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Capsule Wardrobes: What They Are and Why You Should Have One

By Calvin Made August 10, 2019 0 comments

Spring capsule wardrobe, office capsule wardrobe, 9-piece capsule wardrobe… You may have been seeing this trend on social media, but what exactly is it? A capsule wardrobe is a frugal, simple, and minimalistic form of dress that features versatile pieces of clothing to look stylish when mixed and matched. They usually feature somewhere between 18 to 36 pieces of clothing altogether (including tops, shoes, and accessories), earning its name “capsule wardrobe” for being so notoriously small! It’s a great way to refresh your style on a budget, for men and women alike.

Step One: Find Your Pallet and Style

One of the most important features of a capsule wardrobe is the ability to swap out pieces to mix and match. What colors are you into right now? Are you feeling the light, soft colors of spring? The bold, bright colors of summer? Maybe a more neutral pallet that you can make your accessories pop with? Think of what colors you want to utilize in your style. If you’re having a hard time, try looking up pictures of celebrities with your hair color and skin tone and see what colors they rock in. Or even celebrities with your same body type could help give you an idea of what types of pieces will compliment you best.

Get a good idea of what articles of clothing you’ll be looking for. If you need to, research other capsule wardrobe collects to see what ideas you can use. Preparation will be key to the next step. Bare minimum, you want to pick out your “pop” color and two neutral colors that compliment that pop color; one light-neutral and one dark-neutral.

Step Two: The Clothes

Once you’ve decided your colors, it’s time to shop! You will need to pick out preferably a minimum of three pieces for each category: Shirts/Tops, Jackets/Cardigans, Pants, Shorts/Skirts, Shoes, and Accessories. For ladies, consider the additional categories of Dresses and Purses/Bags.The basic idea for each category is to have one “pop” color piece, one light-neutral piece, and one dark-neutral piece, minimum. If you want to expand, you can get pieces with patterns on them (colorful ones, neutral ones). Striped patterns are very popular right now and extremely versatile. It’s important to stick to your pallet during this process! It’s best to avoid pieces that are too loud and can only match with few items in your wardrobe. Try to pick pieces that only feature one or two colors on them, three at most.

Step Three: Mix and Match

Now that you’ve picked your pieces, get yourself inside that fitting room and try everything on! I found it easiest to pick one article of clothing, like a shirt, and base everything around it. If it can go with at least 80% of your other picks, then it’s a keep! Start simple with just the shirt and one of the pants and shoes. Then try it on with one of your jackets/cardigans. One part at a time to see how it all comes together. Once you’ve exhausted all your options, try a different shirt/pant combo and start the process over again. This is also a good time to experiment with layering if the weather allows for it! Not everything you pick the first time is going to be great, and the more you try it out, the more you’ll spot where you need to make corrections (ex: “I like the color, but not the fit of this jacket..”).


Once you’re satisfied, you’ll find that you can arrange these pieces of clothing in dozens of different ways to make entirely new outfits! You can dress simple with just a shirt, pants, and accessory together. Dress it up with a jacket and fancier shoes… A 15-piece wardrobe could make up to 30 different outfit combinations or more! The possibilities are sometimes overwhelming, but it beats being stumped on what to wear from lack of options! Have fun and happy mix and matching!

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