How to create a Capsule Wardrobe

How to create a Capsule Wardrobe

Deciding what to wear in the morning can be a chore for some people. Sometimes there’s too much choice, sometimes you just can’t decide and sometimes the weather dictates what you should put on.

What if you had a small collection of clothing you loved but that could be changed with each season and easily mixed and matched? Getting dressed would no longer be a chore, but a joy instead. You could spend less time picking out what to wear in the morning and you may even fall back in love with your clothes.

In this post, we explain how both men and women can create a capsule wardrobe that’s perfect for year-round use.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A Capsule Wardrobe usually contains a limited number of clothing pieces that can easily be interchanged and worn for multiple occasions. It’s a good tactic to take if you want to spend less time deciding what to wear. The idea of a capsule wardrobe is that you love every piece in your closet, so you’ll be happy with your outfit no matter what you choose.

The term was first used in the 1970s but it became even more popular when American fashion designer Donna Karan released her “Seven Easy Pieces” collection in 1985. Karan wanted to create a basic collection of work wear for women of all ages and sizes

Some people choose to include coats, active wear and loungewear, such as pyjamas, as part of their capsule wardrobe, but it’s down to personal preference.

Where do I start with a Capsule Wardrobe?

A Capsule Wardrobe is all about minimalism and simplicity, so you should start by having a clear out. Donate any clothes that you no longer love or that don’t fit, and bin any clothes that are past their best.

Once you’re left with your favourite pieces, you’ll need to work out what you need to buy. The general capsule formula is:

  • 10 tops
  • Five bottoms
  • Five shoes

The idea is that each item of clothing is different but can be combined in almost any sequence to create a new outfit. In theory, this should mean that you have 1140 different outfits based on just 20 items. When it comes to deciding what to include in your new wardrobe, you’ll need to incorporate some capsule wardrobe essentials as well. These might be basic items that every person needs, such as a pair of jeans, a casual pair of shoes or a white shirt.

Women should aim to have at least a couple of jumpers, a couple of blouses and a couple of tops. The blouses can be dressed up or down and jumpers are good for layering when it gets cold in the winter. A mixture of cotton trousers or denim trousers would be optimal, as well as a skirt and a pair of formal trousers. A dress could count as a bottom if you prefer dresses to trousers.

For your shoes, a nude-coloured slip on would go with most things and at least one pair of boots would be good for the cold months. A classic court shoe like our Comfort Plus Court Shoe by Karly is ideal for dressier occasions.

For men, the formula stays the same. It’s good to have a mixture of trousers in different colours and materials, like our Easy Care Classic Trousers which come in a range of five different colours. Chinos are another popular option. Make sure you have a casual pair of trousers as well, such as jeans. Your wardrobe should also contain a combination of short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, casual T-shirts and jumpers to make sure you’re prepared for every occasion. A classic white shirt is so versatile which makes it a must.

Once you’ve sorted out your current wardrobe, you might find that there’s a couple of items you need to buy. If you’re left with six of your favourite tops and jumpers, you may need to go out and buy four more to bring your total to 10.

You can choose to add accessories to your capsule as well. For men, this might include adding a couple of belts to the list. For women, you might want to choose some select pieces of jewellery that you can wear on a daily basis.

How to create a summer Capsule Wardrobe

Some people like to organise their wardrobe by season. If you think you’d struggle to get your everyday wardrobe down to just 20 pieces, you could split your wardrobe into Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, allowing you to have 40 pieces of clothing instead.

Your summer capsule could be full of sandals, shorts and T-shirts instead of heavy jumpers and coats. You should invest in a light cover-up or a raincoat for when those April showers begin to fall. Summer in the UK is anything but predictable, so your capsule for Spring/Summer should contain a couple of light jumpers.

Splitting your wardrobe like this might make it easier when you’re capsuling for the first time. It can be a bit daunting when you see how few clothes you have, so ease yourself in gently.

To really succeed when pulling together a capsule wardrobe, make sure the clothing you choose is timeless and versatile. They key is to choose pieces that can be worn in a variety of ways. For example, a large scarf could be turned into a wrap skirt and a short-sleeved shirt can be worn at a summer barbeque or a wedding. Capsuling isn’t for everyone, but it could become the best decision you ever make.