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How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe & Why You Need One Now

Posted by Colleen Branch fashion blogger

21st Apr 2017

How to create a capsule wardrobe

What is a capsule wardrobe?

London boutique owner Susie Faux first came up with the term 'capsule wardrobe' in the 1970s. For Faux, the capsule wardrobe contained essential items of clothing that would not go out of fashion.

In 1985, designer Donna Karan released a 'Seven Easy Pieces' collection, which included interchangeable, essential pieces - for example a bodysuit, skirt, tailored jacket, large scarf, white shirt, cashmere sweater and a dress.

While the number does not have to be strict, the message is clear. You don't need a wardrobe bursting at the seams with this season's pieces to be exciting and on-trend. All you need are a few staple items that will see you through.

Clothes hanging in a wardrobe

How to build your capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is a clothes collection that only includes essential items. These clothes can be used to form outfits for all occasions, both for life and for work. It's a chance for you to make dressing effortless, giving you more time to focus on other things.

The UK enjoys seasons, so it's important to be aware of them when building a capsule wardrobe. Your Spring / Summer collection will probably feature overlapping items, as will your Autumn / Winter collection.

Use the web

Inspiration can be found all over the internet. Have a good research to identify a style that you like. A quick Google image search or Pinterest hunt for 'capsule wardrobe' will give you an idea on what other people have used and enjoy.

Write a checklist

Donna Karan had seven items, however this was created with work in mind. If you're looking to adjust your entire wardrobe, thirty - forty items (including shoes and outerwear) should be enough.  Instead create a list of the items you need for your capsule wardrobe and divide it into Work Clothes, Life Clothes and Accessories.

Written list of items for a work capsule wardrobe

Look at your current clothes collection

Before you head to the shops, have a look at what you already have. You may already have a jacket, well-fitted jeans or a classic LBD.


Now that you're staring more closely at your clothes, it's time to get rid of the items that you really don't need. Take a deep breath and remove any clothes that you haven't worn in the last year, any clothes that no longer fit, any clothes that can't be mended. Bag them up and take them to your nearest Oxfam Shop or Donation Point

When choosing your items, take into consideration:

  • Your body shape

    Find the right clothes for you, the more flattering they are, the more likely you are to be comfortable wearing them time and time again. Check out whowhatwear to find out your shape.
  • Choose your colours

    Pick a few base colours such as black, white, grey, navy or brown and get your bags, trousers or coats in these shades. Now you've got the bases covered and you know that they will match with any tops or dresses.
  • Picking high-quality pieces

    As you will be wearing your items in different ways, they will get more wear than usual. Choose high-quality fabrics that will continue to look great.
  • Shapes and patterns

    While that Paisley print headscarf looked great that one summer, now it might be considered dated and ugly. Go for classic shapes and patterns that will last a long time.

Your finished capsule wardrobe

Why you need a capsule wardrobe

Enjoy an uncluttered wardrobe

While you're looking for your capsule wardrobe pieces, it's the perfect chance for you to pick through the items you have already. You may find items that you have never worn, or that you never will wear again. This is a chance for you to free yourself from stuff and donate your unwanted items to Oxfam.

Fewer decisions = less stress + more time

It's a chance for you to free your mind, your clothes are already picked for the day so you have spent less time on deciding what to wear and can concentrate on other things. Now you don't have to agonise about what top goes with what on the bottom - it all goes together!

Save money

If you love to shop, then now is your chance to save some money. You don't need this season's jeans, put that money towards something else instead.

Now you've discovered how to build a capsule wardrobe and found out what you need one now, it's time to get started. Head to your wardrobe and start sifting through it. Good luck everyone!

Taken Colleen's advice but realised you're missing the piece to pull your new capsule wardrobe together? Take a look on the Online Shop, who knows what could be waiting for you! 

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Blog post written by Colleen Branch

fashion blogger

More by Colleen Branch