A capsule wardrobe is a curated collection of essential clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create a variety of outfits. The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to have a smaller selection of high-quality, versatile pieces that can be worn in different combinations, rather than a larger wardrobe filled with trendy, fast-fashion items. It’s an innovative way to save time, money, and closet space, while also simplifying the process of putting outfits together every day.

There is a lot of chatter about capsule wardrobes. And the way many fashion bloggers present them, they sound like the magic cure to those that are struggling with a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear. 

In my opinion as a personal stylist, it’s important to note that a capsule wardrobe is not for everyone. Why? Because capsule wardrobes are built around the idea of minimalism. Like 37 pieces total – clothes, shoes, accessories, outerwear – for an entire season, and that is it. And minimalism, while perhaps an aspiration for many, does not work for a lot of people.

There are also some general reasons that a capsule wardrobe may or may not work for you. If you’re debating on starting a capsule wardrobe, consider the following:


  • Do laundry less than once a week
  • Get bored easily
  • Spend time with the same group of people
  • Fluctuate weight
  • Enjoy color
  • Enjoy wearing statement pieces


  • Get decision overwhelm
  • Feel different enough with the change of a shoe or scarf
  • Enjoy dressing on vacation (because a good vacation wardrobe is really a capsule)
  • Are okay wearing the same pieces over again

Understanding and knowing how to implement a capsule wardrobe is still an essential skill. Why?

Well, because really, at its essence, a capsule wardrobe contains the foundational building blocks for any great wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is made up of the workhorse pieces that can be worn again and again. Most of my clients have a capsule wardrobe, but it is just a part of their overall clothing mix. It’s an important part, the foundational part. And then more interesting, statement pieces are added to the capsule to make the outfits and overall wardrobe shine.

Important To Note For Capsule Wardrobes And/Or Foundational Pieces:

When planning a capsule or the foundational items of your wardrobe, quality matters a lot.

Because these pieces are on heavy rotation, they will be subject to wear and tear. My advice is to allocate 50% of your wardrobe budget to your basics. And to buy the best quality you can afford. Trust me; it will make a difference. 

This ten-piece set has a bunch of mix-and-match options. Let me show you how it works.

A good capsule should always include at least one layering piece at the top of the pyramid. Underneath that you’ve got two pairs of pants – great-fitting neutral bottoms can take you oh so far. And you can wear them over and over without anyone remembering. The shape and silhouette are important in order to feel current. And IMHO, the color should be neutral and versatile (like black, brown, navy or denim) because that way it can be worn more often and remembered less.

My typical advice for clients is to have a 3:1 top to bottom ratio. Because the tops are more memorable, therefore the variety on top is important.

How To Take Them From Clothes To An Outfit

At the end of the day, clothes are just clothes until you wear them and make them your own. They are made your own with styling tweaks (a tuck or layer), accessories (a belt or necklace), and your confident attitude.

Outfits also generally consist of more than 3 items (top, bottom, shoes) to take them from clothes to an outfit. I recommend having 5 elements: top, bottom, shoes, and then add in accessories, a color, or a third piece. All of these additions help add interest (aka flavor) to your look.

Interesting side note: if you’ve ever scrolled through Pinterest or Instagram and said, “wait, I have that top and that bottom; why is it not looking put together on me?” Go through and take a look again – I bet in the photos you’ve been drawn to, the person is wearing sunglasses, carrying a bag, and maybe even holding a Starbucks cup!! They’ve added elements to make the clothes an outfit!