How to plan a capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is one that consists of five to 12 basic items of clothing, such as trousers, tops, jackets and skirts. You can mix and match the items by choosing the correct colours for any new purchases. A capsule wardrobe makes it appear that you have a wide range of clothing, because many different combinations are possible. Choosing the right colours and styles is imperative in planning a capsule wardrobe.

Listen to other people when they compliment you on your outfit. If something is quite flattering on you, your friends, coworkers and relatives typically comment on it. Take mental notes when this happens. If someone compliments you often while wearing navy blue, this colour should be a staple in your capsule wardrobe.

Ask a trusted friend's advice. For instance, if you are not sure whether brown is flattering on you, ask for your friend's honest opinion. If the colour makes you look sallow or is otherwise unflattering, avoid this colour in your capsule wardrobe even if you love it.

Look through your closet to determine what will work in your capsule wardrobe. Basic wardrobe pieces in black, brown, navy blue, grey or camel coordinate well with many different colours. Determine whether you are lacking trousers, tops, jackets or trousers in these neutral colours, and buy what is necessary to complete your capsule wardrobe. If your budget is small, it may be necessary to do this as items wear out. Putting together a perfect capsule wardrobe often takes time, patience and persistence to find the right items.

Purchase quality, well-made wardrobe staples in classic styles. If your weight tends to stay the same, the pieces will last for many years if given the proper care. Pick styles that flatter your body type, not necessarily ones that are chic this season. If your clothes fit well and are of exceptional quality, you will feel attractive and look well-dressed even if you are not wearing the latest fashion trends.

Enhance your capsule wardrobe by choosing tops, scarves and sweaters in the accent colours that are most flattering to you, such as pink, apricot, baby blue or cream. If you limit these accent colours to two or three shades that coordinate well with your entire wardrobe, it is effortless to plan your outfit each morning. Buy prints that have a combination of the neutral colours in your capsule. For instance, you may have a navy blue pantsuit and a camel blazer and skirt set. If you have a blouse that is in a navy blue and camel print, you can wear the navy trousers and camel blazer to tie the separate pieces together in a pleasing ensemble.

Purchase shoes and purses in neutral colours as well to complement your capsule wardrobe. Buy classic styles that never go out of style, such as a pair of pumps with a medium heel and loafers.


Keep in mind that solid colours are less complicated to combine with other basic styles than prints. Avoid buying trendy items. They date your wardrobe quickly, because trendy pieces tend to last only one or two seasons. Limit the trendy items in your wardrobe to two or three accessories, if you must stick to a clothing budget. A funky watch, bracelet, belt, scarf or piece of jewellery may be worn with many different ensembles to create a new look.

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About the Author

Chelsea Fitzgerald covers topics related to family, health, green living and travel. Before her writing career, she worked in the medical field for 21 years. Fitzgerald studied education at the University of Arkansas and University of Memphis.