How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe

Hi! Welcome to Day 5 of my 12 days of blog posts! Today we’re almost half-way through and are taking a break from the Christmas related content to chat about capsule wardrobes. You may have heard of them before, or be a complete newbie – but keep reading for a handy guide which covers how to create a capsule wardrobe.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

Basically, it’s a small collection of seasonal clothing that you have in your wardrobe. You rotate for each season and each collection generally contains under 50 items (I think 10 pieces per season is a pretty reasonable number).

Usually, the items are quite cohesive, staple and go together, but obviously that depends on your personal style; minimalist vs colourful!

Why Should I Have One?

Firstly, it lets you see what you actually have in your wardrobe and makes it easier to put outfits together and decide what you’re going to wear quickly.

My personal reason for starting a capsule wardrobe is the slow fashion aspect. It forces you to look at the clothes you already have and encourages the consumption of long-lasting & high-quality pieces which epitomise your personal style. Gone are the days of using shopping as a form of therapy or self-care and having to keep up with the latest trends in high street stores. It’s better for your bank account, too!

Related: A guide to ethical shopping

If you’re limiting yourself to a set number (ie. under 30 items) then it means you’re a lot less likely to make impulse buys or things you don’t need. Once you hit your limit – adopt the ‘buy one, donate one’ mindset where for each new item you buy, you have to donate or sell one to make space.

The Steps to Cultivating a Capsule Wardrobe

What is included in a capsule wardrobe?

Not all items are included. The basics such as underwear, tank tops, exercise clothes, swimwear and those old clothes which you use for things like painting or gardening. Other things which some people don’t count are bags and accessories. I don’t think jewellery should be included but I think that other accesories such as hats and scarfs shouldn’t impact your final number of items, but that you just have one of each item.

Things that should be counted as pieces are jackets, coats, shoes, trousers, jeans, jumpers, shirts, dresses, skirts etc. Basically anything that isn’t an accessory.

My Winter Capsule Wardrobe Contains…

  • Jeans: Indigo flares, light blue straight legged, skinny black & checkerboard – all over a year old.
  • Jumpers: Navy cashmere, red and pink striped, red chunky turtleneck, moss green & plain black – all of these are either pre-loved, over a year old or from my mum’s wardrobe.
  • T-shirts: Grey, x3 white, black turtleneck & navy blue – all old except for my [gifted] organic basics cotton shirt.
  • Shoes: Adidas stan smiths & doc martens boots – both over 2 years old.
  • Outerwear: All saints leather jacket & 3/4 coat – both over 2 years old

This are the 19 items which makes up my winter capsule. The t-shirts, shoes, jeans & some jumpers/outerwear are transferred to the other seasons. In the warmer months, there are less jumpers and more dresses/skirts.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Step One: Have a Clear Out

So the first thing to do is look in your wardrobe and consider a few things.

  • Have I worn this in the last 6 months?
  • Do I like this? Does it align with my style?
  • Take some inspiration from Marie Kondo and ask ‘Does this give me joy?’

Anything that you haven’t recently worn or aren’t really a fan of should be included in the clear out. You can donate, sell, swap or, if they’re not in good condition, recycle. If you struggle to part ways with things or are hesitant then you can always pack them away until you’re more confident in your capsule wardrobe!

Places to recycle clothes: High Street shops (such as Marks & Spencers or H&M), your local council and Love not Land Fill.

Step Two: What do you need your wardrobe for?

Now you’ve cleared out the unnecessary clothes which usually go unworn, you need to think about the purpose of your wardrobe. Are most of your clothes for work? casual? occasion wear?

It’s helpful to have a essentials which can be used all year round and contains things such as t-shirts for layering, everyday jeans etc. From there, you can add the things you might need for any occasion. If you’re attending lots of events then maybe you need more formalwear than someone who doesn’t. This also applies to workwear which, again, is dependant on your life.

There is also the concept of 80/20. 80% of your wardrobe is classic everyday pieces and 20% is more trendy or out there. This might be a good way to try out a capsule wardrobe before fully committing.

Photo by Madison Inouye on

Step Three: Refilling Your Wardrobe

After your clear out and considering what your wardrobe needs to contain, let it sit for a bit. Wear what you have left over for a week or so to see where the gaps really are. If you immediately go to purchase everything you think you need, then it might lead to over-buying.

When you know what you need to find, you have a few options. In my opinion, finding pre-existing is always best. This can be in charity shops, online market places (depop, eBay, vinted, vestiaire), vintage shops, swap meetings or in your friends and families wardrobes.

If you can’t get what you’re looking for pre-loved, then turn to ethical and sustainable alternatives. This can also apply for things you maybe don’t want to buy used such as underwear or swimwear. Good On You is a great resource for finding out how ethical a brand is.

Related: Everything you need to know about organic cotton

Step Four: Wearing Your Wardrobe

Now you can try it out! Wear your newly curated wardrobe and swap it out with the seasons. As you get more comfortable with the concept, you can decrease the number of pieces you have or make other things into capsule collections too; like your books or makeup.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this post useful! Do you have or are you thinking about creating a capsule wardrobe? Let me know in the comments!

Bye for now, see you for day 6 tomorrow!

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  1. Such a good idea! I’m on a bit of a clothes ban at the moment because I definitely have far too much. Maybe if I can get through the clear-out stage, this will be an approach for the future! Great post.

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