Capsule Wardrobe 101

Capsule wardrobe photographed at Poppy & Stella | Photo by David Stuck

Luckily, you can find a solution—the capsule wardrobe. This concise, curated selection of staple pieces can easily mix and match and be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Whether for a Zoom date or a socially distanced coffee meeting, this minimalist approach is a smarter, streamlined and more sustainable way to approach style.

When building your capsule wardrobe, think about basics plus a few statement pieces. Invest in high-quality fabrics, know the silhouettes that flatter your figure, choose items that make you feel great and opt for neutral colors that complement each other.

A crisp, white tee with well-fitted sleeves plus a classic, button-down shirt are both super-practical inclusions. A structured jacket is the perfect throw-over, while denim bottoms are simple and classic.

Go for a cozy sweater during the winter and a lightweight knit during the spring. A wrap dress is a great investment throughout the year. Layer it during the cooler months with boots and a turtleneck, or style it for summertime with espadrilles and a straw hat.

A statement outerwear piece, such as a trench, should be included. As for footwear, a pair of sandals, white sneakers and casual heels are best for the spring and summer. Booties, closed-toe heels and mules will get the most wear during the fall and winter.

Capsule Wardrobe How-to

First, choose versatile pieces. Remember, you’ll be wearing them repeatedly for a few months. Items in neutral colorways that can be worn in multiple ways—a shirt unbuttoned over a graphic tee
or knotted at the waist for interest—will ensure you get maximal wear out of a minimal wardrobe.

Next, choose practical over popular. Functional pieces suited to your lifestyle will be more beneficial than trendy pieces that come and go. You can always add fun with accessories.

Third, select pieces you’ll genuinely love to wear and feel great when wearing—think about your comfiest sweater and lived-in denim. Your choices will make a huge difference in your wardrobe self-confidence.

Next, select items appropriate for the season and make notes on pieces you want to include in your other seasonal wardrobes. Staying on target will help you create a capsule closet
with wardrobe you’ll actually wear.

Choose a variety of styles per garment type. Depending on how many pieces you’re adding to your capsule closet—no more than 50, inclusive of footwear and accessories—make sure you have three to four options per piece of apparel. This selection will give you plenty of choices to work with for your wardrobe.

Finally, take notes on what worked and what needed more work. As you cycle through the season, you’ll get a sense about what you wore all the time and pieces you thought you’d wear more. If you’re meticulous, take outfit notes each day. You can always switch up things the next time around.

Now that you know the basics of assembling a capsule wardrobe, you can pare back your closet while enhancing your style.

What’s Pictured

Back of couch (above), left to right:

  • Gemma corduroy skirt, $44
  • Cally dress, floral, $42
  • Reiss open front cardigan, $48
  • Coco dress, white, $62
  • Dakota joggers, olive, $38
  • River denim jacket, $64
  • Clear round bag, pink rainbow, $70
  • Cecily Colorblock cardigan, $48
  • Callum high-rise straight jeans, $58

On the seat (above), left to right:

  • The Mermaid Bralette, blue stone, $26
  • Genesis cuff, beaded, $12
  • Scrunchies, black polka dot, $6
  • Stone necklace, green, $24
  • Sun & Moon necklace, clear quartz, $38
  • Zev turquoise necklace, $30
  • Arden Crossbody bag, tan, $66
  • FREYRS Luna Sunglasses, tortoise mirror, $45
  • Headband, pink & white, beaded, $16
  • The Mermaid Bralette, dusty mauve, $26

Art Director and Stylist: Ebony Brown
Photographer: David Stuck
Location: Poppy & Stella,
8185 Main St., Ellicott City
410-696-1498 |

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