Capsule wardrobe basics; how to build a wardrobe you love

This post will show you what items you need for your capsule wardrobe basics.

I know. The thought of building a wardrobe you love sounds so overwhelming. First, there is web surfing and online shopping to find “your” style. Next, endless hours on Pinterest building your style boards. Then, shopping online and/or in-person; and all the returns when nothing works. 

And the worst part?  Purchasing a bunch of items, wearing them once and never pulling them out of your closet again because they don’t look good with anything else you own. All that effort, time and money—for nothing. Sigh.

What if I told you there is a way out of this wardrobe misery? What if you knew exactly how to build a solid foundation for your wardrobe, one where things all go together? A grown up mix- and-match garanamial style closet– a Capsule Wardrobe. I’ve got you my friend, keep reading.

what is a capsule wardrobe anyway? 

The dictionary definition is:a smallcollection of clothes that can be put together in different ways and includes everything you would normally need to wear.

This term was coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe” 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 augment with seasonal pieces.

This idea has changed a bit since the 70s and is now popular with the minimalist movement. A less gives you more way of living. This modern concept of a capsule wardrobe is to limit the number of items to 30 something, this includes shoes, jewelry, accessories, and belts.  

For today, we will focus on the Classical Capsule Wardrobe basics. Once these are in place you can add color with layers, patterns, additional pieces and accessories.

Why a capsule wardrobe?

The options are limitless once you have the capsule formula down. (For example, you can create seasonal, work, and vacation capsule wardrobes.) The premise is the same– every item works with all other items in each collection. This means more outfits, requiring fewer pieces of clothing. This will save money and time and leaves you feeling confident about your outfit choices. It’s a win, win, (win).

A Classic Capsule wardrobe includes the following basic pieces:

  • Little black dress
  • Black pants
  • Dark jeans
  • White t-shirt
  • White blouse
  • Trench coat
  • Black blazer
  • Black pencil Skirt
Items for you capsule wardrobe basics trench coat, black blazer, white t-shirt, black wrap dress, white blouse, dark wash jeans, black pencil skirt and place pants.

Of course you can tweak this as needed. For example, if you have no use for a pencil skirt, you don’t work in a corporate setting, change it out for a maxi length that is more casual and lifestyle friendly. Make the capsule wardrobe basics items that fit your lifestyle.

long black skirt is

The black pants can be in a more casual style, such as cargo pants or joggers. Warning, your athleisure wear doesn’t count as your black bottoms. Those are for yoga, hikes, runs, or cycle class.

black joggers with heels. These are a great option for your capsule wardrobe basics

Make this your own; to suit your lifestyle, but the foundational clothing items will remain the same. The ones I selected here are suggestions to get started if you are stuck or need a visual. Choose items you love, that feel good on your body, and work for your body type. 

How do I start to assemble my capsule wardrobe?

Now it’s your turn. Head over to your closet armed with this new information and list of the capsule wardrobe basics needed. See which of these 8 pieces you already own and place them together in your closet. Make a list of the items you’ll need to complete the capsule basics, and acquire them over time. My guess is you have more than you think you do.

This will be the foundation of your Capsule Wardrobe. We can flesh it out by adding in color with layers, patterns and accessories. To see how you can flesh this out once the essentials in place, take a look at the spring, summer, fall, and winter capsule wardrobe posts. It will show you how to add color, texture and layers to complete your closet by season.

This is a simple straightforward way to organize your wardrobe. You can have multiple capsules, or one larger one. You can be as creative as you like, just a few rules to follow to keep things organized.

I’m here if you have any questions. Let me know in the comments below how it goes, and please share this with someone who needs some style love.





I show women over 50 how to get noticed, stay relevant, and be connected through their wardrobe. Getting dressed is something you have to do each day, why not make it fun.



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