Design Your Capsule Wardrobe
This is part of our series on Building a Capsule Wardrobe. In this post we'll be talking about designing your ideal capsule wardrobe.
Here is the full list of posts in this series:
9 - Shop thoughtfully
We'll be building on the previous posts, so I recommend doing exercises 1-4 first so that you can envision the big picture for your wardrobe. Starting from a point where you know your style and what you want to wear every day, you can much more successfully fill in the details of what makes up your capsule wardrobe. It's hard to create a cohesive wardrobe without a plan, so allowing yourself the space to get some clarity and inspiration for your closet before jumping in is key.
We've also created a super helpful worksheet that you can download for free below!
FINALIZE YOUR PINTEREST BOARD
Based on the past exercises, you should have a "Wardrobe Style Guide" Pinterest board made up of outfits you love, that you would actually wear. We're going to use this to create "outfit recipes" that will turn into your capsule wardrobe.
You already pinned outfits that inspire your style. Just to double check, think about outfits in your wardrobe that you already love to wear, and make sure they're on your "Wardrobe Style Guide" Pinterest board. If not, search for them on Pinterest (ie striped top with boyfriend jeans) and add the pins you like to the board.
Make sure that the board contains outfits that will suit your lifestyle, that you will actually wear. Also, make sure the "hero" pieces (that always fit like a glove) are represented, and that the "villian" pieces (that you never feel great in) are not. Lastly, scan through and think about the colors you want in your wardrobe, and see if you can have those represented as well. Add/delete where necessary to finalize your Pinterest Board.
Your board will change over time, but you can use what you have now to build your capsule wardrobe. As an example, here's mine as of late.
FIND REPEAT ITEMS
Next, see if the outfits on your board are using the same item in multiple outfits. For example, you could have a collared white shirt with jeans, with a midi skirt, sticking out from below a dress, etc. This should usually happen naturally, since we gravitate towards certain items more than others. However, if you don't have many repeat items, pick out five items you really love and that are really versatile, and go back into Pinterest and find different outfits that incorporate those items (that you would like to wear) and pin them to your board. They don't have to be the exact same item, but can be something general like a "bright cardigan" for instance.
MAKE A LIST OF "OUTFIT RECIPES"
Next, go through your "Wardrobe Style Guide" Pinterest board and make a list of the outfits that you would really feel great wearing every day. Write out 20-30 outfits that are the most versatile, and that use repeat items. You can also write out just 15 outfits from pinterest images, and then use the items in those outfits to create new outfits for your list. So, if you have written "culottes + white tee + leather jacket" and "floral dress + sandals," you can add "floral dress + leather jacket." But only add outfits that you would actually want to wear. If you're not sure, you can look the outfits up on pinterest to get a visual. For example, I created a list of all the outfits I like below:
- Culottes + perfect white tee + leather jacket + white sneakers
- Vintage jeans + perfect white tee + flats
- Culottes + cropped sweater + booties
- Culottes + off the shoulder top + heel
- White lace dress with sleeves + leather jacket + black booties
- Black boho dress with sleeves + sandals/booties
- Faux fur coat + perfect white tee + vintage jeans + booties
- Printed long sleeve dress + sandals/booties
- Bell sleeve blouse + dark skinny jeans + flats
- Off the shoulder top + a line skirt
- Off the shoulder top + pleated midi skirt
- White lace top + pleated midi skirt
- Cropped sweater + pleated skirt
- Cropped sweater + wrap skirt
- Cami + leather jacket + dark skinny jeans
- Cami + slouchy cardigan + dark skinny jeans
- Vintage tee + faux fur coat + dark skinny jeans
- Oversized sweater + black jeans
- Tshirt dress + long cardigan
- Jeans + tshirt + long cardigan
- Jeans + vintage tshirt + long cardigan
- Pleated skirt + cropped sweater + leather jacket
- Leather jacket + jeans + tshirt + blanket scarf (wine color, boho)
- Wrap dress + booties
- Black jeans + oversized sweater + leopard flats
- Pleated skirt + crop top + heels
- Striped tee + black jeans + sandals
- Striped tee + oversized coat + dark skijeans
- Culottes + crop top + sandals
- White lace top + leather jacket + dark skinny jeans
WRITE OUT YOUR CAPSULE ITEMS
Now, write out every item from that list individually. It sounds like it would take a long time, but it should only take 10 minutes or so. There should be a lot of overlap at this point, since you've narrowed down your style quite a bit in the previous exercises, and you're focusing on using the same items in different outfits. You will probably have about 20-40 items listed. If you have a lot more, cut some out and try to make more outfits using repeat items.
Now, go through the list and add more details. For example, maybe you wrote "jeans" but you will want to put "dark skinny jeans." Also, add color to the descriptions that tie back to your wardrobe color palette.
Next, go through and separate the list into categories (ie outerwear, tops, sweaters). That way you can see if there's anything you've missed, or if you have enough tops vs bottoms, etc. You can also add in some key accessories at this point, if you didn't put them in your original list. Add in the accessories that you wear regularly and that would look good with the outfits on your list. You can also look back at your "Wardrobe Style Guide" Pinterest board and add new accessories. Or you can keep your accessories off the list, and make them "unlimited."
Now you have a master capsule wardrobe list! If you want, you can later break it down into a seasonal or semi-annual capsule wardrobe (ie fall/winter, spring/summer). It's up to you.
Here's an example of my capsule wardrobe (all seasons):
- Perfect white tee
- Black off the shoulder top
- Long sleeve floral bell sleeve blouse
- Wine colored silk cami
- Black vintage band tee
- White crop top
- Black and white striped 3/4 sleeve tee
- Dark denim skinny jeans
- Black skinny jeans
- Black culottes
- Medium wash vintage levis
- Leopard print a-line skirt
- Pleated peach midi skirt
- Navy wrap skirt
- Black boho dress with sleeves
- White lace dress with sleeves
- Black printed long sleeve dress
- Black tshirt dress
- Floral print wrap dress
- Grey cropped sweater
- Black cropped sweater
- Black slouchy cardigan
- Oversized grey sweater
- Grey long cardigan
- Vintage leather jacket
- Taupe faux fur coat
- Black wool oversized coat
- Black puffy coat
- White sneakers
- Black booties
- Nude stacked heel
- Nude sandals
- Black flats
- Leopard flats
- Wine colored boho printed blanket scarf
- Long gold tassel necklace
- Dainty layered gold chokers
- Geometric stud earrings
- Silver & turquoise stackable rings
- Black thick sweater infinity scarf
With these 40 items, I can build an infinite amount of outfits that I'm excited about. They aren't just individual items that I like, they make up a cohesive wardrobe that's build on my style, lifestyle, and color preferences. Because of that, they can mix and match really easily, and make getting dressed every day more enjoyable!
You don't have to throw out everything in your closet that's not on this capsule wardrobe list. It can be a capsule within a larger closet. Even if you don't think you can live with just 30-40 pieces in your closet, there's so much you can learn from capsule wardrobes, because they help you think of your closet as a cohesive whole and be more thoughtful and strategic when you shop.
However, it does help to weed out some of the things in your closet that are adding clutter, so that it's easier to see what you have. We'll be talking about that in the next post!
This is part of our series on Building a Capsule Wardrobe. Here is the full list of posts in this series:
9 - Shop thoughtfully
PS - We'd love for you to keep reading, and download our free worksheet below to follow along. It’s a great asset to print out and keep handy as you're building your wardrobe!