What Is A Capsule Wardrobe? How To Build One This Season

Capsule wardrobe featuring minimalist clothing

Living a minimalist life has its benefits. Without too much clutter, you can focus on the things in life that are more important, and prioritize your goals. When it comes to your wardrobe, a minimalist closet means less shopping and spending on unnecessary items, and less time agonizing over what to wear. Not to mention the most important aspect of owning fewer clothing items: less impact on the environment.

Textile waste is a huge global problem, especially with synthetic fibers like polyester clogging landfills and releasing microplastics into our water supply. Buying less ultimately means throwing away less, and if you buy the right items, hopefully you can stop tossing your clothes altogether. The first step to this minimalist wardrobe philosophy is to create a capsule wardrobe.

We think the best fiber for a capsule wardrobe is cotton: it’s natural, easy to wash, and never goes out of style. If you do ever decide to refresh your wardrobe, cotton clothes are better for the environment because they biodegrade, or you can always recycle or donate your clothes. Keep reading to learn how to make this responsible switch.

What is a capsule wardrobe? Basically, it’s a collection of thirty or so basic, classic, versatile pieces of clothing that can be mixed and matched for any occasion, and that all look good together. The idea is to cut down on clothes you don’t need or don’t wear, and focus on those high-quality, timeless pieces you’ll get the most use from. All of the pieces in your capsule wardrobe should work together seamlessly.

If this seems scary to you, don’t get too nervous! You can always add a few trendy items into this capsule wardrobe, to spice it up every season. One very important thing to consider when building your capsule wardrobe is fiber ingredients. Quality items of clothing are made from quality fibers, and we don’t mean synthetics like polyester or rayon. Cotton’s versatility, breathability, and timeless look make it the fiber that’s tailor-made (pun intended) for your capsule wardrobe.

How To Create a Capsule Wardrobe: Start with the Basics

Your capsule wardrobe needs will vary depending on your job and lifestyle. A business professional has different wardrobe needs than someone in a creative field, for example. You should also take into account travel habits; if you travel more than the average person, a capsule wardrobe is an easy way to cultivate more organized packing habits.

The first step to creating your capsule wardrobe is to declutter your current clothing. Anything that you can’t see ever wearing again, or anything you haven’t worn in the past twelve months, should be recycled or donated. Read our tips for a closet cleanse, and learn about how to recycle old jeans with our Blue Jeans Go Green program.

Now it’s time for the fun part: shopping! Here’s a list of items you’ll need for your new wardrobe.

Capsule Wardrobe Checklist for Women & Men

Women

2 - 3 Pants (black, navy, gray)

Dark Wash Jeans

White Jeans

2 Sweaters

3 - 5 Basic Tops

2 - 3 Button Down Shirts

2 Skirts

2 Basic Dresses

Black Blazer

Two-Piece Suit

Little Black Dress

Trench Coat

Wool Coat

Black Pumps

Nude Flats

Low-Heeled Sandals

Sneakers

Men

2 - 3 Pants (chinos, khakis)

Dark Wash Jeans

5 - 7 Neutral Shirts (henleys, buttondowns, polos, t-shirts)

2 - 3 Sweaters

2 Pairs of Dress Shoes (black and brown)

Trench Coat

Wool Coat

Two-Piece Suit

Boots

Sneakers

Blazer or Sport Coat

If you shop the right pieces, even if you invest more money in them, your capsule wardrobe should last you for years, instead of only one season. Breaking the habit of shopping fast fashion can be really tough, but it’s better for your bank account and your peace of mind, as well as for the environment. And one last piece of advice: check your fiber labels for cotton!

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