Minimalistic Approach: A Capsule Wardrobe

This post comes from my wonderful reader Lucille Morgan. She is a writer, activist and free spirit. Believing that life is too short, her mission is to live creatively and joyfully. Wealth  and healthy relationship building are some of the themes she waxes lyrical about on her blog. She is also a contributor at : 

You’ll find her “uncommon sense” at:

The recent Aloysa’s post on closet ruts, styling up and never having anything to wear despite a wardrobe fit to burst, brought to mind the idea of a capsule wardrobe.

This is a wardrobe that you can pack up and take anywhere. You’ll always travel light and still feel a la mode!

Face it, most people don’t remember what you wear unless you’re a Hollywood socialite who attends red carpet ceremonies, rubs shoulders with royalty or gets chased after by the paparazzi on a frequent basis.

What is Capsule Wardrobe?

Many women buy clothes on impulse and I’m guilty of that as much as anyone. There are some horrors in my drawers, and sometimes I get a lump in my throat when donation time comes as I recall where I bought them and what they cost. As I mature, I’ve become wiser. Now, I am committed to making more critical choices. If the item I’m contemplating doesn’t mix and match with at least five of my wardrobe staples, then I don’t usually buy.

A capsule wardrobe is ideal for the woman who’s fed up with buying clothes that end up hanging forlornly in her closet with a sign saying: “ worn once…what the bleep?!”

A capsule wardrobe is simplicity itself: 2 pairs of trousers, 1 skirt, 4 tops, 2 pairs of shoes, 3 scarves, 2 belts and jewelry.  You could have a summer and winter capsule – less is more!

Capsule Staples

Before you start on your trip to the mall, analyze yourself. Dress for your shape not your size. Check out fashion magazines for the latest trends, but whatever looks good on a model will not look the same on you. If you’re not stick thin, then 90% of contemporary fashion will not be for you. No one should ever go on a crash diet to look better in their clothes. Dieting is all about improving health not image.

For your bottom half, go for fabrics that are heavy and well cut (for summer, cottons are best). Black, grey and navy are classical staples, and the latter is the choice of power dressers.

Colour is key, and you should devote some time to colour psychology. This is the art of choosing colours that resonate within. Your tops, ideally – 2 t-shirts, 1 shirt, 2 cardigans, 1 jacket – must all be in colours that complement your eyes and skin tone. Lace and dainty embellishments on blouses draw the eye in.

White is a must as it reflects back on your face and lightens it. Pastel colours are great for summer and warm, earthy tones look best in winter. Check out your colour chart before you buy.


Accessories are vital. Scarves can be worn all year round. Woolen ones in winter and silk for summer can be draped around any outfit and create interest around a plain T-shirt.

Belts are excellent for definition. Don’t just wear them to hold up your jeans but wear them over a shirt slung low around your hips. Buy belts with tasteful but eye-catching designs on the buckle.

Make space in your capsule for a bolero, waistcoat or tank top. Some well chosen but inexpensive pieces of jewelry will further coordinate your look. Try wearing three chains of differing lengths together with a pair of swishy earrings…it’ll get all your girlfriends talking.

The best dressed feet don’t require 28 pairs of shoes gathering dust in your cupboard! One pair of boots and one pair of decent shoes that are comfortable are ample.

For social occasions, keep a little black dress that you can add on with sequins, diamond studs etc. and a pair of heels.


Another way of looking great, without filling up your closet, is to dye your hair in bold shades. Add a little drama to your hair and heighten your features. I’m dark-haired so I like to add individual tones of plum, midnight blue and crimson. When you think you have nothing to wear, it could be that you just need a hair makeover.

Make up is also minimal and you just need a little to brighten up your face. Bring out eyes and lips with shades that enhance your unique features.

I’m sure that you’re all aghast as you imagine how it would be possible to survive on such a meager couture diet, but managing your clothes is not dissimilar to managing your money.

Final Thoughts

First rule is you never go shopping when you’re feeling low. Keep your emotions in check and you’ll soon notice that random buys (the ones you hate afterwards) were bought when you were feeling down, tired, hungry or bored.

Think small. A capsule is the way to go if you’re suffering from shopping fatigue. If you base your clothes choices around colour, cut and content you’re on your way to costume independence.

Want to look good on a budget? With a capsule you can! Think before you buy, and if it doesn’t fit with your capsule criteria then walk away…when you acquire inner style and real class you’ll know instinctively what’s right!

Clothes can make us feel good, but an empowered woman knows that confidence is the best outfit of all; so wear it with pride and panache.

A capsule convert never takes an age to get ready, always has something to wear and their partners are happy people!

If you want to create excitement in your life clothes, shopping is truly not the way. What your heart’s really saying is that it needs new experiences. So grab your capsule and take a trip to someplace that you’ve never been to before.

15 thoughts on “Minimalistic Approach: A Capsule Wardrobe”

  1. I need to do something about this and soon – I have overflowing wardrobe and nothing to wear. Needs examination and action. To top it all, a friend has told me that she is coming to the UK to take me shopping (she is very designer) – this worries me.

  2. Haha I love Aloysa’s comment about a capsule wardrobe being too small for her. I’m in the same boat, and though I appreciate those who practice minimalism, I am just too attached to stuff, and well – it makes me happy. This doesn’t mean that I will always go out to buy stuff just to fill that void, but I do enjoy what I buy when it is carefully thought out. Also I never pay for something I can’t afford…I learned this the hard way.

    But great post!

    1. It is too small for me BUT I do like the idea. I will have to add a little more to it.

  3. Good Cents Savings

    I love this idea…if only I could stick to it. I know I should get rid of 70% of what’s in my closet but it’s soooo hard!

    Lately I’ve been trying to retrain my thinking so that whenever I am tempted to purchase something new to better my appearance (clothes, accessories, beauty products) I try to focus that energy on eating healthy, exercising, etc. I figure it’s better for my health and my budget, and will have a larger impact on my appearance than anything I could purchase. Much easier said than done of course, but maybe I’ll get there someday!

  4. Hmm. A capsule wardrobe? I likey. Even if Lucille’s capsule is too small, it doesn’t prohibit you from expanding yours. I think it’s a great starting point and keeps you focused on buying apparel that’s versatile and that looks good. Before I go on my spring shopping trip, I need to seriously think about the pieces I need to include in my wardrobe. Now, more than ever, I don’t have money to waste on stuff I’ll never wear.

    1. I need to focus on stuff that is less trendy and more classic. But I do tend to go after flashy stuff. I am working on it though! 🙂

  5. I really hate trousers, so I’d probably swap out for more skirts or dresses. I love that she included accessories like scarves, those are really a staple for me when I want to mix it up a bit. I feel like capsule wardrobes are what magazines show you in a full page spread, where they have a few basics that they mix and match and pair with other items to create a fuller set of options.

    1. I also prefer skirts and dresses to pants. And I agree with Lucille, classic goes a long way.

  6. It’s true that magazines feature a spread of mix and match clothes but the purpose of that is to showcase the latest seasonal wear.
    A capsule wardrobe is a timeless classic; it does not follow fashion. If you concentrate on colour, cut and shape a little …will go a long way.

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