How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe

How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe. It used to be kind a of a niche concept for especially minimalist and ethical shoppers, but now capsule wardrobes have made their way into the mainstream. And it's no wonder. A nice, minimalist wardrobe is a great way to cut down on excess and focus your efforts on shopping more ethically when you actually need something. Plus, it frees up some mental energy you spend picking outfits every morning. Read on to learn everything you need to know about creating a capsule wardrobe.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

So, what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? In short, a capsule wardrobe is a mini closet where you love and wear everything in it. In the world of endless style options and constantly-changing trends, capsule wardrobes are gaining traction because of an increased desire for simplicity and timeless staples that we truly love. A capsule wardrobe includes all the basics of any wardrobe (tops, bottoms, shoes, accessories, etc.), but is curated by you to include only items that you feel good in, and that match your style. 

Why Create a Capsule Wardrobe?

Less Stress

We make about 35,000 decisions everyday, and every one of those takes a little bit from us. So why not take a little stress off our brains first thing in the morning by making the outfit picking process a little easier? Limiting our options cuts down on decision fatigue and actually encourages our brains to be more creative!

You'll Feel Better

You know that feeling when you put on your favorite pair of jeans or night out dress? The aim of a capsule wardrobe is to feel that way every day! When you know your style, and know the kinds of clothes that make you look and feel good, that kind of feel-good-in-my-clothes-all-the-time lifestyle is possible!

Easier Shopping

When you really know the kind of fabrics, cuts, colors, and brands you like, shopping is so much easier! You cut down on guesswork and on impulse sale purchases that you'll regret and throw out later. And speaking of which...

Save Money

A capsule wardrobe actually saves money by reminding us to shop more conscientiously. We're buying fewer pieces, investing in pieces that will last and that we'll wear regularly, and cutting down on impulse purchases that are going to collect dust in our closets anyway.

More Sustainable

The simple equation is that the more clothes we buy, the more clothes end up in a landfill. Shopping more conscientiously means we can focus on buying fewer, better, and more ethically-made clothes that are good for the environment and good for the people who made them.

Capsule Wardrobe Checklist

A cut and dried checklist for a capsule wardrobe is tough. We all have different needs based on our lifestyles and preferences. So, just to get you thinking, below is a general list of what to think through, as well as how many of each item you'll want to consider keeping in your closet. 

  • Tops - 9
  • Bottoms - 5
  • Shoes - 5
  • Sweaters/jackets - 4
  • Heavy jackets - 2
  • Scarves/hats - 4

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe—Step by Step

You can find a million different guides and formulas out there for how to create this minimalist wardrobe and what to include, but we think those are a little too complicated. The point of creating a capsule wardrobe is to create a closet of clothes you actually love to wear—so let’s make you a wardrobe like that.
So how do you start a capsule wardrobe? It’s easier than you might think. 

1. Think about what you already wear. 

What clothes do you already have that you love—you know that “wear first after laundry day” outfit? What kind of clothes do you need for your primary activities and for your free time? 

You’re trying to think: what kind of clothes do I need to keep in my “love it and wear it all the time” closet?

2. Go through everything in your closet and make 2 piles: 

  • I love it and wear it all the time, or 
  • I don’t love it and/or don’t wear it all the time. 

Put everything you only wear occasionally, are always making excuses not to wear, don’t quite fit into, never can find the right occasion for, or just flat out don’t like in the second pile. Don’t worry! You don't have to get rid of anything! You can still keep all these things, they just need to go in a different place and not clutter up your “love it and wear it all the time” closet.

3. Look at your piles. 

See that “I love it and wear it all the time” pile? What similarities do you notice? Certain styles, lengths, necklines? Particular colors, fabrics, brands? Notice why you love the clothes you love. This will help you cut down on unnecessary spending on stuff you don’t wear. Put that “I love this” stuff back in your closet and that “don’t love” pile somewhere else. Go back through that “don’t love it” stuff after a few months. You may want to pull something back out and stick it in your closet, or it may have lost its luster and be ready to donate. 

4. Consider your color palette.

In order to make your capsule wardrobe endlessly mix-and-matchable, a lot of capsule wardrobe pros recommend specifying a capsule wardrobe color palette. This means trimming down the number of neutrals, complementary colors, and statement colors/patterns you want to use. Choose 2 or 3 neutrals to focus on like black, grey, white, cream, tan. etc. Then focus on complementary colors like blush, pale blue, navy, wine, etc. Finally, choose your favorite statement colors or patterns like teal, coral, gold, florals, and stripes. 

You get the picture. You can find lots of tools out there to help you decide what colors work for you (like whether you're a "summer" or an "autumn"), but only you can decide what you like and what you feel good in. Choose colors and patterns like that. The step of choosing your color palette is completely optional, but it can be helpful to consider, especially if you need to buy anything to fill out your wardrobe. And speaking of which...

5. Make a wishlist and only buy what you need. 

DoneGood is all about sustainability—we don’t want you to buy stuff you don’t need. But, in looking through your closet, you may find that it’s time to get some new items that fit right or better go with your lifestyle. And if you need to buy new stuff anyway, get stuff that’s ethically-made—with processes that are great for people and the planet! Here are a few DoneGood products that we think are great for a women's or men's capsule wardrobe...

Women's Tops

capsule wardrobe tops 

  Organic Cotton Essential T-Shirt                          Two-Way Tank

  indigenous sweater

                The Evolve Top                                   Mesh Pullover Sweater


Women's Bottoms

 capsule wardrobe jeans
             Essential Riding Pant                            Sasha High Rise Flare
kyla skirt etica madder root shorts groceries apparel

                      Kyla Skirt                                                Kazuko Shorts




                Chrysalis Cardi                                      The Chelsey Dress

 capsule wardrobe jumpsuits

        Sleeveless Crossover Dress                            Jaipur Jumpsuit


Women's Jackets

  Madison jacket toasted coconut

                    Hunter Jacket                                   The Madison Jacket

Nina jacket Anntarah  essential knit cardigan indigenous

                     Nina Jacket                                      Essential Knit Cardigan


Men's Shirts

short sleeve henley pistol lake stretch Terry hoodie pistol lake
    Minimalist Short Sleeve Henley                    Stretch Terry Hoodie

men's capsule wardrobe shirts men's capsule wardrobe shirts

                Paco Hemp Crew                                         Haystack

Men's Pants & Shorts

men's capsule wardrobe pants men's capsule wardrobe pants

                Minimalist Joggers                       5 Pocket Mission Ridge Pant

Marco short Majamas Earth all around shorts pistol lake

                   The Marco Short                                 All-Around Short

Creating a capsule wardrobe can be a simple way to cut some stress out of your life, as well as save some money and live more sustainably. Even better, creating a capsule wardrobe doesn't necessitate that you buy anything, figure out your color palette, or make long lists of the kind of clothes you have or need.

Notice the clothes you like to wear, wear those clothes more often, and push aside anything that's just cluttering up your closet. You're well on your way to a closet that you'll love very soon!



Erin King
DoneGood Contributor

Writer, editor, and all-around language enthusiast who uses her love of words to help others.



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