Perhaps the most personal part of anyone’s wardrobe, the accessories included will look different in everyone’s capsule, but there are a couple of stand-bys that tend to transcend. Go-to jewelry, like a great pair of earrings or a simple necklace, a light scarf in an easily washable fabric, a pair of sunglasses that look great no matter how you have your hair styled, and a bag to get your goods around town should be all you need to create a complete look in no time at all.

These are just skeleton of any capsule, so if you pick and choose a few pieces from each category, you’ll still have plenty of room to add additional go-to items, like cardigans, blouses, knits, and anything else that makes your style your own.

                          

Why are Capsule Wardrobes So Great?

It might seem overwhelming or even scary to think about doing a deep clean of your closet and parting ways with old pieces, but once you’ve done it, you won’t look back — trust us. Keeping things limited to a capsule is not only about minimizing what’s in your closet, it’s really about simplifying your life, so think of it as an act of self-care. We’re sure you have plenty of other things you’d rather spend your money on than a shirt you’ll never wear again, and can find a better use of your time than standing in front of a closet only to feel unfulfilled and disappointed. The more acquainted you become with your capsule, the easier it will be to resist the impulse to spend on fast fashion trends that are out of season after only a few months, which is not only easy on your wallet, but the environment and ethical production measures as well. Be sure to donate anything you didn’t decide to keep, and if you’re having trouble deciding between items, keep them hidden while you try out your new collection to see if you even notice that it’s missing before adding or subtracting for good.