What to include in your Capsule Wardrobe
January 20, 2016
If you’re interested in creating a capsule wardrobe (read 10 reasons why you should create a capsule wardrobe), one of your biggest questions will be what to include in your capsule wardrobe. When I created my first capsule I wanted a list of everything I would need, basically someone to tell me what I should include in my wardrobe. The problem with this is you are the only person who knows your lifestyle and what you want to wear. There is no point in following a list if it includes things you will never wear. The whole point of a capsule wardrobe is it is individual to you and built around your lifestyle
Try not to focus too much on the exact numbers as it needs to be individual to you, I would set a maximum (for example 45) which you will stay under, but as long as you have less than this don’t fixate on having the perfect number. For you first capsule wardrobe you will probably want slightly more pieces as the change can feel very drastic so having a little more clothes can provide some comfort. I have chosen a lot less for my current wardrobe than I did for my first. I think this is because I have become more comfortable with living with less stuff.
However having said that, having a basic list of how many tops and bottoms etc is very useful when building your first capsule wardrobe.
So what should you include in your capsule wardrobe?
Include all of the clothes and shoes you wear outside the house. This includes what you wear to work, to go shopping, out to dinner etc. Make sure the pieces you decide to include are suitable for the weather (where you live), fit you well, work with your lifestyle and are items you love and enjoy wearing. (Have a look at my winter capsule wardrobe to help get you started)
For Example, a 36 item capsule wardrobe might include:
- 16 tops (includes jumpers, t-shirts and shirts)
- 6 Bottoms (includes jeans, trousers and skirts)
- 3 Coats
- 4 Dresses
- 7 Shoes (include boots, flats and heels)
As I’ve already said your capsule wardrobe is individual to you and this list is just to help get you started. If you prefer wearing dresses every day, you may want to include more dresses and reduce the number of tops and bottoms. Similarly, if shoes are your thing you might want to swap a couple of tops or dresses for extra pairs of shoes. In the summer months, you may only want one lightweight jackets and a couple more tops or dresses.
It’s Up To You!!
What NOT to include in your Capsule Wardrobe
Deciding what NOT to include in your capsule wardrobe can be as important as deciding what to include. As a general rule if you don’t wear it outside the house it should not be part of your capsule wardrobe.
- Underwear – pretty obvious really, but don’t count your underwear as part of your capsule wardrobe. I count the plain vests and camis I wear underneath my sweaters as underwear, as I wouldn’t wear them out alone. If I would wear a layering piece alone it is counted in the capsule.
- Lounge Wear – if it’s just for wearing indoors then don’t count it in your capsule wardrobe. I have a few old hoodies and sweats which I wear about the house in the evening which I would not wear outside the house so they don’t count. Ask yourself if you would wear it to the supermarket, if not then it doesn’t count.
- PJ’s – if you wear it to sleep, then it doesn’t count.
- Workout Gear – yes you may wear this out of the house, but the clothes you wear to work out don’t count in your capsule wardrobe.
- Weather Gear – if have a set of waterproofs and walking boots which I wear for walking the dog. I decided not to count these in my capsule wardrobe as I don’t wear them for anything other than walking the dog. I also left my wellie boots out with the capsule but they are available if I need them.
- Accessories – this one is up to you, but I don’t include accessories like bags, scarves and jewellery as part of my capsule wardrobe. I find that accessories can completely change the look of an outfit and would like to have a few choices.
- Special Occasion Clothing – this is your cocktail dresses and pretty heeled shoes which you don’t wear in your everyday life. For example, it’s useful to have a couple of smarter dresses just in case you receive a last minute invite. If you already know you have a special event over the next few months it would be up to you whether or not to include your outfit in your capsule. I would say it depends on the occasion, I would include clothes for a birthday party but wouldn’t include a dress for a wedding.
You don’t need many of the items listed above, so don’t use it not counting in the capsule as an excuse to buy more. I would suggest having enough underwear to get through the week without a wash, a couple of pairs of PJ’s, one or two loungewear pieces and 2/3 workout tops and 1 bottom (depending on how often you workout). You can create a mini capsule collection of accessories and jewellery to go alongside your main capsule.
Someone asked me on Twitter what I would do with sentimental items, for example, your grandma’s old dresses. If you wear these items regularly add them to your capsule wardrobe. If you don’t wear them, but don’t want to get rid of them that’s fine. You could store them away, but then these beautiful dresses wouldn’t be seen which, is such a shame. One idea is to frame the dresses, so you can display them. You could also hang them on your wardrobe doors or on a hook on the wall – if you’re lucky enough to have a separate room for your clothes this would be a great way to decorate.