How Many Items Should Be In a Capsule Wardrobe: 3 Ways to Decide

100 piece capsule wardrobe graphic featuring pieces for winter, spring, summer and fall

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Ah, the burning question of how many pieces should grace the sacred grounds of a capsule closet. Well, my dear style enthusiast, the answer isn’t set in stone (or should I say on hangers?). The flexibility of a capsule wardrobe is one of its many benefits. But, it can be helpful to have a guide. 

Below, I’ll walk you through three ways to determine how many items should be in your capsule wardrobe. 

We’ll  cover: 

  • Factors to determine how many items should be in your closet 
  • Different size capsule wardrobes (pros and cons)
  • A helpful capsule wardrobe formula 
  • Capsule wardrobe essentials for a chic closet

Note: This post may contain affiliate links meaning I earn a small commission when you shop the links, at no cost to you.

french capsule wardrobe essentials striped shirt, blazer and trousers


When you ask about how many items to have in a capsule wardrobe, the ranges given vary. They don’t take into account your personal needs. If you want a super fast method, skip this section. But, for a capsule number range that’s tailored to you, try this formula: 


Let’s break down each section and learn how to use the formula. 




Dresses (if applicable)





Give each piece a versatility rating of 1-5 for each essential category. In this case, 1 is less versatile and 5 is highly versatile. Multiply this rating by a base range of 3-5 to determine the item range for each category.


Assess how often you do laundry in a given week and assign a factor of 1-5, with 1 being less frequent and 5 being more frequent. This signals how often you can re-wear items before needing to toss them in the wash

how to build a neutral capsule wardrobe graphic


Okay, my style star, let’s put this formula to work with a real-world example. Here’s how your capsule calculation could look:

Essential Categories: Tops, Bottoms, Outerwear, Accessories

Item Range: A versatility rating of 3 for Tops, 4 for Bottoms, 2 for Outerwear, and 5 for Accessories.

Laundry Factor: Laundry is done twice a week.

Now let’s use the formula.

Number of Pieces = (Essential Categories x Item Range) + Laundry Factor

Number of Tops = 3 (Essential Category) x 3 (Item Range) = 9 Tops


Number of Bottoms = 2 (Essential Category) x 4 (Item Range) = 8 Bottoms


Number of Outerwear = 1 (Essential Category) x 2 (Item Range) = 2 Outerwear


Number of Accessories = 2 (Essential Category) x 5 (Item Range) = 10 Accessories


Total Number of Pieces = 9 (Tops) + 8 (Bottoms) + 2 (Outerwear) + 10 (Accessories) + 2 (Laundry Factor) = 31 pieces

So, in this example a well-rounded 31-piece capsule is ideal. 

Wardrobe Staples

A quality capsule is one you can wear on repeat. So choose well-made, versatile pieces like these.



While it’s not a necessary tool on your way to a wow-inducing wardrobe, a capsule wardrobe formula can provide helpful structure.  One formula is the modular capsule formula which is a mini 6-piece wardrobe that can be combined with similar modules for a cohesive capsule. It could look like this: 

If you’re new to capsules, let me introduce you to their miniature version of- wardrobe modules. The magic of a module appears when it is combined with other modules. Let me explain.

The pieces within each module all mix and match. So out of your six-piece module, all 3 tops go with all 3 bottoms. 

Then, you repeat the process.

So in your second module, all 4 tops go with all two bottoms. Or whatever the split may be, all the pieces go together.

Now, if you maintain a cohesive color palette across all the modules you create, your whole closet becomes mix and match paradise.

Here’s the quick math assuming you pick pieces that all go with each other:

1 module (6 pieces) = 12 outfits

2 modules (12 pieces) = 72 outfits

3 modules (18 pieces) = 216 outfits

You can read more about the module and other capsule wardrobe formulas here. Or, scroll on to find out how many pieces are in the closets of some seasoned capsule wearers. 

capsule module wardrobe formula

Module Wardrobe Staples

When building your wardrobe modules, opt for chic pieces in a cohesive color palette. You’ll look put together even on those low-effort days.


Why not use the wisdom of those who have been through the trial and error of capsule wardrobe building? Below are a few different-sized capsules to explore, along with the pros and cons.


Popularized by Lee of Style Bee, the 10×10 challenge encourages you to create a super small yet eminently wearable collection of clothing.

You start by selecting 10 items which you then style to create 10 unique looks. For the next 10 ways, you don these items exclusively. 

Example Closet: 

  • 4 Tops 
  • 3 Bottoms
  • 2 Dresses
  • 1 Coat

To learn how this wardrobe works day to day rather than in a challenge, check out my 10-item wardrobe guide. 


  • Encourages you to be resourceful and creative with current clothing
  • Helps you identify the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe


  • Not a long-term solution
  • Feels restrictive for some

My take: If you want to test the waters and see if a capsule wardrobe could work for you, give this low-risk challenge a try. A challenge like this brings clarity to those determining how many items should be in a capsule wardrobe.

10 piece wardrobe minimalist


Created by  Courtney Carver over a decade ago, Project 333 remains a favorite throughout minimalist fashion circles. The challenge, which involves choosing 33 pieces in your closet and wearing only those for 3 months, has turned many skeptics into capsule believers. 

Example Checklist:

  • 10 Tops
  • 7 Bottoms
  • 4 Dresses
  • 4 Pairs of Shoes
  • 3 Outerwear Options
  • 5 Accessories


  • Simplifies getting ready, reducing decision fatigue 
  • Allows you to create outfit formulas easily 


  • Requires a lot of upfront planning since the rest of your wardrobe will be out of sight

My take: If you’re confused about how many items should be in a capsule wardrobe, 33 pieces is a nice starting point.  After a season, you can edit the number up or down based on your needs. When it comes to how many items will be in a year-round capsule wardrobe, 33 may be your golden number. Be sure to check out the capsule wardrobe checklist for a helpful list of capsule essentials. 

capsule wardrobe formula for 35 piece wardrobe

This 35-piece capsule is just two pieces away from being Project 333-ready. 

Wardrobe Staples

Flattering necklines. Sleek silhouettes. Your outfits are sure to shine.


So you want to start a capsule wardrobe but you are afraid there won’t be room for trendy pieces. Well, a 52-piece capsule may be the answer. Laurie of Laurie Loo created her wardrobe with 37 versatile basics and 15 trendy pieces. 

Example Closet:

37 Basics:

  • 10 Tops (e.g., t-shirts, blouses)
  • 7 Bottoms (e.g., jeans, trousers, skirts)
  • 5 Dresses or Jumpsuits
  • 4 Outerwear Pieces (e.g., coats, jackets, cardigans)
  • 5 Pairs of Shoes
  • 6 Accessories (e.g., scarves, belts, hats)

15 Trendy Pieces:

  • 5 Tops
  • 3 Bottoms
  • 2 Dresses or Jumpsuits
  • 1 Outerwear Piece
  • 2 Pairs of Shoes
  • 2 Accessories


  • Allows room for fun pieces and personal style expression
  • Large enough to incorporate a broad mix of items 


  • May need to be refreshed more regularly as trends go out of style

My take: When people ask how many items should be in a capsule wardrobe, the answer varies. But a 52-piece wardrobe is a bit large for a capsule in my opinion. However, this low 50 range can be helpful to aim for if you are working to cut down a large closet.

Wardrobe Staples

While trendy pieces have their place, solid basics make getting dressed a breeze. Include sophisticated pieces like these and don’t be shocked as the compliments roll in.


Figuring out how many items should be in a year-round capsule wardrobe? This 100-piece wardrobe is one approach. Don’t let the massive number scare you. Stacey of Radiantly Dressed created this wardrobe concept that divides the 100 items into 5 20-piece closets. There is a closet for winter, spring, summer, fall, and extras. 

Example Winter & Summer Closet: 

Summer Closet (20 pieces):

  • 5 Tops
  • 4 Bottoms
  • 3 Dresses or Jumpsuits
  • 2 Outerwear Pieces
  • 2 Pairs of Shoes
  • 4 Accessories

Winter Closet (20 pieces):

  • 5 Tops
  • 4 Bottoms
  • 2 Dresses or Jumpsuits
  • 3 Outerwear Pieces
  • 3 Pairs of Shoes
  • 3 Accessories


  • Offers a well-rounded wardrobe that can adapt as the seasons change
  •  Makes seasonal capsule rotation seamless and fast 


  • Less flexible than smaller wardrobes due to lack of frequent changes 
  • Could result in a bloated closet without careful planning

My take: Creating a full 100-piece wardrobe can feel like a big undertaking. I recommend this method if you already have a large closet and want to simplify it into manageable sections. Rather than building the capsule all at once, start small with a 20-piece seasonal capsule and continue from there. 

100 piece capsule wardrobe graphic featuring pieces for winter, spring, summer and fall

Wardrobe Staples

Remember to sprinkle in some elegant pieces like these. The best part? You can dress them up or down with ease.


If building your ideal closet seems overwhelming, allow me to help. Browse this capsule wardrobe checklist to learn exactly what you need to make every day a good outfit day.

As you determine how many pieces to place in your capsule wardrobe, don’t fret about the numbers. Instead, focus on building a capsule closet that speaks to your style and simplifies your life. Happy closet crafting!

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