How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe Based On Your Minimalist Aesthetic

September 27, 2021

Five-zero.

That’s the maximum number of pieces allowed in a traditional capsule wardrobe—a highly curated closet of chameleon-like clothing that somehow transcends both weather and occasion alike.

Capsule wardrobes are chic. They’re transportable. They’re a smart and savvy way to reduce decision fatigue. And they’re also incredibly difficult to achieve without first knowing your signature style.

Discovering your signature style is an ever-changing process, but knowing your personality and passions can help. Read on to discover the capsule wardrobe that’s right for you, based on your minimalist personality type. 

picture of travel capsule wardrobe

The Efficiency Capsule

For the minimalist on-the-go who never has time to decide what to wear, the efficiency capsule is for you. Save yourself from decision fatigue by curating a capsule wardrobe with staple basics and neutral colors that can easily be dressed up or dressed down. Go from brunch with the girls to a corporate dinner with a little black dress that can transform from day to night, all with only a change of accessories. No dramatic movie fashion montages needed, as your versatile pieces can get you through any situation that life throws your way. 

Must-Have Pieces: Little Black Dress, neutral turtleneck, neutral tees, relaxed blazer, neutral button-down shirt, black jeans, neutral pencil skirt & a structured blouse

The Eco-Capsule

For the eco-minimalist, creating a capsule wardrobe has less to do with time, and more to do with ensuring that you are reusing clothing as much as possible to decrease environmental impact. With an eco-capsule, high-quality ethically-source and sustainably-made capsule pieces are the solution for you. Research brands that use natural dyes and natural fibers like bamboo and cotton, and lean into your bohemian side with flowy, comfortable clothing—perfect for a cozy night in or a beachy adventure.

Must-Have Pieces: Cotton tee, linen pants, fair-trade jeans, flowy dress, linen button-up shirt, long skirt, hiking boots, & a sustainably-made all-weather jacket 

The Thrifted Capsule

While the thrifted capsule can take time, the curation is often worth the effort. Thrifted capsules are an eclectic mix of vintage and newly thrifted pieces, to create a style that transcends a brand, time period, or aesthetic. To build the ideal thrifted capsule, thrift basics like t-shirts and jeans at higher-end thrift shops to ensure quality over quantity, and explore more reasonably priced thrift shops like Goodwill and Salvation Army for those ‘where-did-you-get-that’ pieces that make you stand out from the crowd. 

Must-Have Pieces: Cardigan, jean jacket, a vintage treasure, plaid shirt, mom jeans, oversized sweater, high-waisted shorts, & basic tees

The Nomad Capsule

As a perpetual traveler, a minimalist capsule wardrobe is more than a want, it’s a need for your go-where-the-wind-blows way of life. As a nomad, every piece needs to serve multiple purpose for every occasion. A dual-function jacket that can withstand harsh weather while looking chic for a night on the town is imperative for your city-to-mountains-and-back adventures. Research clothing that is durable and can function in all temperatures and conditions, as you never know when you’ll jet off from a hike in the Andes to a Parisian club at a moment’s notice. 

Must-Have Pieces: Dual-function hiking/everyday jacket, leggings, rain/hiking boots, everyday sneakers, jeans, flowy dress, & sunglasses, unique pieces curated from adventures/travel

The Parisian Capsule

For all the lovers of the bestselling book, How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are, the Parisian capsule is for the minimalist who wants fewer, yet highly curated pieces. A classic white button down with a tan trench coat is the heart and soul of the Parisian capsule, followed by neural colors (mostly whites), and an occasional stand-out blue or red. When incorporating patterns, veer toward the geometric as a nice accent, thinking stripes and dots. 

Must-Have Pieces: Trench coat, white button down shirt, striped shirt (marinière), basic white tee, black and tan slacks, loafers, leather jacket, blazer, boyfriend jeans, & a black cami

The Nostalgia Capsule

Last but not least, the nostalgia capsule is less about the style and more about the memories that the clothing carries. Build a base wardrobe of basics, and bring it to life with gifts and curated pieces from friends and family that can be passed down for generations. A treasured purse from a grandmother or a necklace gifted from a friend is a great way to infuse history and treasured memories into your everyday wear.

Must-Have Pieces: Hand-me-down accessories from loved ones, embroidered tees with sentimental quotes, gifted tops and bottoms, handmade sweaters and hats, & basics from boutiques located in sentimental spots

Whether nomadic or nostalgic, a capsule wardrobe can minimize the everyday stress of finding clothing that matches and complements one another. Rock your ‘fits with confidence and flair by owning your minimalist personality and letting it shine throughout each piece of your curated closet. 

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Photo: Wikipedia Commons; Jornada Produtora via Unsplash; Peaceful Dumpling

Dana Drosdick
Dana is a marketer living in Saratoga Springs, NY with a passion for all things related to stewardship, faith, wellness, and personal enrichment. Her work has been featured in various Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, The Odyssey Online, and The Banner Magazine. Follow her at @danadrosdick on Instagram for foodie trends, her latest book recommendations, and far too many photos of clementines.

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