How to build a wardrobe you love, that will save you time and money

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 8 foundation pieces. 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:

Little black dress

Black pants

Dark jeans

White t-shirt

White blouse

Trench coat

Black blazer

Black pencil Skirt

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. 

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.

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 Classic Capsule items. 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. Next post we’ll go over a spring refresh of the Classic Capsule Wardrobe essentials, to show you how you can build this out.

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.




Hi! I'm Kim.

I teach women to dress with more confidence and joy. By understanding a few style concepts, how to dress your body type and how to curate a capsule wardrobe everyone can leave the house feeling great.



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    8 thoughts on “How to build a wardrobe you love, that will save you time and money”

    1. great post! I like that you can sub-out the pencil skirt for something that works with individual career industry. I really could use a great white tee, black and white long sleeve tees too. any ideas where to purchase? thanks!

      1. Depends on your price point, but I’m a big fan of James Pearse-you can get them on sale at Nordstrom rack, don’t pay the full retail price for these. Jcrew also does a good job, I like their vintage tees and Micheal Stars had great long sleeve tees right now. Let me know if these don’t work and I’ll send some other suggestions to you.

    2. Hi Kim, Thank you for your suggestion about the white tees! I just finished listening to the podcast featuring you and loved it!
      This year I lost some weight and when I went to grab my black pants for an informal interview they were to big and saggy! Do you recommend hanging on to some key pieces that are to big incase – you know we need them one day due to weight gain? Hmmmm

      1. Depends. Did you work to lose this weight? Do you fluctuate in size often? If this change in weight was intentional, I say you push in all your chips and make this permanent. Get rid of the clothes that don’t fit and work so that you don’t need them any longer. Step into your new size, embrace it. Of course if you have the room to stash a few pieces, go for it.

        1. Thanks so much Kim!
          Intentional wt. loss but with a whole new way of working out that is sustainable.
          Thank you for your advice!
          Also, purchased the James Pearse tees onsale per your suggestion and wow, I really like them, the fit and quality. Never felt so confident in a white tee.

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