How to create a capsule wardrobe for men: 7 essential tips

You can save time, money, and space by creating a stylish capsule wardrobe

How to create a capsule wardrobe for men
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Making styling decisions each day is a very personal and often time consuming process. If you’re someone who has a lot going on in their wardrobe then the choices might even become daunting. That isn’t the case with a capsule wardrobe.

As an exercise in narrowing down your options to the essentials, working with a capsule takes a lot of the decision fatigue out of styling yourself. Comprising more of what you need and less of what you don’t, knowing how to create a capsule wardrobe can save you time, reduce overspending and bring a sense of focus to what you wear.

1. What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a curated selection of items that can be matched multiple ways to create a focused, reliable set out outfits. Getting the most out of the items you buy is one of the key elements behind a capsule. It helps you plan ahead with options that you know work for you and will not suddenly go out of fashion.

Think of creating a capsule wardrobe like a rotation refresh. You’ll pick only what you need to style yourself each day and this has the benefit of cutting out unnecessary pieces that might end up costing a lot but which you hardly wear. It’s essentially optimising your wardrobe for a specific season.

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2. Clean out the closet

Before getting started with a new wardrobe it’s a good idea to tidy up your current one. That doesn’t mean you need to toss out everything. Instead, take every item and lay it out before deciding what to keep and what to give away. Having a fresh start will give you a clearer idea of what to prioritise for the capsule.

Ideally what you keep will be able to find space within your new wardrobe so that you can already check a few pieces off the list. So long as you’re okay with the state they’re in, and that they at least have a colour relationship with your capsule plan, then this will save you time and a bit of cash in the end.

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3. Tips for creating a capsule wardrobe

If you tick off a few basic points you’ll be able to create a solid capsule that works for you. One of the first is thinking of the rights types of colour. A good approach to this is going for a neutral colour base, such as grey or navy, and building from there.

Go for cuts and shapes that lean toward classic rather than a trend. This adds to your wardrobe’s reliability and also avoids odd or unused items that you suddenly might want to to wear anymore. Lastly, go for quality fabrics as often as you can. A capsule should be reliable and waste-free so quality pieces can be worn often without the colour fading or fabric fraying.

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4. Getting started with a capsule

Before you get our your wallet, it’s a good idea to think about what you want to get out of a capsule. Best case scenario is a collection of your favourite clothing that you know will work with little planning day in and out.

Set yourself up with a core selection of what you wear often and in a style that you already know works for you. The interesting part of creating a capsule comes a bit later when you begin to add new patterns, colours or accessories as the wardrobe evolves. It’s a great way to safely experiment with your style and without having to come up with a stack of potential matching options.

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5. Pick your season

Unless you live in a place with no seasons, you should only plan a capsule wardrobe for one season at a time. This means you should be selective about what to choose, but also what you end up leaving out. It wouldn’t make any sense to buy a heavy coat when summer is approaching, even if you find a coat you like.

Plan for your capsule to do its job for three months. If you prefer to change up your rotation more or less often, then change up your selection as needed. And don’t forget that just because a new season approaches, it doesn’t mean you have to throw the entire capsule out – you can simply adjust what you’ve got with another refresher.

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6. Add accessories

For this capsule you’re buying essential, useful items and that should also include accessories. While some consider them optional, making a little room for one or more accessories that add flair to your capsule is only a good thing.

Good pieces to go for here include a watch in gold or silver, cufflinks, a belt, tie or a scarf. You might want to keep your selection seasonally adjusted to maximise practicality, but you can definitely use them again down the line in a way shirts simply won’t last after a round of cycles in the wash.

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7. Example capsule wardrobe

The following capsule wardrobe is a well-rounded selection, but it’s by no means one-size-fits-all. It’s on the minimal side, so you can add or tweak this example as needed. If you wear suits often then you will want to tailor this for what you wear to work each day. The same goes for work wear of any kind.

  • Jackets: one casual, one blazer
  • Jumper: one pullover or knit
  • Shirts: eight pieces mixing collared and buttoned shirts plus tees
  • Trousers: go for three, mixing up jeans and chinos
  • Underwear: eight pairs in cotton
  • Socks: eight pairs in cotton
  • Boots: one pair
  • Sneakers: two pairs

Although this will cover most situations you’ll probably want to add your own twist to it. A capsule wardrobe should be in some ways predictable, but you should also tailor it to your needs and personal style.

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