Create a 30-40 Piece Capsule Wardrobe for 2016 – Part 1

January 26, 2016
capsule wardrobe 2016

Hello lovelies, Sonya here! Today I’m going to be talking about capsule wardrobes. I know, I know, I’m probably a little late to the game but as they say, better late than never right.

With 2016 in full swing, I’ve decided to nix the New Years resolutions and instead, explore thoughtful ways to enrich my life. By  developing simple, positive habits that will be easier to sustain throughout the whole year. Some of these habits include eating out less, adding more greens at dinner time, taking evening strolls, and reading more books for fun.

As I scoured the web to find inspiration on ways to improve my lifestyle for 2016, I kept seeing the term capsule wardrobe appear. Some of my favorite sites that discussed this topic are The Every Girl and WhoWhatWear. I even found a segment on the Today Show! The more I searched, the more fascinated I became and so I decided it would be fun to share my findings here with you on the Idol Collective blog.

There is so much great info on the web that I’ve decided to break this topic up into two posts. In today’s post, I’ll discuss:

  1. What is a capsule wardrobe?

  2. The benefits of a capsule wardrobe.

  3. Best practices for curating your capsule collection.

In next week’s post, I’ll show you examples from some of my favorite online muses as well as a capsule wardrobe I’ve put together mixing and matching other brands with cute, affordable pieces from Idol Collective.

Also, since this post is mostly suggestions, feel free to tweak as necessary based on your lifestyle. Something that works for one #girlboss may not work for everyone, so have fun and experiment.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

According to Wikipedia, a capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.

To build a capsule wardrobe, your goal is to create four individual collections, one for each season. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall capsule collections should have a distinct set of items that you can easily remix. You can bring the same pieces with you throughout the year, or you can keep each collection separate and not have any items overlap. By doing this not only are you trimming down your wardrobe but you will eventually reduce the amount you shop for clothing in a year.

The challenge, if you choose to accept, is to shop the last two weeks of a season for the following season and to only replace worn out pieces, not your entire wardrobe.

While the capsule wardrobe has been around for some time now, in March 2014 blogger, Caroline Rector brought this practice to the mainstream by creating the blog This was where she shared her experiences with minimalist fashion and showcased her approach to selecting, styling and maintaining a capsule collection. She made the whole notion of pairing down your wardrobe a lot less frightening and created an easy to follow wardrobe planner, that you can download here for free. There have been many other bloggers to discuss this subject and have been very helpful in assisting others to begin their capsule wardrobe exploration. One of the blogs I highly recommend is Project333. Not only does Courtney Carver talk about minimalist fashion but she also shares with you how to extend this idea into other areas of your life. Very cool stuff, but I digress…

What are the benefits of a capsule wardrobe?

The two benefits that stand out to me the most are:

  1. Saving time! Instead of staring at my closet for several minutes – up to an hour or changing 50 times, a capsule wardrobe would allow me to streamline the getting ready process. Since every piece in my collection is selected with an intention, be it going out or work, etc… I feel like it would be very quick & easy to get dressed for any occasion.

  2. Saving money!! Since you are only supposed to shop the last two weeks of a season for the following season, this would help curb my spending habit. It is also suggested to only purchase things you need. Like if your shoes have holes, replace them but don’t purchase something that’s just an impulse buy.

Another possible outcome because you are saving time and saving money is doing more cool stuff that makes you happy!

I also think a capsule wardrobe can help foster creativity! When looking at a limited selection of clothing, you have to think outside the box. This is where your internal styling guru voice comes into play, and you create a masterpiece with very little.

How do you curate a capsule wardrobe?

According to Rector, the first thing you should do is empty your closet and drawers, completely.



Photo via


Start with a clean slate by laying out all of your clothing onto your bed. The next step that I think most bloggers agree with is creating 3 – 4 groupings for your clothes.


  1. Love this item, couldn’t live without it, wear it on the regular

  2. This item has sentimental value; it’s so cute, but it doesn’t fit right; I’m just waiting to find the right (pants, shirt, jacket, etc..) to go with it

  3. Seasonal – bikini wrap dress, wool coat, Sorel snow boots, holiday party dress

  4. Nope, basically this item is collecting dust, and I keep forgetting to donate it

Next you’ll want to get rid of group #4 STAT. Buffalo Exchange, Poshmark, Craigslist or Salvation Army are all fantastic options depending on how much time and effort you would like to invest.

For group #2, you can box these items and put them in storage. If you find that you have not looked at them in six months, you should reference the step above and pick your favorite method of donating or selling.

Onto group #3. You’ll keep these items and then mix them into the appropriate season of your capsule wardrobe.

Finally for group #1, you may need to do a little soul searching.

A capsule wardrobe usually contains 30-40 pieces. These items include clothes, shoes, and outerwear. (Pajamas, accessories, fitness apparel and special-occasion outfits do not count.)

You may want to take one more look at this grouping to decide if everything is deemed worthy to keep, or if you would like to move anything to group #2 and then see where you land in a few months. After that you can start picking your pieces and placing them in the season you think they will work best in. There’s always an opportunity to move things around since you are keeping these items. For example, if you placed your favorite flannel in Fall but realize you can wear it as an outer piece during cool Summer nights, feel free to grab it for your Summer capsule. This step can be a rough first pass.

While it may seem pretty scary to downsize so quickly, I think many of us gals (myself included) will find that we’ve had a capsule wardrobe all along. I know I keep those staple pieces that look great and flatter my figure in the easiest to reach part of my closet. While my other questionable items tend to rest in hard to reach places, and I often forget I have them. I usually keep these things around with the intention of wearing them but in reality, if that day hasn’t come in the past 12 months most likely I won’t be wearing it!

Thanks for spending time with me here on the blog. I hope you found this information helpful.

Stay tuned for next week’s post where all the magic happens. See my capsule collection and 3 other blogger babes!


Sonya – Founder, Idol Collective

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