What is A Capsule Wardrobe: A Beginner’s Guide

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what is a capsule wardrobe and how to create one from scratch?

Do you have difficulty getting dressed in the morning?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all your available clothing options?

Do you feel you have nothing to wear even when your wardrobe is full of clothes?

If the answer is yes to all the questions, then building a capsule wardrobe may be the solution for you.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

denim clothes hanging on a rack in a capsule wardrobe for beginners guide

The concept of the capsule wardrobe was first introduced in the 1970s by Susie Faux. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of timeless staple pieces that can last a long time. 

The idea of a capsule wardrobe is to make getting ready before going out easier. It consists of different essential pieces that can be worn together to create different outfits for different events. 

It is suitable for people going for a sustainable, minimalist, and efficient lifestyle.

Why Build a Capsule Wardrobe?

There are many benefits to building a capsule closet. Depending on your own reasons why you are interested in creating a capsule wardrobe of your own, it overall makes life easier and your closet less cluttered. 

Here are other reasons why a capsule wardrobe is beneficial:

Less Time Choosing Outfits

A capsule closet only consists of staple pieces that are versatile. This helps you to choose different pieces to create an outfit fast especially in the morning before going out. 

No matter which pieces you choose, they will always look good together. This will also lead to less decision fatigue as you can already see the outfits you want to put on when you see your wardrobe. 

Wardrobe is More Organized

Creating a capsule wardrobe will make you be mindful of the pieces that you want to add to it. This will lead to a more organized wardrobe as you only allow pieces that can blend and go well together with your existing pieces. 


3 tshirts in white, black and grey folded nicely in flat lay set up featured in what is a capsule wardrobe blog post
Image by Freepik

High-quality pieces usually last a long time. By adding only high-quality pieces to your wardrobe, you can spend less on clothes and this helps you be sustainable long term. It can also indirectly help the environment.

Gain Confidence

Capsule wardrobes consist of staple pieces that make you comfortable. The pieces you include in the wardrobe should be comfortable and suitable for you. This will help you gain more confidence. 

A capsule wardrobe will also help you find your own personal style. With time and experimentation, you will understand your style better and you will perfect your own capsule wardrobe. 

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe from Scratch?

This is a beginner’s guide to building a capsule closet from scratch. If you already understand the process and would like to learn about other different capsule wardrobes, head on to my other one-color-based capsule wardrobes guides to seasonal capsule wardrobes guides.

(Formula: Practicality + Lifestyle)

Look Through Your Current Wardrobe

wardrobe full of clothes picture featured in capsule wardrobe beginners guide blog post

The first step in building a capsule closet for beginners is to do a wardrobe audit. This is for you to go through all the pieces in your current wardrobe and make a list of things you always wear and things you feel comfortable wearing.

Separate the pieces into 3 categories by how often you wear them: very often, occasionally, & rarely.

For example, you may own a t-shirt that you wear often, figure out what makes you choose that t-shirt. What makes it feel comfortable to you? Is it the cut? Is it the material? Or is it simply because it needs less maintenance? 

This is how you can find out the reason why each piece is in its respective categories.

Make a List of Your Daily Activities

Next, is to make a list of your daily activities. This is to analyze what kind of lifestyle you have. It can help you build a practical, functional, and stylish wardrobe that really caters to your life. 

Different work may require different attire. Make sure to include your work, hobbies, and weekends or time off activities. It will help you see what kind of clothes you need for each activity. 

Consider Your Local Weather & Environment 

Weather and environment are important factors to consider when building a capsule closet. If you live in a tropical country where it is summer all year long, you may only need one type of capsule wardrobe which is a summer capsule wardrobe.

However, if you live in countries or areas that have 4 seasons a year, then you may need to update your wardrobe for every season. Head on to my other posts where I shared how to build a capsule wardrobe in spring, winter, and fall.

Keep Track of Pieces You Wear for 30 Days

Keeping track of the pieces you wear for 30 days will allow you to see a pattern. You can see what kind of clothes you like to wear and you can also see what clothes make you feel comfortable and stylish. 

You can categorize them into tops, bottoms, and accessories to see clearly the different pieces that you often wear. 

Declutter Your Current Wardrobe

Next, it is time for you to declutter your current wardrobe. Refer to the daily activities and 30 days tracking pieces lists that you have done to help you decide which pieces to keep and to remove. You can donate, sell, or give away the clothes. 

Make sure to keep pieces that you like and feel comfortable in that are also versatile. Remember, a capsule wardrobe consists of pieces that can be paired together nicely for different occasions. 

Find the Right Color Palette 

The next step is to find the best color palette based on your skin tone and undertone. In general, people with warm undertones look great with warm colors while people with cool undertones look best with cool colors and neutral undertones look great in both!

Not sure how to find your skin undertone? Head on to my guide to finding your skin tone and skin undertone! For hijabis who want to look their best with the best hijab colors, head on to my best hijab colors for different skin undertone guides.

Find the Right Style for You

Find the right style for you, based on your body type and shape. For example, if you are petite, wearing dresses may be more flattering for your body. However, if you are wearing a top and a bottom, make sure to choose a crop top and long pants. This will create an illusion that you are taller than your real height. 

How Many Items in a Capsule Wardrobe?

There is no fixed number on how many items you can have in your capsule closet. It all depends on your lifestyle, local weather and environment, and your needs. However, in general, keep it to 25-50 pieces at one time. 

Capsule Wardrobe Checklist

If you are just starting, keep your wardrobe simple and easy. Here is the capsule wardrobe checklist for beginners:

  • Tops (t-shirts & shirts)
  • Bottoms (casual bottoms & formal bottoms)
  • Dresses (mini dresses or maxi dresses)
  • Outerwear (jackets, blazers, & cardigans)
  • Footwear (sneakers, sandals, boots, flats & heels)
  • Bags (handbags, tote bags, & backpacks)

Now you are set to go! When you are just starting, it can be difficult to create a capsule wardrobe. Time and experimenting with different items can help you perfect your capsule wardrobe. Good luck and happy building!

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