How to build a capsule wardrobe: a woman looking through her clothes in her wardrobe.

How to put together the perfect capsule wardrobe

Sustainability is all about reducing your consumption and using things for longer. This also goes very well with a minimalist approach to life especially when it comes to clothes. The term capsule wardrobe has been developed as a new sustainable and minimalist approach to clothing. We will explain what this new term is all about and show you the benefits of a capsule wardrobe. We will also give you some helpful tips on how to implement this in your own wardrobe at home.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

The term capsule wardrobe describes a minimalist wardrobe that has a small number of clothes that can all be combined with one another. The clothes are good essentials, but at the same time they are timeless. However, with just a few more trendy items of clothing you can spice up your outfits a little bit more.

The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to create awareness about fashion and to support the principle of slow fashion. This means that you should go for clothes with a high quality and durability. By doing so you can help the environment and save on resources and support the sustainable production of clothes with your minimalist wardrobe.

Step-by-step guide on how to build a capsule wardrobe

When it comes to building your capsule wardrobe you should adopt a minimalist approach. You should sort your clothes by season: winter (January-March), spring (April-June), summer (July-September) and autumn (October-December).

A Capsule Wardrobe usually contains 30 to 40 items of clothing per season. However, these numbers are not a rigid rule, but rather a guide. It's important that you only keep clothes that you like to wear and match your style. This will help you to adopt a more sustainable approach when it comes to shopping for new clothes. A capsule wardrobe will help you to declutter and simplify your wardrobe whilst still sticking to your individual style. It is not an issue if you have a few more or fewer items of clothing in your wardrobe once you have sorted through it. The main thing is to rethink your wardrobe and to enjoy wearing your favourite clothes. This in itself promotes a more sustainable approach to fashion.

You can decide how you would like to organise your wardrobe. You may prefer to organise your wardrobe according to different clothing styles (e.g. business, casual, etc.) rather than by season. Organising your wardrobe will help to give you a better overview of your clothes.

The following step-by-step guide will show you how to put together a capsule wardrobe.

Step 1: go through your wardrobe and have a good clear out

Start off by taking all your clothes out of your wardrobe and put them on either the bed or floor. Then go through each item and think about whether you would like to keep it or get rid of it. It is a good idea to create three piles: yes, no and maybe. In the yes pile, put all the clothes you would like to keep and then you can put them back in your wardrobe. Next put the items you no longer want to keep into a pile.

The maybe pile is for the clothes you're not too sure about, but you would still maybe like to wear them. Keep this pile of clothes somewhere visible for the next three months. If you don't wear anything from this pile during the next three months then you can get rid of it.

Any clothes you no longer would like to keep can be donated to charity or taken to a clothes donation. This is a great way to be more environmentally friendly and to cut down on waste, but at the same time you are giving away your clothes to someone who may get a lot of use out of them. If you struggle with making decisions you could see if you can combine any of the clothes from the pile with other items of clothing that you have decided to keep. If you can combine them together to make some stylish outfits, then you could keep some of these clothes without having a guilty conscience.

Capsule wardrobe step-by-step guide: a woman sorting her clothes into piles to have a more minimalist wardrobe.

Step 2: find your own unique style

After you've cleaned out your wardrobe, you'll probably have already noticed that you have a certain style or a preference for certain colours. However, here are a few tips to help you find your own unique style and how to put together your ideal capsule wardrobe. Clothes that match your own individual style such as sporty, casual, classy or colourful are the base for your capsule Wardrobe.

Answer the following questions below to you find out more about your preferred style:

  • Which items of clothing can you not say goodbye to, regardless of current fashion trends?

  • Which clothes make you feel confident and stylish?

  • Which parts of your body do you like the most?

  • What type of clothes do you feel completely comfortable in?

  • Which colours do the majority of your clothes have? Or which colours or cuts have landed in the to go pile?

Step 3: choose a set of colours

To ensure that your clothes can be easily combined with one another and you have a nice selection of outfits to choose from you should stick to just a couple of colours. Your minimalist wardrobe should only have clothes in five different colours:

  • Colours for your capsule wardrobe: choose two basic colours that form a base for every outfit. For example, this can be black, (dark) blue or brown.

  • Colours for your capsule wardrobe: next choose neutral colours that complement the darker base colours. Choose one or two neutral colours such as white, beige or grey. These neutral colours come in a wide variety of shades that you can combine to spice up your capsule wardrobe.

  • Colours for your capsule wardrobe: finally finish off with some brighter colours. Add two bright colours to your wardrobe which will make your outfits more colourful and varied. Choose colours that suit you and you feel confident in such as pink, green or orange.

Step 4: trying different outfit combinations

Make sure to choose cuts and colours you feel confident in and suit your body shape. The goal of a minimalist wardrobe is to only have a few items of clothing that you often wear.

In addition, choose classic patterns that are not associated with a trend such as stripes or polka dots. These types of designs are timeless, thus you can wear them for a long time. However, this does not mean that you cannot have any trendy patterns or cuts. One or two trendy pieces will give your wardrobe a boost.

Step 5: dress for the season by adding season appropriate clothing

You can add new items of clothing if you find something that is missing from your wardrobe and you really like it. If you would like to adopt a more sustainable approach when it comes to shopping for new clothes, you could always buy second hand clothes. Every three months or at the end of the season you could go through your wardrobe and reorganise it by making some small changes.


Think about what kind of clothes you would like to have in your capsule wardrobe. You don’t necessarily need to include underwear, socks, sportswear or evening dresses. Nevertheless, you should not forget to adopt a minimalist approach so that you can get the most out of your clothes that you truly love.

Helpful capsule wardrobe lists for a minimalist wardrobe

We have put together some helpful tips below to help you decide which items of clothing you would like to have in your capsule wardrobe:

  • Keep three pairs of trousers in your wardrobe, such as a light coloured pair of jeans, a dark coloured pair of jeans and a pair of smart trousers.

  • Don’t forget a plain coloured cardigan as it is suitable for almost any outfit.

  • Keep three to four T-shirts, jumpers and blouses as they are a good base for tops.

By following the tips above you will have the most important essentials, but there is nothing to stop you from having more trousers, jackets or tops. The main thing is that you are happy with your clothes and you want to wear them regularly. You can use the lists below to count and sort through the clothes you have:

Capsule wardrobe list: tops

  • [__] T-Shirts

  • [__] Tops

  • [__] Blouses/shirts

  • [__] Jumpers

  • [__] Cardigans

  • [__] Blazers/jackets

  • [__] Dresses

Capsule wardrobe list: trousers & skirts

  • [__] Shorts

  • [__] Skirts

  • [__] Jeans

  • [__] Smart trousers

  • [__] Leggings

Capsule wardrobe list: coats and jackets

  • [__] Raincoats

  • [__] Lightweight jackets

  • [__] Winter coats

  • [__] Jackets

Capsule wardrobe list: shoes

  • [__] Summer shoes

  • [__] Trainers

  • [__] Ankle boots

  • [__] Boots

  • [__] Smart shoes

Capsule wardrobe list: accessories

  • [__] Hand bags

  • [__] Large shoulder bags

  • [__] Backpacks

  • [__] Sunglasses

  • [__] Scarves

  • [__] Shawls

Capsule wardrobe step-by-step guide: a woman taking photos of her old clothes that she would like to sell.

What are the advantages of a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe has a lot of advantages for you and the environment. You can save money since you don't have to buy unnecessary things in the sales or follow every fashion trend. This can help to cut down on natural resources being wasted. This will also make getting ready in the mornings a lot easier since you can only choose from a limited amount of clothes, which will make it easier for you to put an outfit together. In total you will need less time to get ready as all the items of clothing in a capsule wardrobe can be combined with one another. In addition, your will be able to keep track of all your clothes and keep your wardrobe tidy and organised. The clothes that you choose to keep and then put into your capsule wardrobe will reflect own personal style.


You can take photos of your different outfits, which will help you to save even more time when choosing what to wear.

A capsule wardrobe will help you to adopt a more environmentally friendly approach when it comes to clothes. If you buy high quality clothes you will wear them for longer, which means that you will save money in the long run. You will also produce less waste and protect the environment. When buying new clothes try and go for items of clothing that are made out of sustainable materials because they are fairtrade and environmentally friendly.

Conclusion: reducing your fashion consumption with a capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe can provide an impetus for a more sustainable and conscious approach to fashion. It’s a step in the right direction if you can declutter and reorganise your wardrobe and donate any old clothes to charities and organisations. The most important thing is to appreciate both old and new clothes. By doing so, you can get more out of the clothes you truly love wearing whilst doing something positive for the environment.

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