Planning A Seasonal Capsule Wardrobe

Planning A Seasonal Capsule

After years of writing about minimalist wardrobes, I’ve realised everyone’s idea of what a capsule is looks quite different. For some it’s a well-edited wardrobe that consists only of essential basics and accessories; for others it’s a selection of clothes rotated each season; and for many more it’s a specific number of clothes, which can be mixed and matched to create a variety of outfits. The original capsule wardrobe created by Susie Faux consisted of 30 high-quality staple pieces in coordinating colours with occasional new pieces being added two or three times a year. Capsule wardrobes now look very different with many people choosing to shop for several new “essentials” each season.

There’s no right or wrong way to create your own capsule, it’s all about finding what works for you. Some people prefer to apply a strict limit to their wardrobe’s contents over which they never stray while others prefer to have more options that allow for experimenting with style. I fall somewhere in between. My wardrobe always hovers around the 50 items mark, a number I reached organically through trial and error; any more and I feel overwhelmed, any less and I feel constricted.

I’ve never been a fan of the traditional method of rotating clothes each season. Boxing things up and cutting off access to them for months on end doesn’t feel conducive to building an interchangeable, versatile wardrobe. Previously I've shared my problem with capsule wardrobes and my alternative anti-capsule method. I prefer to have an all-seasons wardrobe that I wear throughout the year with weather-appropriate capsules that highlight the best, most versatile pieces for the season. A typical capsule is usually around 15 pieces including clothes, shoes, and accessories. None of my clothes are out of bounds and I’m not stuck wearing the same selection; I can dip into my main wardrobe whenever I need to, which I’ve found is essential for UK weather!

Creating these seasonal capsules helps remind me of what I already own and discover fresh ways I can style them, plus the process never fails to get me excited about the change in weather. If you’d like to learn how to create an all-seasons wardrobe, you can do that here using what you already own. In this post, I’m sharing everything I’ve learned over the last five years about planning a seasonal capsule wardrobe and how to create your own.

Planning A Seasonal Capsule

Why Create A Capsule Wardrobe

Planning and creating a seasonal capsule can help you to get the best out of your wardrobe. A capsule for the new season enables you to pull out all your weather-appropriate clothing, highlighting your favourite items to wear and the pieces that will be most practical for the weather. From this selection you can create new outfits and identify any items that are missing, which would help make your all-seasons wardrobe more versatile or functional.

I’ve always found the process of planning a seasonal capsule to be very insightful and a helpful tool for identifying ways to make your wardrobe more suited to your life and style. If you have a tendency to get bored of your clothes after a while of owning them; planning a seasonal capsule helps to reignite the love for the older clothes in your wardrobe. When you discover new ways to style pieces together, you’ll find a new appreciation for them and put an end to those feelings of never having anything to wear.

How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe

I’d recommend putting an hour or two aside each season dedicated to planning and creating your seasonal capsule. If you’re interested in personal styling, it’s a fun exercise that gets you excited for the change in weather and gives your wardrobe a refresh so you’re not scrambling for something to wear. I plan my own capsules at the cusp of a change in the season; it has me primed and ready with outfit ideas and fresh looks.

The following guide will help you to create a seasonal capsule from what you already own; if you need help decluttering your wardrobe or shopping for sustainably-made clothing, I’ve written lots of articles on personal styling and simplifying your wardrobe.

Locate Weather-Appropriate Clothing

Focus on core staple pieces for the season you’re heading into; the obvious must-haves like sandals in summer and knitwear in winter. Pull everything out you’d be tempted to wear during the upcoming season. Identify outfits you wore frequently the year before and the pieces you reached for the most often, focusing on your style goals and dress code. Think about what you're be doing during those months and the clothes you'll need to dress accordingly. If you’re stuck for ideas, seek out style inspiration; identify key words to describe your style and focus on the pieces that embody that. Think about colours, materials, and aesthetic.

Try Everything On

Each piece should be assessed for how it looks and feels, and if it really is weather-appropriate. Look out for items the core staples for the season and items you're keen to wear. You’re looking for items that you’re going to want to wear over and over because they fit well, look great, and make you feel comfortable. Some items will be obvious choices while others might take you by surprise; you won’t know until you try them on. Now’s the time to experiment with new ways to style old pieces; try everything on together in different combinations. You’re likely to discover an outfit or style you’ve never tried before that really works for you.

Select Versatile Pieces

As you try on your seasonal clothing, you’ll quickly identify the items that are the most practical. While several items might be viable contenders, there’s almost always a clear winner; these are the pieces that can be worn a multitude of different ways. When selecting pieces for your capsule, make sure they can be incorporated into at least two different outfits – aim for more. Versatility is crucial for building a functional capsule wardrobe. You’re looking to pick the least amount of items with the most outfit combinations.

Choose accessories and bags

The items you pick are going to need to be appropriate for both the weather and your lifestyle. Of course, you can dip into your main wardrobe during any season but a temporary capsule helps highlight the best choice for the current season. In winter I’m more likely to opt for my Kanken Mini because I’ll need to carry an umbrella and have a place to stuff my scarf; while in summer, my tiny handbag is perfect.

Start a Wishlist

If you notice pieces in your wardrobe that have worn out and need replacing or items you feel would make your capsule more cohesive, keep track of them with a wishlist. Be specific about the items you’re looking for by narrowing down style, colour, material, and even the brand – this is where having a go-to brand list for your wardrobe is helpful! Give yourself a little time to consider any purchases; our wardrobe isn't always quite as desperate for new pieces as we are. If you commit to a purchase, shop second-hand before buying new. These thrifting tips will come in handy and my sustainable fashion brand directory will help you find responsibly-made clothing.

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Planning A Seasonal Capsule