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  • Writer's pictureLouise Jade

The Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe and How To Create Your Own

In the world of personal styling, capsule wardrobes are often referred to as the ideal solution for individuals who want to create a stylish wardrobe that emphasises their figure and complexion, without having to spend lots of time and money on purchasing and arranging outfits.

So, if you often look at your wardrobe with despair each morning; frantically examining your clothing rail for a well-coordinated outfit suitable for the upcoming occasion, only to resort to choosing “safe” items that do little to express you and your style – then a capsule wardrobe might be just what you need…

In this post we will delve into:

A women wearing a white blazer, white trousers and nude coloured top is holding a laptop and tilting it to her right, to show another woman wearing black trousers and a black tunic what is on the screen. The two women are standing against a white background. To their right is a clothing rail with the following items hanging from it (from left to right): five brown coloured belts; a mustard yellow high neckline, long sleeved day dress; a white blazer; a black blazer; a grey blazer; a black blouse and a grey, floral patterned blouse with puffed sleeves.


What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

Before delving further, I would just like to briefly clarify what a capsule wardrobe actually is.

A capsule wardrobe is a method of organising your wardrobe’s contents that involves creating a series of “capsules,” suitable for different lifestyle needs and occasions.

Whereas, a capsule is a set number of clothes and accessories that can be mixed and matched to produce many unique outfits. As a general rule, aim to include an average of twelve items in your capsule, although this figure can be more or less, depending on what occasion(s) you need these outfits for and the proportion of your week that they take up. For example, if you require work outfits for five days of the week, but smart casual ones for a couple of evenings, then your work capsule will need to be larger than your smart casual one.

With a little thought and creativity when choosing which pieces to include in your capsule, you could create anywhere between twenty five and thirty different outfits…what’s not to like?

Why You Should Create Your Own Capsule Wardrobe?

There are many reasons why you may like to create your own set of wardrobe capsules. Here are some common reasons why you may like to consider this type of wardrobe organisation. Do any of these resonate with you?

A close-up of a black coloured clothing rail (against a grey backdrop), with the following items hanging from it (from left to right): a blue and white gingham patterned shirt, a bright yellow blazer, a pair of light blue jeans, a white coloured blouse made from a crepe material; forest green coloured jeans; a forest green and white gingham patterned shirt, a pumpkin orange tank top and a pair of yellow trousers.


Why You Should Create Your Own Capsule Wardrobe?

There are many reasons why you may like to create your own set of wardrobe capsules. Here are some common reasons why you may like to consider this type of wardrobe organisation. Do any of these resonate with you?

Capsules are great for limited wardrobe spaces:

Ever thought that you couldn’t achieve the stylish wardrobe of your dreams without a walk-in wardrobe? Well…think again!

Creating a capsule wardrobe is ideal for those of you whom perhaps have smaller wardrobe spaces, since it would enable you to store fewer items in your wardrobe, but without compromising on your ability to create many outfits from them.

Ultimately, forming multiple capsules will takes up far less space in your wardrobe than if you bought more “singular” items that are less easily coordinated with other clothing items and accessories you own.

A woman sitting on the edge of a sofa in a pink-grey furnished living room. The woman has long, curled brunette hair and is wearing a pair of dark denim jeans and a cream coloured blouse with a breast pocket. She is looking down, flicking through a magazine that is placed on the edge of the sofa cushion.


Capsules can be created for different aspects of your lifestyle:

An essential part of creating a wardrobe that works for you as an individual includes analysing your current lifestyle and determining which types of occasions you require outfits for.Conducting your own lifestyle analysis (like the one completed during a Style Coaching™ wardrobe analysis or de-clutter) would enable you to pinpoint which types of capsules you should look at completing or even updating if you already own many suitable, well-coordinated items.


  • How is your typical daily and weekly routines structured?

  • Do you have full-time family commitments?

  • Do you require multiple outfits for smart casual occasions, casual day to day events and/or suitable for work and corporate meetings?

  • Do you have an active social life or do you prefer quieter nights in?

  • Do you enjoy sports and outdoor activities?

  • Do you attend regular or occasional formal events?

Having separate capsules dedicated to each of your specific lifestyle needs (i.e. casual, smart casual, formal, workwear, sports etc) will make dressing for the occasion much easier, especially in terms of time and money savings…

A slightly uneven stack of silver and gold coins (with a few laying to the right of the stack) are seen focused in on in the foreground. There is a blurred antique looking clock with mahogany wood and a gold rimmed clock face, seen in the background. The time on the clock states that it is five past seven.


Time and money savings:

Anyone who said that you need lots of money to look fabulous obviously hadn’t heard of a capsule wardrobe…

Strategically planning your own wardrobe capsules can ultimately lead to money savings, since you would be purchasing well-coordinated items for the purpose of wearing within multiple outfits, as opposed to onetime items only suitable to be worn as part of one outfit for one event.

If thought about carefully, you could even look for items that could form staples of multiple capsules. For example, a smart dress could be dressed up with a blazer for work, but the same dress paired with a wrap, could form part of a dedicated date night capsule.

Also, you can avoid wasting money on repetitive purchases that you already own, by utilising existing items in your wardrobe as a base for creating your new capsule. Consider do you already own a neutral coloured coat that would act as a base for your smart casual wardrobe? Do you have a couple of brightly coloured tops in your closet that if paired with the right pair of trousers, would add style to your casual wardrobe? The possibilities are endless!

Capsule wardrobes are also ideal for individuals who struggle to quickly form well-coordinated outfits each morning (especially when you’re in a hurry), since all the items you need to look stylish for a specific occasion are all stored together in your wardrobe space. It’s as easy as it gets when it comes to effortless dressing.

A dark blue suitcase with black wheels on the bottom corners, open on a white mattress. The left compartment contains a yellow tube of sunscreen, a yellow sunglasses case, passport and documents and a black photography camera. The right compartment contains a series of tops (blue, cream, yellow, pink, green and navy and white striped), as well as two pairs of bright aqua and light blue shorts.


Ideal for travellers:

I’m sure many of us have been guilty of trying to pack everything in our closet when going away, for the sole reason of wanting to be fully prepared for every occasion and eventuality. However, would you like an easy hack that would allow you to fit all the clothes and accessories that you need in one suitcase? If so, consider creating yourself a specific travel capsule.

Whether you travel for leisure or work purposes, creating a specific capsule suitable for travel occasions will enable you to create multiple outfits with ease and style when away from home. Plus, capsule dressing will increase your chances of fitting all of your clothes and accessories into one suitcase – saving yourself extra fees at the airport too.

Planning and Gaining Inspiration For Your Own Capsule

So now you may be wondering how you actually gain the inspiration needed to create your own wardrobe capsules…

First consider what occasions and lifestyle needs you require capsules for. Do you need effortlessly stylish outfits for the office? Do you regularly socialise in the evenings and need smart casual or formal outfits for these occasions? Or do you require casual, yet stylish leisure outfits for wearing around the house and when running errands?

Next, think about the proportion of time spent attending certain occasions during a typical week. For instance, if you spend twice as much time at work then you do at home, then your wardrobe will need twice as many workwear items than leisurewear ones.

Finally, consider which styles you like and dislike and which ones would best enhance your features. Ultimately, this would enable you to work towards creating a wardrobe that not only helps you to feel internally confident, but reflects your own unique style too. Win-win!

Now, let’s look at the formula used to begin constructing your own capsule:

A close-up image of a hand reaching out towards the clothes on a wooden clothing rail, which has the following clothes hanging from it (on wooden hangers): a kelly green, strap dress; seven nude coloured camisoles; a black camisole; two black, long sleeved blouses; a white shirt; a lilac coloured blouse; a white and black checked shirt; a nude camisole; a black camisole; two white t-shirts; two black blouses and a rumba red blouse.


The Capsule Wardrobe Formula:

Shopping for items for an updated or new capsule wardrobe will definitely help to give your shopping trip a focus. You can be as creative as you like when it comes to choosing your capsule staples, however, there is only one key guideline that are recommended to follow: the 80/20 rule.

The 80/20 rule is a guiding point for any successful wardrobe capsule, whereby 80% of the clothes included are for the upper body and the remaining 20% for the lower body. To put this more simply, if your capsule contains ten items, two should be for a pair of trousers and a skirt (particularly ones which would be easily coordinated with your other chosen items), whilst the other eight items should be tops, jumpers and other accessories worn near the face like scarves and necklaces.

Now, let’s look into the steps involved in building your own capsule(s):

How to Build Your Own Wardrobe Capsule (With Tips):

A woman with shoulder length brunette hair, holding a notebook and wearing a yellow ochre coloured jumper and light blue jeans has her face away from the camera and is examining a free standing clothing rail, set against a white backdrop. The rail has the following clothes hanging on wooden hangers from it: a beige ribbed jumper; three marl grey shirts; three mint green cropped cardigans and three orange t-shirts.


One: look through your existing wardrobe and create a shopping plan:

Before setting off round the shops, look in your wardrobe to see if any of your existing items would be suitable for your capsule. Do you own a neutral coloured jacket suitable for smart casual events or a skirt appropriate to wear to the office? Do you already own one or two tops that really enhance your body shape and complexion and would perfectly compliment a casual capsule? This would not just save a little money to begin with, but provide a base from which to plan and build from.

Although, if you’re looking at your wardrobe’s contents and are not wholly convinced that any existing items are suitable for smart casual occasions; do little to express your personality or enhance your figure or complexion, then feel free to start planning your capsule from scratch.

Once you know which items you have already got in your wardrobe capsule, then plan which items you need to buy using the following steps as prompts. Note: if you have already got a specific item suitable for your capsule (such as a navy coat), then feel free to skip over that particular step.

Tip: consider booking a wardrobe analysis or de-clutter session to take stock of your current wardrobe and find out how your existing pieces could be used to create brand new outfits to suit you.

A close-up of a women with shoulder length, straight, brunette hair, standing to the left of the camera lens, exposing a light grey backdrop behind her. The women is wearing a light beige, double breasted trench coat, with dark brown buttons, which is worn slightly open.


Two: start with your first core item:

Begin your shopping trip (whether this in-person or online) by looking for a significant core item such as a coat or jacket in a neutral colour and style that best enhances your figure and complexion.

Note: when we talk about “neutral colours” we’re referring to colours that complement many different colour combinations, which is why items in these colours are often easily coordinated within outfits. Examples include: black, cream, white, navy, tan, beige and brown.

Now, consider which neutral colours best harmonise with your complexion…

  • Do you suit higher contrast neutrals like black?

  • Do you have light features and would better suit neutrals like white, cream or light beige?

  • Do you have a cool complexion and appear to best harmonise with colours like navy? Or do you have a warmer complexion, whereby tan and mid to dark beiges would better suit your features?

A close-up of a woman standing outside (with a forest in the background); with her hand resting on her left hip, is seen to be wearing a white blouse, a black and white floral print, A-line skirt and is holding a bright red pair of pointed toe stiletto heels.


Three: Choose a second core item:

Next, look for a second core item to be added to your capsule – preferably one worn on your lower body such as a skirt (although if you prefer trousers opt for these instead).

When choosing a skirt, consider whether:

  • You want the skirt to add volume to your hips.

  • You want the skirt to skim your tummy and hips, to help them appear slimmer.

  • You want the skirt to flatter and emphasise your natural curves.

Any styles chosen for your capsule should best enhance your body shape, as this will help you to create a stylish, yet confident image.

Tip: wear neutral colours on your lower body, since these items account for 20% of your capsules content’s and would be easily paired with the other colours chosen to be worn on your upper body.

A close-up of a series of brightly coloured t-shirts hanging from a clothing rail on white plastic hangers. The t-shirts seen are as follows (from left to right): bright yellow, yellow-green, yellow ochre, orange, pale pink, blue-red, emerald green, royal purple, light aqua, bright blue, chinese blue and steel grey.


Four: search for a selection of tops, jumpers, and cardigans (or even a dress if you’d like):

Now, this is where you can allow your creativity to shine…

When selecting tops, shirts, jumpers, cardigans for your upper body, choose those that express your true personality and sense of style. Consider whether you like…

  • Plain coloured items and if so, do you like to wear brighter colours or softer, muted ones.

  • Coloured prints and patterns like spots, stripes, geometric prints etc.

  • Lighter weight, smooth fabrics like silk or slightly heavier, more textured materials like wool.

The choice is yours!

You could even add a dress for your capsule at this stage, particularly if your capsule is designed for work, smart casual or evening based occasions.

Top tip: when choosing colours and fabrics, remember that well styled outfits often contain between three and four different colours within them, usually including one bolder accent colour.

A sideways head shot of a women with auburn hair tied in a bun. The woman is wearing a dark grey, crepe blouse, thin rimmed glasses, three silver rings, silver earrings and silver and gold pendants.


Five: discover some accessories that express you:

Now consider which shoes, handbags, jewellery pieces, belts, scarves and hats you would like to add to your capsule.

  • Do you like delicate jewellery or do you prefer statement pieces?

  • What occasion is this capsule for? The accessories chosen for a casual or even smart casual capsule would be less elaborate or dressy than those chosen for more formal occasions and less formal than those worn with workwear.

  • What colours and styles speak to you as a person?

Tip: look for accessories that are versatile to be dressed up or down and combined with items from other capsules. This will not only provide you with more flexibility when forming outfits, but save you money on purchasing several accessories unique to different capsules.

A women wearing a pair of smart grey, workwear trousers has her hand in the right pocket. She is also wearing a silver and emerald ring.


Six: Add another core item to your capsule:

Look for a third core item to be worn on your lower half – either another skirt or a pair of trousers, depending on your preference. Although for this example, we’ll have a look at choosing a pair of trousers.

When choosing a pair of trousers to best flatter your figure, consider the following:

  • What length do you require? Do you need trousers that are petite, regular or tall in length?

  • Do you want to minimise and skim your thighs, bottom and hips (like a dark pair of boot cut trousers or jeans would) or do you need a cut that adds emphasis to your lower body (such as a bolder or lighter pair of trousers with a flared or wide leg hem)? Or perhaps you would like a pair that enhances your natural curves?

  • What type of rise would best flatter your tummy? Tip: a mid-rise pair of trousers is the most universally flattering rise for all body shapes.

Again choose trousers in a matching or neutral colour that would easily complement the items you have already chosen.

Seven: look for another core item to add (if you wish):

If you would like to add a second skirt or pair of trousers, then this is the time to look for one.

Although you are completely free to choose a skirt or pair of trousers in a different style from your original choice, you could alternatively choose a similar style from before (particularly if you know it works for your body shape), but in a different neutral or coordinating colour.

A woman standing in a street (with a building and two parked cars behind her), wearing blue, heart-shaped sunglasses; a cobalt blue, tartan patterned blazer over her shoulders; a royal blue, black and white patterned a-line dress and black, ankle strap stiletto heels. The woman has long braided hair tied into a ponytail and is holding a rustic tan coloured kelly handbag.


Eight: look to your upper body once again:

If you wish to further expand your capsule, feel free to add in another coat, jacket or top or even a dress if you'd prefer. Your choice here would depend on the budget set for your capsule and your lifestyle needs.

So, be creative!

To Summarise…

The above steps are a guide for creating a balanced wardrobe capsule that can be adapted to create a wardrobe that works for you and your lifestyle. The best thing? Is that you can create as many capsules as you need, all tailored around your lifestyle and preferences as an individual.

If you would like to build your own capsule wardrobe today, visit my services overview page for links to my sessions and packages.


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