Our Checklist for Building a Capsule Wardrobe

Do you ever find yourself staring at an overstuffed closet thinking, “I have nothing to wear?” While the four variations of that trending blouse you purchased a few seasons back might say otherwise, you may still find yourself at a loss for how to style your clothes and accessories. One solution to fix the problem of having too many unused clothes in your closet: building a capsule wardrobe.

Perhaps you’ve seen capsule wardrobes trending on social media, or perhaps you’re already familiar with the term that has crept up in fashion discussions since the 1940s. Creating a capsule wardrobe encourages you to stock your closet with timeless pieces you love to wear season after season. It helps cut down on unnecessary shopping sprees and streamlines your existing wardrobe down to the bare essentials.

With a capsule wardrobe, you can be confident that every item in your closet is a piece you love and can wear all the time. But what exactly is a capsule wardrobe, and how can you start building one? Use this capsule wardrobe checklist to get started on condensing your closet to only a few interchangeable pieces that never go out of style.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

The concept of a capsule wardrobe originated in the 1940s as advice from Vogue on how to style a basic minimum collection of wardrobe essentials. In the 1970s, Susie Faux revitalized the concept when she opened her London boutique, Wardrobe. Faux described a capsule wardrobe as a collection of a few versatile pieces that never go out of fashion. She wanted her minimalist-style pieces to help women ease stress and build confidence in their wardrobe. A few years later in 1985, American designer Donna Karan brought the concept of the capsule wardrobe to the United States with her Seven Easy Pieces concept. She showcased the versatility of seven key pieces and all the ways to style them into creative new looks.

As the concept of building a capsule wardrobe has become increasingly more mainstream, a number of minimalist wardrobe hacks have emerged over the years. Take for example the 30x30 challenge, where you wear 30 garments and shoes over a period of 30 days, or Project 333, which challenges participants to wear 33 items over the course of 3 months.

In short, a capsule wardrobe checklist involves high-quality and long-lasting pieces, but it’s important to remember each checklist item will look different for everyone based on individual style and what you wear in constant rotation.

Capsule Wardrobe Essentials

Interchangeable Oval Link Bracelet in Silver
Interchangeable Oval Link Bracelet in Silver
Interchangeable Link Bracelet in 14k Gold
Interchangeable Link Bracelet in Gold
Why do you need a capsule wardrobe?

In the long run, creating a capsule wardrobe will save you money, time, and energy. But most importantly, it’s a reflection of your own style that helps you build a wardrobe full of pieces you love to wear. Here are just a few of the reasons you should consider building a capsule wardrobe.

Save Time

Whether you wake up an extra two hours early to get ready or find yourself rushing through a tornado of clothes, shoes, and jewelry each time you get dressed, having a set of staple pieces to rely on can cut your getting-ready time in half. A capsule wardrobe helps limit the amount of time you spend rifling through outdated or unworn items.

Save Money

Creating a capsule wardrobe is an investment. While the upfront costs of purchasing better quality pieces may feel more staggering than shopping from a discount retailer, you’ll save more money in the long run from avoiding having to buy new items more frequently. Because your clothes in a capsule wardrobe are versatile and timeless, you won’t have to buy new clothes season after season. Plus, it reduces the temptation for buying frivolous items like trending fast fashion or low-quality pieces.

better for the environment

When you’re buying high-quality, long-term pieces, you’re ensuring that each item in your wardrobe gets worn, thus reducing waste from clothes that last only a few wears. Plus, shopping mindfully generally steers shoppers away from fast-fashion retailers, which are known for having poor working conditions and a damaging environmental impact.

Less Stress

While not knowing what to wear may seem like a trivial stressor, having a system for removing the stress of putting together cohesive outfits day after day makes a world of a difference. Building a capsule wardrobe also reduces the amount of decision fatigue facing you in a given day. Our brains can only process a certain number of decisions per day, so having fewer clothes to work with helps make wardrobe decisions easier.

What items do you need for a capsule wardrobe?

The process for building a capsule wardrobe checklist will look different for everyone. A stay-at-home mom will have different wardrobe needs than someone working a 9-5 office job or someone who works out frequently and wears athleisure clothes most days. Creating a capsule wardrobe takes time and experimentation based on your specific wardrobe needs, but as a general rule of thumb, here is a checklist for your capsule wardrobe.


The easiest way to start building a capsule wardrobe is to take a look at what you already own. What pieces do you find yourself reaching for the most? What do those pieces have in common? Since a capsule wardrobe is all about prioritizing staples you wear in constant rotation, you’ll want to focus on expanding the pieces you already own that you enjoy wearing all the time. If you come across a garment you don’t remember wearing recently, it probably doesn’t belong in your capsule wardrobe.

Cut down, but not all at once

One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a capsule wardrobe is eliminating almost everything in their closet and starting fresh. While donating or getting rid of a few pieces you don’t wear as often is a step in the right direction, don’t feel pressured to start completely from scratch. In fact, your capsule wardrobe will be better if you keep the few pieces you love and wear all the time as inspiration when you build out more staple pieces.

Don't build it all at once, either

We understand the temptation to go on a huge shopping spree to build your capsule wardrobe is strong. But that doesn’t mean you need to drop hundreds or even thousands of dollars all at once. The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to see which items you wear season after season and invest in similar pieces that speak to your style. If you rush into building your capsule wardrobe, you’ll end up in the same cycle of filling your wardrobe with trending pieces that leave you wondering years why you purchased them in the first place.

Connect with your unique style

Creating a capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean you need to deter away from your unique style. You don’t have to build your capsule around beige and neutral tones like you see in blogs and on social media if you don’t normally wear those colors. Remember, this system is designed to help you bring care and intentionality to your personal style—if you don’t like a certain style of capsule wardrobes, you don’t have to follow it exactly.

Invest in accessories

One of the best ways to get the most longevity out of your wardrobe is to invest in high-quality, versatile accessories. A classic white tee and cardigan can be dressed up with a statement necklace and still look perfect for everyday wear with a simple pair of small hoop earrings. Just as you would build out a few staple blouses, sweaters, pants, and shoes, your capsule wardrobe should also include a few key pieces of jewelry you love to wear.

Capsule Wardrobe Essentials

.75" Perfect Hoops in Silver
.75" Perfect Hoops in Silver
Maya Earrings in Gold
Maya Earrings in Gold
Build your capsule wardrobe with MACHETE!

MACHETE’s commitment to crafting hand-made, high-quality jewelry aligns perfectly with the concept of creating a capsule wardrobe. We love to stay up to date with current trends, but we also know the importance of creating long-lasting jewelry that never goes out of style. Whether you’re investing in a pair of Perfect Hoops, an Interchangeable Link Necklace, or a Classic Tortoise Jumbo Cuff, you can enjoy MACHETE jewelry season after season. Cross off your capsule wardrobe checklist with necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more from MACHETE!