We’ve all been there. Staring at our overflowing closet, bemoaning the fact that we have nothing to wear.
When you go to get dressed, do you feel stressed out? Maybe nothing fits quite right. Maybe that dress you bought last year—the one with the tags still attached—gives you a guilty conscience. Or maybe you have so many clothes, trying to narrow down the perfect outfit feels impossible.
You are a prime candidate for a capsule wardrobe.
And what better time to start than now, with a fall capsule wardrobe that will help you curate a small but spot-on collection of fall outfit ideas?
What Is A Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is a group of clothes intentionally chosen for their timeless style, quality, fit, and interchangeability. The idea is to create a small, cohesive collection of clothes and accessories that you absolutely love and that can be worn in multiple combinations. This will save you the dread of deciding what to wear and ensure that every outfit suits your style and shape.
While there’s no single rule, most fans of the capsule wardrobe concept try to stick to a certain number of items—for example, a 40-piece capsule wardrobe, shoes included! Because most of us need different clothes as the seasons change, we recommend creating a capsule wardrobe for fall, winter, spring, and summer. That way, you’ll get plenty of wear out of each capsule, and right around the time you begin to get tired of your 40 or so items, you’ll be ready to change things up.
How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe
The basic premise of how to create a capsule wardrobe comes down to a handful of key tips.
- Choose quality over quantity. You’re going to wear each item often, so make sure it will hold up. Plus, consider each piece in your capsule an investment—rather than buying 10 so-so tops because they’re all on sale, buy two or three because you love them. That said, if you find the perfect tee, scoop it up in a few different neutral shades. Or double down on a fabulous-fit classic white button up—you can wear this type of top with just about anything, and you’ll be covered in case one gets stained.
- Only wear what fits. Think of that one dress or pair of jeans that you always feel great in, no matter what. What if every item in your closet gave you that same feel-good confidence? Make that your goal when shopping and while selecting which of your current items make the cut for your fall capsule wardrobe. Just imagine how stylish and comfortable you’re going to feel, every single day.
- Pick a neutral color palette. Neutral colors—like black, white, grey, and navy—have the greatest versatility and can be mixed and matched in multiple ways. You’ll want all your basic staples to be neutral. Different fabrics and textures can add more interest to your wardrobe, and you can introduce pops of bolder colors and patterns with your accessories. A graphic tee (in a base neutral color) is another great way to add personality to your palette.
- Be original, but not over the top. If you’re drawn to a particularly edgy jacket, and if it fits you perfectly and coordinates with the rest of your closet, by all means snap it up. But if you question whether you’ll have the moxie to wear it, take a pass. Your fall capsule wardrobe only has room for items you’ll actually use again and again—not those that come out just on special occasions, or that you only imagine yourself wearing, but instead wind up at the back of your closet.
- Choose what you need now. It’s important that your capsule wardrobe suits your current needs. Have you switched from an office job to working from home? Now may be the time to invest in some chic and cozy quality loungewear. If your work involves video meetings, by all means include a few professional tops, but ditch the midi skirt and double up on the joggers! Whatever your wardrobe needs, make sure that the pieces you select are stylish, appropriate, and comfortable for your day-to-day activities.
- Versatility is a must. When selecting your fall capsule wardrobe finalists, look for items that can be worn in multiple ways. A sleek, solid tee shirt or tank works equally well on its own on warmer days, layered under a cardigan on cooler days, tucked under a blazer at the office, or matched with a moto jacket and tube skirt for a night out. Likewise, distressed denim jeans can be worn with slip-on sneakers and a sweatshirt to the dog park, or paired with heels and a silk top for a hip new gallery opening.
- Make sure you love everything. You’re going to have a limited amount of clothing to wear, so make sure every piece is one you adore. Whether you’re shopping for new staples or culling your current closet, ask yourself if you truly feel great in each piece. Does it flatter you and fit perfectly? Does it fit your personality as well as your physique? Is it top quality, with timeless style? Then it’s a win! You may be surprised—with a fall wardrobe comprised only of items you love, you’ll never even notice that your closet is half the size it once was.
- Be equally selective with accessories. A few key accessories will put the finishing touches on every outfit, plus allow you to play with patterns and color. Scarves are especially appropriate for fall weather, and can completely change the look of any neutral top. A pair of sunglasses, a cross-body bag or tote, and a quality, stylish water bottle are everyday musts, and provide an opportunity to insert personality and bold or bright colors into your neutral clothing scheme.
- The bottom line. Don’t worry about counting bras, undies, pajamas, socks, and even workout gear in your fall capsule wardrobe. These items typically stay the same year-round, and don’t need to mix and match with the core capsule. Do follow the same rules in terms of finding items that you love and that fit your body, however, as comfort here is key.
Ready to put together your fall capsule wardrobe? Here’s a checklist that can help. We’ve included 40 items, but feel free to increase or decrease, or swap the specifics around to fit your style and needs.
40-Piece Fall Capsule Wardrobe Checklist
- 1 solid tank
- 1 solid tee
- 1 graphic tee
- 1 lightweight solid or graphic tee
- 1 thermal solid tee
- 1 classic white button-up shirt
- 1 solid silk top
- 1 print or stripe top
Sweaters (choose mostly solids, include 1 or 2 color-block or stripe)
- 3 cardigans (1 light, 1 medium, 1 thick and snuggly)
- 2 lightweight pullovers (1 cropped, 1 tunic)
- 1 cozy cowl-neck pullover
- 1 casual sweatshirt (hoodie or pullover)
- 1 moto jacket
- 1 blazer
- 1 trench coat/anorak
- 1 pair distressed denim
- 1 pair charcoal or black denim
- 1 pair black or grey tailored
- 1 pair joggers
- 1 pair faux-leather leggings
- 1 solid tube skirt
- 1 solid midi skirt
- 1 solid jersey tank dress or lightweight long-sleeve sweater dress
- 1 solid jumpsuit
- 1 print or stripe dress
- 1 pair ballet flats or mules
- 1 pair slip-on sneakers
- 1 pair boots
- 1 pair ankle booties
- 1 pair heels
- 1 Avana® Ashbury bottle (pick from more than a dozen colors and patterns to best reflect your personal style)
- 1 large leather tote (go for a neutral grey, black, or olive; or a pick pop of color—such as yellow—that works with all your neutral clothes)
- 1 crossbody bag
- 1 pair sunglasses
- 3 scarves (choose varying weights, colors, and patterns for maximum versatility)
Looking at this list, doesn’t it seem like more than enough options for a fall wardrobe and plenty of fun, flattering fall outfit ideas? It hardly seems restrictive, especially knowing that you’ll make some changes when it’s time to plan your winter capsule wardrobe.
If narrowing your fall wardrobe down to these 40 items still feels impossible, remember that these are simply guidelines. You can customize the items that fill your capsule based on your lifestyle and likes. You can plump up your picks to 50 or 60 items. Or, for an even greater challenge, try the truly minimalist route and opt for 10-15 core pieces. You make the rules, so make sure they work for you. We simply encourage you to give it a try and, most of all, have fun finessing your fall capsule wardrobe!