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What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

What Is a Capsule Wardrobe? How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

“Capsule wardrobe” might be a term you’ve recently heard, either through fashion TV shows or style magazines, but it has been around for some time now. Coined by the wardrobe consultant Susie Faux in the 1970s and made mainstream by Donna Karan’s “Seven Easy Pieces” in 1985, the capsule wardrobe is nothing new. But with the minimalist trend taking the world by storm, it’s become ever popular.  

But what is a capsule wardrobe? And exactly which clothing items and garments are needed to pull one together? Leonisa explores how to build a capsule wardrobe with just a few essential pieces. 

What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?

The capsule wardrobe is essentially a minimalist closet that holds a thoughtful and versatile collection of clothing pieces and accessories. With only a few items, a capsule wardrobe allows you to pull together numerous ensembles, work outfits and lazy day outfits

However, while a capsule wardrobe is minimal, it’s worth noting that it also contains more lasting, high-quality pieces. Instead of affordable and often cheaply made fast-fashion that was never intended to last, garments in your capsule wardrobe can last a lifetime, mainly due to their classic and timeless style. While you can still make the exception for exercise-specific activewear and dresses for special occasions, a capsule wardrobe is more about creating a foundation for your clothing. 

The Main Advantages of a Capsule Wardrobe

Woman in jeans and white button up top

Compared to the typical messy closet, a capsule wardrobe has multiple advantages. While we’re here to help you understand how to build a capsule wardrobe, it’s important to understand what makes one great so you have a basic understanding and foundation. 

  • Simplicity–A minimalist capsule wardrobe offers absolute simplicity. With a reliable foundation of clothes, a capsule wardrobe saves time, making the decision on what to wear extremely easy. Never again be late due to your own indecisiveness.  
  • Versatility–The garments in a capsule wardrobe are highly versatile, allowing you to tie together countless ensembles using only a few foundational clothing pieces. The versatility of a capsule wardrobe lets you mix and match as you like and get creative. 
  • Longevity–Styles come and go seasonally, but a capsule wardrobe can stand the test of time. Think of a capsule wardrobe as an investment, consisting of high-quality garments that will never go out of style and that you can reimagine over and over again.

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is made of clothing that is considered classic and timeless. Designed to last for many years in your wardrobe, these foundation garments can be any number of the essentials listed above. But more so, it’s something you know you’ll wear over and over, reimagined in various ensembles. And how do you make sure you’ll wear it repeatedly? Here are the three basic rules for building a capsule wardrobe. 

three rules for building capsule wardrobe

1. Try On Everything

Ensure that everything you invest in fits correctly. It shouldn’t be too snug or revealing and it shouldn’t be so baggy it appears sloppy. Consider the style of neckline you prefer. Is it a modest turtleneck or a V-neck that shows some cleavage? Mind you, some necklines are better suited for certain occasions, too. Ultimately, you want to choose a silhouette and fit that works for you. 

2. Choose Neutrals

Womans Outfit on Wooden Floor

While it seems boring, think of neutrals as the foundation. Neutral-tone garments, like whites, blacks, greys and light browns, are timeless. Instead of reaching for trendy colors that can quickly become dated, choose neutrals that offer a base and you’ll never go wrong. If you like a trendy color, use it in an accessory, but not an entire blouse that will end up in the back of your closet by next year.

3. Invest in Quality

The adage “quality over quantity” truly defines a capsule wardrobe. While some closets are filled to the gills with inferior, cheaply made garments that are often replaced, a capsule wardrobe contains high-quality pieces designed to last. Since the aim is to build a wardrobe foundation that never goes out of style, splurging is perfectly acceptable. 

Capsule Wardrobe Essentials

Intimate Apparel

Intimate Apparel

Before you go shopping for capsule clothing, start with the basics: bras and panties. It’s essential to find a couple of high-quality bras to wear, depending on the occasion. Invest in a strapless bra for special events like a wedding or night out. Wear comfortable sports bras that also offer support while you exercise. It’s best to have anywhere between 1-3 quality sports bras, depending on how often you exercise. When searching for the best everyday bras, make sure you know your bra size. Knowing your bra size and body type will help you determine the perfect bra for you

Along with your bras, you should invest in high-quality panties made from clean materials. Wondering how many pairs of underwear a woman should own, exactly? For a capsule wardrobe, it’s best to have around 10-15 pairs of underwear in various styles. Before purchasing a particular underwear style, discover the many different types of underwear for women and when it’s best to wear each one.

Outerwear

Outerwear

Outerwear is essential to keep you warm during the winter season. So choose outerwear such as an overcoat or trench coat to add to your capsule wardrobe. Choose a heavy-weight wool or suede material that will last for many years. 

Leather Jacket

Leather Jacket

Leather jackets lend an effortlessly cool look to any ensemble. Iconic in every way, the leather jacket will never go out of style and is here to stay. So whether you prefer an aviator bomber, biker or blazer style, get yourself a leather jacket to elevate any outfit. Of course, you can always pick faux leather, too. 

Button-Up Shirts and Blouses

Button-Up Shirt

Button-up shirts and blouses are a must-have for capsule wardrobes. Invest in a few different styles, from formal button-ups for work attire to relaxed and romantic blouses for date nights. For the most part, stick with neutrals. But if you do come across a high-quality blouse with a pattern or color that represents you, treat yourself and enjoy it! Check out Leonisa to discover a variety of cute blouses for women of all shapes and sizes.

Tailored Blazer

Tailored Blazer

A well-tailored blazer can elevate your work attire and make you come across as professional. The blazer itself can be relatively inexpensive, but once you have it tailored to your exact fit, it offers a polished look.  Stick with neutrals like black, grey or beige that can complement your button-up shirts or blouses. Of course, if you can find a power suit with a matching blazer and pencil skirt or slacks, that’s even better!

Sweaters and Cardigans

Sweaters and Cardigans

Whether it’s for the winter season or just to stay warmer in a chilly office setting, we suggest getting some knitwear for your capsule wardrobe. Aim for neutrals, of course, and something that flatters your silhouette, avoiding that frumpy look sweaters can sometimes give. Choose one cardigan and one pullover like a turtleneck or cowl neck sweater. 

T-shirts

T-shirt

T-shirts are perfect for pulling together any casual outfit. Simple and comfortable, T-shirts are found in any of your favorite brands. Keep a small collection of white, black, grey and beige shirts to complement any ensemble or work as lounge clothing worn over pajamas.    

Denim Jeans

Denim Jeans

Denim jeans are great for those relaxed days lounging around the house, but also for Casual Fridays at work. Plus, there are so many shades of denim you can choose from–light blue to dark navy to black–that you honestly can’t go wrong adding this clothing to your capsule wardrobe. Find the perfect fit and size, whether they’re low boot cuts or high-waisted skinnies, and purchase several in various colors that allow you to dress up or down.  

Leggings 

Leggings

Like denim jeans, leggings are a must-have for any capsule wardrobe. These extremely versatile garments can be worn at yoga practice, on a morning run or simply to tie together a lazy day outfit. Leonisa offers the best everyday leggings that can transition right along with you. Choose black leggings that go with anything!

A Dress

A Dress

If you’re like most women, you probably own a dozen dresses. But a capsule wardrobe is all about that one special little black dress (or navy blue or bold red, but you get the picture). The important thing is to choose a dress that makes you feel super confident and complements numerous other pieces. Choose a classic dress style such as an A-line or bodycon that you can rework into any ensemble, day or night. 

Shoes

Shoes

Like dresses, women love to collect shoes. This is where the capsule wardrobe might trip some ladies up (pun intended). But, ideally, somewhere between two to five pairs of shoes are adequate. At the very least, you’ll need a pair of dressy shoes, like black heels, for work and formal events. If you’re not into high heels, choose some low-profile flats or kitten heels that are dressy but comfortable enough to wear walking. White sneakers are great for pairing with just about everything and are great for workouts, of course. Lastly, ankle boots are a reliable staple for fall and sandals for summer.

A Belt

A Belt

Purchase a belt to accentuate the waistline of your dresses, denim jeans or pencil skirts. Have a little fun with it, too, and choose a statement belt with a classy-looking gold or silver buckle. Avoid over-the-top fashion belts that might not work with every outfit and find something more timeless that can last for years. 

Want to Build a Capsule Wardrobe? 

Building the perfect capsule wardrobe takes patience and time, especially when you want to find pieces that will last. But for now, start with items you already own and build it over time as you outgrow clothing or desire something new. 

Also, don’t disregard and throw out a pile of old clothes to create a capsule wardrobe. That’s not what it’s about! Jumping on the trend bandwagon, many have misconstrued the capsule wardrobe, turning it into a product of consumerism–the opposite of what it represents! But capsule wardrobes are minimal for a reason. Be more mindful as you build a capsule wardrobe, shopping thoughtfully and consciously, and avoiding fast-fashion whenever you can.

Need Help Finding Your Classic Capsule Clothes?

Woman with a wardrobe

If you’re on the hunt for high-quality undergarments and other clothes, you’ve come to the right place. Reach out to Leonisa’s style confidants and allow us to help guide you to some essential capsule wardrobe pieces that can create a foundation for a myriad of cute outfits! 

Image Credits
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