College Capsule Wardrobe: Students’ Essentials + Outfits

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college capsule wardrobe guide for students

If you struggle getting dressed in the morning because you feel overwhelmed and/or underwhelmed by the options you have, creating a college capsule wardrobe can help with that. 

Have you gone through your wardrobe lately? Is it filled with trendy clothes from the past 5 years? Or is it filled with shopping bags full with new clothes with the tags on? If the answer is yes, it is about time for you to revamp your wardrobe.

Create a capsule wardrobe! There is no better time to do so than during college. You get to build a core wardrobe full with versatile staple pieces like jeans, t-shirts and button down shirts. They are the base for most outfits and can be paired with anything. 

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

Capsule wardrobe is a collection of staple pieces that can be paired with one another to create a variety of different outfits for different occasions. Capsule wardrobe focused on wearing more and buying less. You get to create your own capsule wardrobe based on your preference and lifestyle. 

Generally, capsule wardrobes should contain high quality clothing pieces as they last longer. They help to stop the need to shop for new things after a short while. Investing in quality will save you tons of money down the road. 

How to Build a College Capsule Wardrobe?

how to build a capsule wardrobe for college

There is no need to throw away all of your current clothes in order to build a capsule wardrobe. You can keep some of it and donate or sell clothes that you do not need anymore. Here are the steps you can take to create a college capsule wardrobe that suits your lifestyle: 

Go through your current wardrobe

Look through your current wardrobe and pick out the most worn clothing pieces. Figure out what they have in common. Is it the colors, the fabric, the patterns or the fitting? This will help you identify your own signature personal style and you would want to keep those pieces. 

Have good core pieces 

Start with the basics. They are the core pieces of any capsule wardrobe. Basics like jeans, t-shirts, shirts and jackets are the key pieces of most outfits. Invest in high quality pieces that can last longer as you will be wearing them a lot. 

Create a color palette

Look through the colors of your most worn clothes. What colors do you like and what colors suit your skin tone? Create a color palette based on the answers. You can take an extra step by learning color analysis to get the most accurate color palette that is suitable for you. 

Seasonal pieces

Include seasonal pieces like winter jackets or light weight cardigan for an all year round college capsule wardrobe. Keep in mind when you are going to college, what season will it be. Make sure you pack according to the season as well. 

Tips to Create a College Capsule Wardrobe

  • Bring easy to care clothes – Clothes that do not need special care like dry clean or hand wash only. 
  • Wardrobe stocks – Keep in mind how long you will be back home to stock up on clothes for college. 
  • List of activities – Make sure you know what activities you will be doing in college and plan your outfit accordingly. 

Student Capsule Wardrobe Essentials

College is going to be the best time of your life. You are going to create memories and experience a lot of new things. One day you’re in a class, the next day you’re on a road trip! But, what do you wear when you experience all those great moments? These are the college capsule wardrobe essentials for students:

Button down shirts

Button down shirts are one of the most versatile clothing pieces. It looks great on its own and it looks good as a layering piece too. Opt for solid colors like white, black or beige. They are more evergreen. Choose oversized button down shirts if you’d like to make it as a layering piece as well.


T-shirts are one of the must-have items in every capsule wardrobe. It is a great piece to style on lazy days. You can never go wrong with them. Pair it with a pair of your favorite jeans and white trainers and you are good to go. You can even dress it up by pairing it with a pleated skirt and classic black pumps. 

Tank tops

Tank tops are an essential clothing piece especially during summer. They are a great basic to have. It is classic and easy to style. Opt for ribbed fitted tank tops in solid colors for a timeless and evergreen look. Pair it with any bottoms, shorts, jeans or skirts. Add accessories like gold jewelries to elevate the whole look. 


Cozy weathers call for cozy and comfortable clothes like sweatshirts. Cropped or oversized sweatshirts, you can never go wrong with it. Pair it with black leggings or joggers and you are good to go! It is comfortable and looks clean. Complete the look with white sneakers and a multifunctional tote bag. 


Hoodie is another cozy and comfortable piece of clothing. It is great for lazy days and can cover your hair during bad hair days. Hoodie sets are great too. You can mix and match the top and bottom with other pieces you have in your capsule wardrobe. They are versatile and easy to style. 


Joggers are staples in a college capsule wardrobe. You can wear it to class or to the library. It is comfy and effortlessly stylish. Pair it with a t-shirt, a tank top or a hoodie and a pair of your favorite sneakers. 

Straight leg jeans

Jeans are the core pieces in any capsule wardrobe. A good pair of denim can go a long way. Choose straight leg jeans as the cutting suits almost all body shapes. Pick the classic blue denim as they are timeless and can match anything. 

Straight leg trousers

Trousers are another essential in a college capsule wardrobe. You can look classy and elegant with a straight leg trouser in college. They are timeless and clean looking. It can be paired with a button down shirt or a t-shirt and you will look put together. 

Mini skirts

Mini skirts are trendy. It comes in different forms and designs every season but it is always in trend. You can rarely go wrong with mini skirts! Style it with a crop top or even a hoodie with ballet flats or sneakers. Complete the look with a canvas tote bag or a black handbag.

Midi skirts

If you prefer to cover more skin, opt for midi skirts. It is modest and stylish at the same time. Midi skirts can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the events. You can wear it to class or formal events. Change the top and shoes to fit the occasion. 

Oversized blazers

Blazers are a great layering piece and a staple in capsule wardrobes. Throw an oversized blazer into any outfits and it will instantly elevate the whole look. Blazers are one of the items that can make you look classy in college. It is timeless and smart. 

Denim jacket

You can never go wrong with a denim jacket. It is always in trend and there are many colors you can choose from. White, black or denim blue, whichever colors you picked, it matches with other pieces in this college capsule wardrobe. 

Black dress

Little black dress is handy at times. It can be worn for different occasions. You can style it from day to night. Change the shoes, bags and accessories and it gives a whole different vibe to the simple black dress. 

Tote bags 

Tote bags have a lot of space and can fit many things. It is multifunctional and versatile. Canvas tote bag or leather tote bag, it really depends on your preferences and lifestyle. Both are great and easy to match. 

Black boots

Boots are one of the go-to shoes especially during the rainy season. It is easy to style and looks great with anything. Dress up or dress down, black boots are a great option. Black boots are effortlessly chic and can elevate any look. 

White trainers

White trainers are great for walking. Going to a class or going for a night walk, trainers are the go-to shoes. It is comfy and easy to wear. You can pair it with the hoodie set or tank top and joggers. 


There are many different sandals you can choose from. If you prefer timeless design, pick a thin strap sandal. Always get evergreen colors like white, black or beige colors. Sandals are great during summer. It keeps your feet cool and breezy. 

Ballet flats

Capsule wardrobes will not be complete without ballet flats! It is easy to style and easy to wear. Ballet flats are classy and elegant. They are also the perfect daily shoes especially in college. You can wear it to class or to students’ meetings. 

college capsule wardrobe essentials for students

College Capsule Wardrobe Checklist

This is a guide on pieces you need in your college capsule wardrobe. You may add or remove the items suggested if it is not suitable with your preferences, lifestyle and needs. The amount of pieces needed for each essentials can be adjusted based on your lifestyle as well.

  • Button down shirts x 2
  • T-shirts x 3
  • Tank tops x 2
  • Sweatshirts x 2
  • Hoodie x 2
  • Joggers x 2
  • Straight leg jeans x 2
  • Straight leg trousers x 2
  • Mini skirts x 2
  • Midi skirts x 2
  • Oversized blazers x 1
  • Denim jacket x 1
  • Black dress x 1
  • Tote bags x 2
  • Black boots x 1
  • White trainers x 1
  • Sandals x 1
  • Ballet flats x 1
college wardrobe checklist

College Outfits for Girls

There are many ways you can pair the pieces in this college capsule wardrobe. Match one another to create multiple outfits for different events. I made a visual guide for you to get inspired on how to dress for college! 

college outfit ideas

How Many Clothes Should be in College Capsule Wardrobe?

Normally there are 25 – 50 pieces in a capsule wardrobe but there is no fixed amount of pieces you should have. Those pieces should be versatile and can create different outfits that last long. 

You can create 50 – 100 outfits or even more just from those pieces. No more problems getting dressed for the day! There is always an outfit you can put together for any event. 

How Do You Look Classy in College?

Focus on evergreen clothing pieces rather than trendy clothes. Timeless pieces are classy and evergreen. You can never look tacky or bad when styling timeless pieces together. Pairing a button down white shirt with a beige straight leg trousers and a pair of black loafers can make you look elegant and put together. 

What is a Good Amount of Clothes to Bring to College?

In general, 15 – 30 pieces of clothes are good enough to create multiple outfits that can last you during your time in college. It might be more if you include the undergarments, pajamas, active wear and accessories. But, it is important to bring all the basics like t-shirts, shirts, jeans and trousers as they are the foundation of most outfits. 

student capsule wardrobe

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