Getting Started with a Capsule Wardrobe: A Step-by-Step Guide

By Mariam Simmons

Fast fashion has taken the world by storm. This industry involves the production of trendy clothing designs using low-quality materials to bring inexpensive products to the market. Unfortunately, fast fashion is unsustainable due to its toll on the environment.

They say “quality” is better than “quantity.” Thus, if you’re after fashion sustainability, you should seriously consider creating a capsule wardrobe.

This article is part of a series. See our main article on Fast Fashion for more insights.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

The concept of the capsule wardrobe isn’t new. In fact, it has been around since the 1970s. Susie Faux introduced the term when she opened a boutique that sells minimalist clothing pieces that are made of high-quality fabrics and can be easily mixed and matched. Her boutique was named “Wardrobe.”

In a nutshell, a capsule wardrobe gives you a limited selection of clothing pieces that you can easily mix and match for any occasion.

Benefits Of A Capsule Wardrobe

Building a capsule wardrobe has many benefits.

It’s more sustainable.

A capsule wardrobe is a sustainable approach to building your closet. Since you’re investing in quality pieces that you can use for a long time, none of them goes to waste.

You can save money.

By investing in high-quality versatile pieces, you won’t have to keep buying clothes every now and then. You also won’t have to worry about keeping in style because your clothing pieces are interchangeable and you can wear them multiple times and for various occasions.

A capsule wardrobe is easier to manage.

Having fewer items in your closet means less stress. That’s because a capsule wardrobe is easier to maintain. Choosing outfits won’t also be a problem as you have fewer versatile pieces to choose from.

You won’t run out of style.

A capsule wardrobe consists of carefully selected pieces that have timeless styles and colors. Whether it’s the year 2010 or 2021, you’re still going to look great in your clothes.

sustainable capsule wardrobe in a grey neutral bedroom

How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

It can be tricky to build a capsule wardrobe the first time. The process of picking the right pieces can be overwhelming, especially if you’re used to having a lot of stuff in your closet. There might be items you can’t let go or you probably don’t know how to start decluttering your closet.

Follow these steps when starting a capsule wardrobe:

Decide how much clothing you need

Capsule wardrobes can include 20 to 50 pieces, but most people find the magic number to be 32. This is way less than the average American woman has in her wardrobe, which is 100 pieces. If you’re used to having a lot of items in your closet, you might find trimming down your wardrobe quite a challenge. Don’t worry and proceed to the next step.

Factor in your style and lifestyle.

Just because you’re throwing in versatile pieces in your new wardrobe doesn’t mean they don’t have to reflect your style. When selecting clothes and accessories for your capsule wardrobe, always consider your style and lifestyle.

Factor in your daily activities, what you like to do in your free time, and what your style is. For example, if you have so many pairs of heels and doll shoes in your closet but you prefer to wear sneakers on most days, then it’ll be easier for you to decide on which is in and out in your capsule wardrobe.

Decide on shoes and accessories.

You want one or two pairs of kicks in base color, and one pair each of flats, boots, sandals, and trainers. Aim for 10 pairs total. That should be enough to help you get dressed appropriately for any occasion or season.

For your accessories, aim for timeless, classic, and sustainable pieces or those you can use for many years. For example, this minimalist wallet is ethically sourced and processed, and made through sustainable methods.

Decide on a budget.

Wardrobe capsules feature sustainable pieces made from high-quality materials. However, that doesn’t mean they have to be luxurious. Focus on buying the best quality pieces you can afford. You don’t have to purchase all of them at once. You can decide which items to buy first until you’re able to complete your capsule wardrobe.

Choose a color palette.

Since you want your wardrobe to be versatile, start with a few base colors that will make the core pieces of your wardrobe. Then, add a few accent colors.

You can build your wardrobe around warm tones like camel, burgundy, and ivory, or cool tones like blue, black, and grey. You can choose a pop of color for stand-alone pieces like dresses that you don’t need to mix and match as much. So yes, you can have your favorite red dress in your capsule wardrobe.

Establish your base wardrobe.

Your base wardrobe depends on your lifestyle. For example, if you work from home and rarely go out, your base could consist of pajamas, layering pieces, shirts, pants, and workout clothes. If you work in an office, your base wardrobe would be different.

Maintain your capsule wardrobe.

Maintaining a capsule wardrobe is not about restricting yourself. It’s about being mindful and intentional with your choices. Before taking steps to add new things to your closet, consider what you need to remove or replace. Consider donating old clothes instead of throwing them away.

Final Thoughts on a Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe

Creating a wardrobe capsule is one of the best ways to simplify your life. Hope you find these tips helpful in starting your very first capsule wardrobe. Good luck!

Author Bio

Mariam Simmons is a fashion trendsetter and the Content Manager of Alpine Swiss. She loves traveling to the world’s top stylish destinations and gets inspired to create helpful business fashion and lifestyle guides.