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What is a capsule wardrobe? Do you need one?

What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?

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Personal style isn’t about filling your closet with a ton of pieces: it’s about making sure you have the right pieces. Ones that are versatile, comfortable, and make you feel good inside and out. When you feel put together, it’s an instant mood elevator. You feel like you can take on the day, no matter what it might hold!

Basics are the vowels in your wardrobe alphabet - you can't create an outfit without them.

But how do you know which pieces are right for you? And how do you find clothes and accessories that will help you express and communicate your personal style to the world?

Establishing a capsule wardrobe is a great place to start. This type of wardrobe is a curated collection of clothing items that mix-and-match with ease and provide you with more options than initially meet the eye. Having a capsule wardrobe saves you precious time, helping you more efficiently choose daily outfits that express who you are and boost your confidence no matter your profession, passions, or daily routine.

Capsule wardrobes can take on any theme. An entrepreneur who works from home may need a wardrobe that is both comfortable and highlights her personal style on video calls (hello, WaistUp Wardrobe!). A CEO may need a capsule wardrobe that is professional, easy to put together, and accessorized with personal style details.

While entrepreneurial capsule wardrobes will look a bit different based on each woman, their profession, and their interests, my video below showcases some suggested staples for each one. I recommend including items like a white blouse, black pumps, a scarf in your favorite color, and more. 

But capsule wardrobes are not only about business attire. A grade school teacher has a unique need for her capsule wardrobe to balance professionalism with flexibility, comfort, and perhaps even stain resistance! And believe it or not, capsule wardrobes can even feature athleisure wear. While there are numerous athletic options out there to help you feel both comfortable and stylish, shopping can be overwhelming. There are just so many choices! A customized capsule wardrobe will take the overwhelm out of getting dressed for your next comfortable, sporty day.

No matter how you spend your time, a personally curated capsule wardrobe will help you rediscover the fun of getting dressed! 

So, what’s in a basic capsule wardrobe?

What Is In a Capsule Wardrobe?

The right capsule wardrobe will create a sense of confidence.

An effective and functional capsule wardrobe includes everything you need for head-to-toe outfits. This includes accessories like necklaces and earrings, all the way down to the shoes, and everything in between.

In essence, capsule wardrobes do multiple things at once. They make getting dressed easier, saving you time, while also making it more fun. Stepping into your closet each day should be anticipated, not dreaded! Capsule wardrobes also provide a recurring confidence boost because you’ll feel better than ever in clothes selected for you, with your personal style in mind. 

In addition to items like a great-fitting pair of jeans, a durable pair of flats, and a stylish casual jacket, each capsule wardrobe needs to include a few basics, like a little black dress or a plain white t-shirt. I often tell my clients to consider these basics the glue that binds their entire wardrobe together. They’re vowels in the wardrobe alphabet – you can’t create an outfit without them (even if they’re not the most glamorous pieces of the bunch).

Here’s what you need to build any basic capsule wardrobe.

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

While I typically like to build out custom capsule wardrobes for my clients, there are a few pieces that are pretty universal. If you want to DIY your very own capsule wardrobe, take the stress out of your morning routine, and look fabulous every day, here’s where to start.

1. A Little Black Dress

Classic little black dresses, a wardrobe staple, can widely range in price and style. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

Etcetera Renata Black Dress
This classic pullover sweater knit dress with rib-knit black belt effortlessly merges comfort and style.

Etcetera Fall Look 42 Black Dress
This jet black dress consists of a mock turtle neckline, cutaway armholes, and diagonal gold trim creating a dynamic, curvaceous silhouette.

Zara Black Dress TRF
This dress is made of cotton grown using natural fertilizers and pesticides and used no genetically modified seeds.

Pretty Garden Short Sleeve Dress
This soft and stretchy dress provides all-day comfort, as well as stylish perks like unique lantern sleeves and broad seasonality so it can be worn year-round.

A.L.C. Jane Dress
This dress sends a message of confidence, featuring a bold puff shoulder and figure-flattering ruching along the hip.

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2. A Great-Fitting Pair of Jeans

When it comes to jeans, a great fit is essential. And that’s no easy feat! Jeans are one of those hard-to-fit items, but once you find the right pair, you absolutely fall in love with them. I love Etcetera jeans. They’re a good fit for me and I often recommend my clients give them a try to see how they feel.

Etcetera Shore Jeans
This online exclusive is an instant classic, boasting a fashionable stepped hem and soft denim that makes these stretch jeans a great fit.

Etcetera Denim Jeans
These full-length jeans in fine Italian denim feature a comfortable stretch engineered into the colorfast polyester yarn. 

3. A White T-Shirt

White t-shirts are an absolute and timeless classic. What other staple can look just as fabulous on a motorcycle-riding superstar icon, like James Dean, as it does on a CEO at a board meeting?

Etcetera Dove White Shirt
This lightweight but durable short sleeve V-neck T-shirt is made of soft Peruvian combed Pima cotton with a hint of stretch. It’s super soft and ready to be the foundation of your next outfit. 

Capsule wardrobe white t-shirt

4. A Cute, Durable Pair of Flats

I highly value the simplicity, comfort, and style of a good pair of flats. Flats are a perfect capsule wardrobe must-have because they easily transition from the office to a girl’s night out. And the right flat feels like a slipper, so you don’t have to worry about how your feet will feel at the end of the day. Here are my favorite flats:

Yosi Samra Samara Black Suede Ballet Flat
These soft suede ballet flats are adored for their comfort and elegance. This pair boasts premium high-grade leather sock lining and an extra-durable, supple suede midsole for superior flexibility and softness with every step.

5. A Pair of Chic Tennis Shoes

Speaking of comfortable footwear, having a pair of chic tennis shoes goes a long way in dressing up or down various items in your wardrobe.

Adidas Originals Superstar
Whether you’re Gen X, Gen Z, or any other generation, these classics are 100% leather and never go out of style. They’re a great staple for any wardrobe.

Golden Goose provides iconic, stylish, and comfortable sneakers in a variety of colors and designs. These are one of my favorite styles:

Golden Goose Superstar Low-Top Sneakers

Aldo Jille
This stylish slip-on loafer can be dressed up or down. A versatile favorite!

6. A Casual Jacket

Layering adds dimension and versatility to any wardrobe. A casual jacket that can be worn on a number of occasions is a great place to start thinking about layering up.

Etcetera Denim Jacket
This stretch blazer redefines the scope of the denim jacket with elevated tailoring making it ready for the board room to any fine restaurant.

Etcetera Avery Jacket
This cozy coat is just right for your next special occasion, tailored to perfection, comfortable, and fashion-forward.

AG Adriano Goldschmied Robyn Denim Jacket
What’s more versatile than a classic denim jacket? This one will add just the layer you need for your next casual outing.

Wrangler Authentics Stretch Denim Jacket
Wrangler knows denim. This jacket is made from a soft cotton blend, designed to flex in normally restricted areas for all-day comfort.

Wrangler Stretch Denim Jacket - the perfect layer for your capsule wardrobe.

Dollhouse Queens Jacket
This casual staple is a great addition to any wardrobe, soft, comfortable, and easy to throw on over your favorite shirt or sweater.

Dollhouse Queens Jacket for capsule wardrobes.

7. Accessories: Necklace, Scarf, Earrings

Accessories punctuate any outfit. Go ahead and put an exclamation mark on whatever you wear next!

See my curated Jewelry picks below.

Aldo Giondra Hoop Earrings
These beautiful hoop earrings will add flair and style to any outfit, casual or upscale!

Aldo Nagold Decorative Scarf
A scarf is a perfect example of style and function. It keeps you warm while adding that extra touch of style to whatever you have on.

8. A Pair of Heels

Another classic! A pair of heels can help you elevate your capsule wardrobe in an instant. Fact or Myth? High heels are uncomfortable. Total myth! That is if you have the right pair of high heels for your capsule wardrobe. And no, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on them to give your feet a comfortable home. Here are some of my favorites.

Calvin Klein Gayle Dress Pump
This affordable and classic pointed-toe pump boasts a 3-inch stiletto heel and is designed for comfort. They’re slip-resistant and waterproof, making them the perfect fit, year-round.

Calvin Klein Women's Gayle Dress Pump

9. A Leather Jacket

What’s more classically cool than a leather jacket? For decades, leather jackets have been a core garment in every capsule wardrobe. Here’s one I love:

Etcetera Night Leather Jacket
This lambskin leather jacket provides both a modern cut and a unique softness representative of a centuries-old Italian tradition.

Night Leather Jacket from Etcetera

10. A Great Bag

Perhaps the mother of all accessories is the handbag. A handbag can be a statement piece or an accessory that ties your outfit together with simplicity and utility. Here’s an example of one I like, but there’s a vast array to choose from depending on your personal style!

Molodo Satchel Hobo Top Handle Tote
This bag is stylish, sturdy, and practical, making it a great choice for a wide range of women. You’ll be able to fit a lot inside the bag while looking good when you carry it!

Molodo Women’s Bucket Bag


Whether you style your capsule wardrobe yourself or you choose to have a stylist, like me, assist you (Yes, I work with clients remotely!), creating a closet of timeless pieces is worth every penny.