6 Steps to a Beyond Level Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is defined as the go-to essential items in your closet. A successful capsule wardrobe transcends past seasonal trends and will contain all the items you need to suit your lifestyle. Defining a capsule wardrobe is the foundation to your style. I suggest ruthlessness in how you edit and refine it - your capsule wardrobe is the core of your self-expression through fashion!

Step 1: Define your personal aesthetic.

For full strategy around this, please read my post Key Steps to Identifying Your Design Aesthetic. Your personal aesthetic is your connection to beauty. It links your lifestyle needs and personality to a sense of style that makes you feel luxurious in your own skin and allows a feeling of fully expressing yourself. Defining your style will make the decision around editing and refining a capsule wardrobe much easier.

Step 2: Define your color palette

A color palette should be a maximum of five colors and up to three accent colors. For capsule wardrobe, a monochromatic color palette is usually the most fitting. White, dark and light greys, tan, beige, and black. Consider your mood and skin tone in choosing warm and cool tones.

Step 3: Define a maximum of two silhouettes that compliment your body type.

Although counter-intuitive, defining your look in terms of one or two silhouettes will present a stronger impact. Choose your silhouette by what compliments your body type the best and the statement that you want to make through volume and structure. For example, I mostly use two silhouettes for my capsule wardrobe and collection design: hourglass and oversized. These silhouettes relate to curvier women because they allow contrast between accentuating the feminine body to ultra-volume and provide opportunities to conceal or reveal. It is also in line with my tendency to want to push extremes in opposing directions.

Step 4: Define your lifestyle and write out a garment list of essential items you need to fill your routine.

Consider your regular schedule. Do you work in an office? Attend the gym or yoga? Spend time out with friends? For reference, here is a generalized capsule wardrobe items list that fits my needs as a multi-business owner and socialite in the bay area:

suit jacket/ blazer

wool coat

trench coat

mid-weight jacket

tailored pants- one fitted, one trouser

tailored skirt

crisp white/beige blouse

black blouse

black cocktail dress

black formal dress

shift or shirt dress


pump shoes

tailored flat shoe- oxford, loafer, or similar

yoga pants

crop top



Step 5: Edit your wardrobe

This is where the ruthlessness comes in. Filter through each of the items and analyze if they meets the criteria that you have defined previously. A successful capsule wardrobe will solely contain items you love and want to wear regularly. This is the best opportunity to consider the way your clothing makes you feel. Study the drape and feel of the fabric. Consider the integrity of the item and its pairing to the rest of the wardrobe. 

Step 6: Plan, shop, and re-evaluate

Once you have edited down your wardrobe. You may have a clearer sense of direction and observation that some key items are missing. Planning includes returning to the previous steps and seeing if you are still in alignment with your initial definition. You are always welcome to re-evaluate your initial color palette and aesthetic if you find that a new way is more fitting to your personality and lifestyle. As you shop for future items, maintain the awareness around your personal style and be meticulous about the details of what your purchase. When shopping for a capsule wardrobe, you are considering timelessness and quality because a beautiful item of clothing has potential to reflect your style for years to come. If you do this, you will develop a highly cohesive and sophisticated capsule wardrobe that you feel confident wearing every day.