Whether it’s an intuitive process or something that you analyze at great length, creating capsules is an excellent way to maintain wardrobe discipline. I define a wardrobe capsule as ANY collection of clothing, footwear and accessories that helps you to satisfy your dressing needs in one or more areas of your life. 

Wardrobe capsules are merely a tool that helps you to break your wardrobe into manageable chunks. By saying “any collection…”, the definition is intentionally broad because there are many different ways to group items. That said, in the course of working with many different clients I have found that three kinds of wardrobe capsule are very common. Understanding them might make it a little easier to apply the capsule concept when you next edit and review your wardrobe.

Mix & Match Capsules 

These capsules are built around a colour palette and made up of items that can be mixed and matched into several outfits. They can be dressy or casual, large or small, neutral or colour-rich. Mix and match capsules are about wardrobe efficiency, helping you to get the maximum outfit variety from a given number of items. Earlier this year I wrote about a mix and match work wear capsule. I later wrote about a more compact work wear capsule that is based on fewer items. 

Category Capsules

This kind of capsule is made up of only ONE wardrobe item category. For example you can have a coat capsule, a leather jacket capsule, a bootie capsule, a sandal capsule, a scarf capsule, a skirt capsule, a jeans capsule, a knitwear capsule or a jacket capsule. Any wardrobe item category can be thought of as a capsule. This type of group analysis keeps your lifestyle and style needs in check, and helps you to identify wardrobe holes as they appear. Primarily, category capsules help you to answer “do I have enough [insert item here]” questions. They also help you address the level of variety within the category, and whether this variety supports your style.

Activity Capsules

Each of these capsules satisfies your wardrobe needs in a very specific setting that isn’t part of your everyday lifestyle. For example, you might have a date night capsule, a camping capsule, a formal wear capsule, a beachwear capsule, a loungewear capsule, a hiking capsule, a music concert capsule, or a capsule for extra hot weather. Activity capsules ensure that you have the right wardrobe items for an important setting or activity that isn’t always top of mind. 

Remember that an item can be used across multiple capsules. A trench coat, for example, can be part of several mix and match capsules, and your coat capsule. A zebra printed blouse can be part of your Black & White work wear capsule, a smart casual weekend capsule, and your blouse capsule. 

Wardrobe capsules force you to think of items and outfits in groups, which means analyzing how the items work together and relate to each other. The “group think” is key to creating an efficient and cost effective wardrobe full of fabulous outfit possibilities for every aspect of your life. And for most of us, this is THE wardrobe goal.