Capsule Wardrobes 101: Building a Timeless and Versatile Closet

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If you’re considering creating a minimalist wardrobe for a capsule closet, you might be wondering where to start. Since a capsule wardrobe involves a smaller amount of clothing, it can be difficult to figure out what to leave out, what to keep, and which styles mix and match best. Follow along with this guide to discover the best way to build your capsule closet for every season.

Choose Neutrals

hanged top on brown and white clothes horse

Photo by Alyssa Strohmann on Unsplash

One way to guarantee everything in your closet is easy to pair with any other item is by choosing a color palette that keeps everything neutral. It’s much easier to mix a boutique skirt in black, navy, or beige with any number of blouses than a bright gem tone.

You should also look for neutral tones that complement your skin and look good with your favorite sustainable jewelry. Some hues to consider include:

  • Beige
  • Black
  • White
  • Slate
  • Cream
  • Navy
  • Peach
  • Brown

You can also choose one or two accent colors for accessories and clothing that you can work into your neutrals for a pop of color that adds personality and interest.

Timeless Versatility

woman wearing pink, black, and white floral halter-top dress

Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash

Like the colors of your closet, you want to keep the silhouettes and cuts in your capsule wardrobe functional and versatile. These pieces are designed to stand the test of time and keep up with the ever-changing trends in fashion. Some of the most popular classics include:

  • White button-down shirts
  • Structured blazer
  • Straight leg jeans
  • Pencil skirts
  • Cute shorts

You should also consider clothing that’s practical for your current lifestyle. If you’re in a professional office most of the time, you’ll need high-end fabrics, structured designs, and professional attire. Spend most of your time in athletic spaces? Loose clothing made of fabrics that wick moisture easily is your priority.

You also want to prioritize pieces that you can easily dress up or down. If you can wear the same outfit with sandals to run errands or heels for happy hour, you’ve got a winner. Make comfort, flexibility, and functionality your goals.

Build Seasonal Wardrobes

Seasonal changes affect fabric and cut a lot, which means you’ll be switching out about half of your closet every six months. You’ll definitely need coats and jackets for winter and fall that aren’t necessary for warmer days, as well as dresses, skirts, and shorts for spring and summer that have no place in your cold-weather wardrobe.

You can store off-season items in a separate space and swap your clothing as needed.

Don’t Get Too Hung Up On Size

woman holding clear glass candle holder and grayscale portrait of a woman

Photo by Cleo Vermij on Unsplash

It’s true that capsule wardrobes are designed to be smaller than a normal wardrobe, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow strict rules for the number of pieces in your closet. While having a defined amount of each piece can help you get started, give yourself the flexibility to alter your wardrobe based on needs, lifestyle, and preferences.

If you absolutely need a wardrobe checklist, follow these guidelines to get you started:

Tops Bottoms Dresses Outerwear Accessories
3-4 Shirts

2-3 Blouses


Tank Top






Oversize Sweater

1-2 Jeans

1-2 Trousers

1-2 Shorts

1-2 Skirts



Bike Shorts

Pajama Pants


Slip Dress

Casual Dress

Maxi Dress

Midi Dress

Cocktail Dress

Shirt Dress



Trench Coat

Puffy Jacket

Rain Jacket


Sun Hat

Baseball Cap






Jewelry Set

Now you should be ready to swap out these basics depending on what you like and wear the most.

Edit, Edit, Edit

You won’t get a perfectly curated capsule wardrobe on the first try. In fact, your wardrobe should be in a constant state of flux, as your styles and preferences change over time. Use this first roundup as a rough draft to help you figure out which pieces are absolutely essential and hone your style down to bare bones.

Over time, your capsule wardrobe will evolve until it’s pretty stable, and you’re only swapping pieces out for different seasons, when they wear out, or if you find an absolute must-have item.

The Benefits of Going Minimalist

closeup photo of woman wearing single-shoulder dress

Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash

If you’re wondering why a capsule wardrobe might be the right choice for you, there are a ton of benefits that might persuade you.

  • Avoid Decision Fatigue

With fewer options in your closet, you have to make fewer decisions when getting ready. Dressing becomes quick and easy with clothing you know fits well, works together, and makes you feel confident.

  • Focus On Sustainability

When you buy fewer clothes, you stop contributing to the pollution of fast fashion. Your impact on the environment over time will be enormous, minimizing your carbon footprint and preventing even more waste from entering landfills.

  • Saving Money

Since you’re not shopping every time a new trend drops, you’re spending less. This means you can invest in higher quality clothing, shop more intentionally, and minimize impulse purchases that you end up regretting.

  • Saving Time

In addition to spending less money shopping, you’ll also spend less time shopping. If you counted up all those hours you spent in stores selecting, trying on, returning, exchanging, organizing, and purging your closet every year, you’ll see that with a capsule wardrobe, you now have more time and energy to spend on things that feed your soul.

Try It Out

If you’re not sure a capsule wardrobe is the right choice, you don’t have to commit all at once.

Start by purging your closet of all the truly extraneous items, put them in storage, and see how it goes. You can slowly eliminate more clothing over time until you achieve a size that’s convenient and works for your needs. After you’re sure your capsule wardrobe works, take your extra clothes out of storage and donate them!

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