5 Do's and Don'ts of Capsule Wardrobes

Bree Poulin

I’m Brianna “Bree” Poulin. I am a 21-year-old writer, poet, creator, lover, and self-proclaimed gypsy. I grew up in a small town in Eastern Connecticut always searching for the next story to write and my own personal path to happiness. Recently, I completed a 10-month service term with AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps; where I worked alongside FEMA to help communities in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico recover from the Nation’s hurricanes. Currently, I am employed at a photography company and spend my time taking pictures and writing for my blog. Thanks for reading!


Capsule wardrobes are limitless. Regardless of their small size, these 40-article-of-clothing-or-less collections are perfect for almost any occasion that you may face day to day while still providing you the freedom to get creative with your outfits. If done right, you have the potential of clearing up a whole lot of closet space and even saving a few bucks on future purchases. Not to mention packing for those weekend trips or a vacation will be a snap. That being said, there are a few tricks to making your closet work for you. Keep reading to see 5 do’s and don’ts of capsule wardrobes that will make this fashion movement easy peasy.

Do- Limit Your Items

First and foremost, limit the number of clothing articles you have in your collection. This is the essence of capsule wardrobes, after all. But seriously, be picky about what you keep and what you get rid of. Does that dress compliment all your curves? Do you feel good in that dress? Limit yourself to the things you really love- that way, you’ll always be wearing something that gives you confidence. And don’t worry about all the clothes that didn’t make the cut. You can always go to your local Plato’s Closet and sell them for a few dollars or donate them to Goodwill for other people to love.

Don’t- Opt for Crazy Designs and Patterns

Principle number 2 of capsule wardrobes; keep it simple. Please note, simple does not mean boring. Please continue to wear and love chevron or polka dots or stripes or leopard print or whatever pattern it is that lights your soul on fire- but do it in moderation. Only a small ratio of your collection should be wild prints and patterns. The majority should be solid colors that have the ability to complement and accent a multitude of outfits that you put together.

Do- Include a Variety

Remember your bases! Include pants, skirts, dresses, long sleeves, short sleeves, jackets, etc. Make sure you have an outfit for every occasion. Dresses especially are so so adaptable. Throw a light jacket on with a pair of Vans or wrap a flannel around your waist for a totally unique look. Going out? Trade the sneakers for sandals and get ready to boogie the night away.

Don’t- Forget About Layers

This goes hand and hand with making sure you have a variety of different clothing articles in your possession. Layers, A.K.A the undervalued little cousin of Accessories, will transform your look instantly. Flannels, for example, have been my go-to for years because of how many ways you can wear them. If it’s hot outside but there’s a chance it will cool off when the sun goes down, tie one around your waist so it’s out of the way but you have it for later too. Going to a summer bonfire? Roll up the sleeves so you don’t get too hot but it still keeps the bugs away. Need a light layer to bring with you on a casual date? Well… you get the point. The same can also be said for jean jackets- chic and totally adaptable to any outfit!

Do- Accessorize!

Watches and hats and wedges, oh my! Do not discount accessories. A few bracelets or a cute bandana has the ability to completely change the look of an outfit. Especially in capsule wardrobes where the same pieces of clothing are used, again and again, don’t be afraid to switch up that jewelry. Never wore hoop earrings with that shirt before? Try it! Need a few long necklaces to dress up that casual LBD. Get one! Think fake glasses would make your blazer even more spiffy? I think it would too! Accessorize. Accessorize. Accessorize. You can thank me later.  

Don’t- Count Undergarments or Underwear

My name is Brianna and I have a Victoria’s Secret obsession. (And if I counted all my bras and panties into my total capsule wardrobe number, I’d be up to that 40 piece limit mark real fast.) Guys no. Panties are important. Comfy and cute bras are important. Matching bra and panty sets are important. Don’t even sweat it- don’t count it.

Do- Experiment

There is no all-encompassing, one-size-fits-all checklist to your perfect capsule wardrobe. Everyone has their own set of criteria for what they will need in their everyday life depending on their hobbies or profession. It’s all about taking in the advice out there and suggestions and then customizing it to you. Do you work in an office? Maybe swap out a light jacket or two with another blazer or cardigan. Not a fan of dresses? Swap those out for an extra pair of jeans. Wear what makes you feel good and what is appropriate for you.

Don’t- Try to Predict the Future

When creating (or refining) your capsule wardrobe, don’t try to predict the future. There will be occasions that pop up here and there that your collection may not be able to accommodate and that’s okay. Maybe ask a friend if you can borrow a dress if you have a fancy date coming up. Or find a way to recycle a new article of clothing you buy. Either way, you will find something cute to wear to that specific occasion. You don’t have to plan for everything. So don’t worry about hoarding a box of clothing that you may or may not wear. The point is to have the clothing you will need for the day to day activities at your fingertips. The rest will figure itself out.

Do- Neutralize your Colors

Think about how the articles of clothing fit together and how well colors will coexist with each other. A good rule of sum is to opt for more muted colors like dark greens and blues and even greys and light blue. All of these colors go very well with each other. Muted colors not for you? You can always opt for a pink, orange, yellow color scheme- just make sure you have some more neutral colors that can compliment them well and help keep your look appropriate.

Don’t- Take All The Rules and Guidelines out there so seriously

Remember, the goal of capsule wardrobes is to have a collection of clothing that makes getting dressed in the morning less of a hassle. Maybe you already have your closet organized and compacted enough that you have everything you need at the tips of your fingers- and that’s great! All these tips and tricks are here to help you scale down or make some changes in your clothing identity IF you want to. There is no pressure to make your closet look exactly like someone else’s, and no one should ever tell you that you have to have X amount of things in your dresser. Clothing and fashion is an expression of who we are on the inside. Capsule wardrobes serve the people that are slightly minimalistic at heart and the ones that just want to make life a little simpler. Sound like you? Then do yourself a favor and re-read these 5 do’s and don’ts for capsule wardrobes. (and maybe bookmark it for later too!)