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Capsule Wardrobes: Will They Work for You?

May 26, 2015

You don’t have to be on Pinterest long to come across the newest thing in fashion: the Capsule Wardrobe. All of a sudden it’s not about how much you have…but how little.

We've all been there: a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear. Sure, we have that handful of staple pieces that we couldn't possibly live without, but the rest of our wardrobes can go untouch...

photo courtesy:

This method of dressing isn’t entirely new. It’s essentially the ‘secret’ of looking French. It’s also how New Yorkers have been able to look so fashionable while dealing with miniature closet spaces. While the motives for having a smaller wardrobe can vary anywhere from money restrictions to efficiency, a capsule closet can work for almost anyone.


Before we really get started here, it’s probably a good idea to define what a capsule wardrobe is. Different people have ‘defined’ it in different ways, but it’s simply a wardrobe that consists of a limited number of pieces. Courtney from Project 333 says that it’s 33 items in your wardrobe not including sleepwear, workout gear, and lingerie. That number does, however, include shoes, jewelry, and accessories. Some minimalism advocates got really excited during their closet purges and practice a 10 item wardrobe. However, most stylists and fashion gurus will say that the number of items (usually between 10 and 40) is less important than finding clothes that are well made and flattering. Which brings me to the whole point of the capsule wardrobe: have less and have better. Instead of having 20 pairs of jeans that kind of fit, you have two pair that are fantastic. Same goes for shirts, skirts, etc. Everything can seamlessly mix and match with everything else and you’ll never be complaining of having ‘nothing to wear’.

For many women, the idea of adopting a capsule wardrobe is much the same as telling your boss how terrible they are and leaving the company in triumph. It sounds fun and exciting in a daring, I-would-love-to-but-I-wouldn’t-actually-do-it sort of way. Like some far off rebellion that you may take part in one day when you feel like it…maybe once you don’t like clothes so much. If the thought of throwing out all of your clothes and accessories is liberating…a capsule wardrobe may be for you. If it’s absolutely terrifying and tear inducing…maybe not.

How to know if a capsule wardrobe will work for you:

1. You wear similar clothes to work as you do for leisure. Is your dress code business casual? Do you find yourself always dressing up on the weekends (just like during the work week?) You would benefit from a capsule wardrobe. If your life takes you totally polar opposite directions- think high profile attorney during the week and gardening/horse riding enthusiast during the weekend…this type of dressing may not work as well for you.

2. You often feel overwhelmed while getting dressed. We’ve all done it at some point or the other. You stand in the entrance of your closet with 15 minutes to get ready and None. And this happens a lot. If this is you, you definitely need to consider a capsule wardrobe.

3. You’re not in the public eye. If Michelle Obama wore the same 10 items all the time, we’d know it. And while I would think that was cool, I’m not sure anyone else would. The same goes for anyone on TV and any other sector where they get lots of facetime with the public. If you’re not in the public eye (I’m willing to bet that’s most of us) capsule wardrobes are a go.

4. On a scale of 1 (least enthusiastic about fashion) to 10 (most enthusiastic) you rank a 7 or below. To be clear, just because you aren’t super enthusiastic about fashion doesn’t mean that you don’t care about how you look. You simply don’t care about every new trend that surfaces and when fashion week happens you don’t lose sleep at night. Just like a gourmet chef likes to have every specific knife and gadget in his kitchen, a fashionista may like more options than 4o items. Likewise, someone who enjoys cooking, but isn’t a gourmet chef, needs that third oven and 8 burner stove just as much as a 5 on the above scale needs 20 pairs of shoes.

Anyone could have a capsule wardrobe, but it really does work better for some than others. The key is knowing what your lifestyle and habits are and forming a wardrobe that caters to them. Here are several capsule wardrobe examples (links to each blog under the pictures) that I pulled off Pinterest:

My all seasons capsule wardrobe / spring 2015

Try this: take out 10 things from your closet and sell them on Poshmark (or consign them) for $10 a piece. Take that $100 and buy one new, nice item.

Capsule Wardrobe on a budget #capsule wardrobe

This is just one of the many capsule collections I found that had some color. Depending on your level of ability matching patterns and colors- you don’t have to be limited to an oatmeal wardrobe!


How To Create Capsule Wardrobes - very useful when packing for travel

I love how sophisticated this whole palette is.

Project 333 Summer Capsule Collection

Anne tells her story about why she decided to take the 333 challenge (in 3 months consolidate your wardrobe to only 33 items). I love how she does it on a budget and also takes into account crazy weather changes of Massachusetts. Read her story here:

Starting new things is hard. That’s why, later this week, I’ll walk you through the whole closet cleanout process and show you exactly how to start moving towards a capsule collection (and, if you are not a capsule wardrobe type of person- you’ll at least pick up some good tips on cleaning out your closet.)

Until then, what’s your opinion on the capsule wardrobe? I’d love to hear!



3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2015 9:57 pm

    Wonderful post to read Bucky, I love seeing how people have taken to the Capsule Wardrobe idea. Thank you for sharing.
    Best wishes with your blogging,
    Mia @


  1. Tackling the Capsule Wardrobe | Bucky [the blog]

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