How to Build Your Perfect Capsule Wardrobe



How to build a capsule wardrobe using the concept of everyday aesthetics and minimalism? That's what I'm going to share with you today. But first, let's make it clear what a capsule wardrobe is. 

To me, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing that is composed of interchangeable items only to maximize the number of outfits that can be created. The idea behind it is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing.


To cut it short, a capsule wardrobe is a mini-wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally love to wear.

And, of course, there are great benefits to having one: a capsule wardrobe represents more time, money, and energy for the things in life that really matter. So, where to start?


WAIT! If you’re more of a visual learner, check out my new YouTube video below where I detail everything in this post.

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The preparation step


The preparation step is essential for creating a capsule wardrobe. And guess what it is? It's decluttering. Especially if it's been more than a year since you went through your clothes and cleaned out what was in your closet.

And, don't try to build a capsule just yet. It's just a preparation step. So, simply take a few hours to pull out the things you know you aren't going to wear and get them out of your closet.

Now, let's build!

Step 1. Identify primary outfit categories


First, take a sheet of paper and Identify primary outfit categories that are most relevant to your lifestyle. Here are daily outfit categories I identified:

Casual: meeting with friends & relatives, shopping, errands, etc.

Work: office, meetings, etc.

Active: sports, hiking, on the go, etc.

Lounge: movies or reading at home, work-from-home, baking, etc.

Dressy: formal events, concerts, restaurants, date night, etc.

Imagine a general look and feel for what you would be wearing in each scenario. Then choose the most relevant ones to your lifestyle right now. To me, these are Casual, Lounge and Active.

The thing is, I don't go to the office and do only remote projects. So, I mostly need casual items. Also, I run and do yoga from time to time. So I need activewear. And lastly, I spend time indoors in my apartment and outdoors in a country house. So, loungewear is essential for me to have.

Great! Now that you've identified your primary outfit categories go to step 2.

Step 2. Try on items you have in your closet


I want to mention here that we don't buy new things yet. We create a capsule based on what we already have. Ok, take the items you have after your decluttering and try them on. This includes everything: outerwear, tops and bottoms, dresses, shoes, and accessories.

In the process, ask yourself these 5 questions for each item:

1. Will this work with my lifestyle?

2. Does the item fit with my personal style?

3. Does the fit and fabric work for me?

4. Does it go with 3 other items in my wardrobe?

5. How many outfits can I create with this item?

If the answer is no for at least 1 of the first 4 questions, it probably doesn't belong in your capsule.

When you're done, you have let some items go, and some items are still in your wardrobe. Congratulations! This is where your capsule wardrobe starts. The last step will help you to make it perfect.

Step 3. Identify colors & missing items


So, what you need now is to examine your items carefully.


Start with the colors


The capsule wardrobe in terms of colors, as a rule, consists of a base color, complementary colors, and accent colors.

Black, navy, or brown are the most commonly used colors in capsule wardrobes. As for my wardrobe, my base color is black. It's my favorite. 

Now, complementary colors. These are all neutral colors, like black, white, gray, or beige. They may come in different shades, so simply choose your favorite. As for me, my complementary colors are black, white, and gray (light gray and graphite). I don't like beige at all, and I think it doesn't suit me. Ok, the good thing about neutrals is they all coordinate well with each other & base colors.

As for the accent colors, these are bright colors that pop up and add to your personal style and feel. These can be solid colors or patterns, like florals, polka dots or stripes, etc.

My accent colors are dusty pink, sage, and marsala. As for patterns, I like florals and polka dots. I have one striped shirt, though. Whatever colors and patterns you like, make sure your accent colors coordinate with your base color.

Now, look at the items you have selected in Step 2. And ask yourself, 'Do these items match my favorite colors?' If they do, perfect. But you might want to buy the same item in a different color sometimes later. And let go of the item with the unmatching color. You might want to make a list of such switches, which will initially become your shopping list.

Now, it's time to identify missing items. How do you do that?

You typically wear a capsule for 3 months, and then at the end of those 3 months, you update it for the following season. But it doesn't work for me. My capsule is 90% universal, meaning I can wear it all year round. And 10% of my items are those for colder seasons. These are shoes, outerwear & scarves, and a couple of sweaters. To me, this approach looks more minimalist and allows me to stick to my everyday aesthetics lifestyle. Yet, if I were to stick to the seasons, I'd say I can split my wardrobe into Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter categories.

So, to identify missing items, I first think of the seasons: am I missing something for winter, or fall, for example?

Next, I think of the variety of items I have in each category. I mean variety in fit, style, and colors rather than numbers. Do I have enough items for yoga sessions? Or, do I have anything to wear when walking in the countryside? 

And if you Google the capsule wardrobe formulas, you'll see there are plenty. Some say you only can have 10 items per season, and others stick to 10 items for each category. But, again, it doesn't work for me. I mean, counting the numbers looks limiting and frustrating to me.

Instead, I stick to my everyday aesthetics principle: everything in my closet is perfect (which means it is of high quality and is combined with other things in the closet) and brings me joy; it's aesthetically pleasing. And it's just impossible to have too many items that way since I select each item carefully, preferring quality over quantity. Plus, I keep the sustainability Reduce principle in mind.

Ok, getting back to the point. You can do the same: identify your favorite colors first and make a list of the missing items next. And only after that you can shop for replacements or brand-new items. The important thing here is you don't want to make it in one shopping spree. It's not how it works. Sometimes it takes time and effort to pick the perfect pieces.

To sum things up, –

Declutter, try the remaining items on and identify colors & missing items. I've also created a simple .pdf guide and a cheat sheet for you so that the process of building your capsule wardrobe goes smoothly. You can download them HERE.


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