My Capsule Wardrobe Process: How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

My Capsule Wardrobe Process

I started my capsule wardrobe back in 2014 as a way to change my unhealthy shopping habits and develop a better sense of personal style. I wanted to put an end to shopping as a hobby, buy better quality clothes, and get more wear out of my wardrobe.

I began by following the rules of the 'five piece wardrobe.' But I quickly discovered this method, like so many others, prioritised shopping for new items rather than developing personal style. There was always a basic and uninspiring list of "must-have wardrobe essentials" that resulted in generic outfits completely void of personality.

Over the years, I have developed my own capsule wardrobe method that helps identify and define personal style rather than following fashionable outfit formulas. It's a method that prioritises shopping less, thrifting more, and repeating outfits.

In my style guides I show how to have a small wardrobe with a big personality with clothes and outfits you love to wear. But it's often easier to understand a process when you know exactly how to put it into practice. So instead of a how to guide, I'm sharing the step-by-step process for creating a capsule wardrobe.

My Capsule Wardrobe Process

How I Created My Capsule Wardrobe

I Have a Wardrobe Inventory

I created a wardrobe inventory that lists every item of clothing in my wardrobe. I update this list whenever I get a new item or declutter something. It includes basic information about the item, like where the item is from, whether it was thrifted or purchased new, and what it's made from, as well as a photo.

I've tracked my wardrobe in this way for several years and have found it to be the most valuable tool in creating a capsule wardrobe that works long term. Apps like Whering and Acloset can help you create a wardrobe inventory.

It takes a little time to set up but is well worth it. Wardrobe tracking is really helpful for learning about your personal style, getting more wear out of your existing wardrobe, and avoiding impulse purchases.

I Make Style Mood Boards

I make style inspiration Pinterest boards for each season and for specific occasions. These mood boards help identify similarities in outfits and highlight the small details I might otherwise miss, providing me with a better understanding of my personal style.

It's easier to identify what I like about certain outfits and dislike about others when I can compare them next to each other. I can use this information to style my existing clothes in new ways.

I don't think it's a good idea to overconsume style content—especially content created by magazines and fashion influencers. This type of content is almost always created to sell you something and encourage you to follow the trends.

But curating your own style mood boards will help you to understand your personal style better. You can then recreate outfits using the clothes you already own and make more considered purchases when shopping for clothes.

I Keep a Wardrobe Wishlist

Whenever I see an item I like I save it to a wardrobe wish list. Before thrifting or making any purchase I refer back to this list to check I’m making a good choice. This ensures every purchase I make is a carefully considered one and my wardrobe doesn't end up full of clothes I don't like.

A wish list also provides me with some space to really think about whether I want to own the item and if I would actually wear it. It's the best way I've found to avoid impulse purchases and buyers' remorse.

Often many of the outfits we love the look of aren't suitable for our current lifestyle and a lot of items will look out of place in our existing wardrobe. Give yourself some time to think by adding items to a wish list, you'll end up making more considered purchases.

I Stick To a Colour Palette

I have a very clear colour palette for my wardrobe: black, white, beige, and green. While I mostly wear all-black outfits, having a few shades of colour to work with helps prevent my capsule wardrobe from becoming boring.

It took me a long time to figure out the colours I enjoy wearing and feel comfortable in but sticking to a colour palette creates a capsule wardrobe that is both versatile and cohesive.

When you have a well-define colour palette, you'll never feel like you have nothing to wear because every item can be easily mixed and matched. It also encourages more intentional purchases by preventing impulse purchases in the "wrong" colour.

I Create Seasonal Capsules

For each season I put together a capsule wardrobe using clothes I already own. I also create themed capsules based on different occasions or aesthetics.

These mini capsule wardrobes help get as much wear out of my wardrobe as possible by cycling through all the clothes in it regularly. It's also a great way to remind myself of just how versatile my wardrobe is and that I don't need to buy anything new to style new outfits!

Try creating a capsule using the clothes you already own. See how many outfits you can make and all the different ways you can style them.

If you feel like you have nothing to wear or don't know how to style the items you own, refer back to your style mood boards for inspiration!

I Document My Outfits

I've found the best way to test out a capsule wardrobe is to play dress up! I document my outfits with visual capsule wardrobes and outfit ideas.

I also share outfit of the day videos on TikTok to document what I actually end up wearing. This process makes it easier to see what outfits work—and which ones don't!

Documenting your outfits encourages you to play dress up more often. Whether you physically try on clothes or use a wardrobe inventory to create digital outfits. It's the only way to know whether your capsule wardrobe truly works.

I Declutter With Caution

I don't need to declutter my wardrobe very often anymore. I maintain my capsule wardrobe by making intentional purchases. I thrift for most of my wardrobe and rarely buy anything new to ensure my wardrobe is kept as compact and versatile as possible. So almost everything I buy or thrift ends up staying in my wardrobe for a long time.

Occasionally there is an item I can't make work or I don't wear as much as I thought I would. I try to restyle these items before deciding whether to declutter them. These items get sold on Vinted.

Most capsule wardrobe guides start by encouraigng you to decluter you wardrobe. I actually don't think it's a good idea to do this, especially if you don't have your personal style figured out. You bought your clothes because you liked them so it's better to make a capsule using what you already have rather than decluttering everything.

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