How to Craft a Capsule Wardrobe Part 2: Nail Your First Capsule


Intrigued about minimizing your closet but you don't know where or how to start?

Happy to help! 

Here is a simple tutorial on how to create your first capsule wardrobe and a brief overview about how the MappCraft Capsule Wardrobe philosophy is different from others (hint: accessories).

Let's get started!

What is a Capsule Wardrobe, Anyway?

Your very first capsule wardrobe is just one blog post away

Your very first capsule wardrobe is just one blog post away

A capsule wardrobe is a tightly edited collection of clothes you wear over the course of a season. The MappCraft capsule wardrobe contains between 35 - 40 garments. 

Each item is selected for versatility and to complement your lifestyle and body. The goal is to curate a tiny closet in which everything fits, makes you feel fantastic and can be worn in multiple ways.

At the end of each season your capsule should be evaluated for productivity. Donate, gift or consign the items that you did not wear, store out of season items and then, with a plan and a purpose, shop to fill in the gaps.

The Accessory Equasion

Accessories are the connective tissue of your capsule wardrobe

Accessories are the connective tissue of your capsule wardrobe

The MappCraft Capsule Wardrobe philosophy fully embraces the art of accessorizing. I believe in maintaining a supplemental accessory capsule, which is why accessories aren't included in the core capsule wardrobe garment count. A healthy mix of shoes, bags, jewelry and signature extras allows you to experiment with trends, hone your outfit creation skills and cement your personal style.

Hmmm... this one goes, this one stays and this one is just right

Hmmm... this one goes, this one stays and this one is just right

How Do I Start a Capsule Wardrobe?

Step 1

Read this post for an overview on how to conduct a Ruthless Wardrobe Edit.

This is a critical first step.

Once you've ruthlessly edited your closet down to only the garments you truly love, it's time to craft your first capsule.

Step 2

Remove out of season or special occasion items. Store out of sight. 

Step 3

Evaluate and organize what's left. The MappCraft Capsule Wardrobe contains 35 - 40 core garments spanning 4 categories. A rough breakdown looks like this:

  • 9 Tops (Tanks, Tops, Blouses, Sweaters)
  • 9 Bottoms (Skirts, Pants, Shorts, Denim)
  • 9 Dresses (Dresses, Rompers, Jumpsuits)
  • 9 Layers (Cardigans, Jackets, Vests, Outerwear)

Don't get caught up on the numbers or categories. You may hate pants or dresses. Don't wear them! The goal is to cultivate a closet that is 100% you.

Step 4

Fill in the gaps. This step does not need to happen in a day, or even a week. Take your time. Comparison shop. Research designers and retailers online. Once you are ready to make a purchase, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it timeless? You want to be able to wear the majority of your capsule for multiple years, incorporating trends through accessories rather than apparel.
  • Is it versatile? Does it coordinate with at least 2 garments from each category?
  • Does it fit comfortably? Tugging at clothes all day is never a good look. However - a tailor can work wonders for simple fixes like hemming or strap adjustment.
  • Is the cut/fabric/formality/care appropriate for my lifestyle? Toddlers and silk do not mix and dry cleaning is expensive.
  • Can I afford a better version? Quality over quantity is the name of this game.

Sample Summer Capsule Wardrobe

So what does a capsule wardrobe actually look like? See below for a sample capsule pulled from my Summer 2016 capsule wardrobe. This is simply a visual guideline to help you get started. In fact, the templates below only total 30 garments - who needs multiple layers in summer?

Tailor your capsule to the season, your needs and lifestyle. The only rule is mindfulness! 

Tanks, Tops, Blouses, Sweaters

Tanks, Tops, Blouses, Sweaters

Skirts, shorts, pants, denim

Skirts, shorts, pants, denim

Dresses, jumpsuits, rompers, tunics 

Dresses, jumpsuits, rompers, tunics 

Cardigans, jackets, blazers, vests

Cardigans, jackets, blazers, vests

What Do You Wear to Parties and on the Weekend?

Good question! I maintain two separate, very small capsules for weekends and special events.

Weekend Capsule

My weekend edit contains 3 pairs of chino shorts (same cut, different colors), 3 cotton tanks and 3 v-neck t-shirts. All are from J.Crew. I personalize my weekend uniform with colorful shoes and accessories.

Shorts, tanks and colorful tees 

Shorts, tanks and colorful tees 

Cocktail Capsule

The special events edit contains 4 core garments, all black, 2 pairs of party heels and 2 clutches. I mix and match these items, all impactful in their own right, with elements from my accessory collection and core capsule to create multiple cocktail looks.

Mix and match black with festive details  

Mix and match black with festive details  

C'mon - Get Tiny!

Hopefully this post inspired you to take the plunge and create a tiny closet for yourself.  Check out the Outfit Gallery for examples of how I create multiple looks from my mini wardrobe. 

If you are still feeling hesitant, perhaps this is the reason. Think about it.

Once you've nailed your core apparel capsule(s), the next step is accessories! Stay tuned.

Please share this guide with anyone you know who is interested in the capsule wardrobe concept. If you enjoyed this read, I'd love you forever if you could just CLICK THE LITTLE HEART BELOW, or, better yet, COMMENT.

xoxo Jenn

The Capsule Wardrobe Caveat No One Wants to Talk About (and 6 Reasons to Ignore It)

Photo credits: Erin Nicole Graf  

Photo credits: Erin Nicole Graf  

When I attempt to explain the concept for this blog - capsule wardrobing - I am met with equal parts intrigue and skepticism. Many assume I made this decision to either save money or save the planet. While both of those are noble considerations, neither was the driving force.

I started this journey when confronted with a storage issue. Research for organizational solutions unearthed Project 333 and - two undisputed pioneer women of the capsule wardrobe movement. After eagerly devouring their resources it was very clear that my problem wasn't storage, it was inconspicuous consumption. I also realized I was sick of being held captive by my closet. A year in, the process has improved my life in a myriad of ways. 

Top 6 Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe


1 scarf, 1000 ways

1 scarf, 1000 ways

  1. Efficiency - As you grow in years and responsibility the time money continuum becomes painfully apparent. The mornings when I had an hour to try on various outfits are over. Now that my closet only contains garments that complement me and each other, no time is wasted getting dressed. 
  2. Cost savings - I do not buy disposable (read: cheap) clothes. This was true even before I committed to capsule wardrobing. Now that I only shop once a season, the money I thoughtlessly spent throughout the year is spent intentionally during a finite window, thus saving money on (expensive) items I didn't actually need or many times even wear. 
  3. Mindfulness - Capsuling saves money on clothes because you curb impulse shopping. Nice, right? It gets better. The very act of acting intentionally conditions your brain towards mindfulness, which in time can curb impulsivity in other areas of your life. My impulses include Pinot Noir, snapping at my husband and impatient parenting. Keep in mind, mindfulness is a skill. When I master it, I'll text you. Any day now.
  4. Creativity - As Steve Jobs aptly said: "Creativity is just connecting things." Inspired results come from the imaginative use of limited resources. When you've curated a wardrobe that works like a puzzle, every piece clicks together to paint a new stylish story daily. Plus you feel like a boss for working the ish out of your closet. 
  5. Confidence - If I leave the house in ill fitting clothes I am acutely aware of it ALL. DAY. LONG. I can't relax or concentrate or even listen to you. It's a problem. I have gone home in the middle of a work day to change out of bad outfits. Who has time for such pathos? Not me (See #1). Now I leave my house confident that every outfit slays and I can get back to obsessing over something productive.
  6. Control -  As a younger adult I was totally laid back. Chill #AF, if you will. But sometime between my career trajectory and raising small children I became a basket case when faced with elements out of my control (like small children). At my breaking point, my wardrobe was one of those elements. Today, when everything else is chaos, I find tremendous peace in my closet, the one corner of my world under my complete and relentless control.

The Critical Caveat No One Wants to Talk About

Now that we've had the good vibe tribe chat about all the wonderful, life changing side effects of a capsule wardrobe, here is the hard truth that no capsule wardrobe blogger wants to address:

You cannot commit to a capsule wardrobe until you've made peace with your pant size. 

If you have been telling yourself that you are going to lose 10, 20, 30 pounds and you are hanging onto clothing from the actual 1990s to prove it -- this isn't for you.

Or is it? How does it make you feel to look at those garments every morning? Confident or defeated? Inspired or disheartened? Ready to take on the world or ready to go back to bed? I will let you answer that for yourself.

Consider this: Perhaps it's time to release those old stories and embrace the right the fuck now.

Imagine waking up and only having to look at clothes that make you feel fantastic. How much fun would it be if your hardest daily fashion decision was choosing between accessories? What if your closet actually reinforced your undeniable confidence and style savvy? Something to think about. 



PS: If you enjoyed this post, please click on the heart below. Or comment! LOVES YA!

There are amazing clothes in every size. 

There are amazing clothes in every size.