What You Need For A Capsule Wardrobe

The capsule wardrobe. It’s a shorthand for “a wardrobe containing only the best and most versatile pieces of clothing.” The idea is that you don’t need 75 tops to be fashionable — it’s all about maximizing the basics. It’s a popular concept, but many people still have no idea how to start one. So today, I’m sharing my favorite tips and tricks for making your own capsule wardrobe.

1. 5 Tops

  • 5 Tops
  • 5 long-sleeved shirts
  • 5 short-sleeved shirts
  • 5 tank tops
  • 5 t-shirts
  • 5 blouses (one for special occasions)
  • 2 Pairs of Denim Jeans, 1 Pair of Leggings or Capri Pants, 1 Pair of Shorts (more if you like to wear shorts a lot)
  • 3 Skirts: 1 Pencil and 2 A-Line/Circle skirts (1 skirt should be a classic black pencil skirt for wearing with your suits)
  • 2 Culottes that are not too wide at the bottom (you want them to look like a dress on your hips but flow out from there). Also make sure they’re not too short so you don’t show off your legs too much when sitting down at work! Make sure they have pockets as well if possible – pockets are key!!

2. 4 Bottoms

The second most important category of clothing to focus on when building your capsule wardrobe is bottoms. This includes jeans, trousers, skirts (of all lengths), shorts—anything that covers your butt and thighs.

  • A pair of jeans: I’m a big fan of black slim-leg jeans from Uniqlo or J Brand. You can also check out Nordstrom’s selection for more options if you’re willing to spend more money on denim.
  • Trousers: Trousers are excellent for work outfits because they look polished and professional while still being comfortable enough to sit in all day long at the office without feeling too stiff or tight on your legs. I recommend going with black slacks; stay clear of colorful patterns that may not be appropriate for an office setting (unless you have a very casual environment).
  • Skirts: Another great option for polished looks but also comfortability; I love wearing a pencil skirt at work!

Shorts are another option here! If it’s summertime where you live, go ahead and grab some shorts so that when temperatures get warmer outside, you’ll have something ready-to-go in this category as well!

3. 2 Dresses

You should have at least one elegant dress with a classic cut; one casual dress for weekend wear; and one dress that can be worn to a wedding, cocktail party, or other special occasion.

If the weather is mild enough for you to need less than three dresses (or none), consider adding:

  • A long-sleeved t-shirt that can be worn with jeans
  • * A classic blouse to go with a skirt or pants
  • * A silk blouse for dressing up.

4. 3 Jackets and Coats

Your capsule wardrobe will not be complete without a few jackets and coats. These are the pieces that can take your outfit from day to night, or summer to winter. Be sure to include at least one trench coat in your collection—it is a classic choice that never goes out of style. Choose either black or brown leather jackets depending on whether you prefer the edgier look or something more subtle and versatile. A white blazer is another staple item in any wardrobe; it looks great with jeans or trousers, and even better when paired with other items from this list. Try adding some color into your winter wardrobe by choosing a red or blue coat instead of traditional black options such as wool coats or parkas (see below).

A small bag for everyday use is essential for storing daily necessities like keys, wallets/purses*, makeup bags etc., but larger bags come into play when carrying extra clothing if traveling overnight without checked luggage**or if you need something stylish

5. 7 Bags and Purses

Having a bag or purse for every occasion will save you time and money in the long run.

If you want to simplify your life, it’s important to have a work bag, casual bag and gym bag.

Work bags are perfect for carrying your laptop and other work supplies from the office to meetings or home again. If it’s too bulky for day-to-day use like this then consider a leather laptop sleeve instead (like this one).

Casual bags tend to be smaller than their work counterparts because they’re designed as an everyday carry-all with just enough room for what we need on any given day: keys and wallet usually do it! If that sounds like something you’d use every day then check out our list of the best small crossbody purses here.

Gym bags should be big enough to fit whatever gear you need plus some extra clothes if it’s going to be an overnight trip! We recommend trying out some great backpack brands like Osprey (pictured above) here before making any purchases – their designs are both functional AND stylish so they’ll go well with anything else hanging around in there too!

6. 3 Pairs of Shoes

The final category is for shoes. As I mentioned above, I recommend having 3 pairs of shoes: a pair of sneakers, one pair of flats and one pair of heels. This is really all you need for a capsule wardrobe. If your job requires different types of shoes or depending on where you live (like if you live in Chicago), then add those extras as needed.

For example, if you have to wear boots to work during the winter months, then consider adding them to your closet instead of heels or flats that don’t match well with winter boots. Or if it’s summertime and there’s no way around wearing sandals every day but they’re not your favorite style—make sure to pack some more comfortable flats so that when it gets too hot outside, at least your feet will still be cool and comfy!

the essentials you need for a capsule wardrobe

If you’re new to the capsule wardrobe lifestyle, it can be unsettling to start from scratch and try to figure out what items are essential. But not to worry! With this list (and a little research), you’ll have no problem filling your closet with classic pieces that will last you for years.

  • A black blazer
  • A neutral-colored dress shirt or blouse
  • A pair of dark jeans (or two)
  • A well-fitting pair of black pants or trousers that can be worn with both dresses and shirts/blouses (this is an optional item)

As far as fit goes, keep in mind that neutral colors are always more forgiving than bold hues when it comes to size variation between brands and styles; however, every brand fits differently depending on the cut of their clothing! If you don’t want any surprises when ordering online, look for stores with free return policies so if something doesn’t fit right—even if it’s just too small—you can send it back without having wasted money on shipping costs first time around). Also remember that denim tends not only stretch over time but also shrink after washing so don’t assume anything based solely on initial measurements listed by sellers: always try before buying!


As you can see, a capsule wardrobe isn’t just about having fewer clothes. It’s really about making sure that every article of clothing in your closet is both functional and versatile. If you have even one item that doesn’t fit these criteria, you might want to consider getting rid of it—and if you replace it, make sure that its replacement does! Keep this in mind when building your wardrobe for the future, too. If you do end up deciding to adopt the capsule wardrobe philosophy, we wish you luck on your journey!

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