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How To Create A Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe For 2024

Learn all about how to create a minimalist capsule wardrobe, taking a few easy steps. Find out the many benefits of keeping a minimal amount of clothes and how it can save you time and money!

a simple minimalist capsule wardrobe made up of neutral colors and classic clothing items

Fully loaded closet but you struggle to know what to wear each day? Yep, I’ve been there. When you shop for clothes on a whim without being intentional about your wardrobe, you can end up with a lot of clothing that just doesn’t work well together.

Find out how to create a capsule wardrobe for kids with my free checklists!

Having purged my closet of anything I don’t feel comfortable or confident in has really helped me to figure out what I actually like to wear. Just because something is cute or on sale, doesn’t mean it will work for my body or have a proper place in my wardrobe!

A minimalist capsule wardrobe is basically a small collection of items you LOVE, that work well with each other to make multiple outfit combinations. It’s not hard to create one. All it takes is a mindset switch and a few simple steps!

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What is a minimalist capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothes that work well together, and when layered different ways can create different looks and outfits. It is usually made up of a limited number of basic versatile pieces with classic neutral colors and patterns.

A capsule wardrobe isn’t as much trendy as it is stylish. Style is timeless whereas trends come and go.

what are the benefits of having a minimalist capsule wardrobe?

easier to keep up on laundry

When you have fewer clothes in your closet, it forces you to keep up on your laundry. Because if you don’t, you aren’t going to have clothes to wear!

Check out my 10 tips for keeping up on your laundry pile.

time saver

Just think about all of the time you spend thinking about what you’re going to wear and trying on clothes to find something you feel confident in. Or the time you spend organizing your closets and searching for different items of clothing in your over packed wardrobe.

Having fewer options to choose from can eliminate that wasted time. When your wardrobe is made up of items that go together and you feel confident in, you’ll spend so much less time on decision making every day!

Less Space Taken up in Your Home

The less clothing you own, the less room needed to store them. Your closets don’t need to be overly stuffed and hard to navigate. And needless to say, it’s so much easier to keep your clothing organized when there is more space vs the stuff being stored.

Spend Less Money

When you’re limiting yourself to only keeping a minimal amount of clothing, you get pickier and more selective about what you spend your money on. You’ll find yourself sticking to tried and true brands instead of filling online carts with loads of clothes only to be disappointed in the quality or fit.

Quality Over Quantity

The goal for a minimalist closet is to have fewer items that are really good quality rather than a loaded wardrobe full of clothes that won’t last more than a year.

And because you’re saving money by buying less, you can afford to spend more on the right brands that will last for years to come and hold up to lots of use.

My favorite places to find timeless style and long lasting quality are J.CREW and Boden.

how to Build a minimalist capsule wardrobe:

1. decide how many outfits you want in your wardrobe

The first step is to make a capsule wardrobe plan.

There isn’t a one size fits all number of clothes you need for a capsule wardrobe. It’s going to depend a lot on your lifestyle.

Instead of focusing on how many of each clothing item you need, think in terms of complete outfits (minus the shoes).

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you decide on the number of outfits you need for your minimalist capsule wardrobe:

  • How many causal outfits do I wear in a week. How many dressy outfits?
  • Would I feel confident wearing the same week’s worth of outfits on repeat each week? How about every 2 weeks?
  • If you have a job outside the home, are you required to wear a uniform? How many uniforms do you need for a week?

2. go through your current wardrobe

Now it’s time to take stock of what you have in your closets and dresser. Empty out every article of clothing you own and divide it all up by type. Shirts, pants, skirts…

3. declutter what you don’t feel confident in

Pick up each item of clothing and ask yourself:

  1. Do I love, or even like this? (or as Marie Kondo says, “does it spark joy?“)
  2. Is it comfortable?
  3. Does this make me feel confident when I wear it?
  4. Does it compliment my body type?
  5. When was the last time I wore it? Has it been more than a couple months?

It’s time to let go of things that don’t pass the test. Start a donate or resell pile.

This comfy basic tee is one of my favorite budget friendly wardrobe staples.

4. see how many outfits you can make

After you’ve narrowed down your wardrobe to only items you feel good in, it’s time to make sure they work in a capsule wardrobe.

Lay out tops with bottoms, cardigans with outfits, etc. See how many outfits you can make.

Is there anything that doesn’t work with other items in your wardrobe? If you love the item enough to shop for coordinating clothing pieces that will work with it, then keep it. Otherwise, add it to your declutter pile.

5. fill in the gaps in your capsule wardrobe

Now that your wardrobe is made up of coordinating clothing items that you love, and that work well together, see if there are any gaps.

Are you needing a basic white t-shirt, a little black dress, a trench coat or a pair of neutral shoes? Add them to your “capsule wardrobe wish list” to budget for over the next few months or so.

Tips for success:

how to shop for quality clothing items

There are a few simple ways to make sure you’re getting higher quality items that will last longer:

  • Check the seams. Avoid clothes with seams that you can see through when they are stretched.
  • Feel the fabric. Is it thick enough that you can’t see through it? Does it feel comfortable to your skin?
  • Check for loose threads. If there are hanging threads, buttons, zippers and seams will start to come apart sooner than later.

identify your style

When you’re planning out your capsule wardrobe, it’s helpful to figure out “what your style is”.

Go through your closet and pull out your favorite items. What do you like about them? Is there a common theme?

Another great way to identify your personal style is to look up fashion mood boards on Pinterest. Choose a few images that you’re drawn to and save them to reference when you’re shopping for your wardrobe.

Take a style quiz with Stitch Fix.

layering your wardrobe

Layering clothes is a great way to create more outfit combinations out of a minimal capsule wardrobe.

A basic black dress can be made into ten or more different outfits by layering it different ways. Add a denim jacket and flats for a casual look, a suit jacket and heels for a dressy outfit, a cozy cardigan and rain boots for Fall…

When you’re shopping for layers, choose neutral tones that will match more than 2 of your base clothes.

timeless style rather than “in style”

A good capsule wardrobe can last for years so it’s best to avoid following current trends. When you shop for clothes, look for items that you could have worn 5-10 years ago without looking outdated or out of style. Classic pieces that will stand the test of time.

The classy way Kate Middleton dresses is a great example. She never dresses in a trendy way, but she is always admired for her timeless style.

how to save money on your capsule wardrobe

Here are a few ways to build a capsule wardrobe on a budget:

  • shop used online – search for tried and true brands at places like Poshmark or eBay
  • go thrifting – remembering to be intentional so you don’t bring home more than you actually need
  • shop end of season clearance – stalk your favorite shops in August and February for deeply discounted wardrobe staples for next year

what to do with clothes you don’t need

Here are a few options:

  • donate them to Goodwill or another thrift store
  • pass them on to a friend (make sure they can actually use them, first)
  • resell them at a consignment sale or on eBay, Poshmark or Facebook Marketplace
a simple minimalist capsule wardrobe made up of neutral colors and classic clothing items

FAQ about having a minimalist capsule wardrobe:

do you have to have a color scheme for a capsule wardrobe?

You definitely can go with a certain color palette to make things easier. But most of us don’t have the budget (or time) to go out and purchase an entire capsule wardrobe of matching clothes.

What’s more important than having a color scheme, is making sure each of your clothing items match at least 2 other items in your wardrobe. This way you can create several outfit combinations, making each piece more multifunctional.

If you love floral, for example. Decide whether you want floral tops or bottoms. If you buy both floral tops and bottoms, they will clash and you won’t be able to keep a minimalist wardrobe. The same goes for bright colors and other patterns.

how many clothes should be in a minimalist capsule wardrobe?

There isn’t a magic number of clothing items or one size fits all minimalist capsule wardrobe. It’s going to vary somewhat from one lifestyle to the next.

To figure out how many clothes you need for your wardrobe, ask yourself these questions:

  • How many causal outfits do I wear in a week. How many dressy outfits?
  • Would I feel confident wearing the same week’s worth of outfits on repeat each week? How about every 2 weeks?
  • If you have a job outside the home, are you required to wear a uniform? How many uniforms do you need for a week?

As a stay at home mom, I like to have 7 complete semi casual outfits in my wardrobe and 3 dressy outfits to choose from for Church and special occasions. The 7 casual outfits can be mixed and matched to create more variety so I end up with 15 or so different combinations.

If you want to have a really strict minimalist capsule wardrobe, you might be interested in reading about the 10 item wardrobe.

Of course you won’t be able to wear the same exact wardrobe in Summer and Winter. But some of your clothing items should be versatile enough to work for both seasons.

does it cost a lot to start a capsule wardrobe?

If you get rid of your current wardrobe and go out and buy all new clothes, it will definitely cost a lot. But you don’t have to do that!

After you’ve weeded out items you don’t feel confident in or that don’t match one or more other pieces in your wardrobe, see how many outfits you can make using what you already own.

If you still need certain pieces to fill out your capsule wardrobe, budget for those missing items over the next few months or years. Take your time to find things you will wear for years to come.

ideas of clothing staples for a capsule wardrobe:

Obviously not every capsule wardrobe is going to look the same since we all have a our own style, but here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • white shirt or blouse
  • white sneakers
  • neutral flats
  • trench coat
  • leather jacket
  • denim jacket
  • neutral colored short sleeve tees
  • soft chunky pullover
  • comfortable pair of classic jeans
  • neutral tank tops for layering
  • little black dress
  • neutral cardigan for layering
  • comfortable pencil skirt
a simple minimalist capsule wardrobe made up of neutral colors and classic clothing staples

More Minimalist Lifestyle Posts You Might Enjoy:

If you think having a minimalist capsule wardrobe is a good idea, I think you might enjoy these other posts for minimalist living!

I hope you found this post helpful in knowing how to create a minimal wardrobe. Would you add anything to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Pin these steps to try later. Tag @athomeontheprairie on Instagram to share what you’ve made with us!

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