How to get started with capsule wardrobe - a simple guide for beginners

How to get started with capsule wardrobe - a simple guide for beginners

Have you been repeatedly hearing about capsule wardrobe, and thinking, “it sounds great but there’s no way I will be able to do that”? 

Maybe you love fashion, and the idea of only wearing ten things each season sounds simply insane. Or maybe you already feel like “I have nothing to wear”, and you are constantly on the hunt for that missing piece to add to your closet. Or you just don’t know where to even start with paring down your overflowing closet. 

Hold that thought. First things first.

So, is capsule wardrobe for you? 

What is a capsule wardrobe? A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing that maximizes the number of outfits that can be created.

capsule wardrobe

Can a capsule wardrobe benefit your unique lifestyle?

To figure that out, let’s play Yes or No:

  1. Do you have a large wardrobe but often feel like you have nothing to wear?
  2. Do you struggle to choose or narrow down the clothing items to pack when you travel?
  3. Do you want to look good but don’t want to spend your valuable time on putting together outfits?
  4. Do you feel like a lot of items in your closet “don’t feel like you”?
  5. Do you want to reduce the number of clothes you own for environmental or other reasons (like reducing clutter in your home)?
  6. Do you keep going back to those three pieces of which you have been pretty bored by this point?

If you answered yes to any of the above, capsule wardrobe can most likely work well for you. Honestly, for me, it was ALL of the above at some point, and it was one of the reasons that I decided to design our mini-collection (which I’m using as the core of my capsules). 

How will having a capsule wardrobe make you feel? The first things I noticed were how fast getting dressed has become (literally under one minute), and how much the pieces now feel like “me”. I feel more clear about what my style is more than ever, which has been so so important as I continue to add or subtract pieces - I no longer buy things that would end up living their entire life on the hanger. I also feel more joy during the day because I always wear something I love and as a result feel more confident and motivated. The saying “look good, feel good” is true wisdom.

How to start a capsule wardrobe?

Now, let’s be clear, starting a capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean you need to reduce your closet to 30 pieces permanently, especially if you are new to it. In fact, I strongly advise against it. 

The beauty of a capsule wardrobe is that you can adjust its scale and format to fit your needs. For example, you can start with a week-long capsule and then expand from there (check out our guide and journal to help you put it together), or you can try out a capsule for a trip. 

Point is, allow yourself time to build it gradually in a way that works for you, and see it as an evolving process as you learn more about your style and needs along the way, and not something you need to nail on the first try.

1. Set the goal and scale of the capsule

Is it a capsule for your regular work week, a week-long trip, or an entire season? Setting the goal first will allow you to be more purposeful when putting the capsule together. 

Knowing the goal also lets you define the right sized capsule. For example, we recommend 6 pieces of clothing plus 2 pairs of shoes for a week-long capsule wardrobe.

The beautiful thing about this approach is that you don’t have to sort through your entire closet to build a capsule wardrobe. 

2. List your key activities

work from home

In order for the capsule wardrobe to support your goal, it has to be able to support the activities within the goal. 

Take your regular week as an example, what do you typically do over the week? Do you do work from home, run errands, meet friends for dinner, or something else? List the key activities so you can build your capsule around them.

3. Select capsule items

Now you are ready to put together your capsule. 

Start with a base color scheme so the pieces you select can easily match one another. When in doubt, stick to neutrals - they never fail! 

When selecting your capsule pieces, prioritize those you already love and focus on versatility: how many of your main activities can you wear this to? How many of your other pieces does it match with? This step is much easier now because you already did the prep work of defining the scale and activities for your capsule. 

Enjoy being creative in this process! Think about what are some new ways and combinations to wear the clothes you already own. 

Below is an example of a week-long mini capsule of mine for this Spring. There are six pieces: three tops, two bottoms and one layering piece. You can shop for most of them here.

my spring capsule wardrobe

4. Enjoy, improve and expand

Now you will harvest the magic of the capsule wardrobe!

First, enjoy! Enjoy the time-saving, space-decluttering, and money-saving benefit of your capsule wardrobe. 

Chances are you won’t have the perfect capsule on the first try. But that is great! You get to learn what you like and what you don’t like! Some questions you can ask yourself may be:

  • How much did I like each outfit and why?
  • How did each outfit make me feel (gut check your comfort and confidence when you were wearing the outfit)?
  • What have I noticed about my style and my current closet?
  • Which pieces would I take out, and which pieces would I add?

Whether this first capsule was spot on or not yet perfect, you will learn so much about your style and yourself in general! And it will be an amazing starting point to eventually build your longer term capsule wardrobe that truly serve your own lifestyle.

Happy capsuling!

beginner capsule wardrobe guide

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