How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe


A capsule wardrobe involves a relatively small collection of thoughtfully selected items that can all be mixed and matched to minimize the number of pieces you ‘need’ in your closet. Typically, this means purchasing within a streamlined colour palette, choosing primarily classic styles over passing trends, and focusing on fit and quality. If this sounds like something right up your alley, we got our stylist (and self-proclaimed minimalist dresser) to show us how to get started on creating a capsule wardrobe. Spoiler: going minimal doesn’t mean sacrificing style. 

Our stylist, Casey, tells us that a typical capsule wardrobe is generally made up of about 30 pieces, give or take. To get us started and show us how minimalist dressing works, Casey choose 12 pieces – including shoes and a bag – and showed us how even these few items could mix and match seamlessly into a variety of outfits.

“There are so many benefits to streamlining your wardrobe,” Casey says. “More space, less guesswork, and most importantly, it can help you to create an effortless look that is always chic and timeless, and never overdone.” Here are three of Casey’s basic tips for wrapping your head around minimalist dressing:

1. Invest in quality and fit
Because you’re buying less overall, you can use your budget to invest in items that are somewhat pricier, but are designed to last. And when you invest in something classic, you can consider getting pieces tailored for a truly perfect fit that you’ll wear again and again.

Classic doesn’t have to mean boring – while you’ll want to stick primarily to items that will last beyond a season, you can still have fun by choosing items with interesting details, or by including one or two trendier, inexpensive pieces each season.

2. Create a cohesive palette
To keep things simple here, we went for a palette of neutrals: black, white, grey, and camel. But that doesn’t have to be the route you go. Think of your wardrobe as a cohesive collection, or try thinking about it in the same way you’d design a room in your home: a base of neutrals is a natural place to start, but adding pops of colour will add life and vibrancy.

“A palette like ‘fall colours’ can be an inspiration,” Casey suggests. “Think forest green, burnt orange, and browns, with a pop of red.”

Just consider your palette when purchasing new items, and make sure that any colours you add compliment what you already have, so that you can mix and match effortlessly and endlessly.

3. Texture, texture, texture
If you’re going for a true capsule wardrobe, sticking primarily to solids is your best bet. But that doesn’t mean you’re steering clear of creativity. “I’d suggest keeping patterns to a minimum,” Casey offers, “but play freely with texture! This will keep your outfits interesting.”

So there you have it – if Marie Kondo has been playing in your house and in your brain, it truly is possible to clean out that closet and take a fresh approach to dressing. “It can take some time to build the perfect capsule wardrobe, but be patient!” Casey says. “The reward is totally worth it. And who knows – with a wardrobe so simple and stylish, you might be inspired to pair down other areas of your life.”

See the product listing for the items featured here below, and get some inspiration for three simple, wearable colours to consider mixing into your wardrobe here.

See something you like? Visit St. Vital Centre to shop the products featured in this post (check stores for availability):

Grey crew-neck sweater: Hudson's Bay (Lord and Taylor), $99.99
High-waisted slim-fit jeans: RW&Co., $99.90
3-tone loafer/sneakers: Hudson's Bay (Karl Lagerfeld), $130
Plaid blazer: RW&Co., $89.90
Camel trenchcoat: RW&Co., $179.90
Black handbag: Le Chateau, $69.95
Black pleather bomber jacket: Dynamite, $64.95
White t-shirt with pocket: RW&Co., $25.90
White button-up blouse: Dynamite, $39.95
Camel kitten heel: Hudson's Bay (Expression), $39.99
Black dress pants: RW&Co., $89.90
Black pleather skirt: Dynamite, $34.95

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