capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing that is composed of interchangeable items only, to maximise the number of outfits that can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colours. It has been the subject of several popular television series and appears widely in British and American fashion media.

Capsule wardrobes appeared in American publications as early as the 1940s as small collections of garments designed to be worn together which harmonize in color and line. Susie Faux, owner of London boutique “Wardrobe”, revived the term in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that do not go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. American designer Donna Karan popularised the idea when in 1985, she released an influential capsule collection of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces.

The purpose behind a capsule wardrobe is to maintain a collection of essential and classic pieces in your closet that can be mixed and matched over time. It is a practice of personalizing your wardrobe with items you love and that fit your lifestyle but on a scale of 30-40 pieces.


between 25-50 pieces
While the number of items can vary depending on the source, it is recommended to have between 25-50 pieces in your capsule wardrobe which includes clothing, shoes, and accessories. The key is to own staple or timeless pieces without owning excessive items of clothing. This emphasizes quality over quantity

Disadvantages of Capsule Wardrobes

  • It can get boring. You’re basically repeating clothes and outfits. …
  • You can’t follow trends. Let’s face it, some trends are super cute. …
  • You have to do laundry more often. Fewer clothes means that when they get dirty, you have to clean them right away. …
  • It takes time to perfect it.

General rules

Below are rules widely given for creating a capsule wardrobe:

  • Choose a colour scheme This would typically involve choosing one or two base colours that go with everything, such as black, white, brown, grey, or navy. Items such as trousers, handbags or coats would be bought in shades of these colours, so that they can be put with anything else in the wardrobe. After choosing the base colours, choose one or two accent colours, which are brighter than the base colours, and co-ordinate with each other. These would typically be used for items such as tops, dresses, or accessories; once a colour scheme is established, all the items in a wardrobe should be interchangeable, as the colour of the pieces always complement each other.
  • Consider your body shape. Some cuts of clothing are more flattering than others; for instance, stylists often advise that women with wider hips wear cap sleeves, as they make the shoulders appear wider, and more proportionate to the hips. If the items of clothing chosen are flattering, the wearer is more likely to want to keep them in their wardrobe.
  • Consider your complexion.As with cuts of clothing, some colours are more flattering than others, to both skin tone and body shape. If the colours are well-chosen, then the items are more likely to remain in favour.
  • Choose classic shapes and patterns. While some cuts and patterns of clothing go in and out of fashion, others are considered ‘classic’ because they do not date. It is wise to choose classic pieces for a capsule wardrobe, as the wearer intends to keep them for a number of years.
  • Choose high-quality fabrics. As the idea of a capsule wardrobe is to own a few items of clothing that can be worn different ways, individual pieces get much wear. Therefore, it is a good idea to choose clothing that is well made and continues to look good despite wear.
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