Capsule Wardrobes Made Easy

Gorgeous cashmere dress + boots from fall capsule wardrobe

Capsule Wardrobes. You’ve tried one but you just couldn’t get it to work. It was supposed to make getting dressed easier in the mornings but it didn’t. Your clothes didn’t really suit your lifestyle and they didn’t work all that great together. Plus, you got bored. Where was all the fun in your capsule? 

We at The Capsule Project are tired of capsule wardrobes with the exact same pieces in them all over Pinterest. We admit, we’ve done it, too! While there are fantastic classic pieces that do add a lot to many a wardrobe, each of us is different. Our bodies, our coloring, our lifestyles, our budgets, our work...all different. Why should we all have the same wardrobe? 

We also realize that not following a pre-set capsule wardrobe creates issues. You wonder, if I don’t have the exact same pieces as that capsule wardrobe on Pinterest, how will mine work? What will I choose? 

Panic sets it. This is supposed to make life easier, not be a dreadful and confusing chore. In fact, creating a capsule wardrobe should be FUN. It should be EXPRESSIVE. It should say, "Hey world, this is my style and I love it!
 

 

 

 

How you want to look and feel will guide your choices.

Despite all of the resources about capsule wardrobes on the internet these days, we receive multiple emails each week from readers struggling to put together a cohesive wardrobe. They can’t figure out a color palette. They’re not sure how to dress for work or for play. They don’t know their “personal style”. They have no idea how to choose which pieces to include in their capsule. 

Honestly, it doesn’t have to be so difficult! 


Trust yourself. 


The only way to learn to love your wardrobe year after year is to listen to yourself and to trust what you’re hearing. 

You don’t have to know what your style type is, you just need to know what you like and how you want to feel. How it’s labelled doesn’t matter. 

You don’t have to have a set color palette. Yup, we said it. You do, however, need to know what colors you love and which colors are radiant on you. (We are going to delve into colors so much more over the next year. For now, we are including a few color tips to get you started.)

So, if you don’t truly need to figure out all of these things, how in the world do you put together a capsule wardrobe? Don’t fret.

This capsule wardrobe framework offers a solution.

 

Capsule Wardrobe Guiding Questions

exercise time! 

1. Head to Pinterest and select three looks you love for each of the following categories:
    Work
    Weekends - Day
    Nights Out (Non-formal)

2. Choose three words to describe each of these looks.  

3. Figure out the overlapping words. 

4. Determine the words that don’t overlap between the different types of outfit. 

5. Use three words to describe how you want to feel every time you get dressed.

6. Make note of words that are different between work v. play.


A Super-Simple & Successful Capsule Wardrobe Template

OK, now it’s time for the fun stuff! You know your overarching goals for the look and feel capsule, but how do you select all of your pieces? 

It’s likely most people select their capsule wardrobe items by type of clothing: shirts, bottoms, dresses, etc.

This is a mistake! 

Choosing your capsule pieces based on item type causes you to think about them in a vacuum at first and makes it more difficult to create a cohesive wardrobe. So, we are going to take a completely different approach. Read on below the example image for how to approach each capsule wardrobe.
 

Capsule Wardrobe Template for All Ages & Styles - The Capsule Project

Statement Makers

statement maker key qualities:

  1. luxurious fabrics

  2. rich colors

  3. fun prints

  4. unique details

  5. impeccable fit


You know the ones. The shirt with styling that makes people say, “WOW!” Or the pants in that amazing color blue. These are not wardrobe “basics” but they are the pieces that capture the essence of your style. 

Each capsule wardrobe should have five statement pieces: 1 dress, 2 tops, and 2 bottoms. (If you don’t wear dresses then swap in another item of your choosing.) Ideally, all of these pieces play extremely well together but each should also each have a special quality, color, or design that makes them stand out. On most days you will wear them with other pieces in your capsule. 

Five Favorites

sample pieces for five favorites:

  1. top in your eye color

  2. top in your eye color complement

  3. basic dark neutral dress

  4. your favorite jeans

  5. a skirt you feel great in

Choose five items that you simply can’t live without: 1 dress, 2 tops, and 2 bottoms (again). These pieces should work together and with your Statement Makers. These are go-to pieces that each have a bit of character or a standout role in your wardrobe but are a bit set apart by color or style from your Foundational Pieces (below). 

 

 

Levelled-Up Layers

Layer suggestions:

  1. 2 blazers

  2. 2 pullover sweater

  3. 2 cardigans

  4. 2 jackets

  5. 2 coats

Don’t overlook the impact layers have on your outfits! Blazers, sweaters jackets, coats, etc. are the pieces that can turn a combination of clothing into a perfectly styled outfit. You should have at least 5 layers, with 10 giving the most versatility.
 

 

 

Foundational Pieces

Recommended foundation pieces:

  1. 2 tank tops

  2. 2 t-shirts

  3. 3 blouses/tops

  4. leggings, jeans, pants

These pieces are the supportive spine of your capsule wardrobe. Mostly neutral colors, they ground your Statement Makers and Five Favorites and look great mixed with each other. Your top ten foundational pieces should still be items you love and that fit great, but they may not have the “wow” factor of some of your other pieces. These are essential to a workable wardrobe. 

 

Additive Accessories

Don’t weigh yourself down with humdrum shoes, bags, or belts. These are the pieces that can bring an outfit to life. Let them add to your put-together capsule wardrobe, not subtract or detract. Even a simple black pump can have a special flourish that shows your personality. Shine on with 10 pieces that make your outfits the life of the party.

About that exercise your did earlier...

As you work on putting together your capsule wardrobe, keep in mind your responses to the exercise. While you don't need to create the same outfits you selected, you do want to make sure that the pieces you select support your desired outcomes. 

Your overlapping words should apply to each item you chose, as well as all of the outfits you can create. Whether you wrote "confident" or "comfortable" you need to feel this way in every single item. 

Make sure you have a few pieces that fit the words you wrote that only apply to certain wardrobe functions like work or weekend. For example, if you wrote "powerful" for work, you should choose a couple items in each category that you can wear to work and that make you feel powerful. The trousers that make you feel like a boss when you wear them are perfect for work with a blouse yet they can still give you that same feeling dressed down with a t-shirt. 

If you want to look "flirty" for a night out on the town, you can still wear that lower cut top with a tank underneath and a blazer or cardigan for work. 

You've got this!


The fun kind of homework!

Instead of jumping right in to your own personal capsule, why not head to Polyvore and create one with the capsule wardrobe you'd like to achieve. This is a lot of fun! You can use this template and pop in the pieces you love in a new set.  

be inspired.

give it a try.