clothes on hangers

Minimalism is having a comeback. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of pieces that you absolutely love that can be interchanged, worn to most occasions and is completely self-contained.

Each item is accounted for and serves a purpose. You should be able to pluck a piece from your capsule wardrobe and feel great putting it on at any time.

For most women, owning only a capsule wardrobe is a pipe dream. They’re difficult to maintain, because it means buying nothing (or very little) or getting rid of an item every time you buy a new one. And if you live in a house or an apartment, there’s no real reason to limit yourself to such a small wardrobe.

On the other hand, if you’re traveling, a capsule wardrobe is a great idea. It means that everything you own fits in one bag (preferably a carry-on) and because everything is interchangeable, you’ll be able to spend less time figuring out what to wear and more time exploring your destination.

Building a capsule wardrobe takes some work, though, and you’ll probably have to try it a few times before you get it just right. But that’s okay, because when you finally do, you won’t have to worry about what you’ll take on a trip. You can just pack it all up and throw it in your bag.


Finding a Theme

The trick to building a capsule wardrobe is having a set number of pieces that can all be matched with each other. A great way to achieve this is by setting a theme for your wardrobe.

clothes on hangers

Maybe you like clean colors and tend to stick to neutrals, or perhaps you prefer bold prints. Either way, you have to find pieces that go together. Pick a color palette and stick to it, preferably with no more than 5 colors, including your neutrals (like jeans or a black skirt).


Take the Season Into Account

What your wardrobe will include will obviously depend on the season. Some people prefer to keep a few staple pieces as the core of their wardrobe and switch out seasonal pieces. For example, keeping a nice pair of black leggings throughout the year but switching out summer dresses for jackets when the weather gets cooler.

hat and sandals

Image via Stocksnap (CC0 1.0)

If you’re going on vacation, take into account the weather in your destination. Account for a few degrees cooler and warmer than the forecast predicts and build that into your capsule wardrobe.


Building the Wardrobe

Your capsule wardrobe can include as many or as few pieces as you like, there is no magic number. But to get you started, you can pick 40 of your favorite pieces, give or take a few, and count on that fitting into a carry on suitcase.

duffle bag

Image via Stocksnap (CC0 1.0)

If you still have to narrow down the collection, you can start with the “3” rule, meaning pick 3 of each piece, one casual, one statement and one in-between. From there, you can just do what works best for you.

Fitting it Into a Carry-On

You can fit a surprising amount of clothing into a carry-on, especially if you pack it efficiently. Rolling your clothes are a great way to prevent wrinkles and utilize every inch of space in your bag.

Suitcase with striped clothes and accessories in a marine style

Packing cubes are also fabulous for keeping your wardrobe organized and compact. You can purchase packing cubes for each portion of your wardrobe, and will then be able to identify all your tops, bottoms, underthings, etc. at a simple glance.

There are no rules for a capsule wardrobe and creating it should be fun!