How to create a capsule wardrobe

 

Finally decluttered your wardrobe and ready to start building a smaller capsule closet?

For those of you who are new to the concept, the capsule wardrobe is a smaller set of clothes that are versatile enough to wear at a variety of occasions. Having less clothing not only comes with financial and environmental benefits, but also creates less headaches for the owner if curated well. I used to chase after trends myself, but am happy to have settled on a capsule wardrobe with a few pieces that I love.

The capsule closet I had for the past two years took me about 6 months to compile, but I’ve surprised myself with having the same 28-pieces which were able to accommodate my work attire as well as California’s two seasons (rain and sun). Luckily with the temperate weather and indoor office situation, I didn’t need to bulk up on too many pieces. But with my lifestyle changing, I thought I would re-work my closet again to better fit my new environment, and share the process with you. I’ve partnered with Encircled to create this video (above) and post, and hope you find these steps helpful if you’re looking to curate your capsule wardrobe!

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What I’m wearing: Encircled retrograde jacket dress, Everlane soft cotton square crew sweater, Eileen Fisher black culottes (similar), Black slides (similar)

Other clothing pieces shown in video: Everlane cotton linen crew, White collar shirt (similar), Everlane straight leg crop, Vintage trousers (similar), Etiko sneakers, Nisolo chelsea boots

Five steps to build a capsule wardrobe

Do note that this process will take more or less time depending on how far along you are with understanding your personal style. Taking more time never hurts though, as many of the right style choices stand the test of time!

  1. Start with understanding what you do on a daily basis.

    • Ask yourself questions such as…

      • Do you live an active or inactive lifestyle?

      • What is the weather like in your area?

      • Does your lifestyle require more formal wear? Or do you find yourself in more casual settings?

    • These questions will help you nail down the functionality of your clothing and only buy what you need based on what you actually do every week

  2. Create an inspiration board

    • You can gather inspiration from people watching, friends, brands you love, different cultures, etc.

    • Store inspiring outfits and pieces on a Pinterest board like mine here to have an ongoing resource guide to go to

    • Every so often, go back to your board and remove styles you don’t like, and continue to add styles you love

  3. Know what clothing makes you feel best

    • Feel free to consult style or fashion blogs on topics such as ‘What to wear for your body type’ or ‘colors that complement your skin tone’, but remember that these rules are subjective

    • Take note of your favorite pieces of clothing that have made you feel your best, whether it was due to comfort or the look (or perhaps both)

    • Use those favorites pieces and outfits as a guideline for future pieces you’d like to curate

  4. Make a list of potential pieces you’d like to get for your wardrobe

    • Combine your inspiration board and favorite outfits together to determine what potential pieces you’d like

    • Don’t be afraid with being descriptive with your pieces or being picky about the details of each piece

  5. Start small with shopping

    • Try to keep yourself from buying something new for a month so you avoid impulse purchases, and truly know if you need something

    • 2-3 of each item (tops, sweaters, pants, etc.) have been my happy place for the past two years, but feel free to start with 1 piece, and get a few more pieces as time goes on if you think you need a bit more

    • When trying on pieces, make sure they fit well and move around so you know they are comfortable

    • Get a second opinion from friend if you can’t figure out whether or not something looks good

    • Bonus - try to find pieces that will double or triple in function, such as the pieces shown in the video by Encircled

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Plan your capsule closet

If you figure out things better through writing them out, I’ve also made a free worksheet which you can download below to start planning your new capsule wardrobe. The worksheet goes through the process described above, so feel free to use it as a reference or print it out to get started!


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Additional tips

I’ve also answered a few bonus questions here which were asked on Instagram. Feel free to continue asking any questions regarding a capsule wardrobe there as well!

  1. If you fluctuate in weight: I would recommend finding clothing that has some stretch or fits a bit more loosely. I’ve been finding inspiration from brands like Elizabeth Suzann, Eileen Fisher and Two Fold Clothing.

  2. If you have seasonal pieces: I like to store clothing in suitcases or large boxes. Suitcases are great because they’re already empty anyways, and stored away in a closet usually. Fold or roll clothing to save space as well.

  3. One piece everyone should own as a minimalist: An elevated white shirt. This can be a silk t-shirt, button up, or something that can be a great base piece and also be used for those more special occasions!

Be sure to pin the image on the left if you found this guide helpful, and let me know in the comments below if you have any tips you also think have been helpful for curating your own style and wardrobe!