How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe In Six Easy Steps

What Is A Capsule Wardrobe?

So you want to know how to start a capsule wardrobe? You have come to the right place. Below I have six easy steps you can take to build your capsule wardrobe. Take your time going through each one until you have created a capsule wardrobe you love. If you have already started your capsule but are struggling to know what to include, take a look at my one-on-one personal styling membership

So what is a capsule wardrobe? It is a small but concise collection of clothes that work together in a way that you love and suits you and your lifestyle. It does not have to be a specific number, nor does it have to be limited to one or two colours, it is about simplifying what suits you personally. 

Step One: The Right Mindset

The first thing you need to do before you learn how to start a capsule wardrobe, is to get into the right mindset. So what does that mean? Well, it is so easy to get caught up in marketing targeted at your most delicate of insecurities and end up buying clothes you will never wear. Not only that, but there is a popular misconception that more options should make it easier to choose what to wear; they don’t. Less really is more.

If you have a limited number of colour options and are very specific about what you want, creating outfits you love becomes a lot easier. From now on, instead of loosely purchasing items just because you like them at the time, you need to be very intentional about what you buy. Become deliberate and structured about creating your capsule wardrobe. Look at this collection like your ultimate capsule. Every piece added or taken away is done so with intention. Nothing remains that you do not use or love.

Step Two: What’s My Style?

The first area we are going to look at is your style. This part of the process should be enjoyable. We are going to explore the colours that you love and style too. First, go to Pinterest and open an account if you do not already have one. If you are unsure of how to do this, there are a few Pinterest for beginners videos on YouTube to get you started. Once you have an account open up two boards; one for styles you love and one for colours.

Use the search option at the top of Pinterest to find styles that you love and pin them to your style board. Next, use the search option to find colours you love. You can search for ‘colour palettes’ or ‘colour swatches’ and include the colour you are searching for like ‘pale blue’ or ‘bright red’.

Take your time with this and think about what you love. Once your style and colour boards are full of ideas, take time to choose around seven colours to base your capsule on. First, select three or four canvas colours. Canvas colours are base neutral colours for your wardrobe, which could include, khaki, stone, beige, navy or cream. Next, choose two or three paint colours. Paint colours are usually brighter colours that lift an outfit. For example, you might select navy, grey, charcoal and cream as your canvas colours and fuchsia, red and sky blue as your paint colours.

Be careful to choose the colours you love and will enjoy wearing. It is worth looking at your existing wardrobe too to see if there are any regular colours that run through it. Consider including those colours in the shades you select.

Step Three: My Practical Needs And Lifestyle

Now we have rediscovered the styles you love and chosen the colours for your capsule, we will look at your lifestyle needs. First, you need to look at what you do weekly. Do you work from home? Do you mind children? Do you work in an office with an imposed uniform, or do you work somewhere else with a supplied uniform? Do you need clothes that have some protection element? Next, do you do to a weekly event like a yoga, swim or other sports class? Do you need clothes for a hobby? Think about everything you do from the moment you get up to the moment you go to sleep, and what you need for each of those occasions. Can one outfit or item work for different activities?

Finally, look at special occasions. Do you have an annual or special occasion coming up? What do you need for this event? Do you go on a yearly ski trip? Is there a wedding, bar mitzvah, or christening coming up? Can you use one outfit for more than one occasion?

Look at everything you do during the time you are creating this capsule, whether it be an all year capsule or a seasonal one. Think about what each occasion or activity requires and make notes of what you need.

How To Start A Capsule Closet For Beginners
Capsule Wardrobe For Beginners

Step Four: The First Wardrobe Edit

In stage four, we are going to start the first part of the wardrobe decluttering. When we are looking at how to start a capsule wardrobe this is an essential stage. By now you should know the styles you love, the colours you are going to base your capsule on, and what your lifestyle requirements are. So next we need to start removing whatever no longer fits with these needs. 

Now before we go on, if you are decluttering your wardrobe for the first time, I have some advice. Firstly, if an item does not fit your requirements, but you still need it for this season until you find the perfect replacement, then keep it in your wardrobe until you do. Secondly, I strongly advise you to store anything you remove for the first time somewhere which is not easily accessible, for example, a basement, loft or friends house. There are two reasons for this when you are decluttering for the first time, if you make a mistake you can make a small effort and get that item back into your wardrobe. Also, by removing the things you think you will not need and putting them somewhere not easily accessible, it gives you time to work with what you have, learn how to use a capsule wardrobe and teaches you what else you might need. 

So for the first edit, go through each item and ask the following questions;

  • Damaged clothing: Is the item damaged? If so is it repairable and will you repair it? If it is fixable and it alines with your needs, then keep it but make sure you get it fixed as soon as possible. Anything that you will not repair, or can not be fixed, remove. 
  • Does It Fit?: This is a delicate area. So if you are actively working towards changing your size and you see progress, then keep some options in your target size in your wardrobe. If you would like to change your size but are not seeing changes at this stage, then I advise you to remove the items that do not fit and put them away. Do not remove them entirely because if you do reach your target size, you can get those clothes back. If you are struggling to meet your target weight, then having clothes in your capsule that do not fit you may not be good for your self-esteem. 
  • Your Practical Needs: How does each item in your wardrobe meet your practical needs? If something is not quite right, keep it but make a note of a specific item you intend to replace it with. Otherwise, could you remove it? 
  • Frequency Of Wear: When was to last time you wore it? If it was over a year ago, consider removing it. There are very few reasons to keep something for over a year, for example, the item is for a particular event, you have recently had a baby or surgery.
  • Sentimental Clothing: One of the trickiest of items to declutter can be sentimental clothing. It could be that it belonged to someone you loved, it was given to you by someone you loved, or it reminds you of a special occasion. On this occasion only you know whether you should remove it or not. Make sure this is a decision only taken by you and not influenced by anyone else. It is not worth regret. If you are not sure, then put the item away somewhere and decide at the end of the season how you feel about it then. Alternatively, you could put the item in a display box. 

Step Five: The Second Wardrobe Edit

The final part of the edit looks at three more categories. 

  • Safe-Go-To-Items: Check your existing wardrobe for items that you go to because they feel safe. Ask yourself if you wear them because they feel safe or because you love them. If they are just safe and do not fit your colours, style or lifestyle, then make a note and consider replacing them with an alternative that does fit. 
  • Comfort: Is the item comfortable? Something can look good, be the correct colour and even fit your lifestyle, but if it is not comfortable for whatever reason, then you should aim to replace it with something that is. 
  • Multiples: Do you have multiples of the same item that you do not need? For example, you are unlikely to need six pairs of black leggings unless you are a yoga teacher or similar. If you have seven white shirts, ten pairs of black trousers etc., which ones do you wear the most and why? Work out how many you need based on your lifestyle and aim to remove the rest. Which ones are the best quality, will last the longest, or the newest? Choose the best options based on your needs and remove the rest. 

Step Six: How To Stop Impulse Buying

Now you have learnt how to start a capsule wardrobe; the last thing you want to do is to build it up again with items you will never wear! Intentional shopping is critical. Have a precise list of any items you need to replace and what you are going to replace them with.

For example, you have a pair of black trousers that you want to replace. They are not warm enough for winter, the material irritates you, and they are slightly see-through. You have decided to replace them with a wool pair of trousers that are lined, so they do not irritate you. They are black and a loose cut, so they fit over your favourite boots. They need to be in a heavier material, so they keep you warm, and you want pockets in them to carry your phone and keys.

Become very specific about what your replacement or new addition should look like. Take this list with you if you go out shopping or if you are browsing online. If something does not meet your needs, leave it on the shelf.

What Next?

The information given in the post is the best of my knowledge at the time of writing. If you are embarking on anything new get professional advice if required.

If you enjoyed this post and wish to create a capsule wardrobe, I can help you create one quickly and easily. Get started immediately with one of my personal styling services or book in for a complimentary consultation

  • Personal Styling Gift Vouchers – Save up, ask for them for gifts or put towards any of my services. This is the ideal way to afford a personal stylist whatever your budget!
  • Capsule Closet Success Membership – Receive a copy of the Seasonal Capsule Essentials Ebook twice a year worth $19 and gain access to the Capsule Closet Success Course worth $200. Join our private community for support and advice and submit questions every week and have them answered live in our weekly live check-in sessions. 
  • Premium Personal Styling – A personalised colour analysis and body shape style guide, a live wardrobe edit, a personal shopping and a curated Lookbook
  • Personal Styling – 
  • A personalised Colour Analysis, a Body Shape Analysis And Style Guide, a Live Wardrobe Edit
  • A wardrobe Edit – A 20-minute zoom call to discuss your needs and to highlight any particular problems you want to address in the wardrobe edit. A private Pinterest board to pin styles and colours you love. A 60 minutes live video wardrobe edit
  • Colour Analysis And Body Shape Styling –
  • The Capsule Closet Stylist Colour Analysis looks at the natural colouring in your hair, eyes and skin tone and shows how you can complement your natural colouring in your clothes. The Body Shape Style Guide teaches you how to make the most of your best assets, hide what you do not like, find clothes that complement your shape, and choose the perfect fit.

Still Not Sure?

Book a discovery call with me where we can discuss colour, style, decluttering, body shapes and much, much more.  I can identify where you most need help and point you in the right direction. 

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Capsule Closet Success testimonials

'When you join the membership it isn't generic it is tailored to your needs. Michelle considers each individual person and provides advice and guidance based on their needs. I have learnt so much since I joined I feel like I could sit an exam on it now! Honestly, without a doubt if you feel like you are lost with what to wear, you don't know what suits your body shape or your shape has changed, you've lost confidence, you're starting a new job, or you want to minimise your wardrobe, Michelle's membership is without a doubt for you. You can not get better for the price, I have looked!'
I joined Michelle's facebook "capsule wardrobe challenge" in June 2020. I loved her approach of starting off with a concept of what colours and styles you were attracted to, followed by what your lifestyle required functionally. It helped me assess my existing wardrobe with a checklist in mind instead of feeling overwhelmed and indecisive. I found the video format and weekly check-ins easy to follow and explained each stage of building a capsule well. She has been quick to answer any queries I have and to offer her professional stylist's opinion with a gentle manner. I am most grateful for Michelle's overarching aim to help her clients "find their happy place". This membership is about being comfortable in your own skin, not about being super fashionable, and that is exactly what I needed. Thank you for helping me find my confidence again. 😊
There is no doubt in my mind that having a personal stylist online is worth the investment. In fact, at the end of the day I will spend considerably less while looking and feeling so much better. Why? Because I will never again mindlessly spend and spend and spend on clothes that just aren’t right for me and that don’t make me happy. I think we all dream of that wardrobe that makes us happy and confident, but it is so easy to just give up and just wear something. I know I did. And that is just plain crazy because I love clothes! I have always been attracted to styles that I lacked the confidence to try out. Now, with the help and guidance of Michelle, I can finally explore those styles with confidence knowing that whenever I run an item by Michelle, she will give me her honest feedback on whether or not it will fit with my colors and with how I want to look and feel. In short: Michelle’s advice really is priceless. I feel an A-lister in the garments I have purchased since becoming a member! Pssst: One secret, you don’t have to become a minimalist if you don’t want to. Michelle is not about legalistic minalism, she is all about you finding out what works for you and that – along with her very deep knowledge of style – is why I think her membership works for me when in the past nothing else has.

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