How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe in Four Steps

Today I thought I would have a chat with you about the basics of creating a capsule wardrobe.  I realized that I’ve never really done this before and instead of jumping into my fall outfits right away I thought I would start us off on the right foot.

I have heard from a lot of people that they would love to do a capsule wardrobe, but they just don’t see how it will fit into their lives.  And you know what? Honestly? With a traditional capsule concept, I do think there is only a certain group of people who will really thrive within its confines.

That’s where Truncation is different.  I’m not here to tell you that you have to limit your clothing to a predetermined number or that you need to follow a certain set of rules (although if that’s your thing then more power to you!). What I am here to do is to try and help you figure out a way to cut out the clutter from your lives so that you can focus on things that are truly important to you.

In other words, “less” looks different for everyone and trying to fit your “less” into somebody else’s “less” really doesn’t make sense.  What I want to do here at Truncation is to encourage you to find your “less” (let’s see how many times I can use that word shall we?) and do what works best for you and your own unique lifestyle.  I strongly believe that in order for a capsule wardrobe to work, you have to know WHY you are doing it.  If you are doing it just because someone else is doing it, you probably won’t succeed. It has to be YOUR process and doing it should provide you with a sense of freedom from some of the ideals that our culture tells us: that possessions will make you happy, that you’ll experience fulfillment when you finally get “enough”, etc.

SO without further ado, here are my four steps for creating a capsule wardrobe:

Step One

Write down WHY you want to start a capsule wardrobe and then create some sort of list or vision board of goals that you hope to accomplish by paring down your wardrobe.  I can tell you from personal experience that this step really helps when you are three months down the road and you start to feel the itch to shop. Being able to look at your list/board and remember why you started the whole thing in the first place will give you a renewed purpose. Also, use this step to start defining what you want your personal style to actually look like.  When doing the capsule process you really need to nail this down because a capsule should be filled with pieces that will work seamlessly together (for the most part, although it is always fun to have a few “fun” pieces just because).

Step Two

Take everything out of your closet and pile it on the floor. I know, I know, in the capsule world everyone says to do it and I resisted this step for a while because I didn’t think it was necessary.  But for real… you need to do this step.  I would suggest grabbing a glass of wine, putting on some tunes that soothe you, lighting a candle and going to town. Put everything into categories by clothing type and then try on each item. If something doesn’t fit, doesn’t work with your body type, or is the wrong color on you, etc. put it aside into a “deal with later” pile.  Take a picture of any item you’re not sure about. This helps you to see yourself in that item a little bit more objectively.  Mirrors can lie, but pictures often don’t.  Try to be as objective as possible with this step and if you find that you can do that better with someone else there, then by all means invite someone over to help you out! Just make sure it is someone who will be honest with you.  When you are done, keep only the items that you really feel good in and that feel like “you.”

Step Three

Now for the “deal with later” pile. This is the step where most people get hung up. I get it, it’s hard to get rid of clothing that you spent money on and that you really loved at one time. But it’s these clothes that created your over saturated wardrobe and it’s getting rid of these clothes that will give you the huge sigh of relief that you’re probably craving.  Separate these clothes into four piles: to give away, to keep for sentimental reasons only, to store for later, and to sell.  The sentimental reasons pile will be entirely different for each person, but in my pile was a few t-shirts that I wore a ton in college and an odd assortment of clothing items that I wore for important moments in my life. The store for later pile can either be clothes that don’t work with the current season, or clothes that you’re just not willing to part with quite yet (which is okay by the way, you don’t have to get rid of everything on the first go). Again, deciding what to get rid of and what to sell will be entirely up to you, but I would suggest using the money that you get from selling clothes to invest in a few new items that will “round out” your new paired down wardrobe… after completing the final step.

Step Four

Take a breather.  Do a shopping hiatus.  This will be different for everybody (I did three months), but really do what you need to do to get a fresh perspective.  Without this step, there is a good chance that in a week you’ll realize what you’ve done and go on a shopping spree to fill that closet right back up.

We’re conditioned to believe that we need EVERYTHING.  Taking an intentional break to reset is so important! Use this time to live with what you now have. Figure out what you really do need/want to make your new, smaller wardrobe something that will actually work.  If you don’t have a capsule wardrobe that works, then you won’t stick with it.

When it’s all said and done, you should be left with something you LOVE.  If you aren’t, then you might want to start back up at Step One and work your way down the list again.  And don’t feel like you have to create the perfect capsule.  My first capsule was wonderful, but perfect it was not. I can already tell that this fall capsule isn’t going to be perfect either.  But I’m okay with that because we’re all a work in progress right??

Fall 15 Closet

And that’s it! The biggest thing to get over is the mental hurdle. Getting over that first step of deciding to pursue a minimal closet is the hardest part.  Once you start, the momentum will help carry you along. If you are interested in digging deeper, I also have a series on how I shop for new capsules here, here, and here. Plus, all of my subscribers receive a free capsule wardrobe planning guide, so if you are interested, make sure to subscribe!

What do you think? Was this helpful? It was actually kind of helpful for me ha! Did I miss anything? For those of you who have done capsules before, what did you do when you first started that was helpful? And as always, if you have any questions about how to create a capsule wardrobe, please let me know in the comments below and I would love to help get you going on your very own capsule journey.

Until next time,


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  1. 9.5.15
    Noémie said:

    Once again, great post, nicely described ! When I first started (last June) I wanted to make sure I had all the pieces I loved. So before I took everything out, I made a list of what I thought should go in my capsule. The first items coming to me were most of my favorite items. It’s only then that I cleared out my closet, took out my winter clothes and made the cut. I like to make it a few weeks before so I can switch things, and I also like to make a nice collage to have an overal visual of my soon to be capsule wardrobe so I realize what’s missing and what I shouldn’t include. I feel like making my fall capsule wardrobe was easier cuz I had learnt from my first capsule’s “mistakes” (I’m very peased with how my first ever capsule wardrobe went, so using the word mistake unpleases me) I cannot wait to see your fall outfits!

    • 9.5.15
      Karin said:

      That’s a great point Noemie! It does help to have a list of all of the things that you would like to include in your capsule so you already have an idea of where the holes are. I kind of did that in my head, but that would be an excellent thing to include in the first step. Thanks for the tip!

  2. 9.5.15

    Very nice post!! Great website! Kisses! <3

    • 9.5.15
      Karin said:

      Thank you so much! xoxo

  3. 9.5.15
    Claire said:

    Detailed and well explained. I’m definitely printing this off and getting my wardrobe in order! Love your blog 🙂


    • 9.5.15
      Karin said:

      Thank you Claire! If you need any help with getting things organized just let me know! xo

  4. 9.5.15
    Shann Eva said:

    I’ve never really understood the capsule wardrobe before. I really like how you explained it and broke it down into steps. Now, I may even try it 🙂

    • 9.5.15
      Karin said:

      Thanks Shann! That makes me happy to hear! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. 9.6.15
    Hannah said:

    Really beautiful site! And great tips. I already have a pretty simple closet, but I’m sure going through it or just freshening it up with new pieces would be a good idea.

    • 9.6.15
      Karin said:

      Thanks Hannah! My motto is that you can never have too much organization. ????

  6. 9.6.15
    Sarah said:

    I’ve never heard of a capsule wardrobe before. This sure does help! Great. 🙂

  7. 9.6.15
    Karin said:

    Awesome! I’m glad to help!

  8. 9.6.15
    Meredith said:

    I had never heard of a capsule wardrobe before reading this post. I struggle with closet constantly and while I have purged a lot this year I still have a long way to go. I just signed up for your newsletter and can’t wait to read more. Maybe fall will be a time when I plan to try this!

    • 9.6.15
      Karin said:

      That’s great Meredith! I’m so happy this helped you!

      • 9.6.15
        Karin said:

        Thank you Natalie! Have fun!

  9. 9.6.15
    Natalie said:

    These are great tips! Can’t wait to get started!

  10. 9.7.15
    Autumn said:

    I have always been curious about capsule wardrobe and I think the instructions you gave were really helpful + simple. For me, it isn’t hard to get rid of clothing it is hard for me to plan and figure out which ones will be most usable to me 🙂

    • 9.7.15
      Karin said:

      I absolutely understand Autumn! That is really difficult! Have you subscribed to my blog? I offer a free wardrobe planning guide to subscribers and I think it would help you out!

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