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 How The 10 Item Wardrobe Works & How to Build Yours (With Examples)

10 piece wardrobe minimalist

 How The 10 Item Wardrobe Works & How to Build Yours (With Examples)

Picture your go-to outfits. Do they consist of the same pieces that you wear on repeat? If so, you’re not alone.

In fact, many women wear just 20% of their wardrobe on a regular basis. Now that we’ve wiped away a tear for the neglected 80%, let’s discuss solutions.

One idea: try out a ten-item wardrobe.

10 piece wardrobe minimalist

Wait. Am I seriously suggesting that you only ever wear ten clothing items? Not exactly. But I am referring to a total closet (and mindset) shift that offers simplicity and style.

Below, you’ll learn how to make the 10-item capsule work for you.

What is a 10-Item Wardrobe?

A ten-item wardrobe is a collection of, you guessed it, 10 versatile clothing pieces that you can mix and match to create an impressive amount of outfits. All the wardrobe items complement one another, making getting dressed simple.

This minimalist approach prioritizes quality over quantity so you’re left with flattering, well-made pieces and an organized closet.

An added perk? Maintaining your closet is a breeze with such a pared-down powerhouse wardrobe.

Think the ten-piece capsule wardrobe sounds like nothing but a fashion fantasy? Keep reading!

We’ll walk through how it works and look at examples of this surprisingly freeing wardrobe below.


Table of Contents
What is a 10-Item Wardrobe?
How does it work?
Focus on 10 Core Items in Your Closet
Select Supporting Items to Complete Your Wardrobe
Deep Clean Your Closet
Choose Quality Over Quantity
Wear The Same Clothes Over and Over
10-Item Wardrobe Examples
10 Piece Work Capsule Wardrobe
10 Piece Casual Capsule Wardrobe
How to Build a 10-Item Wardrobe
Benefits of a 10-Item Wardrobe

How does it work?

If the ten-item wardrobe sounds familiar, you may have seen Jennifer Scott’s widely circulated Tedx Talk detailing how a stay in Paris inspired her to own fewer clothes and elevate her style. Let’s break down the rules!

minimalist capsule wardrobe

Focus on 10 Core Items in Your Closet

The focus of your wardrobe will be these items that you mix and match on repeat. Think blouses, sweaters, pants, skirts, dresses, and jeans. Keep in mind that these items are open to edits each season. The items you pick for your summer ten-piece wardrobe will serve their purpose for a time. When winter rolls around, you can select a new batch of items to suit your needs. 


Select Supporting Items to Complete Your Wardrobe

*Gasp*. There’s no need to call the minimalist fashion police. The 10-item capsule wardrobe refers to the core of your closet. However, there is room in this regimen for more items. Base layer clothing like tees and tank tops along with special occasion wear all fall into the surrounding wardrobe category. Think of them as the supporting cast for the main star pieces (aka your core ten items).


Deep Clean Your Closet 

Or, at the very least,  put a lot of it away while you try out a simpler wardrobe. There’s something so freeing about discarding all the clothing that no longer serves you. Whether you get rid of the items or pack them away temporarily, it’s important to get clothing that you’re not using out of sight. A clear closet (and easier outfit creation)  is just around the corner.

Choose Quality Over Quantity

When you drastically cut your wardrobe, it’s only natural to gravitate towards pieces that last. A ten-piece wardrobe force you to be selective. As a result, you’ll leave behind the clothing that is just okay. Goodbye, stretched-out cardigan. Hello, flattering blazer and jeans that fit like a glove.


Wear The Same Clothes Over and Over

You’re going to outfit repeat… and you’re going to like it! While studying abroad, Jennifer noticed that Madame Chic (aka her host mother) often wore the same high-quality pieces on repeat. The French 10-item wardrobe concept is alluring. After all, who doesn’t want to look effortlessly put together day in and day out? Take a page from Parisians and embrace wearing the same items often.

Is French fashion calling your name? Explore French capsule wardrobes for summer and winter here.

10-Item Wardrobe Examples

10 item work wardrobe graphic

10 Piece Work Capsule Wardrobe

This simple work capsule offers versatility while keeping things classy at the office.

Oxford shirt x2:  Classic White Shirt & Baby Blue Shirt

High Neck Blouse


Midi skirt

Trousers x2:  Wide leg trousers &  Black Fitted trousers 

Fitted Blazer

Pencil skirt 

Structured dress

Supporting garments ideas: a trench coat, some fitted tank tops, and crisp cap sleeve shirts.

10 Piece Casual Capsule Wardrobe

This capsule checks the comfort boxes while keeping you looking chic. One-piece outfits like a jumpsuit or day dress make getting ready a breeze.

Supporting garments ideas: a long cardigan, solid bodysuits, and a structured vest.

How to Build a 10-Item Wardrobe

In her book, Lessons from Madame Chic, Jennifer Scott details how to “Liberate Yourself With the 10-Item Wardrobe.” The book is brimming with gems on elegant style and living, making it a perfect addition to an oh-so-chic bookshelf or boudoir. Here are the steps that stood out to me:


1. Go through your entire closet.

Juice. Social media. Closet. Who doesn’t love a good cleanse? Go through your wardrobe and get rid of anything that you no longer wear and that is not in good condition.

2. Remove out-of-season items.

Next, remove any seasonal items and pack them away. You can keep these in tubs tucked away until the seasons change.


3. Select your 10 core pieces.

Now, look at what is left. Ask yourself:

  • What pieces do I  love to wear?
  • Which items make sense to keep in rotation based on my daily activities?
  • What do I always get compliments on?
  • What makes me feel confident and comfortable?

From the items that meet the criteria, pick out the ten pieces that will form the core of your wardrobe.


4. Choose extras to round out your closet.

With the core of your closet in place, you’re ready to build out the essentials to support it. Base layers, outerwear, and special occasion items all fall into this section. Remember to select only what you need to avoid ballooning your wardrobe.


5.  Change core items each season.

If you fall in love with this newly minimized closet, rinse and repeat the process each season.  You’ll enjoy the benefits of a small capsule wardrobe all year round.


Benefits of a 10-Item Wardrobe

  1. You can get ready quickly
  2. Your desire to impulse buy decreases
  3. You only wear pieces that you love
  4. You don’t have bad outfit days
  5. You have fun mixing and matching to create new outfits
  6. You reduce clothing waste
  7. Your closet is clean and organized
  8. Your personal style becomes more defined
  9. You are more intentional about shopping for new items
  10. You focus on timeless pieces so you always look chic

Minimalist Closet FAQs

Does a 10-item wardrobe work?

Yes, but it works best for people who are willing to repeat outfits and committed to keeping their closets small.

To make it work for you,  focus on the end goal of minimizing clutter and prioritizing the best pieces in your closet rather than hyper fixating on the specific number of pieces. You may find that a ten-piece closet is not enough but a 15-piece one gives you the right amount of flexibility. This still embraces the principle of doing more with less clothing.

What is included in a 10-piece capsule wardrobe?

The wardrobe contains 10 core pieces and supporting pieces to round out the outfits. The core pieces will include tops, bottoms, and outerwear. For example, a ten-piece capsule could contain 3 shirts, 1 sweater, 2 pairs of jeans, 2  skirts, 1 blazer, and 1 cardigan. Shoes and accessories are not counted as part of the 10 items.

build your capsule wardrobe The Elegance Edit

Full closet but nothing to wear? I created this style blog to take the stress out of getting dressed. Learn how to simplify your closet and create pretty, polished outfits with ease. Welcome to The Elegance Edit.