Capsule wardrobes are not anything new, but they have recently taken over social media feeds, TikTok in particular. Style gurus and creators have made video after video about how creating a capsule wardrobe is the secret to getting dressed in the morning. Each piece is interchangeable and versatile, leaving you with multiple outfit options with only a small number of pieces.
Though the capsule wardrobe concept is centered around simplicity, starting one from scratch can feel overwhelming and complicated especially when transitioning from season to season.
Ahead we chat with professional stylist and content creator, Audree Lopez, about what a capsule wardrobe is, how to customize it to your specific style, and what pieces to add for the upcoming winter season.
What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?
“A capsule wardrobe is a wardrobe where you can easily interchange each piece to maximize the amount of outfits you can create,” Lopez says.
Capsule wardrobes believe in the power of the staple. They lean into stocking up on high-quality basics that are built to last and be worn multiple times a week.
“Typically the goal of a capsule wardrobe is to have a more condensed closet where you have pieces for every occasion without owning an excessive amount of clothing or owning pieces you can only wear once or for a special occasion.”
How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe
Believe it or not, starting a capsule wardrobe is not an excuse to go on a shopping spree. In fact, it will probably mean doing a closet clean out. Instead of blindly buying a ton of new pieces, Lopez advises starting by creating a wardrobe around your favorite items in your closet.
“Go through and pick out the top items you wear in each category: T-shirts, long sleeves, button-ups, jeans, jewelry, and the list goes on,” she says. Select your favorites, and discard anything you haven’t reached for in the past year.
Instead of following cookie cutter rules, factor in your personal style. If you prefer dresses to trousers, make sure to keep more of those. “Try to pick your top three to five items in each category. From there, make a list of items that you're missing or need, like an interview-appropriate blazer, classic black heel for events, or the perfect pair of jeans that can go with everything,” Lopez says, “You can tailor down this collection again or upgrade to an item that you really love versus keeping things that you never wear. You should want to wear these items.”
Consider these pieces the staple pieces of your closet. Once you establish them, you can fill in the empty spaces.
Next, Lopez recommends adding the classic styling pieces that speak to you but are currently missing from your collection like a go-to jean, versatile sneaker, or power blazer. “Then you’ll have core pieces and foundational pieces to pair with them,” she says.
Finally, once you have gathered your pieces, make sure you have items for necessary occasions like office wear, workout clothing, and formal options.
Remember, having a capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean you will never have to shop again. It simply changes your mindset around adding pieces to your closet. You begin shopping for specific pieces that add to and elevate your wardrobe rather than one-off items that collect dust bunnies after a single wear.
How to Customize It to Your Style
Capsule wardrobes online often consist of the same pieces: A beige or black bodysuit, a camel-colored coat, black pleather boots, you know the drill. But according to Lopez, capsule wardrobes do not have to look this way.
“During the rise in popularity of capsule wardrobes, people focused on basics, neutrals, or simple silhouettes so the wardrobe would be 'evergreen' and not follow a trend cycle,” Lopez explains, “But capsule wardrobes do not have to only consist of neutrals. If you wear a lot of color, prints, or funky silhouettes, those can be your base of a capsule wardrobe.”
“Ultimately, your wardrobe should always reflect your personal style, favorite pieces, colors and items you routinely gravitate towards when getting dressed,” Lopez recommends.
Must-Have Winter Additions
Different seasons require different pieces. Sweaters and boots are more common for fall and winter while lightweight coats and short sleeves are staples for spring and summer. Instead of buying a whole new wardrobe this year, reference your capsule.
Take note of which items are missing, and keep that list in mind when shopping. This way you introduce pieces with purpose and reduce waste.
We rounded up some of our favorite winter staples to get you through the snowy season.