To Capsule or Not to Capsule: honest thoughts on the wardrobe trend

Honest thoughts on capsule wardrobes

If you've been anywhere near Pinterest, Instagram or even YouTube in the past year, I bet you've seen a capsule wardrobe of some sort.

A few rows of clothes neatly displayed.

A common color pallet to allow maximum outfit options.

Capsule wardrobes seem like the perfect fit for a minimalist, but are they really? 

If you don't know what a capsule wardrobe is, it's basically a small closet of clothes that you swap out each season. You build a "spring capsule" with 37 (or another smallish number) items and wear that for a few months, then swap it out for a "summer capsule" and so on. 

The first time I ever saw a capsule wardrobe was on Un-Fancy. If you haven't checked out that blog before, please go do so immediately (well, I mean after you read this post obviously). Caroline from Un-Fancy is basically the queen of capsules. Her insights have been so helpful to me in the process of simplifying. While I was so inspired by Caroline's capsules, I immediately knew that I couldn't follow the model. 


I'm too lazy for a capsule wardrobe. 

There. I said it. 

I tried to think of a way to word my reason without sounding like a loser, but that's the truth. The thought of planning a new closet every three months was too overwhelming for me! Plus, I live in Portland where the weather is so fickle that I may be wearing my "winter capsule" in summer or my "spring capsule" in fall. 

I still love a good minimal closet, but I just use the same capsule all year long. I feel like it's cheating to call that a capsule wardrobe, so I just call it my "simplified closet" when I'm explaining my strategy to people. (P.S. I'm going to be sharing exactly what's in my closet real soon!) 

Turns out, I'm not the only one to drift away from the traditional capsule model. Caroline herself doesn't use standard capsules anymore! That is extremely validating to me. 

So is there anyone who should use a traditional capsule wardrobe? 


I see a lot of value in the capsule experiment for certain people. Read on to see if you're on of them...

  1. If you have an overflowing closet and are totally overwhelmed at the thought of getting rid of everything, a capsule wardrobe could be the perfect place to start. Having 37 items per season still allows you to keep a lot of your favorite pieces while you get used to a smaller wardrobe. 
  2. If you get easily bored with your clothes, a capsule wardrobe will implement a healthy rhythm of change for you without tempting you to shop all the time. 
  3. If you live in a place with extremely varying climates, a capsule wardrobe will allow you to separate out the items that you just won't wear part of the year. 

I personally don't fall into any of those categories. It was fairly easy for me to downsize my wardrobe when I started my minimalism journey, I don't get bored with clothes that I really love and Portland has such a mild climate that I'm always pulling clothes from every corner of the closet. 

So what do you think? 

Is a capsule right for you? 

If so, go check out Un-Fancy for tips from the pro. You can also follow my capsule inspo board on Pinterest for examples! Even if you opt not to go the traditional capsule route, you can gain a lot of inspiration for making a smaller wardrobe work by observing other people's capsules. 

There is so much freedom in a smaller wardrobe, no matter how you get there!

Find what works for you and stick with it.