The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

by - June 23, 2018
Do you want to look fashionable, but don't have the time or the money to make it happen? Are you tired of always buying new clothes to try and fit in because the trends are changing all of the time? You may have heard of a capsule wardrobe before. With a capsule wardrobe, you can buy only the clothes you love. All of the clothes in your closet will fit well and be easy to mix and match so you can feel stylish and confident in what you are wearing!

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

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Updated for 2024

A capsule wardrobe isn't exactly cheap, but when you invest in high-quality items that last and you refrain from buying the first trendy thing you see when you enter a store, you will save money in the long run.

Plus, you won't have to spend extra time in front of your closet trying to figure out what to wear because the clothing in your closet will be classy and easy to style. You'll also be able to stand out from the crowd and own your style!

As for fashionable, after I found my colors, I received a lot more compliments than I used to. Plus it takes less time to look effortlessly stylish.

But first of all, what is a capsule wardrobe?

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

Before we get into how you can save time, money, and look more fashionable by creating a capsule wardrobe, you should know what a capsule wardrobe is.

To put it simply, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of timeless clothing items that all fit you well. You love wearing all of the items in your capsule wardrobe, and you don't have to buy trendy items all of the time.

That doesn't mean you can't include a few trendy pieces in your wardrobe, it just means that if you do include a certain trend in your capsule wardrobe it is because you love wearing that piece. You aren't just wearing it because it is trendy.

The items in your capsule wardrobe are also easy to create outfits from because of how your capsule wardrobe is set up.

Okay, are you ready to save time, money, and look more fashionable all in one?

Follow these step-by-step tips to create your own capsule wardrobe and make a wardrobe you love!

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

The first step to creating your capsule wardrobe is to pick a base color. The base color of your wardrobe is a neutral color. The name pretty much says it all. This color is going to be the "base" of your wardrobe.

After you pick your base color, you will build around it by picking the rest of the colors in your wardrobe. All of the rest of the colors in your wardrobe will match or look good with your base color. This is why it is a good idea to pick a neutral color for your base color.

The main purpose of having colors in your wardrobe is because it makes it very easy to style outfits. If you have every color of the rainbow in your wardrobe, it will be harder to create outfits, and your outfit might end up being clashing instead of classy.

The following steps can help you pick out a base color for your capsule wardrobe.

Pick a Base Color for Your Capsule Wardrobe

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

A neutral color works best for your capsule wardrobe because it will be easier to mix and match other pieces with it. Every outfit needs to have a base color, so does your entire wardrobe.

White, black, or a light shade of tan would work best because these are all neutral colors. Navy blue would probably also work. It depends on what other colors you pick for your wardrobe.

It might seem a bit daunting to try and decide what color you want for the base of your entire wardrobe, but don't worry, you can ask yourself the questions below and maybe get some perspective from a few close family members and friends to give you an idea of what color you want to pick. Write down your answers if you want.

  1. Which neutral colors do I look best in?
  2. What neutral color do I tend to buy?
  3. Which neutral color do I wear most often?

After you have found your base color, it is time to find the other colors that are going to be in your wardrobe.

Just in case you are wondering, the neutral color in my wardrobe is black because I tend to gravitate toward darker colors such as black and blue.

Picking Secondary Colors for Your Capsule Wardrobe

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

Secondary colors are the other colors in your wardrobe. 

My base color is black so for my secondary colors I picked light pink, white, navy blue, and garnet red. As I mentioned above, I tend to wear navy blue and black, so to balance this out I added white and light pink as my secondary colors.

You don't necessarily need to have white as one of your secondary colors to wear it, but I wear neutral colors a lot so I added it as one of my secondary colors. The same goes for if you have white as your base, you don't have to add black as one of your secondary colors to wear it.

If you want to look classy, stay away from adding bright colors as your secondary colors, neon colors, and colors that will clash together.

Pick around four secondary colors. I wouldn't have more than five secondary colors.

To decide what your secondary colors are, ask yourself the following questions. Again, you can also ask close family members and friends to give some advice as well because you may second guess yourself when trying to decide what colors you look best in.

  1. What colors are my favorite?
  2. What color am I wearing when I get compliments?
  3. What colors do I look best in?
  4. What colors look best with my base color?
  5. What colors look best with my other secondary colors?

Each color should match with or complement at least one of the other secondary colors in your capsule wardrobe, but not including your base color. This will make so it is easier to create outfits.

If you are having trouble deciding what colors to pick for your wardrobe, I go more into detail in the post How to Create a Color Palette for Your Wardrobe.

None of us like standing in front of our wardrobes for minutes on end trying to decide what to wear, so YAY!

Congratulations! Now you have all of the colors in your capsule wardrobe. :)

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

Creating Your Capsule Wardrobe Formula

Next, it is time to decide on the pieces in your capsule wardrobe. Your capsule wardrobe formula is likely to be unique because you have a unique lifestyle. Creating a capsule wardrobe is about making a wardrobe that works for your lifestyle.

Below is a sample formula you can start with. If you are on a strict budget, you can still use this formula because it is very basic.

  • 12 tops
  • 5 bottoms
  • 3 dresses
  • 4 pairs of shoes
  • 3 purses
  • 10 accessories

Using this formula you should be able to make over 252 outfits!

You don't want to wear the same outfits over and over again, right? Me neither! In this post, you can figure out how many outfits you can create with your wardrobe.

You should of course change this formula to match your needs. If you don't wear dresses very much, you probably won't need three dresses. It would still be a good idea to have one dress for special occasions when a dress is required.

If you wear casual clothing 3/4 of the time, it wouldn't make sense to have mostly formal clothing in your wardrobe.

You know best what your lifestyle is like!

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

Recommended Items to Have in Your Capsule Wardrobe

So how do you choose the pieces to have in your capsule wardrobe?

Start with investing in the basics and then using the colors you picked out above, you can create your entire capsule wardrobe! You don't have to buy designer items to have a nice wardrobe, but you should invest in basic pieces because these pieces will be the building blocks of your entire wardrobe and you will wear them a lot!

If you are looking to create a classic wardrobe, like the one I have, then below is a list of items I recommend adding to your wardrobe.

  1. A white tee + a black tee
  2. A high-quality pair of jeans (These should fit perfectly, and be in a neutral color)
  3. A nice jacket that can be worn casually (jean jacket, blazer, leather jacket, field jacket)
  4. One pair of high heels
  5. One pair of fashionable boots (ankle or knee length)
  6. A minimalist piece of classic gold or silver jewelry (a ring, earrings, a necklace)
  7. A formal or casual dress
  8. A button-up shirt
  9. A blouse 
  10. A pair of casual sneakers

You should buy the above items in neutral colors if you can because it be easier to look put together and you will have more outfit combinations you can make.

Below, you can see examples of items that are classic to give you an idea of what you should look for when adding items to your wardrobe. As you can see, I'm a big fan of shopping at Old Navy. :)

If you need more help finding must-have items to add to your capsule wardrobe, you can get more information and tips in the post Capsule Wardrobe Must-Haves Part 1.

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

Start with these steps and you will be on your way to creating a wardrobe you love! Just to recap, all of the information in this post, here are the steps to take to start building your capsule wardrobe.

  1. Pick a Neutral Color
  2. Pick Secondary Colors
  3. Make a Capsule Wardrobe Formula (Or you can start with the basic example formula I outlined above)
  4. Buy the 10 Recommended Items (These classic pieces are a great place to start building your wardrobe!)

If you liked this post, you can read these ones as well.

If you found this post helpful, let me know by leaving a comment below, sharing it on social media, or hitting "Recommend" in the comment section! Thank you! :)

Make sure that your friends have a capsule wardrobe too!

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

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