What is a Capsule Wardrobe

Last Updated on December 7, 2023 by Ellen Christian

What is a capsule wardrobe and what does it need to include? Learn more here and find out how to build your own minimalist wardrobe.

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What is a capsule wardrobe

What is a Capsule Wardrobe

If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you have heard me mention that I have too much stuff. I’ve found that too much stuff is distracting, harder to clean around, and not helpful to my stress level. My goal is to eliminate the stuff I don’t necessarily want and replace it with things that make me happy.

If you’re like me, your wardrobe probably contains lots of things you wear that are “okay.” It’s not your favorite color. Maybe the fit isn’t quite right. Possibly, there’s a little stain you just couldn’t get out.

Maybe it’s faded or you just don’t have anything it really goes with.  You wear these things on auto-pilot. You have them. They go with the rest of your outfit. They’re convenient. But, you don’t love them.

You need to simplify your closet.

two people wearing stylish minimalist clothes

How many items in a capsule wardrobe?

Wouldn’t it be great if your wardrobe was only clothing you really loved that went well with each other? That’s what the goal of a capsule wardrobe is. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items that don’t go out of fashion and are easy to mix and match.  Popular wisdom holds that your capsule wardrobe should have between 30 and 40 items. Yes, that’s all your clothes, shoes, and handbags.

Trying to put together a winter look? You’ve probably heard the term winter boho style, but what does it mean and how can you dress in a way that is comfortable and stylish?

Is a capsule wardrobe per season?

There is some discussion about whether or not this is per season. I’m in Vermont so having 30 to 40 items for all of the four seasons to create my wardrobe would be a challenge. I’d need everything from shorts and tank tops to under armor and snow boots. I think it’s totally possible to do a capsule wardrobe for “warm” and “cold” weather.

Right now, I’m working on adding in classic pieces that I could use to create a capsule wardrobe. I can’t afford to go out and replace my entire wardrobe all at once so I’m doing this piece by piece.  Remember, when adding items that you don’t want your choices to go out of style quickly.

Stay away from trendy colors and styles. If the hot color is orchid, don’t buy an orchid shirt. Buy a cream colored shirt and accessorize with an orchid scarf or necklace instead.

a woman wearing a professional gray outfit with a dark belt

Stick with the classics

I work at home, so most of my choices are casual. If you work in an office, your choices will be different. Remember, to add the piece to your wardrobe, it needs to be a classic style and color that won’t go out of style quickly and you need to LOVE it.

What is a capsule wardrobe

How many pieces in a capsule wardrobe?

This is the capsule wardrobe I’m working toward for fall/winter. These aren’t the exact pieces but they are the colors and styles I’m looking for. People choose different ways to put together a capsule wardrobe.

Some do 37 pieces for the entire year. Some include jewelry and underwear and some do not. And, some don’t include things like pajamas, slippers, mittens and hats.

How you choose to put together your capsule wardrobe is up to you. The important thing is to LOVE what you pick, choose only classic styles, choose things that fit and look good on you, and don’t buy any more things once you’ve got your wardrobe together.

Here are some tips on how to find premium brands for your capsule wardrobe.

Have you ever considered a capsule wardrobe?

13 thoughts on “What is a Capsule Wardrobe”

  1. I have very few things in my wardrobe…one in, one out keeps my closet rather clean! But, I still have a few things that need to be replaced. Just need to find some time to shop.

  2. Working from home my wardrobe is limited. I do keep travel clothes ready to go in outfit combinations for when we are traveling to different climates and settings. I am always looking for new pieces to add to my different outfit collections

  3. I’ve never heard that term but I love black and white so thumbs up on your choices. I love color too much but would lide to give this a try. I totally need to eliminate several clothing items I don’t wear anymore. I keep some velvet pieces because they’re so pretty but come on now, in 90 degree heat, it rarely gets worn! Must work on that.

  4. Ellen, 
    I’m not sure if I could do capsule with my wardrobe! I’ve either got nursing uniforms for work or jeans and t-shirts or casual shirts in the closet. I’ve space-bagged my winter clothes which are the sweats and jackets and long sleeve shirts and my scrub jackets.


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