fashion · minimalism

Year-Round Capsule Wardrobe: The Process


On Tuesday, I shared my journey of how I started with a capsule wardrobe, and why I decided that a year-round capsule wardrobe would work best for me. Today I’m going to share how I actually created my year-round capsule wardrobe, and tomorrow I’ll show you the pieces that make up my wardrobe in a video.

So here are the steps I took to create my wardrobe. I didn’t number this list, because I kind of jumped around between these different areas, going back and forth multiple times. They are all important, but they do run together and can help refine each other. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, and it’s kind of a messy process, but it will start to come together!

Let Go of the “Rules”

There are so many lists out there of the essential items that every woman “needs” in her wardrobe. Those lists don’t take into consideration your lifestyle or your personal style. You don’t necessarily need a white button-down shirt (though most of those lists say you do!). I had one, and never wore it, so I got rid of it and I don’t need one in my capsule wardrobe.

Let go of the idea of having a “well-rounded” wardrobe. That really just means that you’ll have a lot of pieces that you’ll never wear, because they don’t fit your lifestyle, or you don’t like the color, etc. I’ve bought things in the past just because I didn’t have anything else like them. Well, there was probably a reason I didn’t. Don’t feel like you need to own a shirt in every color of the rainbow if you only ever reach for black. And don’t be afraid of duplicates, if you really love them and wear them all of the time. I have two of the exact same basic scoop-neck black t-shirts, and a lot of weeks, I do wear both of them.

The point is, style is a very individual thing. No one else’s “rules” are going to completely work for you, so let go of them and do your own thing. Maybe the things I mentioned have also tripped you up, or maybe there are other “rules” you’ve been following that it’s time to let go of. If you have any other examples of this, leave them in the comments so we can all learn from each other!

Define Your Style

What is your current style? What colors, patterns and silhouettes do you love to wear? What makes you feel most confident and comfortable? Also consider your lifestyle: how much of your wardrobe needs to be casual, formal, or business attire? What is the weather like in your area throughout the year?

Study your Pinterest fashion board to see what you’re drawn to, if you have one (or set one up if you don’t!). Pinterest or Google Image searches are great for inspiration, and also to help with defining your style.

Follow my fashion board on Pinterest.

My style is simple, casual, and classic. I prefer solid colors and simple patterns. I like soft fabrics and layering pieces. My color palette is mostly neutral, with a few pops of blues and dark red. My typical silhouette is a longer, looser-fitting top with skinny jeans. I need warm clothes for cold, snowy weather, cooler clothes for the hot summer, and light layers for in-between.

Set Your Limits

Is there a set number of pieces you want to limit yourself to? I personally don’t have a total number to stick to, but I do try to think about how often I do laundry, and if I have enough weather-appropriate clothes to get me through if it’s really hot the whole time, or really cold the whole time, etc.


Define your color palette. Since you want everything to coordinate in a capsule wardrobe to give you endless options for outfits, it is helpful to have a color strategy. A lot of capsule wardrobes are mostly neutral (including mine), but you could certainly put together a very colorful capsule wardrobe with some planning.

Explore Your Closet

Sort through your clothes to see what fits in with the vision you’ve created for your wardrobe, and what doesn’t. What do you love; what do you reach for all the time? Why? What have you never worn, and why not? This is where you can really start to pull your wardrobe together, and it can also help with defining your style. Try things on. Try different combinations to see what works.

Separate out the things that you want in your capsule wardrobe. Go through what’s left, and take this opportunity to sell or donate things you’re ready to let go of, and put everything else into storage.

Fill in the Gaps

Go shopping. If you’re still working on defining your style, try on lots of different things to see what you like, and take note of the styles, colors, and silhouettes that work for you (and what doesn’t). After you’ve started building your capsule wardrobe from what you already have in your closet, identify the things you’re missing. I find that it’s most helpful to identify the function of what I need (i.e. a lightweight, long-sleeve layering top, or casual sneakers) rather than being super specific about the color and silhouette, because that makes them easier to shop for, and leaves a little more room for falling in love with things at the store (as long as they fit into your overall color palette and style, of course).

Having a capsule wardrobe does mean being more mindful when you shop. I find that having a defined color palette makes it easier to automatically limit what I can consider purchasing. For a long time, I have always asked myself, “Do I love this?” before purchasing anything new, and that helps, as well. If I’m not sure, I don’t buy it. When I get home, I like to try on what I bought with the other pieces in my wardrobe to make sure that it really works, and to come up with some different outfits before I take the tags off. If it doesn’t work with what I already have, then I return it.

I hope this is helpful for any of you considering a year-round capsule wardrobe. Or even a seasonal capsule wardrobe—a lot of these same guidelines could still apply. I think the biggest thing is just being really brutally honest with yourself about what you like and what you need, and letting go of things that fit who you used to be, or who you wanted to be, but not who you really are today. Those are the things that weigh you down; the things that you feel guilty for buying. If they help you realize who you aren’t, and if you can let that go, then they served their purpose, and you can be free to embrace (and dress like) who you really are.

12 thoughts on “Year-Round Capsule Wardrobe: The Process

  1. Thank you! One of my pet peeves is the idea that every woman needs a white button-down blouse, a pair of jeans, etc. in her wardrobe. I never wear jeans. I don’t own them. Why would I waste money buying a pair?

    I just discovered your blog and your YouTube channel, so I’ll be hunting around your archives. Feel free to pop over to my YouTube channel:


  2. I am loving your tips on creating a year round capsule. I didn’t start strictly following the “rules” of a capsule until this past spring, but I have been having some sort of a seasonal wardrobe for awhile now. I have lived in Florida, and I know live in Alabama; both locations have finicky seasons where you might wear shorts and a tee one day and a sweater and boots a few days later. I’ve also noticed that I can’t do a lot of mix n matching amongst my different capsules so I think I’m going to slow start to create a more cohesive wardrobe as a whole. I blog a little about my capsule as well, if you would like to check out my blog!


  3. This is such a great post! Last year I tried the capsule wardrobe and even though I switched it every month, it never worked. Here in Mexico the weather changes drastically from one day to the other, so planning was very difficult and I would always be left with little options if somehow it stayed hot or cold all week long. Also, I had many other clothes that I wanted to wear but couldn’t because they weren’t in the capsule and I ended up feeling very sad at not having those options. I learned to stop impulse shopping and I defined my style but realized that the capsule wardrobes weren’t for me. I am still decluttering but feeling free at having the opportunity to wear all the clothes I love whenever I feel like it, all year long 🙂
    Your post resonated so much with my experience! I am glad I read it 🙂

    1. It sounds like you took what you needed from your capsule wardrobe! They can definitely be helpful, but aren’t a long-term solution for everyone. I’m glad you’ve found what works for you 🙂

  4. I so needed this post. I have been trying to create a capsule wardrobe for myself and it just wasn’t working. The main reason was I got hung up on the “rules”. After reading your post it really struck me that I don’t have to follow those rules. Also you sound just like me with the whole different lifestyle and seasons. I feel like most of the capsule wardrobe articles are meant for someone in a big city. I live in a small rural community.

    1. I’m glad it helped! There’s no point in having a capsule wardrobe if it doesn’t work for your lifestyle. Have fun breaking the “rules” 🙂

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