The Minimalist Wardrobe That Will Change Your Life

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Have you heard about the capsule wardrobe movement? It’s a pared-down, minimalist approach to fashion that’ll stuff your wallet instead of your closet. The movement is driven by the fact that most of us have a percentage of clothing pieces we never—or seldom—wear.

The exact number of pieces in each capsule wardrobe varies from person to person, but the principles are the same: pare down, select quality pieces you feel good in, and keep only a single season in your closet at a time. Ready to get started? Let’s go!

The Benefits

There are 3 main benefits to a minimalist approach to fashion. It helps you figure out what’s important to you and cut down on the “busyness” of needing the latest trend. It also makes it easier to get dressed. After all, you only have a few pieces to choose from, and they work together in certain ways. And finally, you’ll have more space—both literally and mentally. A simple, minimal capsule wardrobe shouldn’t be boring, but it also shouldn’t feel overwhelming.

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

Step One: Look at What You Have

Get all of your clothes out of your closet, dresser, and laundry basket. Now grab your shoes and accessories—even your jewelry. Pile it all on a flat surface, such as your bed, and look at the mountain of fashion.

Step Two: Do a Quick Sort

This step should be mostly gut instinct. Grab a piece from the pile and then sort it into one of these categories: Love, Maybe, Donate, Trash. You’ll probably know immediately which pile the item should go in. Bag up Donate and Trash right away so that you’re not tempted to go back through them. Now return to your Maybes and ask yourself if you’ve worn it in the last six months. No? Then it needs to go.

Step Three: Form Your Core

Now it’s time to start building a wardrobe! There will be pieces that you already wear or use on a daily or weekly basis. Your favorite laptop bag, the ballet flats you always reach for when heading out the door. Make a list of clothes, shoes, accessories, and jewelry that are must-haves. This is the core of your capsule. Aim for no more than 20 pieces total.

Note that underwear, PJs, and workout clothes (the ones you actually wear to the gym, not to the grocery store) don’t count as part of the wardrobe.

Step Four: Build the Wardrobe

Now it’s time to flesh out your wardrobe to make sure that all your needs are met. You want to focus on versatile pieces—jeans that can be dressed down with a nice t-shirt or dressed up with a sequin top and heels. A jacket that can go from a chic weekend date to a meeting at the office. Plan for the current season; any Love pieces that are out of season should be put safely away in storage for now.

The ideal capsule wardrobe has between 30 and 40 pieces total—and that includes things like scarves, hats, and earrings. Some people pare it down even further! It may seem crazy at first, but soon you’ll feel great knowing that everything in your closet looks and feels good when you put it on.