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Capsule Wardrobes: Top Five Tips for Organization and Stress Reduction

Updated: Apr 3

In the morning, when I'm racing the clock to make it out the door, my mind draws a blank, and I become paralyzed from making any decisions. That is why I try to be as prepared as possible for the morning mayhem. Lunches get made the night before. Backpacks are preloaded. Breakfast is planned out (at least in my head). And when I'm really on top of it, outfits (including mine) are laid out the night before.

The last thing I want to do in the morning is agonize over fashion decisions for either my children or me. So, a few weeks ago, I revamped and organized my closet and created my first-ever capsule wardrobe. I have to say the closet overhaul has helped me significantly reduce the amount of morning decision-making and has motivated me to get out of the pandemic, work-from-home rut (goodbye joggers).

If you become paralyzed from making fashion choices and need a morning efficiency boost, I highly recommend taking a few hours to curate a capsule wardrobe and organize your closet so that all your favorite outfits are in one clearly defined space.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe

For those of you uncertain of what a capsule wardrobe is, I like how designer Misha Noonoo breaks it down:

A capsule wardrobe is a concise, curated selection of timeless clothing. It can vary from person to person based on our differing lifestyles, but the best pieces are the kind that can be worn at work, during cocktail hour, and dressed down on the weekend. Streamlining your wardrobe streamlines your life. With a capsule wardrobe, you never feel like you have nothing to wear. Assuring to know you only own pieces that can be paired easily and always look chic. It's so great for the environment, as well as your wallet, to buy better and wear longer.

A capsule wardrobe isn't about parsing down to a certain number of items and having xx pairs of shoes or xx pairs of jeans. Instead, it's about having key closet pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a look that's very you but without the stress of too many choices.

Below, you’ll find five tips for creating the perfect capsule wardrobe.

1. Find Inspiration & Curate

Do you really know what's in your closet? I'm always shocked by the gems I forgot were there. If you want the best from your closet and wardrobe, start documenting and sourcing some looks.

Finding inspiration at this stage is essential, too. A Pinterest board of your aesthetic can help you see your look as a whole while also giving you inspiration for the items that will help bring your current pieces together. I always refer to Pinterest and pin outfit ideas onto my "Properly Put Together" board. If you need inspiration from outside your wardrobe, look to Instagram, Pinterest, fashion blogs, and your friends and peers for ideas.

Tip: During this process, purge items you no longer wear, or that don't make you happy. Hire a home organizer to help you with this process and make sure they handle your donations for you.

2. Think Seasonally

Rotating your wardrobe through the seasons keeps it relevant, inviting, and your closet tidy. Seasonality allows your closet to become a comfortable, usable space, not a storage cupboard for every item you own.

Narrow down your wardrobe with seasonal preferences and what-to-wear items, and pack away anything you're not wearing for the next four to six months. You can either store your out-of-season clothing in reusable vacuum storage bags or decorative baskets or shift items around in your closet to place seasonal clothing front and center.

Tip: Take a photo of the items you liked best and document what worked and didn't. Take a photo of the items you liked best and document what worked and didn't. This way, you remember your favorites, and you'll have your what-to-wear lists already curated

3. Arrange by type and color

Ok, so this might seem a little obsessive. But I promise it helps you get a clear vision of what you have and don't have. So, arrange all your clothing by type and then, within that group, organize by color.

Coloring coding clothing color guide

For example, gather all your sweaters and put all the black together —grey, brown, red, etc. I like to arrange from dark to light, but you could also do a rainbow sorting. Either way, you'll be able to see if you have an overwhelming amount of a particular color.

Do this for pants, jeans, t-shirts, blazers, dresses, shirts, button-downs, sweatshirts, and so forth. And don't forget to arrange your shoes, too. I love this method because you can see what you have, preventing you from buying the same things. How many black sweaters does a girl really need?

Tip: Try out the Stylebook app. The app will help you better organize and utilize your own clothes. You'll know what's in your wardrobe, what you're wearing, and what you're not, allowing you to be more intentional with your wardrobe items

4. What to buy

By slimming down your current wardrobe, you can see what you need to add to create the perfect capsule collection. Some women get by with as little as five key pieces they can mix and match, whereas others like having a core staple of a few dresses, skirts, tops, and pants that all work together alongside a selection of jackets and accessories. Or, if you're like me, you have a hodgepodge array of items that make little sense.

Either way, think about how you can dress up or down each item in your wardrobe. For example, a graphic tee paired with joggers and sneakers is a staple weekend outfit. But the same graphic tee can become a stylish work outfit when paired with a midi shirt, blazer, and cute sneakers.

Add a few fashion pieces that bring a smile to your face, and if you splurge on an item, ensure it will be classic or a timeless statement piece. Good jeans, well-made shoes, cashmere sweaters, or well-maid winter coats are terrific pieces that will stand the test of time. These investments are your 'outer layer' items, and they keep your look pulled together and polished.

Tip: Think cost per wear instead of gawking at the hefty price tag. Let's take jeans, for example. Five years ago, I purchased a pair of Mother jeans that were $300. And five years later, I'm still wearing them regularly. There was a time I wore them at least three days a week. So, let's say I wore them two days a week for five years. That's only $.63 a wear. Dirt cheap, right?

5. Accessories

Accessories like belts, bags, and statement jewelry can pull a look together; the most trivial details elevate your style into one with a modern twist. Certainly, you want to experiment with new trends in earrings, bracelets, or necklaces, but you'll also want to have a few classic and long-lasting items.

So to support your capsule wardrobe season over season, make sure to incorporate pieces such as a good leather (or vegan) purse, a tote bag, and timeless jewelry like diamond earrings, gold hoops, and a nice watch.

Tip: Unless you have the ideal space, storing jewelry can be challenging. You need to keep it from tarnishing and necklaces from getting tangled, and you want to be able to see what you have to really enjoy it. If space is an issue, the 80-pocket Hanging Jewelry Organizer from The Container Store is a great solution.

Finishing Touches

Ensuring your closet stays organized will save you a lot of time and speed up picking an outfit. Here are more tidbits to guide you:

  • Keep your closet tidy and clutter-free: spend just a few minutes every week (or day) putting things back in order.

  • Invest in proper hangers: they help preserve your clothing, and it looks fantastic when all your hangers match.

  • Donate anything you don't wear: don't hold on to pieces because you might wear them one day.

  • Purchase shelf dividers: they are an excellent solution for staying organized.

I'd love to hear from you if you've gone through the steps of organizing your closet, like creating a capsule wardrobe. Did anything surprise you about the process? Were you happy with the results?


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