How To: Create a Capsule Wardrobe

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a condensed selection of clothing, including outerwear, accessories, and shoes (excluding underwear, pajamas, workout or event clothing), made up only of items that you love, that fit you right now and that are appropriate for your lifestyle and the season.

Why Embrace a Capsule Wardrobe?

Be you and feel great. This space-saving wardrobe is a great way to solidify your personal style by eliminating everything you don’t love and that doesn’t fit properly. Now that you can see everything and know that everything fits, you’ll spend less time deciding what to wear and end up with a wardrobe that you actually LOVE!

Stop overspending and start investing. A capsule wardrobe allows you to create a satisfying and on point wardrobe without going broke because it eliminates emotional purchases, binge shopping and rash decisions and lets you focus on buying pieces that you absolutely can’t live without.

Release your inner fashionista. By paring your wardrobe down and removing all the clutter, your pieces will need to start doing double, sometimes triple duty. In the past, that basic black knee length skirt might have been worn on repeat with a white blouse, but in your new wardrobe it can now be worn with a blouse or sweater for work, with a denim shirt or a t-shirt for running errands … it’s time to see just how creative you can be.


Step 1: Eliminate the Clutter

Take every single item you own out of your closet, drawers, storage…and lay them all out on the floor – I mean EVERYTHING!

If it’s too overwhelming, ignore your bags, shoes and accessories for now.

Separate your clothing into two piles: clothing you LOVE and wear all the time, and then everything else (things that don’t fit, things that you don’t love, things that aren’t appropriate for your lifestyle and things that you only wear once or twice a year). Make sure to pick up every item and really inspect it to get a ‘feel’ for it. Do you love it? If it doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies, it belongs in pile 2.

Once you’re done – remove pile 2 from the room. You can decide what to do with it later (donate, put in storage, bring it to H&M and drop it in their Garment Recycling box or to Coquitlam Centre on Earth Day, April 22, 2017 between 9:30am and 7:00pm and drop it off to be recycled).


Step 2: Evaluate

Go through everything in pile 1. Is it in good shape (i.e. stain-free, hole-free)? If there are stains/holes – is it something that can be fixed? Will you actually take the time to fix it? If the answer is no, then add these items to pile 2.

Pin point what it is you love about these items. Is it the fit? The colours? A specific memory of where this piece came from or something that happened while you were wearing this piece? Remember these things as they will help you complete your wardrobe.

Pull any items that aren’t applicable this season (i.e. it’s April, do you really need your Canada Goose parka?) and set them aside. You’re not getting rid of them, you’re just not putting them in your Spring/Summer Capsule.


Step 3: Build Your Wardrobe Vision

Use Pinterest or go old-school and use magazines to create a collage of pieces/outfits you love, outfits that inspire you! Need some inspiration? Check out your favourite retailers’ lookbooks or blogs (like and research the latest runway trends.

Take note of what you see. Are there any reoccurring themes, pieces, colours? Have you pinned essentially the same striped shirt, skinnies and oversized cardigan look over and over again? If so, this might be a sign that you need a striped shirt.


Step 4: Examine Your Lifestyle

This is a very important step in ensuring that your capsule wardrobe will actually work for you. For example, what is your office dress code? What does your typical weekend look like?

Go back through your wardrobe vision and remove anything that doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Yes, yes, a winter white wool jacket is beautiful – but would it really work for you?

Now, pull out some paper (or plunk down in front of your computer) and write down every single re-occurring “activity” along the top of the piece of paper (i.e. work, weekly date night…), this will help you determine what you need to get you through the next three months. Once you’ve done that, write down what you typically wear to these “activities”. For example, if your typical office attire is a blouse, pants, a cardigan and pumps, then write that down. It’s ok to have multiple items for an activity. If you rotate between two pairs of dress pants, a midi skirt and a shirt dress for work, then write all those items down.

You can also write down pieces you don’t have but know would be perfect for a specific activity. For example, you don’t have a chambray shirt but wish you did to wear on date nights? Write it down everywhere you think you’d wear it. This is where your Pinterest board or collage comes in handy.

Once this is done, cross off anything that only appears once or twice or isn’t crucial to the outfit. For example – yes, you might have worn that suede fringed vest over your favourite sundress that one time, but is it something you will wear again?


Step 5: Build Your Capsule

Start by picking your neutral colour (black, grey, beige, navy). This will be the base of your wardrobe.

Pick your main colour – the central colour of your wardrobe. It could be a colour that makes you happy, a colour that makes your eyes pop, or a seasonal colour trend that you love.

Pick your accent colours. These are colours that will add excitement to your wardrobe.

Go back to the pile of clothes you love and start crossing off items on your list. For example, if the first item you pick up is a beloved grey pencil skirt, cross off every instance of “skirt” on your list where you could wear this skirt. Set these items aside. Keep your neutral, main and accents colours in mind. If a piece doesn’t fit into one of these categories, contemplate its place in your wardrobe. Do you really need a navy skirt if all your other neutral pieces are black? DO NOT under any circumstances reach for items in the other pile!

It’s ok to have multiple pieces for the same activity for example, you might have three skirts that fall into the “work” activity category but, if you find that you have ten skirts that fit into this category, it might be time to let some of them go – remember the point of a capsule wardrobe is to de-clutter.

At the end of this process, re-evaluate anything left in your pile. Why didn’t it make the cut? If it’s because it doesn’t fit any of your activities then it might be time to say goodbye. If it’s just because it’s off-season or something that you only wear once in awhile (i.e. your perfect LBD) then it’s ok to keep it.

Anything that isn’t crossed off your list is something you need to purchase. For easy shopping, combine all these “outstanding” pieces onto one sheet or type them in your phone so you always have them with you.


Step 6: Complete Your Capsule Wardrobe

Head to Coquitlam Centre to purchase any outstanding pieces, but keep in mind that you must love it, it must fit you and it must be appropriate for your lifestyle before it gets to come home with you.