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How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe that Lights You Up

Hi Suitably Crew! My name is Melissa Belmont and I am a Suitably Campus Ambassador at Cornell. I’m writing a guest post on Well Suitably today to share how I build a capsule wardrobe with Suitably’s capsule collection.

What is a capsule wardrobe and what are the environmental benefits?

The capsule wardrobe concept was first introduced by Susie Faux in the 1970s, and popularized by Donna Karan in 1985. There are a few key defining features of a capsule collection. According to Nicole Caldwell, "Pieces need to be built to last, hold universal appeal, and be able to work in many settings. Which is exactly why the capsule wardrobe is so essential."

Today, a capsule wardrobe can come in many forms and is meant to be representative of an individual's style rather than following trends. Nevertheless, you can still bring trends in with color and the styling of a piece.

Most importantly, a capsule wardrobe is inherently eco-friendly because it prioritizes quality over quantity. Investing in high-quality pieces means that you can buy less, because the garment will last for a long time and may even be passed down to the next generation. Investing in and caring for garments further extends the life of a garment and keeps it out of a landfill or incinerator. With the fast-paced, never-ending fashion cycle, a capsule wardrobe can feel like a breath of fresh air.

How to blend your own unique style with Suitably's (capsule) pieces

Having a trusted place to start building a capsule wardrobe, like Suitably, can make the process a lot less daunting. Starting with a few core pieces, such as a blazer or versatile dress, ultimately allows for more creativity with the rest of your closet! If you already have a piece from Suitably, are considering getting one, or want to work with what's already in your closet, here's where you can start:

  • Begin by choosing 5 pieces from your wardrobe that you wear most often, and will be able to create a full outfit from— i.e. 2 shirts, 1 jacket/sweater, 1 pair of pants, 1 dress/skirt
  • From there, see how you can combine the pieces in a way that feels true to you. Try to focus on the fabric, color, and fit to see how they work together in multiple combinations. A good rule of thumb is to anchor the look in one piece, and then see what you can create from there. Then, you can do this same exercise with each garment.
  • At first glance, the pieces don't have to match, and most of my best outfits have come from unexpected combinations. Remember that this is an experiment, and you can always swap a piece out if it just isn't working! If you want to share your findings on social media, you can tag @Suitably and mention the #suitablycapsulechallenge

Using color to compliment neutrals

The framework of Color Theory can show you how colors work together in unexpected ways. When working with a limited number of pieces, as you are with a capsule wardrobe, sticking to one color palette can be difficult. The good news is, you don't have to! Patterned pieces are a great way to bring in a wide range of colors and are a wonderful compliment to neutrals. Here are a few types of color combinations to try out:

  • Analogous: Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, such as pink and red or green and blue.
  • Tonal: Different shades of the same hue, essentially the shades within one color family. For example, deep turquoise, medium, and sky blue.
  • Accent: A bright or unexpected color that can heighten a neutral base. This is also a great way to experiment with new colors that you're not used to wearing.
Color theory

    How to style Suitably for different occasions (using my own wardrobe)

    One key benefit of a capsule wardrobe is that it can often transcend occasions. What may start out looking like a work wardrobe can completely transform through the pieces it is styled with. Using the 24/7 blazer as an example, here are a few different looks that will take this piece from class, to an interview, to a weekend outing.


    Ultimately, the key to building a capsule wardrobe that works for you and simplifies the process of getting dressed is experimentation. First you need to choose a starting place, ideally with a few of your favorite pieces. Then it is a process of trial and error to decide which garment combinations are best. Color is always a strong consideration for me that can transform an everyday look into a put-together, powerful fit.

    Why do you want to start a capsule wardrobe? Share what comes out of this experience on social media by tagging @Suitably!