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Creating My First Capsule Wardrobe

by How She Styles

What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a curated selection of pieces pulled out from your full wardrobe. This is usually done seasonally. A “standard” capsule contains 33-36 pieces, and can include shoes and accessories.

Why A Capsule Wardrobe?

After reaching the six month mark of my no-buy year, I want to have a better understanding of my current wardrobe. I want to understand why I am choosing certain pieces over others, if my current wardrobe is serving my lifestyle, and if I can get more outfits out of my clothing. To do this I decided to give a capsule wardrobe a shot. My capsule wardrobe contains 36 pieces, and does not include shoes or accessories. I am using this method because it will allow me to pull outfits from a smaller selection of seasonally appropriate clothing.

With only 36 pieces in my closet I am able to see all of my options. I don’t have to worry about forgetting pieces or having to sift through clothes that are not seasonally appropriate. The smaller selection also lends itself to creativity. Working with a set number of pieces pushes me out of my comfort zone when putting together new outfit combinations.

The Prep

There were two things I needed to think about before I pulled even one piece of clothing from my wardrobe:

  1. What weather do I need to dress for?

I decided that I would create my capsule for the months of July through September. These months are HOT! Although many of us start thinking about fall in September, the weather where I live is still quite hot around that time. When creating your capsule, think about what works best for the weather where you live.

  1. What upcoming events or activities do I need to dress for?

I thought about what will be coming up within those three months. The only thing I have “planned” is continuing to work. Whether or not that will be in an office within that time is up in the air. With this in mind, I needed to make sure I had a few pieces that were work appropriate. Lucky for me, work-appropriate clothing makes up a good chunk of my wardrobe.

The Trial Run

Before fully committing to the items I was considering for my capsule, I decided to pull them aside for a week to see if they were actually functional for my daily life. Turns out some pieces weren’t great choices, so I made some adjustments.

One adjustment was cutting the number of skirts I had pulled for the capsule. I had originally chosen about 8 skirts—I love skirts and they’re great for warm weather, but I wasn’t reaching for them every day. What I was actually reaching for was the two pairs of jeans I had allowed myself. With that in mind, I swapped some skirts for a few pairs of jeans in my final capsule.

Putting It All Together

Based on what I learned during my trial run, I kept these five things in mind when I went to pull my final capsule wardrobe:

  1. This capsule is for hot weather. I live in a city that gets humid in the summer on top of hot temperatures, so the pieces must be appropriate for the heat.
  2. Must include work-appropriate outfits for working in an office. Eventually I will be back in an office for work, so I need to be prepared for that.
  3. Pretend you are packing for a trip. Choose versatile items in terms of function and color to get the most out of each piece.
  4. A cohesive color story for tops and bottoms will make putting together outfits easier and make sure colorful pieces work with more that one outfit.
  5. Start with bottoms and dresses. Emma Losey’s videos made me realize that bottoms and jackets can make an outfit feel quite different, but since I won’t be reaching for many jackets, I decided to pull bottoms and dresses first.

My Summer Capsule Wardrobe

How She Styles Summer 2020 Capsule Wardrobe

My Tips For Capsule Wardrobe First Timers

  1. A few weeks before you create your capsule, do a test run to see if you are actually using the pieces you’ve chosen, or if you’re struggling to put outfits together.
  2. Choose pieces that are versatile so they can be worn for more than one occasion.
  3. Think in terms of outfits instead of just individual pieces to avoid working with items that don’t go together.
  4. Use shoes and accessories to increase the number of outfits you can create, and give your capsule even more variety.
  5. Pull pieces you love! Life is too short to wear outfit you’re not in love with!

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Ellen Hall Evanoff July 3, 2020 - 9:46 am

95% of my clothes never see the light of day. It’s such a great idea to analyze what you have. It makes packing so much easier when travelling!

How She Styles July 3, 2020 - 10:08 am

Totally agree! There’s a saying, Most people wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time, and I think it’s true so I am hoping this process helps me get more out of my wardrobe.


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