How To Create a Capsule Wardrobe

Create a One Rule Capsule Wardrobe

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a closet of clothes that fit, make me feel sexy, beautiful, and comfortable in my skin. No deliberation over outfits because everything looks good; there aren't too many choices. I love every. single. piece. I never stare at my closet thinking, I don't have anything to wear, despite rows of clothes.

What a capsule wardrobe is not:

  • Clothes that I spent a lot of money on keep finding their way to back of the closet. Despite cleaning out my closet each season, I try them on and think, this isn't so bad. I forgot I had this. I should start wearing this. Then, I never wear it because after putting it on I remember that the neck is itchy or the sleeves don't quite fit. 
  • A specific number of items for a specific number of days. Although the first blogs that inspired me[herehere, and here] suggested 33-37 items, I don't follow arbitrary rules. Instead I wanted to go with the minimalist approach, using only what is necessary and nothing more. Those blogs are really great so do check them out after you've read this post of course.


  • Commonly a capsule is not underwear, workout clothes, pajamas, or clothes that you never wear outside of the house. I also apply the mindset of minimalism to these areas as well since I'm not counting pieces. I only kept the pajamas/workout gear that I wear on a weekly basis. I keep more underwear, but throw out anything that doesn't make me feel confident. #byebyegranny
  • Getting rid of less than loved clothes means that you have more space and more money to keep your wardrobe filled with quality pieces. 
  • Buying things on sale makes me feel like I saved money. Unfortunately, I just waste money because the things I buy on sale are typically not things that I would buy if they were full price. I sacrifice my standards because it was on sale. Then, it doesn't get worn. Instead, if I buy 2 things that I love full price and from a store that I love, I will wear them until I have totally ruined them. I end up spending less money this way.

Creating a capsule wardrobe

1. Do your laundry. 

You want to be able to see all your clothing.

2. Pick out the clothes that you wear repeatedly. Put them in a separate space.

3. Now there are 2 main ways to go about creating a capsule wardrobe.

  • Option 1: Pull just the items that you love out and put everything else away for another season, donate it, sell it, or trash it. It helps to imagine that your house is in on fire and every person/animal has made it out safely. You have a few minutes to save your absolute favorite items. Which items would you save? The rest will be burned to ash. This method saves time, but doesn't let you see every item.


  • Option 2 (what I do with my clients):  Pull every single item out of your closet, wardrobe, dressers, laundry basket, etc. Set up a laptop or notebook for making an itemized donation list (tax deduction later). Try on each article of clothing and add it to the following piles: Wear All The Time/Fits/Love, Sometimes I Wear This/Fits/Love, and I Never Pick This / This doesn't fit right or is uncomfortable. Put the "nevers/unfit" into the following: Like new - able to sell online [those expensive pieces you hate to part with], really good condition that can be donated, destroyed needs to be trashed, I like this and don't want to get rid of it just yet. This option will take many hours, but when I did this with my mother (who did not want my minimalistic capsule wardrobe, but just wanted to be find clothes that looked good on her easily) we donated 75 items to charity, gave away 24 items to other family members, and trashed 1 awful tank-top.

4. Go through the remaining clothes and sort them into seasons

I won't be wearing sundresses in the snow so they don't deserve closet or mental space. Plus, when I pull them out next summer it'll feel like Christmas in May.

5. Choose the pieces you need for this season. Put the rest in a bin/drawer.

If there are any items that you can't bear to get rid of just yet, but aren't absolutely loved, put them in the bin too. If you don't reach for them by the next time you are putting your capsule together (next season), then feel at peace donating/selling them.

6. Tweak as necessary.

Although the goal is to wear only those clothing, this is a one rule capsule wardrobe. Love it or leave it. If you really miss something, bring it back from the bin. If you don't find yourself wearing something, put it in the bin. After a week or so you should have the wardrobe tweaked accordingly. Enjoy the bliss that comes with the capsule lifestyle until the next season!

My Summer 2015 capsule

Below are links to each of the items, but they are not affiliate links. I do not earn anything by recommending them to you. They are really what I wore all summer.


For around the house I kept:

  • 1 leggings LulaRoe a direct sales company, this is my LLR consultant but you have to message her to see what she has in stock.
  • 1 sweatpants Villanova University
  • 1 hoodie Villanova University
  • 2 tee shirts Villanova University
  • 1 long sleeve tee shirt Villanova University
  • 2 pajama shorts Gypsy & Aerie - similar
  • 1 pair grey thigh high socks

It may seem boring, but it works wonders. Now that fall is here, I am happy to bring in some clothing from my bin and put others away until next spring!


Vera Lou Shaw