How and Why to Plan a Capsule Wardrobe: 5 Helpful Tips

Some of my friends roll their eyes every time someone mentions fashion.

They think fashion makes people materialistic, and maybe they’re not 100% wrong. After all, most trends in fashion would encourage you to spend more. Buy the latest new “it” product for the season! Buy it in all colors! Once you’ve spent your whole paycheck buying everything, there’s a new season coming up. Sometimes, fashion really encourages us to spend more but never quite makes us fully satisfied.

Despite that, fashion is inseparable from our daily lives. Fashion is a form of self-expression. Whether or conscious or not, every day we get up and wear clothes (or choose not to), we make fashion-related choices. 

Is there a way to be interested in fashion but not be materialistic? Is there a way to have less clothes but still feel like our wardrobe isn’t lacking? Thanks to a relatively new fashion trend, there is! Having a capsule collection encourages you to buy less items! Less, but better.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

According to Kelly Dougher of Fashion Magazine, it is “a compact wardrobe made up of staple pieces in coordinating colours–usually in the realm of 30 items or fewer, including shoes and sometimes even accessories…One might update the wardrobe with a couple of new trendy or seasonal items two or three times a year, but that was it.”

Why should I start a capsule wardrobe?

The goal was to have a streamlined wardrobe of high-quality pieces that could be worn often and interchangeably, thereby saving money, closet space, and time. – Kelly Dougher, Fashion Magazine

Here are some photos to illustrate what a capsule wardrobe looks like:


Curating your own capsule collection helps you save money, because you won’t have to keep buying trendy new items of the season. You would feel like you have a workable wardrobe that suits your style and your lifestyle, therefore making you less inclined to want to purchase items. Naturally, it also helps you save closet space. You have less but more high-quality items in your closet.

By having a capsule wardrobe, you could also be more stylish. 

Most importantly, it also helps you save time. No more wasted minutes looking at a full closet but not having anything to wear! Ideally, everything in your capsule wardrobe are suitable to mix and match with the other things in your wardrobe. Do these sound good to you?

Are you ready to try having your own capsule collection? Here are some things to consider:

1.) Colors

My favorite example would be Australian fashion blogger Sara Donaldson of Harper and Harley. This girl is the queen of uniform dressing! She has reduced her wardrobe to items that are black, white, and grey. Here are some of her Instagram photos:


Summer bodies are made in Winter. Lets do this ????????. Wearing @lululemonausnz #thesweatlife

A photo posted by SARA DONALDSON (@harperandharley) on

Black leather, of the chair variety. New post now up on the blog.

A photo posted by SARA DONALDSON (@harperandharley) on

New OUTFIT post now up on the blog. Wearing pieces from @theundonestore

A photo posted by SARA DONALDSON (@harperandharley) on

2.) Cut

Color may usually be the most noticeable part of an outfit, but the cut does wonders, too! I think cuts are the reason why Vania Romoff’s creations are so beautifully unique and eye-catching, even if the colors she uses are those with muted tones.

The Lucia off shoulder linen top on @janinegutierrez ✔️ Available soon on the online shop so stay tuned ????????

A photo posted by VANIA ROMOFF (@shopvaniaromoff) on

Do you like skinny jeans, or flare jeans? Do you like culottes or pencil skirts? Do you like tank tops or button-downs? Or all of the above? Which cuts flatter your frame? 

3.) Cloth

When shopping, I used to gravitate towards polyester. I think clothes that are made of polyester look very polished. It looks like silk, but it’s much less expensive. And then I researched more about polyester, to find out that it’s a toxic fabric. It’s also very hard to maintain, because it seeps in all the scents from its surroundings, which is impossible to remove. Some people even make sure to curate a wardrobe that’s polyester-free, including this one. For the said article, check out the comments section. It might be even more helpful than the article itself, because there was a discussion on different kinds of fabric. 

It might be best to be more familiar with fabrics: which ones are wrinkle-free, comfortable, and which ones have toxic substances, et cetera. That way, when you do shop for clothes, you could look at the label and make more informed choices. After all, if you buy less, might as well buy those that would suit your lifestyle and make you feel comfortable.

4.) Cost


I have a confession: I started spending more once I became interested in capsule wardrobes–which is very ironic, considering a capsule wardrobe is supposed to make you stop being a fashion victim! I saw an article that articulated my problems very perfectly:

The key, apparently, is to add five new items of trendy clothing every season. (This season, we are advised to purchase items such as a romper, culottes, and flatforms. Those are certainly trendy.) Of course, this is to be done after cleaning out your closet and then purchasing “new basics to fill any gaps” that opened up after getting rid of your old clothes. Wait a minute, I thought to myself after reading these blog posts (and many more like them). Why is the capsule wardrobe suddenly all about shopping? The whole point of a capsule wardrobe is for people who are on a budget or dealing with minimal closet space (or even people who simply aren’t interested in spending a lot of time and money on fashion) to be able to stop making multiple purchases every two to three months and still have a serviceable wardrobe.

When I see clothes that are part of my color palette, I buy them even if I don’t need them. And then I say, it’s for my capsule wardrobe! In the long-run, I’m actually saving more money! LOL.

Reading that blog post was a wake-up call to go back to the why behind capsule wardrobes. Kelly Dougher of Fashion Magazine explained that many people are misusing the term, “capsule wardrobe.” They’re using it as an excuse to buy even more items to “fill in the gaps.” They’re also having different capsule wardrobes for every season, which eventually makes people buy more. This time, they’re not just buying a few clothes here and there. They’re buying full wardrobes every seasonIf you’re about to start your capsule wardrobe, be wary of this rabbit hole.

5.) Resources

This blog post is only the bird’s eye view of capsule wardrobes. There are tons of e-books and videos about it! In case you want to read up and research more on capsule wardrobes, here are some suggested reads and tools:

5.1) Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up


There’s a reason why a book on tidying up has become a bestseller. It seems boring, I know. (Who would want a read a book about tidying up?!) But give it a go–it might just do what it says it will–and change your life! Even Anne Curtis Instagrammed a photo of this book! I’m about to listen to the audiobook for the second time next month.

5.2) The Stylebook App

Unfortunately, this app is paid and is available only in iPhones and iPads. But if you are on iOS, I really recommend this app. It’s a more efficient way to get a bird’s-eye-view of your entire closet–virtually! If you’re into Polyvore, it’s like making a Polyvore board using the items in your closet. It even has an in-app calculator and calendar. That way, you’re really systematic in planning outfits and shopping.

The Stylebook App also come up with a very helpful guide on capsule wardrobes. I like how this guide isn’t just selling the app to its viewers. It’s actually very helpful for those who are just starting with their capsule wardrobe, regardless of whether or not you end up buying the app.

5.3) Blogs

Grace from HeartfulHabits.com blogged about her favorite blogs/guides on having a capsule wardrobe:


This site is where Caroline posts outfits from her 37-piece wardrobe which she creates every season (items roll over, it’s not all new all the time). In addition the inspiration of her outfit posts, she provides an easy to follow, comprehensive guide to creating a capsule wardrobe of your own. The entire site is filled with useful tips and resources.

Project 333

Project 333 is a challenge that involves wearing only 33 pieces of clothing for 3 months. Courtney writes about how she implements this everyday, not just for the originally required 3 months. You will also find a list of 33 essential items to use for inspiration when creating your own capsule wardrobe. Again, this whole site is filled with resources. They even offer a microcourse to guide you.


Johanna wrote this post for Darling, and while it doesn’t talk specifically about having a capsule wardrobe, she does discuss minimizing the amount of clothing she has. This post is focused more on creating a conscious closet through ethical consumerism. There are so many tips and resources for ethical shopping.


What do you think of the capsule wardrobe? Are you going to start one? I’m going back to school tomorrow, and will finally start my capsule wardrobe tomorrow! I’m excited to blog about the whole experience.

Featured Image from @shirleybeniag