I Tried A Capsule Wardrobe, And What Happened Surprised Me

“I have nothing to wear!” 

How many of us have said this phrase (okay, whined it) while we look into our overflowing closets? It doesn’t seem to matter if we have 50 or 500 pieces hanging in our dressing rooms, we’ve all come to this point. 

I was sick of it. I work from home and wear roughly the same thing every day. My weekly uniform consists of 2 dresses when I feel like being ‘fancy’ and then a ton of pajama bottoms and sports bras. And yet, my closet is still overflowing and I have decision fatigue every time I choose an outfit.


Fixing It

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I wanted to try a capsule wardrobe this week for many reasons – the main one being that I don’t appreciate the clothes I do have, and I wanted to take stock of what was hanging in my closet and if the different pieces were worth keeping. 

Another reason is because they’re helpful. It takes me about 20 minutes to get ready to go out, and while that’s not a lot of time at all, I can get it down to 5. 

The last reason was that I recently moved and I went through my closet twice. And yet, every day I find something new I will never wear, so I think it’s time to throw things out once and for all.

The Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe 

Less Decision Fatigue

The “I have nothing to wear” statement is a problem for everyone I’ve met. The more decisions you have to make, the more time you’ll take, and the more easily you’ll get overwhelmed. Our brains are programmed to only make a few decisions a day, so when we eliminate one decision (what to wear), our brains can focus on more important issues. My favorite part of Jay Shetty’s nighttime routine is when he takes the clothes out of his closet for the next day and sets them aside. He says he’s setting himself up for success by eliminating a decision for the next day.


When you have fewer items, you can invest in them. Fast fashion is taking over the industry right now because it’s easy and trendy. Why would you pay $100 for one good piece of clothing when you can pay the same price for 10? When we actively seek more sustainable fashion choices, our closets immediately become better for it. If you want to build a capsule wardrobe, make a checklist and start by investing in quality and versatile pieces that will fit into every outfit and last a long time.

Celebrating Your Style

@_iheikens So many thoughts on how to build a cohesive closet/ capsule closet lmk if you want a series on this #capsulewardrobe ♬ original sound – Isabelle

The flaw in making a capsule wardrobe is when you make one that looks like everyone else’s. I’m an enneagram four and I try to dress at least a bit different from everyone else. Yes, I have my basic pieces, but they don’t have to be the same as others’. I made a checklist of the capsule wardrobe essentials I felt most comfortable in, but dressed the pieces up or down with funky shoes and accessories.

Making Your Wardrobe

@maddy_clem I love creating capsule wardrobes for y’all 🙂 #capsulewardrobe #thriftbundle #MACscaraface #thrifttok ♬ Aesthetic – Xilo

There is no magic number of clothes in a capsule wardrobe. Some people choose 33 pieces for every 3 months, or 37 pieces overall, or 10 days with 10 items. One thing that you don’t want to do is over-limit yourself, throw everything away, and then spend hundreds of dollars on fast fashion when you’re tired of your 10-piece wardrobe. Do what makes you comfortable and don’t come at this challenge from a scarcity mindset.

Creating A Capsule Wardrobe

Clean Out Your Closet

First things first: time to clear out your closet. I took all the clothes I had in my house and put them on my bed. And then I realized I was going to need a bigger bed. Once you put everything that you usually see carefully tucked away into plain sight, you realize just how much you have. Another way to clean out your closet without messing up your bed is to put all your hangers backward. If you wear the item that’s on the hanger, you can then switch it forward. At the end of the month, look to see which items are still on backward hangers and debate getting rid of them.

Make Piles

Dump everything on your bed with a purpose. I chose four piles: 

  • Capsule Wardrobe: These are the clothes that I wear the most often, I’m most comfortable in, and they’re versatile.

  • Staying: Since my capsule wardrobe will be limited to this week, I don’t want to rule out all of my other clothes. These will be the clothes that are staples, just not necessarily my uniform. 

  • Icons: It’s okay to have sentimental items that you don’t want to get rid of. Maybe keep them to a certain number, for example, I have two items that I will never part with, even if I never wear them again. 

  • Money Makers: These are the ones going straight to Buffalo Exchange or Plato’s Closet.

If it helps, you can make a checklist for your clothes — this way, you can keep track of each piece and its destination, like in your capsule wardrobe pile or money makers pile.

Have Fun!

Making your capsule wardrobe checklist and choosing pieces will probably take you a while. It was a workout and a half for me, so I put on The Bold Type and went for it.

My Capsule Wardrobe Checklist

I saw a lot of numbers for capsule wardrobes and none of them made sense for just a week. While I’d love to wear 33 – 50 items in a week, I know that’s not the point. I thought about setting apart seven items — one for every day — but I eventually landed on ten items. For my capsule wardrobe essentials, I chose a black fitted yoga set, a long tan dress, a long black dress, a gray graphic tee, a loose taupe jacket, a white sweater, black baggy jeans, heels, and fun tennis shoes.

What I Didn’t Include In My Wardrobe

Because I’m only doing this for a week, I chose not to include a limit on three sections: underwear, workout clothes, and sleep clothes. I chose to not include these items mostly due to sanitary reasons. I basically stuck to what’s in my closet, not in my drawers.

My Week

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I didn’t think this week was going to be as hard as it was. I think doing a weekly limited wardrobe had its benefits and setbacks. My partner came over the first day and I said something like, “You’ll see this outfit often because I’m doing a capsule wardrobe!” He lovingly responded, “You wear the same thing every day anyway, so you’ll do just fine.” 

Honestly, my biggest struggle wasn’t how little I had, it was in my initial decision of what to put in the wardrobe. Every morning, I wanted to live in my black shorts and big shirts, but I only had one of each. My minimal capsule wardrobe checklist challenged me to branch out and wear ‘real people clothes’ too. I grabbed comfy jeans and my favorite long dress and got ‘ready’ for work! The time it took for me to get ready did get cut in half. On the days that I didn’t wear makeup, I was ready in 2 minutes. While I had ‘endless’ combos of clothes with my 10 decisions, it was noticeably easier to pick from 10 items rather than 100.


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I don’t think I’m made to have a permanent capsule wardrobe. While I do wear the same thing for work every day, as soon as I’m done, I try to wear something different. Having a capsule wardrobe did make me more intentional in the morning, but it made me less intentional after work. So I would get dressed in my work clothes and then not change because my options were so limited. 

Another thing people don’t talk about is laundry day. My laundry day came in the middle of the challenge, so all my comfy clothes were dirty and I was hesitant to wear nicer clothes all day. That was also a flaw in me deciding the clothes for the capsule and thinking I would actually want to be fancier than I am. 

@_iheikens Modest workwear to everyday casual – Will have all the links on my stories later today🤍 #capsulewardrobe #falloutfits #fallstyle #fashiontiktok ♬ Tokyo Drift – Xavier Wulf

The last two setbacks were both weather-related. The season turning from summer to autumn made the weather questionable every day. Some mornings I would wake up to a thunderstorm and 60° weather and the day would end sunny and 85°. The other thing was rain. I didn’t think to include rain boots or a raincoat in my capsule wardrobe, so when it was raining, I was wearing heels. This was, again, user error.

How I Styled My Pieces


capsule wardrobe

Today was a workday, so I grabbed my fitted shorts and my big t-shirt. Otherwise known as my uniform. I didn’t wear shoes all day until my partner came over and we went out to dinner. If I could have worn this outfit all week, I would’ve!


capsule wardrobe checklist

Another workday, but I also went out today! I grabbed my baggy jeans and the fitted tank. I stuck with my funky shoes and was out! The past two days were pretty warm, so neither of these outfits needed a jacket.


sunday outfit markey

This was the first day that felt like autumn! It was still a little warm though. I wore my long tan dress and paired it with my jacket later. I also wore my tennis shoes because they were comfortable and I was going to be walking a lot!


capsule wardrobe checklist

It was a church day! I could’ve worn jeans to church, but I like to dress up a bit. I grabbed my fitted black dress and my brown jacket. It was raining, but I still opted for my heels. This was by far my favorite outfit of the week, even though it’s not likely that I’ll wear it often.


markey work day

A cozy and laid-back day! I worked today, so I got the fitted shorts again and just paired them with a big sweater. I didn’t go out, so there was no need for ‘real people clothes.’


markey working tuesday

I struggled today but I finally decided on putting my big t-shirt on top of my tan dress. It might have looked more polished if I belted it, but I ended up replacing my tennis shoes with heels and it looked cute! I could’ve also done this with my black dress, but settled for comfort.


wednesday markey dress up

The last day! Slight outfit repeating, but I feel like that’s the name of the game. I took advantage of the fall feel and grabbed my jeans and my jacket. I wanted to add some edge to the look, so I chose the heels again!

In The End

The thing I adored the most about the capsule wardrobe was the initial cleaning phase. I did throw out 4 bags full of clothes that were never going to be worn. It let me make room for new things, but also realize that it’s okay to not keep everything.

I liked the brevity of choosing an outfit, but I am excited to go back to my sweatpants soon. That being said, if I chose to do a monthly or a season-long capsule wardrobe with a bigger checklist, I could see it being much easier and more accessible.


Have you tried a capsule wardrobe before? Do you have capsule wardrobe essentials? What should I try next? Comment below!

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