How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

If you are fortunate enough to be able to fill your closet with new clothes at regular intervals, you may run into the trouble of overabundance. If your closet is brimming with clothes that you no longer wear or might be saving for another season, consider trimming down and taking the capsule wardrobe approach.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

If your closet is brimming with clothes that you no longer wear or might be saving for another season, consider trimming down and taking the capsule wardrobe approach.As the name might immediately suggest, a capsule wardrobe is merely a truncated closet consisting of a limited number of items that is rotated on a quarterly basis. According to, the terms comes from London boutique owner Susie Faux, who held the belief that a wardrobe could be effective with only a few articles of clothing that could be supplemented based on seasonal need. The number of items in a capsule closet tends to fall between 30 and 35, but notes that it can go as high as 40 if you are having trouble trimming down. These articles are typically rotated every three months, allowing you to alter your capsule wardrobe to match the season.

Consider Your Body Shape

In order for a wardrobe to be completely effective and viable, it should complement your body type. notes that there are five different body types—pear, apple, rectangle, inverted triangle and hourglass—that are all accentuated by particular clothing types and combinations. To figure out your body type, you will want to consider your measurements, height, silhouette, current weight and whether you intend to lose weight over a period of time.

Coordinate Your Colors points out that a good capsule wardrobe will incorporate a color palette that allows different articles to be matched interchangeably without clashing. To do this, start with a monochromatic or neutral base and build upon it in accordance with favored items, season or complexion. If there are a couple of articles of clothing that you must have in your spring rotation, establish those as the basis of your palette and work to complement them.

Find a Balance

Because a capsule wardrobe seeks to set a hard limit for items in your closet, it is imperative to create a balance in the number of tops, bottoms, jackets, dresses and shoes in your arsenal. As points out, a capsule wardrobe does not consist of gym clothing, formal attire, sleepwear, bathing suits or other accessories, so you will not need to crunch those into your capsule.

To harmonize your selections, it is recommended that you begin building with a few essential items, such as a little black dress or a comfortable pair of jeans.

Cut Your Losses…or Don’t suggests breaking your wardrobe down into four piles: items you intend to keep, items you are on the fence about, items that are damaged or outdated and can be recycled and items that can be donated or sold. Ultimately, the objective should be to simplify your wardrobe down to essential items and potentially make room for future additions, but if there are items you could see yourself wearing in a later season or perhaps even in another year, do not be afraid to store it in a vacuum-sealed bag or plastic tub in your basement until you build your next seasonal capsule.

If your closet is getting tight and your patience is running thin, consider the capsule wardrobe approach. With this approach, simplicity can breed creativity, not to mention plenty of free space you may have forgotten you had.


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