Putting together the perfect wardrobe can be tricky, especially if you're trying to create a versatile one. Do you prefer owning a wardrobe consisting of essential items that can be mixed and matched to form a plethora of outfits? Then you might want to check out a capsule-style wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe consists of coordinating clothes that you can then use to create outfits for work, leisure, and dressier occasions. Versatility and quality are key when it comes to building one.

The term "capsule wardrobe" dates back to the 1970s, originating from a London boutique. It wasn't created as an entire concept until the 1980's, however. Susie Faux, a famous fashion designer, is the creator of the capsule wardrobe concept. The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to create a versatile wardrobe using a few high-quality clothing pieces. Instead of the emphasis being on quantity, quality is the key to creating a capsule wardrobe. Faux believes that if you wear higher quality clothing, you'll look and feel more confident. This is especially true of career women, enabling them to automatically look professional and put together. With a capsule wardrobe, less is more.

Do you want to build your own capsule wardrobe? Here are six pro tips to bear in mind:

1. Quality is job one

All clothing items should be high quality. Remember that this is an investment. Look for designer brands and/or clothing made in Europe. Steer clear of clearance racks or outlet stores.

2. Cut the bench warmers

You should eliminate clothing in your existing wardrobe that you don't wear on a regular basis or that doesn't look flattering on you.

3. Remember the basics

Invest in high quality basics for all categories of apparel, such as shirts, blouses, pants, skirts, dresses, shoes, accessories, jackets, etc.

4. Age restrictions apply

Choose items that are classic and age appropriate -- this means if you're in your 30's, don't purchase clothing meant for teenagers. A capsule wardrobe is all about classic, classy and timeless styles.

5. It’s all in the cut

Purchase clothes that fit comfortably on you, and flatter your figure -- clothing shouldn't be too tight or too loose.

6. Express yourself

Infuse your own style into your capsule wardrobe. If a piece of clothing speaks to you, buy it. Don't be afraid to be slightly edgy. However, you should still ensure a piece is versatile enough that you can pair it with other clothing items.

Capsule wardrobe basics

• Identify main daily outfit categories

These can include work, dressy, athletic, lounge, fun, and everyday. The primary categories in most women's lives are work, dressy, and fun.

• Select clothing items

You should evaluate each clothing item based on its versatility, usefulness, and fit. Based on the outfit categories you've created, you can then create clothing categories. Clothing categories you should create include tops, jackets, shoes, bottoms, and accessories. It is within these clothing categories that you then find the perfect versatile clothing items, keeping your outfit categories in mind:


  • White button-down shirt
  • Dress
  • Sweater
  • Hoodie
  • Blazer


  • Heels
  • Boots
  • Sneakers
  • Sandals
  • Flats


  • Jeans
  • Formal pants
  • Shorts
  • Skirts


  • Watch
  • Bag
  • Clutch purse
  • Scarves
  • Rings


  • Trench coat
  • Seasonal coat
  • Leather jacket

When choosing clothing items to build your capsule wardrobe, you should keep an eye out for specific types of clothing:

Ultimate capsule wardrobe examples

• Professional

To put together a professional outfit using capsule wardrobe items, you might pair a white button down shirt and a black blazer along with a black skirt, classic black flats, a leather handbag, a red scarf, and a designer watch.

• Casual

For a more relaxed look, you might decide to pair a black basic tee with a taupe cardigan and blue boot-cut jeans. Depending on the weather and season, you might then either choose sneakers or ankle boots. You can finish off the look by wearing a scarf in a bold accent color.

• Formal

If you're going to a formal event, you might opt to pair a black dress with a black blazer and black heels. You might then choose to accessorize your outfit with diamond studs, a black clutch, and a designer watch.

The bottom line

You can effortlessly create any look by tastefully pairing versatile clothing items together and accessorizing accordingly. Don't be afraid to imbue your own style into whichever clothing items you decide to purchase.

All clothing you buy should be high quality. Steer clear of clearance racks.

Fabrics should be rich in texture, such as cashmere and silk.

Clothing should be classic, meaning no trends, and considered a basic. That means it's neutral and versatile enough to be paired with other clothing items to create an entirely new outfit.

Styles of clothing basics might include tank tops, scoop neck shirts, button-up blouses, boho dresses, pencil skirts, open front cardigans, boyfriend jeans, and classic blazers, depending on your style.

In terms of colors, you should aim for neutral ones, such as white, black, and brown. Some eye-catching pieces are great, too, such as a bold red, but all colors should match your skin-tone and the other neutral colors within your wardrobe.

Always try to scope out designer brands, and opt for designers who are known for more contemporary, classic clothing styles. Steer clear of designers who are too trendy or avant garde.


  1. "10 Capsule Wardrobe Essentials for Endless Outfit Options," The Blissful Mind, August 17, 2015.
  2. "A Brief History of the Capsule Wardrobe," Brass, January 10, 2016.
  3. "How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe That Will Last a Lifetime," Who What Wear, October 1, 2017.
  4. "How to Start a Capsule Wardrobe: A Guide for Beginners," Pinch of Yum, January 8, 2016.

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