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How To Start a Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule wardrobes are the thing right now. Everywhere I look, people seem to be paring down their closets in favor of fewer pieces that they truly love, rather than an abundance of clothes they never wear. I for one have become a huge advocate for the capsule wardrobe as it’s made getting ready in the morning a hundred times quicker.

How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is defined quite loosely, as some people follow a 37-item rule whereas some people might follow a 50-item rule, but essentially you want a wardrobe where every piece goes with each other. I personally don’t set an amount and stick more towards a ‘one of each item and only keep what I love’ rule.

Since the seasons are changing and it’s warming up (at least in Seattle), I wanted to share my process of putting together a small, perfectly curated wardrobe for anyone who’s interested. Prepare yourselves, this isn’t exactly a quick process!

P.S. There’s a downloadable Capsule Wardrobe Planner at the end of this post, so make sure you grab a copy of that!

Make A Vision Board

Follow Catherine | The Blissful Mind’s board minimalist style on Pinterest.

Creating a vision board on Pinterest is a great way to gather inspiration and get a better idea of your personal style. If you already have a board dedicated to fashion, make a new board and pin only your favorite looks from the fashion board. Your vision board doesn’t have to just be about clothes, you can also include colors, flowers, quotes, etc. Check out mine if you need some ideas!

Notice Any Repetitions

How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe

Go through your new vision board and write down each color, style, combination, theme, or specific item that you notice using the wardrobe planner workbook at the end of this post. As I went through my board, I noticed lots of white, florals, lilac, skirts, dresses, chambray, 3/4 length blouses, cuffed & distressed jeans, strappy shoes, and jean jackets.

Create A Color Palette

Capsule Wardrobe Color Palette

Based on your vision board and the colors you like wearing already, create a color palette for your capsule wardrobe. I am not an expert on colors whatsoever, so I highly suggest checking out Anushka’s post on choosing a color palette, as well as this color analysis. Basically, you should choose 3 main colors that best represent your color palette, 2 neutrals to balance all of the shades, and 3-4 accent shades to add variety.

Choose Specific Items

How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe

Focus on the individual items from your vision board that you wrote down earlier. Circle each item that actually fits in with your lifestyle, color palette, and overall style. For me, a denim jacket came up in the majority of pictures on my vision board.

Decide on 2-3 Combinations


You might cringe at the word uniform if you’ve ever had to wear one to school, but a uniform is simply any combination of items that you wear often. There are so many different proportions you can put together to make a uniform, like a blouse + ankle pants + heels (the above picture), or a top + skirt + sandals. The possibilities are endless, but see what combinations show up on your vision board and choose 2-3 that you like and know will work for you. Make sure the individual items you chose above work with your proportions.

Analyze Your Lifestyle

How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe

Before I started a capsule wardrobe, I always struggled to choose outfits for work. I soon realized it was because I had way more casual clothes than I had office-appropriate clothes. Now, I make an effort to find clothes that can be worn both in and out of the office. Take a good, hard look at the clothes you already have and the ones on your vision board to see if they align with the activities you do throughout the week.

Assess What You Already Have

How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe

You’re going to want to declutter your closet before you start adding anything new. You may notice that you have items in your closet that you didn’t include on your list above, and it’s up to you to decide whether they fit in with your capsule plan. Perhaps you have things already that are on your list, but they aren’t quite right. You may also need things to be repaired, and now is a good time to do that.

Make Your Shopping List

How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe

Using your color palette, proportion ideas, list of individual items to add, and list of what’s already in your closet, make a shopping list that includes how much you are willing to spend on each item. If you are going to limit the number of items you want in your closet, define that number now.

Go Slow

This is honestly the hardest part for me. I want my capsule wardrobe to be completed as soon as possible, but rushing to find items is stressful and time consuming. The goal is really to find items that you absolutely love and will want to wear for a long time. Figure out if there’s anything you need right away, and make it a priority to find that item. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, trust that you will find it eventually.

Wardrobe Planner Workbook

A guide to starting your own capsule wardrobe with a free workbook!

 I’ve put together a downloadable planner to get you started with your own Capsule Wardrobe! This will help you get better at defining your own personal style, develop a color palette, and build a shopping list so your wardrobe can be the best it’s ever been. All you need to do is click the button below to get it!

Get Your Planner!

26 Responses

  1. Again, I feel like you were reading my mind -I just wrote a list of items I need to plan my capsule wardrobe last night :) I can completely relate to taking it slow -I just want to buy everything I need for my ‘perfect’ wardrobe right now, but that definitely wouldn’t work for my budget. I looove your workbook. I like how simple it is, other ones I have found have been a bit complicated for me to feel like filling out. Thanks for the great post Catherine!

    1. Haha we are so similar, it’s great! Thank you, I wanted to make something really simple because I agree that other workbooks can be really complicated!

  2. Capsule wardrobes are definitely the thing right now, I’ve been hearing/reading about them a lot. I think it’s a really good concept! And a few days ago I actually made a mental note of decluttering my wardrobe which is full of stuff I don’t wear anymore and writing down some of the key items I need to buy like a faux leather jacket and a pair of jeans. So your advice is comes in handy! And I just took a look at your Pinterest board and you have an amazing selection there :) x

    1. It’s definitely a very trendy topic right now, but I think it makes people be more responsible consumers so that’s good haha. And a faux leather jacket is such a great key item! Thanks so much, Joana!

  3. Great list! I hired a personal stylist last year to help me with my capsule wardrobe and it was so helpful! I found more consistency in my style and saved money on buying pieces that I didn’t love. I’m ready for some new pieces and will definitely use this post as a guide!

  4. This is the first time I’ve read about a capsule wardrobe, I love the idea. I’m definitely a fan of having and wearing a few quality pieces that I love. Building a capsule wardrobe around these pieces is the logical next step. Thanks for sharing, I’m looking forward to shopping consciously and assembling outfits based on this concept!

  5. I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe – thanks for sharing! My closet is so full of clothing that I don’t wear anymore, and all too often, I make impulsive buys when shopping. Creating a capsule wardrobe will be my new project! <3

    Emily | Lynde Avenue

  6. This is exactly what I needed! I have tendency to rush into things because I get so excited then I’m not satisfied… This is perfect for strategizing and planning the capsule project! Thank you!

  7. I’m teaching a workshop to my college students next month – Building a Professional Wardrobe on a Budget. I’m using the idea of a capsule wardrobe as a way to focus on quality over quantity and make a few pieces go a long way for students transitioning from casual school wear to work wear. May I share your planner with the students (giving you proper credit, of course)?

  8. Do you have a different capsule per season? Or do you just add in outer layer clothes to your existing seasons capsule?

  9. I love my capsule wardrobe! I totally agree with what you said about making sure that the pieces match together. That is a big key element in my capsule wardrobe. Thanks for the very helpful post!

    Pixie | Productive Pixie

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