How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe in 6 Easy Steps (Free Checklist)

Creating systems is the best way to make life easier.

When you optimize tasks, even seemingly simple ones, you can save yourself a ton of time and energy in the long run.

That’s why I decided to create a capsule wardrobe.

Fewer clothes means less laundry to manage, decisions to make, and things to organize. That means more time, energy, and focus for the people and projects that truly matter.

A sample capsule wardrobe including jeans, t shirts, sweaters, dresses, and accessories.

Like all systems, though, creating a capsule wardrobe took a bit of work upfront in order to feel the benefits on the back end.

That said, I wanted to post my personal capsule wardrobe system here for anyone looking to create one (obviously, I highly recommend).

Scroll down to learn:

  1. What a capsule wardrobe is and why it’s so beneficial.
  2. How to create a capsule wardrobe in 6 easy steps.
  3. Where to buy a capsule wardrobe.
  4. How to download my FREE capsule wardrobe checklist.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

Let’s start here in case you’re unfamiliar.

A capsule wardrobe is a strategic styling method where you invest mainly in wardrobe essentials – those tops, bottoms, jackets, shoes, and accessories that never go out of style.

Each season, you add a few pieces to your collection, keeping in mind how they’ll integrate with what you already own. The goal is to edit your closet until almost everything can be mixed and matched, creating a bunch of different outfits. 

Creating a capsule wardrobe for each season will make getting dressed, doing laundry, and organizing your belongings easier. It’ll also save you money, allowing you to do more with less.

How to create a capsule wardrobe in 6 easy steps:

Before we get into the nitty gritty, there are a few things I want you to know.

First, know the season that you’re creating for. This will narrow your options while ensuring you have everything you need for the 3-month(ish) period ahead. When the next season approaches, you can go through this list again and continue building.

Second, you don’t need to create a capsule wardrobe from scratch! Use what you already have, then purchase what you need to close gaps. Please, I beg you, do not go into debt for this! The goal is to eliminate unnecessary stress and anxiety, not create it. Just do what you can, when you can. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

To keep track of what you have and what you need, subscribe below to get my free capsule wardrobe checklist.

Now let’s jump into the capsule wardrobe process…

Step 1: Pick a capsule wardrobe base color: black, navy, or brown.

It’s important you only choose one, and you’ll see why in a second. If you have a hard time choosing, do a quick inventory of your current wardrobe and go with whatever color you own more of. That way you’ll have less to buy!

As a reference for the photos you’ll see, I chose black. And I’m planning for spring/summer. Here in Ohio, the seasons sort of just mesh together, lol, which is why you’ll see sundresses and sweaters.

Step 2: Pick a few neutral-colored basics that fit the categories bulleted below – and only these categories for now.

These pieces should match your base color. Some could be in your base color, as well. Basic, neutral prints are fine, too (like polka dots and stripes; they never go out of style).

  • Tops: t shirts, tank tops, sweaters, sweatshirts, cardigans, button ups
  • Bottoms: jeans, leggings, slacks, skirts, capris, shorts
  • Dresses: t-shirt dresses, shirt dresses, sundresses, satin dresses, sweater dresses
  • Jumpsuits and rompers

Note: The quantity of pieces you choose will be unique to your needs (the environments you dress for) and budget. Remember, basics never go out of style.

A sample of neutral-colored capsule wardrobe basics including tops, bottoms, dresses, and jumpsuits.

Step 3: Pick 2-3 accent colors, then add a few items in these colors to your collection. 

Capsule wardrobes don’t have to be boring! This is where you’re able to start adding some personal flair.

Your accent colors should be colors that you love to wear. Oftentimes, they’ll also colors that look really good on you.

While the pieces you choose can vary (tops, bottoms, dresses, rompers, or jumpsuits), they should still be classic in nature (not super trendy) for the sake of longevity.

As you can see, my accent colors are light blue, olive green, and a rusty red orange. These are colors I love all year long, even when I’m pale in the winter, lol.

A sample of some great capsule wardrobe accent colors.

Step 4: Pick 2-5 patterned pieces to spice things up – tops, dresses, slacks – whatever you feel you’ll wear most.

Again, keeping longevity in mind, I recommend choosing patterns that are more timeless, like leopard print, plaid, stripes, camo, snake print, window pane, polka dots or gingham. Floral prints could work, too, but remember that floral trends can change pretty drastically from season to season.

I personally love the challenge of finding prints that are in my accent colors. I feel like that alone gives my wardrobe some personality, without making it overly trendy.

A few patterned pieces from my personal wardrobe capsule.

Step 5: Pick some capsule wardrobe layers.

Now it’s time to add some outerwear to your capsule wardrobe! The pieces I own and use a ton are:

  • Blazers
  • Utility jackets
  • Trench coats
  • Denim jackets
  • Bomber jackets 
  • Top coats
  • Wool dress coats
  • Puffer jackets
  • Capes and shawls
Some great capsule wardrobe outerwear samples.

Step 6: Pick some shoes and accessories.

Choose options that will allow you to take your outfits – and especially those wardrobe essentials you’ll be wearing on repeat – from day to night. Here are some options to consider:

  • Jewelry: dainty necklaces, earrings, and bracelets
  • Shoes: white sneakers, printed sneakers, simple heels, flats, mules
  • Hair accessories: headbands, scrunchies, and barrettes
Some great capsule wardrobe accessories.

And that’s it!

Repeat these steps seasonally over the next year and you should have a solid capsule wardrobe foundation. From there, it’s all about maintenance.

Where can I shop for a capsule wardrobe?

Honestly, you can shop anywhere for a capsule wardrobe. My biggest rule is it skip out on anything made of 100% synthetic materials. They won’t wash as well or last as long as items made with natural materials (wool, cashmere, cotton, etc.).

If you’re trying to build a capsule wardrobe on a budget, opt for pieces that are made of blends – like a cotton/polyester blend, for example.

I’ve found capsule wardrobe pieces at outlet malls and even Target, so you truly don’t have to go high-end for this.

If you need somewhere to start, these are my go-to capsule wardrobe stores:

Truly, pairing down my closet and building a capsule wardrobe has helped me to create a happier life, and I wholeheartedly believe it will do the same for you.

What other capsule wardrobe questions an I answer for you? Comment below and let me know!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading. Come back soon!