ByAmanda Hearn

Sep 11, 2015 ,
Wardrobe, clothing, and mannequin

A capsule wardrobe is essentially one that is made up of items that play well together and can be mixed and matched to meet a variety of needs — work, play, date, etc. There are many benefits, of course: less laundry, getting dressed in a snap, and more. Taking the plunge can be hard, but with a little planning, you’ll find that striving for “less is more” really will pay off.

The first thing you need to do is strip your wardrobe of all of the stuff you just never wear (yes, even that adorable top you bought, have never worn, but just love). If you’re like most people, you have a closet, and at least one dresser, full of clothing that you barely touch. It’s normal to have your favorite pieces and reach for them first. They are the items that you feel great in, and that’s part of the beauty of a capsule wardrobe — you can love every piece!

This is a great time to clear away the clutter and send it on to find a new home with someone who will love it. Donate, offer to friends, consign, etc.

With a little effort up front, you’ll be saving time and getting dressed with less stress — and waste. There are so many great ways to organize your capsule wardrobe, but the first thing you’ll want to do is figure out how to style your pieces to maximize your options. If you will be buying new (to you) pieces, you’ll want to be sure that each item works well with others. Check out my Capsule Wardrobe board on Pinterest for some inspiration. The list below should help get you started.

Capsule Wardrobe Starter Guide

Capsule Wardrobe Starter GuideThese suggestions are flexible depending on your style and needs, of course. Remember to choose items you love. When you feel good, it shows!

Pants (3-7 Items)

  • 1 pair of dark skinny jeans
  • 1 pair of light skinny jeans
  • 1 pair of dark boot cut / straight / whatever style you like jeans
  • 1 pair of light boot cut / straight / whatever style you like jeans
  • 1 pair of dress pants (you may want an extra or two if you need them for work)

Shorts (1-2 Items)

  • 1 solid colored short
  • 1 patterned short

Skirts (1-3 Items)

  • 1 patterned skirt
  • 1 solid (you may want an extra if you need it for work)

Dresses (1-3 Items)

  • 1 dress-up dress (black is versatile)
  • 1 solid dress
  • 1 patterned dress

Layering Tops (2-4 Items)

  • 1-2 solid tanks
  • 1-2 solid tees

Favorite Tops (3-5 Items)

  • 1-2 favorite casual
  • 1-2 favorite biz casual
  • 1 solid biz casual

Outerwear & Cold Weather (2-4 Items)

  • 1 neutral sweater
  • 1 casual jacket
  • 1 dress jacket or cardigan
  • 1 peacoat (wool is nice)

Shoes (6 Items)

  • 1 neutral flips
  • 1 flats
  • 1 dress boot
  • 1 casual boot
  • 1 nude heels
  • 1 workout shoe

Misc. (4-6 Items)

  • 1 all-purpose purse/bag
  • 1 purse/bag for dress up
  • 1-2 workout pants or shorts
  • 1-2 workout tops

Total: 23-40 Items

When you’ve figured out what to keep, what to get rid of, and which new items you need, you’ll want to keep track of what goes with what, and how. My memory isn’t fabulous, so I downloaded an app that makes it simple. Stylebook for iOS allows you to take a photo of your clothing, pair them, and save it all for later.

Feature image courtesy of justynafaliszek, Pixabay

By Amanda Hearn

Best known as the voice behind The Eco Friendly Family blog, where I've been writing since 2009, about topics like parenting, cloth diapers, non-toxic menstrual care, chemical safety, & healthy living. I've also been part of the team behind Green Child Magazine since 2012. My family inspires my passion to be involved in the movement towards intuitive living, and all that it encompasses.