Capsule Wardrobe 101: How and Why to Take the Plunge


In the last year I transitioned from working full-time out of the house to being a work from home mom. Previously, the weekends were the only time I wore casual clothes. Now that I am mostly working from home and have a one-year old, I wanted to find a fun and fast way to get dressed and embrace my more casual style. A wardrobe capsule was the perfect solution. Besides saving time and money, it can build confidence, reduce clutter and solve your daily what to wear dilemmas!


Wardrobe Capsule Definition

What is a wardrobe capsule, you ask? It’s a mini wardrobe made up of versatile pieces that you completely LOVE to wear.  You pick a certain number of pieces and wear them for three months, which is typically a season.  It’s my intention to have four capsules, one for each season, with some items overlapping for each one.  You want to pick pieces that are appropriate for the season, fit you today, and that are appropriate for your lifestyle.  If you need a separate wardrobe for work, I would suggest doing two capsules: one for work and one for the weekends.

Wardrobe Capsule Guidelines

There are about a million ways to do this and certainly no wrong or right way, but these are the guidelines I follow:

  • I donated a bunch of clothes I know I’m not going to wear again.  I literally tried on every piece of clothing in my closet! As I was trying things on, I separated and made piles of all of my clothes.  I donated anything that didn’t fit or that I hadn’t worn in years.
  • I packed and stored everything that is not in season.  I boxed up most of my pants and all of my heavy coats and sweaters.  Once we get closer to fall, I will swap them out and pack up my summer clothes.  Since I still travel up to Seattle once a month for work, my suits are still easily accessible and are not packed away.
  • I paired down my closet to just 40 pieces of clothing (including shoes). I chose the number 40, because I thought it was a nice round number and still gives me a good variety of choices.  I also didn’t pick an even number of any particular type of clothing.  In my capsule I have: 27 tops, 3 pairs of pants, 5 pairs of shorts, and 5 pair of shoes.  I would adjust the ratio to whichever piece of clothing you like best or do even numbers to be more rounded.  It’s obvious that I love tops!  I’m not really a casual dress or skirt person, so I didn’t include any in my capsule.
  • I excluded sport/team shirts, workout clothes, accessories, pajamas, under garments, and cocktail/special attire.  Since sport/team shirts, workout clothes and cocktail/special attire isn’t something I wear all the time, I excluded them.  College football is a big thing in my house, as my husband is a Duck and I’m a Beaver.  While I’ll wear a lot of OSU stuff during the fall, I won’t for the rest of the year.  I also have two weddings to go to this year, but I know I won’t wear whatever dress I choose more than once.  I do love accessories though, and I didn’t want to limit what jewelry and scarves I could and couldn’t wear.
  • I chose clothes that fit now and that I am excited to wear.  I’m a petite person, and it has always been difficult to find clothes that fit without having to be altered.  While I’ve been lucky to have lost most of my baby weight, my body also isn’t the same after having my son.  I’m not saddened by it, but I have learned to embrace letting go of things that don’t fit anymore.  It’s very refreshing to know that every piece in my capsule fits me now!

My 2015 Summer Wardrobe Capsule

Since I prefer to buy petite sizing, most of my clothes are from Ann Taylor or Ann Taylor Loft.  I’ve always been more of a neutrals/solid color girl, but I do love to mix in bright colors every once in a while.  Green is my favorite color and orange is a close second, so those colors tend to sneak in as well.

Summer Capsol Part 1

I typically love black, white, and grey, when it comes to clothes.  I surprised myself this last year, as I’ve really grown to like navy.  I noticed that I picked quite a bit of navy stuff for this capsule.  You can tell that all of my bottoms and shoes are the typical basics.

Summer Capsol Part 2

When creating my first capsule, I planned this as my summer one and hope that it will last through September.  If it starts to get colder in September, I may have to start my fall capsule early.  It’s so nice to put on clothes that I know I like and that will fit. In the past, getting dressed was four discarded outfits on the ground and I was still trying to decide on what to wear. Now, my choices are limited, but I like them. I know it’s going to fit and for the most part I know it’s going to match!

If you create a capsule wardrobe, let me know how it goes and add your tips in the comments below!


  1. I’m a stay at home mommy as well and I have found the capsule wardrobe to be invaluable. It just makes everything so easy. Plus, we have traveled quite a bit this summer and I can confidently pack less for myself knowing that it will all work together rather than having to lug around a ton of bags for my clothes and hers. Thanks for sharing!

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