Capsule Wardrobe 101: Get More Outfits with Fewer Clothes

March 30, 2022

Despite having a closet full of clothes, do you struggle to choose your outfit in the morning?

If so, you’re not alone—the struggle is real. Who has time to pick an outfit when you’re working against making it to class on time or studying for exams? And for the student on a budget, it’s not always easy to purchase a new outfit. There are many ways to combat a closet conundrum, but we recommend starting by investing in a minimalist capsule wardrobe.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a condensed selection of clothing that can be intentionally mixed and matched to create any number of clothing combinations. The best capsule wardrobes include classic, well-fitting, and versatile pieces. According to experts from Vogue, a capsule wardrobe should always have:

  • A white (or neutral) t-shirt
  • Black trousers
  • Jeans
  • A black dress

It sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it? That’s the point! When you create a smart and simple foundation for your outfits, the only thing you have to worry about is adding a flourish with accessories. This approach also means that you don’t have to buy a million pieces of clothing to put together an effective outfit. Spend smarter, not harder.

If you’re ready to create your capsule wardrobe (or turn your existing wardrobe into one), here are some tips to help your outfits shine:

Capsule Wardrobe Tips

The good news is that there’s plenty of guidance for building a minimalist capsule wardrobe that you’ll wear for years. The fashion experts at Harper’s Bazaar have shared some of their best tips: 

Cull Your Closet

Before adding, it’s time to take things away. Consider every item in your closet, and try it on. If the clothes don’t fit, it’s time to give them a new life elsewhere.

Consider Your Aesthetic

Aesthetic is an essential part of building your minimalist capsule wardrobe. Our style is a big part of our identity! Think of your style icons: who do you see ( in real life or magazines) that always look amazing? Why? What could you repurpose from their style to suit your own? 

Before locking in an aesthetic, think about your lifestyle and functional clothing needs before running to purchase everything you see on Instagram. Once you’ve decided on a direction, it’s time to head out to one of Clemson’s local boutiques

Plan your Splurge

As a student, it can be hard to justify an expensive purchase. However, instead of buying a massive bulk haul of cheap clothing, focus on spending your money on fewer, high-quality, versatile items. Before purchasing, ask yourself questions like:

  • What do I wear regularly?
  • What pieces can work for many different occasions?
  • What is my budget?
  • Could this item work with multiple outfits?
  • Does this item fit my aesthetic?
  • Does this item fit my capsule wardrobe goals?

Prioritize Fit

Well-fitting clothes are an absolute must when talking about a minimalist capsule wardrobe. While we realize that it’s not always possible to get a perfect fit, there are some concrete steps you can take to find things that compliment your body shape:

  • Consider what you already have in your closet: think about your favorite dresses, jeans, etc. How are they cut? What is it about them that makes you feel great? Add more of those things that you love or make you feel great.
  • Find a tailor: do you have any pieces in your closet that you adore but wish they fit slightly differently? A great tailor can solve many problems with simple stitch fixes, so look for one in your local area to visit.

Abide by the Three-Outfit Rule

This rule can be challenging to follow, but it’s worth it: don’t purchase a new item of clothing if you can’t make three additional outfits from it with your current wardrobe. This rule can eliminate reckless spending and help you be more aware of your closet (and everything you can do with your clothes).

Enhance Your Look with Accessories

A minimalist capsule wardrobe aims to streamline the way you get dressed in the morning and eliminate the need to buy clothes constantly. While you may still add new pieces to your wardrobe, those significant additions should feel few and far between. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t be buying anything! Accessories (think a scarf, belt, great sunglasses) are a great way to make a veteran outfit feel fresh and new again.

And once you’ve curated that minimalist capsule wardrobe? It’s time to start mixing and matching. Happy dressing!