What is a Capsule Wardrobe and Is It Right for You?

what is a capsule wardrobe?

What is a capsule wardrobe? Imagine a curated, coordinated closet that is so you!

When you hear capsule wardrobe, what comes to mind?

“Thanks, it’s one of my favorites!” I replied to the compliment about my top.

“You ALWAYS say that,” she replied, laughing. She had a point. I do always say that, but that’s because everything in my closet is a favorite. Why would I keep – or wear – something that’s not?  

Lately, it seems like everyone’s talking about capsule wardrobes. Fashion gurus, YouTubers, influencers, friends — so many people are embracing a more minimalist lifestyle and purging their closets. It’s part of an overall trend to simplify in our overly busy lives. 

But what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? What comes to mind when you hear that term? To answer that question, let’s talk about what a capsule wardrobe is, and what it is not.

Leopard skirt black moto jacket
These are all pieces from my capsule wardrobe, and I wear them in multiples seasons

What is a capsule wardrobe?

Originally coined by London boutique owner, Susie Faux, in the 1970s, a capsule wardrobe is a curated collection of classic clothing items that don’t go out of fashion, and is augmented with seasonal pieces. The desire was to have a closet complete with items that are stylish, fit perfectly, and are easily assembled into outfits. 

That leaves a lot of room for the imagination to run wild. Does that sound dreamy or drab to you? Restrictive or refreshing? Let’s dive a little deeper.

What a capsule wardrobe is not

  • It’s NOT a blah, boring, one-note collection devoid of color and pattern (unless that’s what you like!).
  • It’s NOT wearing the same exact pieces as everyone else.
  • It’s NOT choosing one plain outfit and wearing it every single day ala Steve Jobs.
  • It’s NOT crazy expensive, or at least it doesn’t need to be.
  • It’s NOT a trend. It’s the way everyone dressed until a few decades ago when mass produced clothing became so inexpensive and we jumped on the “more is more” bandwagon. Much of the world still lives with curated, cohesive wardrobes, especially the French. It’s not a trend to them, it just IS. My mom has had a minimalist capsule wardrobe her entire life.
  • It’s NOT meant to stifle your creativity and take the fun out of getting dressed. 
Boring outfit
A capsule wardrobe doesn't mean you have to wear a plain white top and plain black bottoms everyday.

then what is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is uniquely you! Think of a selective, curated, seasonal collection of pieces you love in a cohesive style and color palette. They’ve become more and more popular, or rather, come back around, among so many people. 

It was a little difficult for me to see why — until I tried it myself four years ago. Then, I fell in love. It was a breath of relief. It was like losing 1000 pounds. It destressed my days in all the ways, from reducing the choices I have to make to reducing my laundry. Here’s what makes up a capsule wardrobe and why you just might want to learn how to build a capsule wardrobe yourself!

It’s everything you love, nothing you don’t

Curating a capsule wardrobe is all about filling your closet with things that make you feel like your best self. Imagine a closet full of your favorites. Rather than thinking of getting rid of the other clothes that either don’t fit quite right or don’t accurately express your personal style, imagine choosing the ones you love. 

Narrowing your closet down to a collection of clothes you’re actually excited to put on in the morning — because honestly, why would you wear anything else — is so liberating. Decision fatigue is real, and eliminating the items you don’t love allows you to easily access the things you do love. Why would you hide your favorites in a pile of meh?

what is a capsule wardrobe summer capsule
Some favorites from my summer capsule wardrobe

It’s limited, but not limiting

Whenever I put together my capsule wardrobe each season, I aim to choose 30-50 pieces I truly love, and fit into my cohesive color palette and style. I don’t strictly limit the number, and how many capsule clothing items you need will be different than what I need. 

When you’re first putting together your capsule wardrobe, that can sound a little limiting! But trust me. It’s not. When you eliminate clothes that don’t truly bring you joy and express the real you, it’s like liberating. You’ll no longer feel obligated to wear clothes that don’t make you feel great. You’ll simplify your closet and your life.

When my closet was overflowing with pretty much everything I’d ever bought over the past 10 years, I’d change clothes 10 times before leaving my closet in something I didn’t hate…as much. When you spend the time up front putting together a cohesive capsule wardrobe, you’ll love every outfit and every item.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe some of my fall favorites
Some favorites from my fall capsule wardrobe

It’s a way of fine-tuning your own unique style

So, let’s say you’re a Cute Classic. You’re wearing an adorable black-and-white peplum top that looks fabulous on you, paired with dark denim jeans that are so flattering. You add a pair of statement earrings to dress your look up and pair it with your favorite pair of red patent flats with a small bow on them for a sweet touch. 

Then, right before heading out the door, you throw on… an oversized army green zip-up sweatshirt. With just one off-key piece, your entire outfit is undermined! Every piece counts when it comes to communicating your own unique style. Limiting your wardrobe to only pieces that communicate your style helps you always look your best. Wouldn’t you love to dress in your signature look everyday?

Click on the quiz below to find your personal Classic Style Twist!

IT SAVES TIME AND MONEY

When you have too many options hanging in your closet, it can take forever to put an outfit together. You might end up trying on a bunch of things to see if they work together, or looking everywhere for the sweater you were hoping to wear that day. Having a curated capsule wardrobe can save you loads of time in the morning because everything works with everything and everything is something you like.

Would you like to buy nicer items and still stick to your budget? When you shop intentionally, you only buy pieces you really need and love instead of wasting money on all of those “bargain” purchases you never actually wear.

And am I the only one who comes home with some fabulous finds to realize I have at least 2 of the exact same item in my closet already (I’m looking at you, black tops!)? I had forgotten about them because they were hidden in the dense jungle of my clothing racks.

IT’S SOMETHING ANYONE CAN CREATE

It’s not hard to create a capsule wardrobe you love. It’s really just a matter of identifying your own personal style, choosing a color palette that works for you, and finding pieces you love. But still, like anything worth doing, getting started is the hardest part, and new ideas can be overwhelming. 

So I’ve done most of the work for you! My detailed Wardrobe Guides feature a curated capsule collection of over 30 pieces with shopping links catered to your unique Style Twist and 100 outfit combinations. It even comes with an outfit calendar so you know what to wear every single day of the season. Starting a capsule wardrobe has never been so easy!

Stunning Style Fall 2019 Capsule Wardrobe Guide
Summer 2019 Wardrobe Guide by Stunning Style
spring caspule wardrobe guide
Winter Capsule Wardrobe Guide

Is your wardrobe full of favorites? Do you currently have a capsule wardrobe? Are you thinking of starting one? What is your favorite thing about it? Let’s chat me in the comments!

Join the conversation!

If you’ve been nodding along with this article, you may be ready to try a capsule wardrobe. Read more in-depth articles about capsule wardrobes!

Looking for even more inspiration? Discuss capsule wardrobes and classic style with a fun community of like-minded women in the Classic Capsule Conversations Facebook groupYou can also follow me on Instagram to see how I wear my capsule wardrobe!

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