HOW TO CREATE A CAPSULE WARDROBE
Sometimes less is more, especially when it comes to a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is simply buying staple, high-quality pieces of clothing and using them as the basics for your outfits. With a limited number or versatile items, the focus is having fewer items to create a functional wardrobe that can be mixed and matched.
This usually consists of 30-50 pieces that are interchangeable, designed to maximise the number of outfits that can be created. These items are typically in neutral tones with a minimal look. This means no bold colours and prints. Sticking to these rules will ensure you always look well put-together whilst being able to create multiple looks.
So, if you’re looking to streamline your morning routine and create more sustainable shopping habits, start with our top tips on creating your personal collection. You can use the clothes you already own, along with a few suggestions of key garments from our womenswear collection that could be included.
Deciding where to begin and how you should start building a minimalist wardrobe can be daunting, especially when understanding what should be included. Every capsule collection will be different to everyone as each individual won’t have the same job or lifestyle.
What should be included is looking into what same pieces you wear repeatedly, discover your individual style and start building from there.
Benefits of a capsule wardrobe
With so many benefits from creating a capsule wardrobe, you’ll have multiple reasons to start investing in the clothing essentials. When every piece you own is strategically chosen to work with other garments in your closet, it minimises your risk of buying something you'll regret. Approach your outfits with confidence whilst knowing everything will look good together- even if you leave it to the last minute.
1. Saves time getting dressed
There’s nothing worse than when you can’t find something to wear. That's why sticking to a core collection will help with the decision making process whilst saving time to get dressed in the mornings or for your evening plans.
2.Saves money buying fewer items
When you’ve got a list of items that could be beneficial to your wardrobe, it will stop you being tempted by passing trends you might only wear a handful of times. Not only will it save yourself time when shopping, a capsule wardrobe will save you money and ensure you don’t purchase impulse buys and unnecessary pieces.
3.More money to invest in quality pieces
Now that you’re only focused on creating a variety of looks and purchasing the wardrobe essentials, you’ll shop less often. This means because you’re picking out versatile pieces, you’ll have more money to invest in high quality items. It will be worth the investment as these timeless items will be something you’ll get a lot of wear out of.
4.More sustainable way to shop
Purchasing fewer pieces of clothing will significantly make less of an impact on the environment. Staying away from trendy pieces with a short clothing lifecycle would usually mean you throwing away or donating unwanted items regularly. Sticking to the “less is more” mantra will ensure you wear all the clothes you buy and less clothing will end up in landfills.
How to build a capsule wardrobe
So how should you start building a capsule wardrobe? The best way to start is by rummaging through your current overfilled wardrobe and identify what you wear and don’t wear. There’s no need to start from scratch as you’ll find there will be key pieces you regularly wear.
Declutter your clothing collection and create piles of what you’re keeping, what can be donated to charity and any items that could be mended so that you’ll wear them again.
If there are items you’re unsure on, put them in a maybe pile and come back to these at a later date to decide if you will wear them again or not.
You should consider re-evaluating your wardrobe every three months to ensure your pieces match the current season. For example, in the spring you might choose lighter layers whilst for the winter, knitted jumpers will be your go-to.
Any capsule clothing pieces that you won’t wear in that three month period can be kept in storage to help you focus on what you might be missing and less items means less decision making when getting ready.
By doing the above, you’ll soon figure out what you’re missing and what needs adding to your selection.
You should focus on muted tones to offer versatility so that you can easily mix and match outfits. Patterns can be included but should be kept to a minimum with only classic styles like stripes.
Once discovering what you’re lacking in, make a shopping list and plan what you need to turn your items into a capsule wardrobe. There is no rush into finding the perfect pieces so take your time with purchasing- it doesn’t need to be bought all at once.
All you need to focus on is finding pieces that you love, will wear regularly and simplify your daily routine.
Capsule Wardrobe Shopping List
Now the fun part; it’s time to go shopping! We’ve created a shopping list guide to incorporate into your capsule wardrobe. From everyday jeans to basic tops, you’ll find everything you need that offers multiple styling options and makes getting dressed easier. Remember, each minimalist wardrobe will be different for everyone and this shopping list can be used as inspiration when creating your list.
Starting with the essentials, ensure to invest in t-shirts and tops you’ll reach for everyday. It’s best to choose pieces that can be worn on their own and be layered easily with other items. For example, you could pair a t-shirt with shorts or layer a blazer or jacket on top. This can include basic vest tops, t-shirts or crisp white shirts. It’s worth finding core pieces and buying them in various muted colours including black, grey, white and beige.
When investing, think about buying high quality pieces and look into staple t-shirts and tops that aren’t see through or opaque. This will make outfits look more expensive. Quality is important too so make sure you do your research and look into the quality of threads like organic cotton.
Coats & Jackets
Investing in the right coats and jackets will carry you from season to season. Identify jackets you can wear the most to work, on the weekends and for various seasons. For example, denim jackets are perfect for the transitional season, whilst a classic wool coat will keep you warm on chillier days.
Consider choosing a versatile choice of colours like black, brown and navy which can be paired with your current wardrobe. Timeless prints are a great investment too like a check print blazer.
Some coats and jackets are a timeless classic and will never go out of style. These include trench coats and leather jackets, which gives you more of a reason to pick these particular pieces. Whether it's in five or ten years time, these outerwear pieces will still be sought-after styles.
A core piece to any outfit, trousers should fit well and feel comfortable enough. These can be worn with jumpers, tops or shirts. Stay away from bold colours and prints and stick with neutral tones for versatility.
Staple styles that could benefit your wardrobe can include leggings, trousers in various fits from tapered to wide leg, and even jeans. A pair of jeans can be dressed up or down and lasting fits like straight-leg and skinny are a great investment. Make sure to pick a selection of different washes in hues of blue, grey and black.
Invest in a classic selection of capsule wardrobe dresses that you can dress up or down. It’s worth choosing sleeveless and short sleeve styles that can be layered with blazers and jackets. You’ll want a few different pieces in a mini, midi and maxi length to ensure you have something to wear for every occasion.
The style of these dresses is up to you, however we recommend wrap, a-line, shift and bodycon styles for something that never goes out of style. Colour is important too with solid hues including little black dresses and white tones. Prints like florals and polka dots can earn a spot in your capsule collection if you wear them multiple ways.
Owning a small selection of bags offers a great variety for different occasions. Not only will each bag become part of your signature look, it will complete any ensemble. Choose totes andbackpacks for work, a cross body for an off-duty option and shoulder bags and clutch bags for dressy occasions.
You should think about paying a little more for bags made of leather to elevate your outfits. Canvas and suede styles can be great to dress up or down your attire.
Nothing will tie your look together than the right pair of footwear. You won’t need an excessive amount of shoes and should focus on versatile choices that will pair with your clothing collection. There will be a certain style you will gravitate towards daily like minimalist trainers, boots and everyday flats like loafers. However, it’s good to have options for other occasions like a classic pair of nude heels and sandals.
Accessories still have a place in a capsule wardrobe, the trick is just to not over do it. Adding a chic leather belt or a pair of black sunglasses can really transform a look. From beanies to caps, one of our hats will finalise an outfit, especially in neutral tones.
Your staple jewellery pieces can add individuality and create your signature look. Invest in quality silver and gold jewellery with a minimalist look. Statement pieces should be kept to a minimum.
As a capsule wardrobe can include planer pieces, sometimes the outfits may look too simple on their own. That's why jewellery is a great way of jazzing up your look whilst creating your signature style and adding individuality.
Try and wear two items at most at one time so you don’t over do it. For example, you could pair a necklace and a ring or a pretty bracelet and earrings together.
Seasonal Capsule Wardrobes
Like we’ve mentioned before, your capsule wardrobe should be a reflection on what you wear regularly and adding to that. If you live in a four-season climate, your capsule clothing choices may change to match the weather. It’s worth thinking about your everyday pieces that you’ll wear all year round but also investing in seasonal pieces.
You should also assess your capsule wardrobe clothing every three months to ensure it matches with the current season. Some pieces you own you may wear for a particular period but not the rest of the year, so these items can be kept in storage. For example, you might have a wool coat that you’ll wear all the time in the winter months, however you wouldn’t wear it in the summer.
This will allow you to have a clear mind and easily decide what to wear without having too many items overfilling your wardrobe at once.
Spring/Summer Capsule Wardrobe
As the temperatures start to get warmer, you’ll instantly be swayed towards lightweight pieces like cotton and linen. Lighter colours like white, beige and light will offer classic items you’ll wear countless times. You can still wear darker tones in the warmer months to elevate your attire, including hues of khaki, black and navy.
Sleeveless and short sleeve dresses and tops paired with trousers,shorts or a skirt in a minimalist design are key items when creating a spring/summer capsule wardrobe.
White sandals and a classic style of sunglasses will be your-go to in warmer climates. If you’re looking into creating a holiday capsule wardrobe, stick with neutral hues and classic swimwear silhouettes when choosing swimsuits and bikinis.
Autumn/Winter Capsule Wardrobe
Prepare for your autumn/winter capsule wardrobe with thick knitted pieces like jumpers, jumper dresses and cardigans to keep out the chill. This is the perfect season to purchase investment pieces with luxe cashmere and wool blends.
Splurge on outerwear pieces and a classic pair of boots that will stand the test of time, along with bobble hats and scarves to keep you warm and snug. Muted tones of black, navy, grey and brown will ensure you can wear pieces multiple times.
Work Capsule Wardrobe
When creating your capsule wardrobe, it’s worth thinking about what you will wear in your daily life. As most of us spend a majority of our week at work, it’s worth thinking about your work capsule wardrobe. If you work in a stricter work environment, it’s best to stick to the guidelines when wardrobe building for the office.
If your company is corporate, invest in chic blouses, tailored trousers, midi skirts and blazers that you can mix and match. A pair of court heels, a sleek watch and a smart bag will tie your look together.
Create a work capsule wardrobe in a relaxed setting that will make getting dressed in the morning easier and quicker. A muted colour palette across a selection of trainers, jeans, shirts, jackets and tops will ensure you look co-ordinated and offer versatility to a minimum range of clothing.
Building a capsule wardrobe is really so simple and will change how you dress and how you shop forever. You might add and remove items as the seasons change and your personal style and preferences may shift, but creating a versatile collection of clothing offers so many benefits to your everyday life. Never struggle to get dressed again and waste money on trendy pieces you’ll only wear once (or not at all) with our capsule wardrobe guide.
Capsule Wardobe FAQs
How to build a capsule wardrobe on a budget?
The best way to build a capsule wardrobe on a budget is by creating a list of things you need and prioritising the pieces that are missing from your collection. It’s best to buy seasonally so for example, if it's the winter time, focus on investing in a coat rather than a summer dress.
Choose versatile options including pieces that don’t go out of style and items that can be layered to create multiple looks. Creating a capsule wardrobe takes time so it’s worth focusing on quality over quantity.
Another great way is selling items you don’t wear anymore and using that money to go towards pieces on your wishlist. Shopping for items in the sale or with discounted prices at House of Fraser is also a great option - just stick to the list and don’t be swayed by trendier products.
How many colours should be in a capsule wardrobe?
It’s best to keep the colour palette limited to no more than 5 colours which complement each other. Sticking to neutral colours will offer versatility when wardrobe building and keep your looks coordinated. This includes colours like black, grey, white, shades of brown and navy. With too many colours, it can be overwhelming to create an outfit. Following this rule allows you to focus on the quality and versatility of each piece, rather than the number of items in your wardrobe.
What should I buy first in my capsule wardrobe?
Bottoms can be the foundation of an outfit and are the easiest starting point. Then you can invest in neutral-coloured tops and t-shirts. However, you should access your current wardrobe and identify what you’re missing. This way you can start to create a variety of looks with a limited selection of clothing.
How do I simplify my wardrobe?
You should simplify your wardrobe by only keeping what fits and organising your clothes into a pile of what you do and don’t wear. Everything you don’t wear anymore can be donated to charity. When deciding what to keep, think about what you wear often and stick to plainer pieces with classic silhouettes. Think like Marie Kondu does and ask yourself ‘does this bring me joy’. If you haven’t worn something for over a year, it may be time to say goodbye to those pieces.
How many clothes should be in a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe can have as many or as little clothes that work for you and your lifestyle. You will usually expect to find 30-50 pieces in a capsule collection which can create a huge variety of different looks. However, these pieces may seasonally rotate and you might not wear them all year around. For example, you wouldn’t wear a pair of shorts in the winter and you wouldn’t wear a thick woolly jumper in the summer.