Refining Your Style: The Capsule Wardrobe

We all know the feeling of swiping hangers through a closet full of chunky sweaters and an array of jeans in every wash and rise available, but still feeling like you have nothing to wear. Whether your closet is full of event dresses or tops with the tags still on, eventually the endless cycle of consumerism is straining your wallet, outfit options and space in your closet.

Cue the capsule wardrobe. The concept of a capsule wardrobe is simple — choosing the most functional pieces of clothing that will offer you more looks than trendier, disposable items.

A capsule wardrobe does not mean that you have to forgo trying fun trends — it essentially creates a strong foundation of quality clothes that will last any season and can be dressed up or down.

Refining Your Style

An ideal capsule wardrobe has between 24 and 32 pieces in it, but you don’t have to abide by these rules. The purpose of a capsule wardrobe is to have a collection of clothes tailored to your lifestyle that you genuinely love the look, feeling and fit of.

As a college student, it is much more reasonable to have more leggings than dress pants, but rather than keeping every pair of leggings you own  including the ones with a hole that you swear you’ll fix  the capsule wardrobe urges you to keep only the ones that meet its criteria.

The first step to creating a capsule wardrobe is to empty your closet and sort your clothing into three piles: keep, maybe and donate. It’s important to understand what these piles mean and what questions to ask yourself while going through each piece.


This pile should be for clothing items that you absolutely cannot live without. Keep the natural fiber sweaters that have lasted you multiple State College winters and 100% cotton jeans. If you have pieces you love that are falling apart, make a note to replace them and part ways.


These items that evoke an “I want to keep this but I am not sure why” feeling and things you think you might wear belong here. Ask yourself, “when was the last time I wore this?” or “will I actually wear this again?” and “is the quality of this item something that will continue to serve my closet?” If you don’t love it, leave it.


Finally, this pile should be everything you know adds nothing to your closet — this means that formal dress you have questionable memories in, that itchy scarf that looks great on, but is unbearable to wear, and other items that you don’t see yourself wearing anymore. Divide this pile into items that can be sold on Poshmark, Depop or consignment, donated items that can benefit someone else, and whatever is not in good enough condition to be sold or donated can be recycled.

Invitation Only

After purging your closet, you can begin to plan what you want to buy to shape your wardrobe around. Carefully selecting the pieces you add into your closet is essential to a capsule wardrobe. Impulse purchases are not welcome in your capsule wardrobe since, after their novelty wears off, they typically end up in the next donation pile. Criteria for making it into your wardrobe should be quality of the item, its versatility, and, of course, how much you love it.

Training yourself to become more selective is the single most effective thing you can do to upgrade your wardrobe. Try to think of your closet as an exclusive, members-only club. Only pieces that you love and are truly excited to wear get an invite.” says Anuschka Rees, author of The Curated Closet.

Get inspired from capsule wardrobes on Pinterest or Youtube, where bloggers explain each piece and their reasoning for having it. The Anna Edit and Emma Hill both give great fall capsule wardrobes for chilly weather and show their processes to organize their clothes.

No matter your style, way of life or closet space, the capsule wardrobe allows for both creativity and versatility. As the temperatures drop, try going through your clothes and simplify your space!


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