Creating the Capsule Wardrobe

My guess is that you are here after reading my first post on the personal and environmental motivations for creating a capsule wardrobe and you are wondering how to start. If you haven’t had the chance yet, I recommend that you head over to my post here, as it may motivate you even further to take the step into this lifestyle change. Many of us, like I, have no fashion sense. So creating a year-long wardrobe to satisfy not only habitual needs, but personal expectations on appearing somewhat put together, can seem like a very daunting task. Therefore, after years of perfecting the craft, I am going to share with you a simple template that may help guide you through this process.

First things first, lets see what you already have.

To begin, head over to your closet and start sorting into 3 piles; one for donation, one for trash, one for all the clothes you are going to keep. If you would like to take the time to sell your more expensive items, you may also want to make a sell pile as well for your more expensive, nice quality pieces.

One of the main goals of minimalism is letting go of the things that no longer serve a purpose in your life, so it is important that you keep a critical mind while you are sorting your things. Now, I think we all know how this process works, you pull each article out and sort them accordingly in your three piles, but some pieces may not be so simple to decide a fate for. Each time you pull out an article and find your self really struggling to decide what to do with it, take a good long look at it and ask yourself these simple questions…

  1. Do I wear this often? If yes, keep it. If you find yourself trying to remember the last time you wore it, let it go.
  2. Can I imagine two or more outfits with this piece? Versatility is important in a capsule, so if you find yourself face to face with a red sequin tank top that you would maybe wear with one certain black skirt, let it go.
  3. Do I feel comfortable in this item? This seems pretty easy to realize but, it’s not. Never sacrifice comfort. If you come across a cute dress that you know is too tight around the waist and itchy under the armpits, let it go.
  4. Is this item still in good shape? You want to look classy and put together… If you pull out a shirt that is so pilled, the color is faded, and has various snags and tears in it, let it go.

After sorting your clothes, get them out of your house. There is nothing worse than leaving a bag in your house full of clothes that you may have had a hard time letting go of. Bring it to your local goodwill, or go to a cash-out consignment store and make yourself some money for your upcoming capsule purchases. Out of sight, out of mind!

The next step would be, of course, the planning and creation of your new wardrobe. I have put together a simple five step template for you guys to follow. Click on the picture below if you would like to download my free template and get to work on your 2017 capsule wardrobe!

Personal style can be a very difficult thing to determine. In our times, fashion is always changing, and for young men and women, it can be very difficult to constantly keep up with the billboards and magazines. My biggest recommendation to overcome this societal struggle, is to chose a style icon that is classic, timeless, and minimal. This page has a few really great female minimalist style icons that may inspire you along the way. Here, I also found a great page on men’s minimalist fashion just in case I may have some male readers interested in this same concept!

There are also a few basic staple pieces I believe are essential in a capsule wardrobe. Hopefully these will help guide you in the creation of your own wardrobe…

Staple pieces:

  1. Black camisole: Great underneath sweaters and blouses. Can also be worn alone with a cardigan.
  2. Black leggings (high quality): Perfect piece that goes with everything. Great underneath dresses and skirts, or by themselves with sweaters and shirts.
  3. Cashmere sweater: Perfect for dressing up and down. You can wear it with a simple pair of jeans for an everyday look or wear it with a nice white collared shirt underneath for an occasion.
  4. Relaxed fit pants: Goes with everything! I always find myself reaching for my most comfortable pants.
  5. Basic V-neck shirt: Once again a perfect basic piece you can dress up or down. You can wear a simple shirt with absolutely all of your bottoms. The most versatile piece I own.

For those of you completely lost, below is a picture of my entire yearlong capsule wardrobe. Hopefully you can use my minimalist wardrobe as inspiration for your own!


My year-long capsule: 

  • 3 sweaters: dark grey v-neck (cashmere), light grey scoop neck (wool), white boat neck (wool)
  • 2 long sleeve: basic dark grey scoop neck, white collared shirt
  • 5 tanks: grey knitted crop, white v-neck, black scoop, light blue muscle, black camisole
  • 3 shirts: grey v-neck, white scoop neck front pocket, black open back
  • 3 light jackets: grey zip-up, button-up denim, zip-up leather
  • 3 cardigans: blue flannel, white open front, light grey open front
  • 2 skirts: blue pattern, long black skater
  • 2 shirts: soft black and white pattern, high waisted denim
  • 4 pants: skinny denim, skinny black, relaxed fit black, black leggings
  • 2 dresses: casual black wrap t-shirt fit, fancy black lace
  • 6 shoes: lace up black boots, heeled black boots, white sneakers, black oxfords, grey canvas, black pointy toe scrappy flats
  • 3 handbags: large, medium, and small black leather

I also own hats, gloves, an army green cargo style coat, and a swim suit.

I also have a collection of scarves and jewelry that I use to accessorize all of my outfits with. I love to wear oversized scarves in the winter, and long necklaces with my lose clothing on warmer days. I strongly encourage you guys to have a way to accessorize your own capsule!

I also created a separate capsule for all of my workout clothing (shown above). I recommend doing this because as you wear your pieces on a daily basis, also using them to workout would result in quicker wear and tear. Having the two separate capsules is essential in ensuring you don’t go through your clothes quicker than you should be.

My workout capsule: 

  • 2 shoes: multi-colored rock climbing, black running
  • 2 pants: pattern leggings, lose climbing pants
  • 1 short: lose black
  • 2 bras: black and white
  • 2 tanks: lose spaghetti strap tank, grey scoop neck
  • 1 long sleeve: green wool thermal

With that in mind, always remember that, as this is a small wardrobe, you will be wearing your clothing more often, and washing them more often. Consequently, it is essential that you take care of your clothing. Condition your leather, polish your shoes, hang your clothes back on their hangers, and keep folded clothes neatly on their shelves. A big part of minimalism is also taking care of what you have!

With the template I have created, and the quick discussion about my own personal wardrobe, I hope that you have all of the information needed to start your own capsule wardrobe journey. If this seems to you like an radical way of life, it really isn’t for me. Keep in mind the reasons for making this kind of wardrobe, resisting the social norms of fast-fashion polluting the planet and creating mounds of waste as well as simplifying your own life.

A minimalist wardrobe is a great way to be a part of the solution when it comes to environmental change!


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