Capsuling Your Wardrobe: Maximizing on minimal pieces

capsuling your wardrobe

…I know what you are thinking. “What does that even mean?” Good question! I was in the same boat, i.e. are we going back in time with our clothing, or something? Beyond the name, this concept has completely changed my closet game and it can change yours too.

While scrolling on Pinterest one night, I was looking up how to organize my closet better. This is when I came across”Capsuling your Wardrobe”. This concept takes a minimalist approach on what you keep in your closet and how you can make numerous outfits with a little amount. One article talked about how capsuling your wardrobe can be good for you if you:

Find yourself saying, “I have nothing to wear.” Or, you like to shop for new pieces yet nothing seems to go together.

Or maybe you simply need to clean your closet out. Yes, yes, and yes.

After reading many articles on this concept, I realized it’s not an exact science on how much you keep in your closet, but more about working with “staple” pieces. This concept also helps you truly define your style and become a better shopper because of it.

Step 1 isn’t fun but it’s definitely mandatory.

Step 1: Physically pull everything out of your closet and group into four piles.
Pile 1:
 “Yes, I love this.”
Pile 2: “I like it, but it’s just okay. It doesn’t fit me the best.”
Pile 3: “I haven’t worn this in forever.”
Pile 4:
“This item is not in good condition.”

Pile 1 is for keeps. Go ahead an put this pile back in your closet. Color coordinate and organize by sleeve length if you really want to go all out (or are just OCD like me).

Pile 2. Put in a box for a month. Any item you don’t go back to pull out for use during that month gets donated. *Please note when I did this for myself, I only went through my spring and summer wardrobe. Obviously this wouldn’t apply if I had fall/winter clothing in here. The point of Pile 2 is to be brutally honest with yourself. If you don’t love it and you aren’t reaching for it for an entire month, then why are you keeping it? 

Pile 3: Donate it or give to friends.
Pile 4: Trash it.

Okay so now the hard part is done. Your closet is looking better but much smaller. Now what?

Categorize to create versatility

Not all articles touched on categorizing, but I thought it was helpful. Categorizing teaches you to find what works well with other items. For each area of clothing (tops, bottoms, shoes, etc.) you will divide your items into three categories.

  • Casual/Basics: Everyday mix & match. Paired well with other items. Spruced up with accessories.
  • In-Between: Typically good for work but could be worn for a night out with the right pairing.
  • Statement: Think floral, pattern, or print. Doesn’t have to be fancy but colors/patterns should work well with other items in the closet. (i.e. striped shirt with jean jacket)

Categorizing example:

Let’s start with tops. Do your tops pair well with cardigans, blazers or other jackets? Why or why not? Maybe you have super colorful tops AND super colorful sweaters, jackets, etc. Do you need to invest in more neutral basics? This was my favorite step. It helped me realized I had stuff I liked, but not things that worked well with other pairings, which is why I always felt like I had nothing to wear.

Vision Board

I debated putting this step ahead of categorizing, but it’s helpful to know what you have first. The vision board is to help you collect ideas on what you like as well as analyzing pieces you already own to come up with new outfit ideas. Keeping “categories” in mind, start pinning your favorite outfits. What do they have in common? Also, is there a color scheme and how do these colors work with one another? One of my favorite examples on my board is of a striped shirt. Personally, I never realized how many outfits could go with a striped shirt. Below is the example on my Pinterest board so you can visually see how this works.

What do these boards have in common? You’ll notice they have a layering piece and a statement piece of some sort. Something else I noticed was that each item the striped shirt is paired with can be considered a staple item of it’s own (such as the jean jacket, the work blazer, the white pants, the black pants, etc.). Therefore all of these pieces can then be paired with another basic, in-between, or statement piece. See how your closet is already forming together?

It wasn’t until I did the vision board that I really understood how the capsule wardrobe is supposed to work. After you have your vision board done, you can really see what items you may want to invest in.

My Wardrobe

I realized I had a lot of items I liked separately, but I needed more basics and statements to add to my wardrobe to feel like I had other options. Below are the items I came up with to eventually purchase:

  • A jean jacket (still searching)
  • A striped shirt (Found one at Target)
  • A black maxi (found this one at Target)
  • Statement shoes (still on the hunt for leopard flats)
  • White Jeans (found these at Nordstrom Rack)
  • Leather Jacket (still searching)

Now obviously this does not mean you have to go out and buy your missing items all at once. However, after making my vision board, I found myself saying “If I did have that Jean Jacket, it would pair so well with my black dress. Even though I just wore it out with friends, the jacket will change up the look.” That my friends, is the point of capsuling your closet.

Key Takeaways

After “capsuling my closet”, I realized I could look at my closet differently by knowing I could wear something I loved more often but in a different way. I now don’t feel like I need to go to a store to buy something just “for that one occasion”.

The point isn’t to take away the fun of shopping; it’s about shopping smart, knowing your closet, and reasonably asking yourself “what else in my closet can I wear this with?”

If you really love to shop, start shopping for the statement pieces. This could be a clutch, your jewelry,  or a pop of color in shoes.

Below is another example from my Pinterest board. Here you can see some basic staples and the variety of ways you can wear throughout the seasons. This is that statement piece can really change up the look!

There you have it! Capsuling Your Wardrobe 101. Let me know on Instagram if you decide to try it out yourself! You can also search “Capsule Your Wardrobe” on Pinterest where there are some amazing outfit combination ideas to get some inspiration from!

Also, if you all ever have any requests for upcoming posts, let me know on there as well! My handle is @Brittbehindthescenes

Until next time,


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