Building Your First Capsule Wardrobe: The Basics


There's a lot that goes into creating your very first capsule wardrobe. When I first set out on this adventure, I thought it was just cleaning out your closet (although, this is a huge part of it!). Many people look at this “trend” and think, “Oh, it's easy!”

But there is a HUGE amount of planning that goes into building a cohesive, stylish, seasonal-based wardrobe. I seriously underestimated the amount of work that goes into this.

I've looked for guides, but many of these posts break it down seasonally. When they do this, they don't explain to people that they reuse a lot of the pieces in their wardrobe. They don't share what their year-round basics are, what is specifically for spring/summer, etc.

So I've created a guide in which I'm going to break down the basics, things many minimalists have in their wardrobes that are used year-round.

First things first, you need to decide what colors appear most frequently in your CURRENT wardrobe. Why? Because this determines what your eye is already drawn to. We have our own specific tastes, and to create your very basics, you should stick to what you absolutely love and wear all the time.

As I went through my closet, I found, not surprisingly, that the colors I wear the most are white, black, gray, and navy. Go through your closet and just look at all the pieces you currently have and make a note of what colors occur the most in your closet. These are your basic colors.

Determine what types of clothes you need.

Do you work from home? Need business professional clothes? You need to build a wardrobe based on what you're going to be doing. I'm about to graduate from college, which means I need to stock up on business casual clothes. Maybe you're starting a new job or maybe you're just going back to school. You need to figure out the type (meaning business casual, casual, formal, fitness, etc) you'll need based on whatever you're doing. Yes, this goes right down to what types of hobbies you have. If you run every day, you'll probably need some activewear.

For me, I'm having to go through and decide what business casual clothing I will need going into the fall. I've had summer internships, which means I have clothing for summer business casual, however, I don't have as much fall/winter clothing. I start thinking about this now so that I can plan and budget for whatever I might need to purchase. I also need to go through all of the free tees I have accumulated over the years. I definitely will need some, but not nearly as many as I have.

Do you have anything that already fits in this category?

Here comes the hard part. Now you have to go through and clean out your closet (here is a guide that I used when I cleaned out my own closet!). You need to see if you already have any items that already go well into whatever you have decided you needed. But you also need to see what all is in good shape. If there are holes in it, if it is faded, or if you just don't like it anymore, you need to get rid of it.


Becoming a minimalist is all about smart shopping. This is all about getting the highest quality you can afford so that it lasts for a long time. Different items you want to last longer include denim jackets, jeans, a nice leather tote, everyday shoes, and more.

It can be easy for us to cringe when we see the price tag on those items, but the reason you are splurging on those things is to ensure that they will last for a long time! Does this mean you can't find great quality pieces at a great price? No. When I go shopping, I hit up all of the sales to ensure I save a little money. I also shop at Factory stores, like JCrew Factory, GAP outlet, LOFT outlet and so on.


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