In this post, learn all the step-by-steps on how to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch so that you always look good with very little effort. Find out why capsule wardrobes are so popular and get tips on colors that go best together and what are the must-have items in your capsule wardrobe.
Hi girls, how are you today?
How’d you like to look stylish and chic every single day — without spending hours getting ready?
The art of how to build a capsule wardrobe is something every well-dressed woman should know. And I really mean it!
In fact, one of the biggest secrets to simple living is to simplify your clothing. This means buying less quantity and more quality.
Not only will you actually love and wear all the clothes in your closet, but you’ll feel incredibly less stressed when putting together outfits.
Why is that?
Capsule wardrobes contain every piece of essential clothing any woman might need, while making these pieces of clothes easy to mix and match among each other.
If you struggle with putting outfits together with ease, or simply if you’re looking for tips on how to put together without so much daily frustration, I’ve got a solution for you — transform your closet (and your life for that matter) and create an interchangeable capsule wardrobe.
If you’re still unsure what a capsule wardrobe even is, or if you want to know more about creating a brilliant capsule wardrobe from scratch, then this post is perfect for you!
Table of Contents
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
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Outfit 479 – You probably know by now a couple of my favorite handmade brands: @nisoloshoes & @elizsuzann. They both have unique styles that seem like they are from a different era. I also wear my @everlane cropped tees year round, in summer with shorts, during workouts, and in winter with cozy fleece-lined leggings and skirts. No leggings today, just a lovely afternoon inside with the sun warming our apartment. . #elizabethsuzann #inmynisolos #everlane #nashvillestyle #dailyootd #iwillwearwhatilike #ootdwomen #outfitoftoday #whatiweartoday #myoutfit #liketkit @liketoknow.it http://liketk.it/2znvg
Creating a capsule wardrobe means relying on a selection of your favorite clothes (something between 24 to 36 pieces – some people would go as high as 50) that you can easily wear in a variety of outfits, that are always put together and that match your lifestyle.
In simple words, a capsule wardrobe is a practice of editing your wardrobe down to your remixing your favorite (and best quality) clothes regularly, all the while shopping less often and more intentionally.
It all comes down to crafting the perfect closet, with reliable, effortless clothes that will ALWAYS make you look perfectly put together and elegant, no matter if you have 5 minutes to get ready or one hour.
A capsule collection only has space for things that you LOVE and look great on your body. It doesn’t have to be the trendiest choices (far from it). It’s all about the fit and ease, both stylishly and practically.
An important rule of thumb is that you should be passionate about every single piece in your capsule.
Want to learn how to build a capsule wardrobe of your own?
In this minimalist guide, I’m going to walk you through a step-by-step easy formula to help you build the ideal capsule wardrobe from scratch so that you look incredible every single day, with minimal effort.
Sounds too good to be true? It’s not magic, just strategic planning! Keep on reading to know more.
How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe From Scratch, Step-by-Step
Step 1) Start With the ‘WHY’
When was the last time you gave some serious thought about your wardrobe?
Me, personally, it was due to the fact that I am always on the move (I’ve lived in 6 countries, and counting). The emotional energy it takes me to move all my clothes is enough of a reason for me to want to be a more minimal woman.
Secondly, I am tired of fashion trends (honestly, lately fashion has been more than questionable). I want to create a style that is unique to me and speaks about my personality (this equals monochrome looks and earthy tones).
All this to say that creating a capsule wardrobe will require some reflection.
Why is it that you want to improve your wardrobe, to begin with? Why do you want to create a capsule wardrobe?
Maybe you’re starting a new phase of life or your professional career and want to reflect the classy woman that you have become.
Perhaps you’re dating a new man, and wish to dress in a way that makes you feel more fabulous, flirty, and feminine.
Or maybe you’d just like an easier time getting ready in the mornings and aim to look more polished and put together with ease.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to reflect and get a good understanding of exactly what you’d eventually like to accomplish with your capsule wardrobe.
Step 2) Get Inspired
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Jedes unserer Besonnen-Stücke wurde mit viel Liebe und Zeit, designt und getestet ❤️ Denn das Ziel unserer Capsule Kollektion ist, dass wir euch nachhaltige, minimalistische und vorallem langlebige Kleidungsstücke bieten, die euch zuverlässig durch den Alltag begleiten! – Each Besonnen piece has been designed and tested with much love and dedication ❤️ This is because the goal of our capsule collection is to offer you sustainable, minimalist and above all durable garments that will accompany you reliably through your everyday life! - - - #nachhaltigkeit #nachhaltigkeitimalltag #langlebigkeit #langlebigekleidung #nachhaltigekleidung #greenblogger #ecoblogger #sinnfluencer #sustainablefashionmatterz #berlin #berlinfashion #wearebesonnen #minimalismus #sommer2020 #sommermode2020 #achtsamkeit #achtsamerleben #nachhaltigerleben #grünemode #ökomode #zerowaste #capsulecollection #kapselgaderobe #capsulewardrobe #fashiongermany #fashiongermanystyle #germanfashiondesigners #germanfashionblogger #berlinstyle #sustainabledesign
The best way to start is to get inspiration from others.
Is there any fashion icon you admire? Perhaps you fancy a classic style icon such as the eternal Audrey Hepburn or Coco Chanel? Perhaps you’re more inclined towards Victoria Beckham’s chic modern style? Maybe you like something more edgy and sexy, such as Brigitte Bardot once styled?
Inspiration may come from anywhere and everywhere. My advice is for you to gather images from far and wide. Dedicate a few hours to sit down, search, and collect images on Pinterest that inspire you.
If you want some inspiration, take a look at my Monochromatic Outfits for Women here
Furthermore, it’s a good idea to have a style mood board.
For example, have a “real mood board’’ and a “fantasy mood board”.
The idea is to get inspired not only in the way of dressing up, but also the lifestyle. I am so obsessed with my ‘’Everything Fabulous’ board that I even made it my main Pinterest cover.
Still lost towards where to find style ideas?
Here are some suggestions on where to get great style inspiration for your capsule wardrobe:
- Fashion Magazines: Vogue, Elle, Glamour, InStyle, Essence (Pro Tip: Italian, French, and Japanese styles tend to be ahead of American style in terms of elegance. Consider expanding the boarders on where you get your style inspiration.)
- Fashion Bloggers: Dearly Bethany, Chiara Ferragni,
- Celebrities: Victoria Beckham (my personal favorite style icon), Amal Clooney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ivanka Trump, Meghan Markle, Gabrielle Union,
- Movies & TV Shows: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Sex & the City
- People watching: There is nothing than observing street style for fashion inspiration. I especially recommend this if you live in or travel to cities that are known for fashion, such as Paris, New York or London.
WHAT TO DO?
Now that you know where to look for fashion and style inspiration, it is time to observe!
Take special note of patterns that call your attention frequently, such as colors, materials, cuts, fits, and silhouettes that you really love. Make notes of the overall aesthetic, feeling, and mood of your favorite styles.
Now think about the items of clothes you don’t like wearing and ask yourself why?
The answers behind these ‘whys’ will form the foundation to start building your own clothes collection and avoid spending unnecessary money on things you never wear.
This will make shopping much more intentional! Whenever you go into a store, instead of looking around for something you might like, you will know exactly what you are looking for. Further on, when you know the color or the fabric you want, it is so easy to just skimp through any store with your eyes until you find exactly what you want.
If you don’t find it, turn away and go to another store. Don’t just buy things without thought or planning! This is very important. You must be strong and change your old fashion habits if you want a more minimalist/functional wardrobe.
Step 3) Get Functional
Start getting functional by listing all of your monthly, weekly, and daily activities.
Do you go for happy hour after work? Do you usually meet friends for brunch on a Sunday? Are there networking events that you regularly attend?
Group together activities where you may wear the same kinds of outfits.
Step 4) Rely on Essentials
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Beige, white, stripes, linen, viscose, leather ballet flats – that’s my formula for summer days. What’s your? . Beż, biel, paski, len, wiskoza, skórzane baletki – oto mój ubraniowy przepis na letnie dni. Jaki jest Twój? . . #classywomen#9to5inspo#9to5chic#capsulewardrobe#strojdnia#dailyoutfit#fashionideas#outfitideas4you#capsulecloset#outfitstyle#wroclawgirl#fashionlivesonootd#fashionloverstyle#minimaliststyle#fashiongirl#fashiongirlstyle#elegantoutfit#workstyle#workoutfit#workfashion#workchic#whatiworetowork#styleforwork#officeoutfit#officestyle#hmxme#summeroutfits#teamlessismore#neutralstyle
Essentials are basic wardrobe pieces that will never go out of style and will help you put your outfits together, such as that timeless and classy, buttoned-up, white shirt (and a well-made capsule wardrobe should give you plenty of choices to wear).
The key is to make sure everything coordinates with each other. I found a great article on another blog that details all the must have essentials for any woman’s closet.
Pro Tip: Before choosing which clothes to buy more, it might be a good idea to declutter your wardrobe first and get rid of the unwanted items.
Step 5) Creating a Color Palette
My favorite part! This has changed my entire life, I kid you not!
Understanding color and formulating a solid personal color palette for each season is vital to a cohesive capsule wardrobe. Firstly having colors that go well together will make it simple to match and put together outfits. Secondly, color is a great way to enhance your beauty by complementing your hair, eyes, and skin tone.
PRO TIP – I always start choosing my essentials by firstly gathering the base color. This way, you’ll be sure that your closet is practical and everything matches without having to give it much thought. A great way to go on about this again is searching Pinterest for specific items such as ‘white skinny jeans’ or ‘camel coat for Fall’ and it will give you plenty of outfit ideas.
Tip On Color Palette + Fashion:
Select a palette of color, which includes a basic color such as black, navy or white, two coordinating colors and one accent color (a tone you love that you will use to stand out from the rest…). A palette made out of four colors is a great start for your first attempt.
It doesn’t matter if you wear neutral colors, or if you like dressing up in flashy neon. By being intentional with your color palette, you will be one-step ahead in being more elegant.
Step 6) Putting it All Together
This is where the magic happens. In other words, where you finally turn your vague ideas into concrete pieces and outfits.
Consider the following: What are the biggest gaps in your wardrobe? From creating your ultimate formulas, what are the absolute must-haves that you simply don’t have? Are there some underrepresented items in your wardrobe? Are there pieces that could be purchased in better quality so it lasts longer?
Moreover, pay attention to some missing key pieces, basics, and statement items needed to complete your looks. Before you head out shopping it is imperative to create a solid list of the items you need to purchase, (and make a conscious effort to focus on these items only)!
Capsule Wardrobe Outfit Formulas
Author of the book ‘The Curated Closet’, Anuschka Rees, defines an outfit formula as a recipe for a specific combination of pieces that you can wear in lots of different variations. Certain outfit formulas that you love to wear, could even become your personal uniform.
Some of the biggest style icons of our time wear a version of their uniform all the time. Take Vogue editor Anna Wintour, for example. If you think about it, her uniform for well over a decade has been mostly unchanged: an elegant, well-structured, tailored dress that is usally nipped at the waist, with lots of color and bold pattern.
Adding on, her signature statement pieces include her trendy bob haircut and oversized sunnies.
I personally heard many people say that my style are those Japanese Palazzo pants, and I agree with them. I wear Palazzo pants every other day and I am not ashamed to call it my uniform.
Think about it:
- What outfit formula combinations do you find yourself comfortable and attracted to?
- Is there any item you would you like to wear more of?
- What do you currently really enjoy wearing?
- And most importantly: What are you seeing over and over, in your style inspirations?
How many clothes should be in a capsule wardrobe?
How many clothes that should be in your capsule wardrobe really depends on both the type of capsule you are building and your own lifestyle.
I’d say that a10-item wardrobe is a decent number to be able to create several outfits with minimal pieces of clothing.
Keep in mind that building the perfect capsule wardrobe is about functionality more than anything, and remember that what may suit one a very socially active woman’s lifestyle, for example, will not at all suit the lifestyle of a stay-at-home-mom.
Build a Capsule Wardrobe | Shop the Post
The absolute worst thing is when you’re trying to get ready to go out and you have to scavenge through your closet, trying your best to piece things together only to discover that nothing quite goes well. Even worst: you end up with a messy drawer that will take you ages to reorganize again.
With a perfectly curated capsule wardrobe, this should no longer be a problem. With your new capsule wardrobe now conceptualized, I promise that getting ready now will be so much fun (not to say easier)!
Time to turn up some fun music and put together outfits in front of your full-sized mirror. You could even take photos to add them to a folder on your phone to use as a reference when trying to figure out what to wear.
Et, voila! You’ve got your wardrobe set, your outfits put together. Girl, you’re good to go, and you’ll look better than ever!
Ahh, and if you’re looking for better ways to build a capsule wardrobe, Porch wrote a great guide on how to avoid fast fashion and get a more sustainable wardrobe so that you reduce your fashion carbon footrprint and live more sustainably with less. This is probably the best eco-clothing guide you’ll find online.
Useful Resources on How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe
Below are some of the top selection of books on Capsule Wardrobes that are available from Amazon where you will find even more information on how to build a capsule wardrobe on your own. Simply click the image below to be redirected to the Amazon store.
The Capsule Wardrobe: 1,000 Outfits from 30 Pieces
Sewing Your Perfect Capsule Wardrobe
How to build a capsule wardrobe | Fashion minimalism | Justine Leconte
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