6 Easy Steps to Build Your Perfect Capsule Wardrobe

Sophie | Malama Life
by Sophie | Malama Life

What is a capsule wardrobe and why do I need one? A capsule wardrobe is essential when we talk about living a more minimalist lifestyle or just intentional living in general.


Not only is it environmentally-friendly and great for our budgets, it lets us focus on quality over quantity and also I love that the focus is on quality over quantity and curate a concise wardrobe that fits our lifestyle and our needs.


Let’s talk about the simple steps for how to create a capsule wardrobe.

Building a capsule wardrobe

1. Set your guidelines

The first thing you want to do is set some rules for yourself. You can be really deliberate with the number of pieces that you want in your capsule, like 33 or 37 pieces. I personally prefer placing a focus on the pieces that work for me and worrying about the number later.


Moreover, in my minimizing effort, I am working with what I have and not buying new pieces for my capsule, since I am doing a low buy year. I also believe that I have everything I need in my closet already.


It is important to fill in the gaps of our capsule wardrobe, but this should be a gradual process as opposed to one shopping spree.


2. Make three piles

Now that you have your rules in place, empty your wardrobe, put all your clothes on your bed and start sorting them into three piles.


The first pile is your “uniform” – your absolute essentials, your building blocks, the foundation to your capsule wardrobe. These are the clothes that you wear all the time and the ones that you reach for when you are getting ready in the morning.


If you are not sure, think when you have last worn them and how often you see them in the laundry pile.


Another great tip is hanging all of your hangers backwards in your closet. After six months, the hangers that are still backwards are probably hosting the pieces that you do not wear and need to get rid of.


The second pile is the “maybe” pile. These may be items that you like, but are not sure how it fits you anymore, or you have not worn it in a long time. We will come back to this pile in the next step.


Finally, the third pile is the “letting go” pile. These are the items that you are giving up, whether selling or donating, because you have not been wearing them or they do not fit you anymore.

Building a capsule wardrobe

3. Sort through the maybe pile

The “maybe” pile is the problematic one, so something that will help you decide on the fate of each individual item is the following guiding questions: Does this item go with at least three other items in my capsule?


How many outfits can I come up with using this item?


Do I like the cut, the fit, the fabric and color?


Is it easy enough to maintain? Does this go with my lifestyle or my personal style?


Think about the specifics: for example, since I live in Hawaii, where the weather is consistent throughout the year, there is probably no use for multiple big chunky sweaters in my wardrobe, even though I might keep one or two for when I am traveling.


I do not want to throw everything away just to turn around and buy it all over again for an occasion that comes up, as that would really defeat the whole purpose of a capsule wardrobe.


4. Examine your wardrobe

Now it is time to take a closer look at all the clothes that you decided to keep and see what your personal style really looks like.


Consider the colors, silhouettes, shapes, proportions. Do you have way too many tops and not enough bottoms? Do you like patterns or more solid colors and simple designs?


Over the years, I have experimented a lot with different shapes, colors and cuts, trying to find what really works for me and what I feel the best in.


I have noticed that my color scheme includes a lot of beige, cream, brown and blacks – those colors reflect my natural surroundings and compliment my skin tone.

Building a capsule wardrobe

5. Create outfit ideas

This is the really fun part where we get to be creative and mix and match with the items that we have in our capsule. If you live in a colder climate, you can do this easily by layering, which will allow you to keep all the same pieces throughout the year, regardless of the season.


I love investing in classic pieces that never go out of style. For me, it is denim, I love my Levi’s, and my awesome tank tops which I have bought in three different colors because I love the cuts so much.


For outfit inspiration, there is no better place than Pinterest. I noticed that the same shirt can look completely different just through accessorizing, tucking it in differently, or tying it in the front. This allows for numerous outfits with just one item.


A capsule wardrobe does not have to be boring or restrictive in any way. It is really up to us to be creative and to make the most out of it.


6. Fill in the gaps

Examining our closet is important because we will get a sense of what is missing in our capsule. I used to feel like I never had anything to wear in my closet: my clothes did not really reflect my lifestyle. Make sure there is a balance within your wardrobe.


For the items that you feel like are still missing from your closet, I highly recommend starting a wish list. Add things as you feel like there is a need, instead of buying them right away, and after a month or two of doing without,

go back to your wish list and see what is really necessary to add to your capsule.


Building a capsule wardrobe

Now you know how to build a capsule wardrobe and can get going!


What are the special circumstances that you are taking into consideration when creating your capsule wardrobe? How many items do you believe you need in your closet?


Let me know in the comments then go ahead and check out my Minimalist Guide to a Low-buy Year.

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