How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe for Men
Have you ever looked through your closet, wondering why you simultaneously have nothing to wear while combing through copious amounts of clothing items that you haven’t touched in years? Yeah, us too, which is why we’re stoked about capsule wardrobes, which – when built with your personal style, lifestyle, needs, and aesthetic in mind – will help take out the majority of guesswork when putting together your outfits, get rid of clutter and unwanted/unworn items, and allow to you mix and match staple pieces that will carry you from season to season.
So, what exactly is a capsule wardrobe, and how do you go about building one? Let’s find out.
What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is essentially a pared-down wardrobe in which you can mix and match most, if not all, the pieces in it. Capsule wardrobes tend to err on the minimalist side of things in terms of the number of clothing items and accessories you own, so if you’re someone who has a “less is more” mindset, are considering a major overhaul of your wardrobe, or want to get rid of unworn clothing or items that have no use in your closet, then you may consider taking the leap into building your own capsule wardrobe.
One of the most important things to consider when building a capsule wardrobe is quality over quantity. The idea is to have a number of items, typically in the 30-50 range, that you can create a variety of outfits with that will also last through multiple seasons – which means no fast fashion, even for casual wear, as you’ll likely end up having to replace those items sooner rather than later.
How Do You Start Building a Capsule Wardrobe?
Building a capsule wardrobe may seem like an overwhelming or daunting task; however, when you break it down, it’s actually quite simple. The first step when building a capsule wardrobe is to analyze your lifestyle, personal aesthetic, and overall style to determine which essential wardrobe pieces make the most sense for you. If you’re someone who works in a business casual or business professional environment, the majority of your pieces will likely fall higher on the semi-formal and formal scale, since that’s what you’re wearing most days of the week.
If you’re a creative who maybe has meetings once or twice a week and has a more casual aesthetic, then you’re likely to have more streetwear or smart casual looks to choose from in your closet. You should also keep in mind the color palette you want to go with or wear the most; neutrals like white, grey, black, blue, khaki, etc. are obviously easier to mix and match.
The next step when starting to build a capsule wardrobe is to organize your closet by season and occasion. You should do this before you purchase any new items to determine what exactly you need.
Something we highly suggest doing, even if you’re not a Type A, “I make spreadsheets and lists for fun” kind of person, is doing just that – making a list or a spreadsheet of everything you want to keep, as well as things you’re missing and/or need. It’ll save you the huge headache of remembering what you wanted to keep and get rid of, as well as what you need when you go shopping.
Once you’ve organized your closet, the next step is to clean it the hell out. Make a pile of what you’re keeping and what you’re ready to part with, and make sure you donate any gently worn items if you can, or if you want to make a little extra cash, you can also use an app like ThreadUp or PoshMark to sell any items that are gently used or still have the tags on them.
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Essential Items for a Capsule Wardrobe
Let us start off by saying there’s no one how-to guide when it comes to building the right capsule wardrobe for your specific lifestyle, needs, and aesthetic – that will all vary from person to person, considering everyone’s needs and tastes are different. However, below are some suggestions that will be helpful when building a capsule wardrobe for your lifestyle.
Tops for a Capsule Wardrobe
Look for tops that can be mixed and matched with casual and formal bottoms – some popular choices include white or other solid color tees made of high-quality fabric, long sleeve button downs in neutral colors, shirts that feature patterns in the color palette of your wardrobe, sweaters, hoodies, henleys, and crewnecks.
Again, which items you purchase the most will depend on your style and lifestyle; however, it’s important to have options that can be dressed both up and down, and pieces that can work for all sorts of occasions. You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute to find a blazer if you have a wedding to attend, and you definitely don’t want to wear a button down to the gym.
Coats for a Capsule Wardrobe
Trench coats are a wardrobe staple that will pull together any look in the colder months, so investing in a good trench in your particular color palette is always a good idea. If you’re building a more casual wardrobe capsule, look for bombers, leather jackets, denim jackets, and/or waxed jackets in neutral colors to add to your closet.
You should also have a blazer or sport coat for smart casual and business casual occasions, and at least one go-to suit coat (with matching trousers) for formal occasions. If you’re looking for outerwear that’s more on the formal side, a classic peacoat or Chesterfield coat is essential, and for those who live in areas that get a lot of rain or snow, outerwear that can withstand the elements is a must.
Bottoms for a Capsule Wardrobe
There are a few essential pairs of pants that every dude should have in their closet, including a pair of fitted chinos that you can dress up or down, high-quality denim (we particularly love Japanese denim), trousers that match and are made from the same material as your suit coat, and something comfortable that you can lounge or run errands in, like joggers. Again, sticking to whatever color palette you prefer is paramount here.
Shoes for a Capsule Wardrobe
The types of shoes you should think about when building a capsule wardrobe depend on your lifestyle; if you’re in the office five times a week and the dress code is on the formal side, having multiple pairs of Oxfords or brogues is more important than building your athletic shoe collection. If your style is more streetwear, it makes more sense to focus on sneakers and more casual footwear.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should forgo any one style of shoe – everyone needs a pair of go-to dress shoes that can work in smart casual to formal settings, as well as comfortable sneakers or athletic shoes that’ll work for any casual event or occasion.
Accessories for a Capsule Wardrobe
Some accessories to consider when building a capsule wardrobe include a leather belt, a nice watch, a briefcase or backpack for work depending on the dress code, a weekender bag for short trips, and sunglasses in a classic shape that’ll match with both casual and formalwear.
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