Creating a Capsule Wardrobe for Men

This article is a written as follow up to my article on clothing thrift. I realised that some people might not know what a capsule wardrobe is or how to go about creating one. Having a capsule wardrobe means that you will own a small group of key clothing items that you can mix and match to look good on any occasion.

If you decide to create a capsule wardrobe you must understand that this is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. A capsule wardrobe can save money, though only if you are taking a long-term view.  Eventually, you will find that you have nicer clothes that are easier to take care of. Don’t just throw out all your existing clothes then start wearing stuff in a totally different style (unless you actually want to). Capsule wardrobes are about expressing your personal tastes and not wearing what a fashion guru on TV tells you to.

The benefits of a capsule wardrobe

When you create a capsule wardrobe, you will notice two things:

1) You will have more space. If you have fewer clothes they require less storage space. This can be incredibly freeing if you live in a small flat or have only one room in a shared house.

2) With more space, you will discover you have less mess. If storage is an issue, even freshly cleaned clothes can become clutter when they cannot be put away.

Getting started

First make a list of your needs. For instance, every guy needs at least one well-fitted black suit, for job interviews, weddings and funerals. This includes smart shoes and a belt. Beyond that your needs might be different. You might be sporty, so sportswear might be something to consider. You might be into Heavy Metal, so T-shirts or a leather jacket might be amongst your needs. Just list the clothing you need appropriate to your lifestyle. Don’t forget to think about seasonal changes and make sure your essentials list includes a warm winter coat.

Assessing your current clothing

Look at each item on your list and prioritise it. Think hard about whether each item is essential to your lifestyle and if it’s not essential cross it out. Think about items that can be mixed and matched with other items. Most men’s clothing can be worn interchangeably. A pair of black trousers can be worn with both a casual or smart shirt, or a smart pair of jeans can be worn with either a t-shirt or a casual shirt. Look at your current clothing. What can you use? What fits your list? What is worn out? What can be repaired? What do you hate or never wear? I’m making the assumption that you already have a good idea about your own sense of style. Now throw away or take to charity the useless stuff. Don’t throw out good stuff you like.

Completing your wardrobe

By now you will fall into one of four categories:

1) You have no clothes whatsoever. Don’t panic! Assuming you aren’t actually naked, this is a great place to start. Now that you have your list of lifestyle needs, you simply pick up a few essentials each month until you have your wardrobe the way you want it.  Like I said above, creating a capsule wardrobe is a lifestyle change and it takes time and work. Building your wardrobe slowly from scratch can be very rewarding if you give it some thought.

2) You still have a massive amount of clothes and they are burying you. Again, this can be great place to start as you already have a large amount of great clothes that you love. If space isn’t an issue, good for you, but if you still want to trim it back a bit just think about what goes with what. Which items do you wear most regularly? Prioritise these clothes and pick the absolute cream of your other items to go in your capsule wardrobe. Then take the rest to charity or sell on Ebay. 

3) You have most of the items you need but need to pick up a few essentials. Congratulations, you have almost completed your capsule wardrobe! Now it is simply a case of spending well and spending right. You might find my article on clothing thrift helpful at this point.

4) You have a nice capsule wardrobe and need no further help from this article. Don’t forget to continue to replace your key items as they become worn out, and that is how to create and maintain a capsule wardrobe.