The Year-Round Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe for 2024
Table of Contents
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What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is an intentionally chosen set of clothing that you can mix and match with ease. The ideal minimalist capsule wardrobe suits your lifestyle needs (work, social, relaxing, etc.) and only contains pieces that fit well. As a result, you can easily create flattering looks over and over.
I whittled my closet down into a simplified capsule wardrobe that is functional, chic, and gets tons of compliments. So today I’m sharing my year-round minimalist capsule wardrobe formula with you!
Read on for good outfit days.
Why Have a Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe?
With a minimalist capsule wardrobe, you save time getting dressed each day, avoid impulse clothing buys, and only wear items that make you feel amazing.
Capsule Benefits You’ll Enjoy
Save time getting dressed each day
Mix and match easily for lots of outfits
Cutting down on spur-of-the-moment shopping
Always have something to wear
Enjoy quality clothing that lasts
Have less clutter in your closet
Who knew a collection of versatile pieces (and a clutter-free closet), could be so liberating?
A Chic Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe (That’s Not Boring)
This year-round minimalist capsule wardrobe features a neutral color palette with accents of olive for elegant looks. Solid-colored pieces make for easy mixing and matching. Explore the capsule below and scroll on to build your own!
Crisp Button Down Shirt
Oh so versatile. Dress it up or down.
Always polished. Layer it under a blazer or wear it on its own.
Super comfortable. Choose one built for year-round wear like this.
Easy to slip on with trousers or dress down with sneakers and jeans.
Fitted Tank Top
Effortlessly chic. Wear on warmer days for a reliably flattering look.
Off the Shoulder Top
Use this to dress up your denim or your date night.
Dark Wash Jeans
Transition from casual to semi-formal with ease. Perfect for those “jeans and a nice top” event.
Polished yet comfortable. Perfect for professional settings or an elevated casual look.
Effortless summer chic. Stay cool and stylish on warmer days.
Classic and cute. You won’t regret adding a pair of cut-offs to the rotation.
Plays well with boots, heels, and sneakers. Make it casual, dressy, or in between.
Enjoy comfort without sacrificing style. Perfect for errands, travel, and the like.
Little Black Dress
A timeless classic. Versatile and elegant, this dress is a go-to for any occasion.
An essential silhouette. From errands to weekend outings, this dress offers understated sophistication.
Classic Trench Coat
One step to look more put-together. Ideal for both rainy days and polished ensembles.
What minimalist capsule wardrobe is complete without a versatile blazer? Smart-casual delivered.
Summer-ready layering. Stay stylish yet cool with this simple piece.
Functional fashion. A go-to piece for a casual, on-the-go style.
I always keep a pair for casual comfort. Slip them on for airports, shopping trips, and casual events.
Elevate your look for formal occasions or professional events with a trusty pair of heels.
Ankle boots are a year-round staple. Get a neutral pair for easy mixing and matching.
The summer shoe essential. Need I say more?
Minimalist Capsule Outfit Ideas
Before exploring the minimalist capsule wardrobe checklist, browse the outfit inspiration below.
Year-Round Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe Checklist
Remember, there is no one perfect formula to follow. So this capsule wardrobe checklist lays out a 25-piece capsule closet. You can customize it so the clothes make sense for your daily life.
SKIRTS & DRESSES
Hopefully, this capsule wardrobe checklist sparks some inspiration as you create your own. Once it’s complete, you’ll enjoy the (fashionable) fruits of your careful planning.
How To Build a Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe
Wardrobe overwhelm? I’ve got you covered. Here is the 8-step formula to build a year-round capsule wardrobe you won’t get tired of.
1. Uncover Your Personal Style Patterns
Before you pare down your closet, it’s essential to know what your most loved pieces are. So think about your daily outfits and make note of the pieces that you reach for the most.
What do I gravitate towards repeatedly?
Which pieces are always in the wash because I love wearing them?
If I lost all my clothes tomorrow, what pieces would I buy again right away?
What outfits always make me feel amazing?
Which items do many of my favorite outfits have in common?
The goal of this step is to identify essential pieces and reoccurring patterns in your wardrobe. That way, you can build a minimalist capsule wardrobe that’s tailored to you.
Bonus Tip: Your mirror selfies are about to come in handy. Comb through your camera roll to find similarities in the outfits you wear repeatedly. Then, create an outfits folder and take mirror pics for a few weeks to see what outfit pieces you repeatedly wear.
2. Pick a Capsule Wardrobe Color Palette
You’ve identified the patterns in your wardrobe. Now it’s time to select your colors. There are three main color palette categories to consider:
This color will form the foundation of your wardrobe and come in neutral tones that ground your looks. Select one or two base colors. I opted for tan because I noticed this repeatedly when examining my favorite outfits.
Complementary colors are supporting neutrals that expand your palette while still keeping the wardrobe focused. Rather than having one like we picked with base colors, you can have a few supporting colors to add fullness to your closet. I chose white and a deep brown.
Contrary to popular belief, your color scheme does not have to be totally neutral. Accent colors add depth to a minimalist capsule wardrobe. Be sure to select accent colors that compliment your base color palette. An easily interchangeable wardrobe is the goal. I selected a deep plum accent color.
Need more color palette help? This in-depth guide to creating a wardrobe color palette will help.
3. Define Your Wardrobe Functions
What’s the secret sauce that will make a minimalist capsule wardrobe work for you? Aligning the wardrobe with your lifestyle! Your clothing collection should cover your most frequent activities like:
The proportion of clothing you need in each category will differ based on your daily life. For example:
I work from home but attend a lot of social events. My capsule wardrobe contains very few professional pieces and lots of versatile dresses for events and outings.
The beauty of a capsule wardrobe is that the pieces are versatile. Considering your lifestyle will help you select great crossover pieces that can work in multiple settings. So avoid a cookie-cutter minimalist closet by getting clear about the types of clothes you most need.
4. Declutter Your Closet
Now that you’re crystal clear about:
Your go-to outfits
Your wardrobe color palette
Your functional wardrobe needs
it is time to declutter that closet. There are multiple methods for closest cleanouts but the basic premise is to downsize. Remove anything that you don’t wear, is damaged, does not fit, or is uncomfortable. I split my clothes into piles that are labeled:
- Store away (for seasonal clothes)
Now, look at what’s left. It’s time to curate the minimalist wardrobe of your fashion fever dreams. Let’s select your core garments and round out your closet.
5. Pick Layering Pieces
On to the next step for stunning capsule wardrobe creation! Remember, your minimal wardrobe should free you, not restrain you. To create lots of unique outfits, incorporate pieces that are easy to layer. You may find that you have many of these interchangeable pieces already in your closet.
Summer capsule layering pieces look like:
- Tank dresses/tops
- Breezy cardigans
- Silk slip dresses
- Lightweight button downs
Winter layering pieces look like:
- Structured blazers
- Trench coats
- Sleek turtlenecks
- Leather jackets
6. Shop for Missing Wardrobe Essentials
Once you’ve decluttered your closet and defined your wardrobe needs, you can see what is missing. To shop with intention, create a list of the items that:
- Fall into your selected capsule color palette
- Align with your functional wardrobe needs
- Are versatile and will work with your current capsule items
You do not need to buy your capsule pieces all in one shopping trip. Take time to see what you’re truly needing so that you can shop with intention. The capsule checklist below will provide structure for this step.
7. Prioritize Quality Clothing
Where you purchase your minimalist clothes matters. After all, you’ll be wearing these pieces over and over again. When shopping for your wardrobe essentials, fabric and fit are key elements to pay attention to.
Take the sustainable clothing brands below for example.
Cuyana only uses top-tier materials so every piece of clothing stands the test of time.
Everlane brings you quality pieces with a commitment to ethical production.
Quince offers garments in high-quality fabrics (cashmere & slik) at affordable price points.
8. Maintain Your Minimalist Wardrobe
Once you’ve thoughtfully collected your capsule attire, the final step is caring for it. Thankfully, now that you’ve cleaned out your closet, it’s not an overwhelming amount of items to maintain.
To ensure your clothes last longer:
- Follow washing instructions to maintain fabric integrity
- Hand wash and air dry delicate fabrics when possible
- Keep a stain-removing pen handy when on-the-go
- Use a lint roller and depiller to keep sweaters looking fresh
- Opt for high-quality hangers (wooden > plastic)
- Repair garments rather than tossing them
See the full guide to maintaining a minimalist capsule wardrobe below.
How Many Clothes Should be in a Capsule Wardrobe?
Capsule wardrobe sizes range from super minimalist 10-piece wardrobes to more robust 50-piece collections. Most minimalist capsule wardrobes fall between the 20-40 piece mark.
Here’s how many items are in capsule wardrobes of fashion bloggers:
Caroline Joy of Unfancy wears a 10-piece minimal capsule wardrobe
Amy Jackson of Fashion Jackson uses an 18-piece capsule to create lots of minimalist looks
WhoWhatWear suggests paring it down to a 37-piece capsule wardrobe
However, the number of items in your capsule wardrobe is not the most important. Having a wardrobe that meets your lifestyle needs is (hello again, step 3).
Need more guidance? Use a capsule wardrobe formula to help decide.
It may take some trial and error to find the ideal capsule size. If you’re just starting out, you can set an item range that works for you and stay within that. For example, I’ll keep my capsule between 20-30 pieces and see if I feel constricted or if I can cut back even more.
Capsule Wardrobe Mistakes
Creating a cookie cutter capsule closet. You MUST ask yourself “what is my life like?” rather than modeling your wardrobe after a Pinterest clothing checklist or your favorite fashion blogger.
Being too restrictive. If you cut your wardrobe down too much, you’ll lack essentials. Then, you’ll feel forced to buy new clothing. Start slow and keep your “maybe” clothes stored away rather than throwing out a ton at the beginning.
Forgetting special occasion pieces. Be sure to add a few items for special events in your capsule. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself shopping for new clothing whenever special events pop up.
Buying items that don’t fit. With a limited number of items in your closet, every item of clothing should fit beautifully. Whether you need to return an item or take it to the tailor, be sure to prioritize fit.
Capsule Wardrobe FAQs
What are the benefits of a minimalist capsule wardrobe?
1. Save time getting ready.
A dresser stuffed to the brim with clothing. An overflowing closet. Finding the ideal outfit can feel like a search for a needle in the haystack. Simplify it with a minimalist wardrobe that only includes the best of your closet. Goodbye, outfit decision fatigue.
2. Do more with less clothing.
Will a minimalist capsule wardrobe doom you to be a chronic outfit repeater? Not likely. Thanks to the intentional selection of clothing, you’ll be left with so many ways to mix and match items. Your new wardrobe will inspire creativity, not hamper it.
3. Embrace slow fashion.
Yes, capsule queens care about the environment and look good while doing it!! A minimalist wardrobe is centered on timeless, well-made pieces rather than trendy items. This allows you to consume less and to support sustainable brands.
4. Save money.
When a minimalist capsule is done right, you have just what you need right in your closet. Gone is the “need” to buy a new item when a new event or fast fashion trend pops up. Plus, by investing in quality clothing, the cost per wear is low. And style morale is high!
How many items should be in my capsule wardrobe?
Typical capsule wardrobes contain between 20-40 pieces of clothing. However, some super minimalist capsules contain 10-15 pieces.
It may take some trial and error to find the perfect capsule wardrobe size for you. If you’re just starting out, set a range rather than a strict number limit for items in your closet.