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  • Lisa Berry

How to Build Your Capsule Wardrobe: The Official Guide

Coming off the heels of my summer minimizing experiment, the verdict is in: I am a die-hard CAPSULE WARDROBE gal! Shrinking my closet down to one rack of clothing has:

- Cleared up my physical space and created a sense of lightness.

- Reduced the amount of time I spend getting ready.

- Made getting dressed so much fun instead of a chore! With less to work with, I’ve become far more creative in my outfit pairings.

- Helped me to really appreciate, and better care for my belongings. I think twice before mindlessly throwing things in the laundry, trying to now prolong the integrity of the fabrics.

- Encouraged me to choose better-quality pieces since I want them to last.

- Saved so much money it’s not even funny! I have gotten a couple of pieces since curating my capsule, but I thought extremely carefully about what I was adding, and swapped it out with something that it was replacing (and only with well-justified reason.)

You may recall, the whole point of my summer capsule experiment was to see if I could joyfully live with less before attempting a true and permanent full-closet purge. I aspire to and advocate more minimalist living, but, like so many of my clients, I was filled with anxiety at the thought of really doing it. This first capsule was a low-risk experiment. I put it on a rolling rack in our living room (a special thanks to my husband and kids for putting up with this!), and left the rest in my closet that I was not allowed to visit for over a month.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the benefits of capsule living, and tired of tripping over the rolling rack in our living room, I decided to adopt the lifestyle once and for all and do the big closet purge. As we are moving into fall, the timing couldn’t be better. Over the last week, I’ve put together the upcoming season’s capsule. In the process, my closet minimizing system has revealed itself to me, and I’m excited to share it here with you!

Please note, this is a customized capsule system that works with my space and lifestyle. I share it with you to offer a framework and inspiration, but part of the fun is coming up with your own personal adaptations! If you are a more rigorous minimalist, live in a small space, and/or have a very distinct style apart from my own, then adjust the numbers and details, but still adhere to the general framework.

Lisa’s Capsule Wardrobe System:

General guidelines:

- Maintain 2 capsules per year (spring/summer and fall/winter).

- Keep one capsule displayed in your closet, the out-of-season capsule neatly stored away out of sight.

- Nail it down to 40 total apparel items, excluding: exercise gear, formal wear, swimwear, sleepwear, intimates, accessories and shoes (all of which should be minimized as well.)

- Create a cohesive color story, built on mostly solids with a few prints to accent.

- Build with mostly timeless silhouettes, enhanced by only a few trend-driven, time-limited items (the idea is to be able to resurrect your capsule a year from now and simply tweak, not have to completely reinvent it. After all, isn’t the point of all of this to ultimately get us out of our closets and into the world?!)

- Select pieces with extensive mix-and-match potential. Most pieces should be able to combine into a minimum of 3 outfits.

- Spend wisely on a foundation of very high-quality pieces, and, conversely, trendier and less expensive accents. Second-hand shopping is an outstanding resource for both! Consignment is an especially great way to score a timeless designer leather jacket, cashmere sweater, Burberry heels (see my Shoe Capsule video), etc.

- Boil it down to pieces that are perfectly and uniquely tailored to you in terms of: fit, lifestyle, taste. (i.e. don’t load your capsule with cocktail dresses if you’re a yoga teacher and mom of toddlers!)

What’s in my fall/winter capsule:

1 winter all-weather coat

1 fall jacket

1 raincoat

1 leather bomber

1 denim jacket

2 blazers

2 flowy tanks

2 fitted tanks

2 v-neck tees- white and black

1 graphic tee

2 jumpsuits (with dress-up/dress-down potential)

2 cardigans

2 sweaters

2 blouses

1 embellished top

2 long sleeve shirts

2 dresses

3 jeans: 2 skinny (black and blue), 1 wide leg

2 leggings (black and print)

3 trousers

2 joggers

1 duster

2 matching athleisure sets (4 total pieces)

Stay tuned for videos showcasing my entire capsule, mix-and-match outfit ideas, savvy secondhand shopping tips, best basics suggestions and more!

Happy minimizing!



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