Capsule Wardrobe 101: The 35 Items Every Woman Should Have in Her Closet

capsule wardrobe

Welcome to the first post in my “The Minimal Closet” series: an introduction to the capsule wardrobe!

Do you find yourself feeling flustered, frumpy or otherwise less than fantastic when you get ready in the morning? Have you always wondered what a ‘capsule wardrobe’ is, but don’t know where to begin? Are you working your way through your household clutter and looking for a way to reduce decision fatigue? Or, are you trying to find your “style”?

If so, this post is for you. Today, I’ll be writing about the 35 most essential items in every woman’s closet.

My Capsule Wardrobe Story

Since I was a teen, I’ve always struggled with “style”. At certain times, I was more adventurous when it came to my wardrobe, but as I matured I’ve been more and more of a “style wallflower”. Many times, I often felt out of place, under or over-dressed, and that my wardrobe lacked ‘cohesion’. I had a lot of nice pieces, but most didn’t coordinate with one another — at all.

I was always trying to re-work my closet in my head. One month, I’d completely shelf everything and start from scratch. Another month, I was convinced that the answers could be found at the thrift shop. And at other times, I tried to change my style up exponentially — only to end up feeling ridiculous and phony as a result.

Since then, I’ve learned that I prefer a classic, ‘clean’ and simple look made up of mostly neutral colours with some flattering accent pieces thrown in.

Around the same time I began to realize how anxious clutter was making me (particularly clothing items strewn around the house), I stumbled upon the concept of a capsule wardrobe. It was a match made in heaven.

Capsule Wardrobe 101

Before you begin the process of paring down your wardrobe, you should first spend some time thinking about your ‘style’. Do you prefer a clean and classic look, like me? Or are you more of a “boho chic” kind of girl? Whatever it may be, it’s important to keep your style up front and centre when curating your own capsule wardrobe. Here is a website that might help you define your style.

Second, think about which colours flatter your skin tone and hair colour. Choose your base colour or ‘neutral’ as a start and work from there. For example, I find I look terrible in browns and beiges. My skin has a rosy tone to it and it just washes me out. I also avoid whites and yellows for the same reason, as well as some pinks and reds. My base colours are grey, navy and black. I know some people can rock a brown or tan neutral, but that’s just not me. From there, I found a few accent colours that look decent next to my skin. I chose blush pink, navy, grey, white and black as my core wardrobe colours. It turns out I’m a ‘clear’ or ‘light’ summer. Find out your ‘season’ here.

If you’re thinking about a capsule wardrobe but don’t know where to start, here are the 35 items I think every woman should have in her closet:

The 35 Items Every Woman Should Have in Her Closet 

Shirts (11)

  • 1 plaid shirt
  • 1 white tee
  • 1 grey tee
  • 1 printed tee
  • 1 striped tee
  • 1 patterned shirt (can be casual or dressier, but should coordinate with other colours in your wardrobe)
  • 1 solid coloured shirt in an accent colour (mine is a dressier light pink button up with a ruffled collar, for example)
  • 1 classic white button up shirt
  • 1 striped button up (I prefer vertical stripes, here)
  • 1 chambray shirt
  • 1 coloured cardigan

Pants/bottoms (13)

  • 1 pair of black pants (can be coloured jeans or dressier pants, depending on your style)
  • 1 dark skinny jean
  • 1 lighter/distressed ‘boyfriend’ jean
  • 1 pair of navy pants (again, can be coloured jeans or dressier pants)
  • 1 pair of grey pants (dressy or casual)
  • 1 grey skirt (mine is a pencil skirt)
  • 1 black skirt (mine is a maxi skirt)
  • 1 pink or accent skirt (can be patterned or solid in any fabric but should coordinate with other items colour-wise — mine is a pleated knee length skirt in petal)
  • 1 navy skirt (mine is a pencil skirt, since I wear them often)
  • 1 patterned shirt dress
  • 1 striped dress
  • 1 chambray dress (for the summer months)
  • 1 white/tan jean or pant

Jackets (6)

  • 1 denim jacket
  • 1 trench coat
  • 1 pleather / bomber style jacket
  • 1 olive army style coat or utility vest
  • 1 boyfriend blazer (mine is black)
  • 1 poncho / warm sweater (mine is a beige open cardigan at the moment)

Shoes (5)

  • Flats (mine are cognac brown)
  • Booties (mine are black and ankle length)
  • Heels (mine are nude)
  • Sandals (mine are gold and strappy)
  • Sneakers (such as Converse)

If you’re interested in learning more about how to build and maintain a capsule wardrobe that works for you, stay tuned for Part 2 in this series, where I’ll discuss how to build a capsule wardrobe for your kids (spoiler alert: it has been a total morning game-changer!).


You may also like