Creating a Capsule Wardrobe for Men

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Looking perfectly turned out every single day takes time and effort, right? Not necessarily: if you have a carefully curated capsule wardrobe, looking great can be as easy as waking up, grabbing any combination of clothes and accessories off the rail, and heading out the door.

A capsule wardrobe is essentially a simplified collection of clothing, usually made up of just a few timeless pieces that make looking stylish as straightforward as possible. They contain a mix of clothing to suit every season and event, and if done right, they shouldn’t go out of style.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to create a capsule wardrobe for men, including:

 Let’s get started!

What is a capsule wardrobe?

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A capsule wardrobe is a streamlined collection of carefully chosen clothing that can be mixed and matched to create a stylish outfit for every occasion. That means that every item or accessory in your wardrobe should be something you can wear with several different outfits.

Versatility is key, meaning that classic styles, timeless fabrics, and neutral or plain block colours are usually the foundation of a capsule wardrobe. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add few touches of personality here and there — just ensure that each piece is versatile enough to be worn with several different outfits.

There’s no set amount of clothing needed to start a capsule wardrobe: how much you need will depend on your day-to-day activities, and the sort of things you like to wear. Typically, that means having enough pieces to see you through every day of the week: we’d recommend a minimum of 8 tops (including t-shirts, shirts, and jumpers), 3 pairs of trousers, a couple of jackets, plus a few accessories to top everything off. This should be enough to keep you going until laundry day, without limiting your outfit choices too much.  

Why do I need one? What are the benefits?

But first: is a capsule wardrobe right for you? If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, it’s likely that you’ll seriously benefit from creating a capsule wardrobe:

  • You buy too many clothes, many of which you hardly ever wear.
  • You find planning outfits ahead of time stressful, and often end up wearing whatever is closest.
  • Your wardrobe is overflowing with clothing and you struggle to find what you need, or remember what you have.  
  • You want to look more stylish, with less effort.

For men, having a capsule wardrobe can help solve these fashion dilemms in a number of ways:

  • You’ll always have a complete outfit ready: Versatility is the name of the game and that means every item in your wardrobe will work as part of a few different outfits. So, you’ll never be stuck with nothing to wear.
  • It simplifies outfit planning: Getting dressed each morning is simple with a capsule wardrobe, as you aren’t overwhelmed by choice. Plus, as every item is carefully chosen to match, it’s hard to go wrong — you can pretty much get dressed in the dark and still look good! This is great if you’re looking to improve your day-to-day style.
  • It’s versatile without being boring: As all your clothing can be mixed and matched to create countless combinations, a capsule wardrobe is endlessly versatile. So, even though you’ll have less clothing, you won’t get bored of your outfits.
  • It keeps clutter to a minimum: Having less clothing makes your wardrobe much easier to organise, and you’ll be able to see what you’ve got at a glance. That means no more drawers stuffed to the brim with old T-shirts that haven’t seen the light of day in years! 
  • You’ll be less likely to panic or impulse buy: Because you’ll have an outfit for every occasion at the ready, you won’t need to panic buy a new piece every time you have a dinner date, holiday, or important meeting coming up.
  • You’ll actually wear your clothes: Buying cheap, disposable fashion and then wearing each item just once or twice is bad for the environment, your wallet, and your wardrobe. But, as a capsule wardrobe is built around high-quality, versatile clothing, you’ll be much more likely to actually wear your clothes for longer.

Clearing out your old wardrobe

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A capsule wardrobe should be pared back and uncluttered, so you’ll probably need to kickstart the process by having a good clear out to make some space and cut back on stuff you never wear. Start by going through all your clothing and putting anything you haven’t worn for at least six months to one side. If it’s something you wear only on special occasions, then store it elsewhere. If not, donate or sell it.

Once you’ve cleared some space, you should also be left with a core selection of clothing you wear frequently and want to hang on to. This will form the basis for your capsule wardrobe.

Identifying the sort of outfits you need

After the clear out, you need to work out which outfits and clothing types are going to be most appropriate for your day to day lifestyle. You need to have enough outfits to get you through the working week, and a range of outfits to suit the social events and leisure activities you get up to.  

Consider everything you wear during a typical week. What do you tend to wear on the weekend? How often do you get dressed up to go out? Or do you spend most of your leisure time in relaxed outdoorsy styles? If you work in a uniform, you don’t need to worry about workwear. Likewise, if you dress business casual every day for work, it’s probably not a great idea to stock up on formal three-piece suits and super-casual loungewear, as you simply won’t wear these outfits very often.

Finally, don’t forget to have a selection of clothing to suit different seasons, as you want your capsule wardrobe to last you as long as possible. You’ll also need clothes for hot weather, so if you’re a frequent jetsetter to hotter climates, you might want a few extra shorts and breathable linen shirts. 

Picking a colour palette

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A man’s capsule wardrobe should be classic, and everything should co-ordinate so it looks stylish when worn together. And, that means picking a colour palette for your clothing and sticking to it.

It can help to look at your existing wardrobe and identify which colours you wear most often, as well as which clothing you want to keep. You can then use these shades as the foundation for your capsule wardrobe.

You can inject personality with a few patterned items and accessories, but remember the essential rule: you should be able to mix and match everything to create several outfit combinations. That means picking complementary colours that will look great when worn together. For a men’s capsule wardrobe, neutral shades tend to be the most versatile.

Choosing key pieces: a men’s capsule wardrobe checklist

Once you’ve sorted through your wardrobe, chosen a colour palette, and established which outfits you need, you can start planning which key pieces you want to use as the foundation of your wardrobe. We would recommend that you start your capsule collection using the following staple pieces:

Seasonal pieces, such as a winter coat or swim shorts, can be stored elsewhere when they aren’t needed, to help keep your capsule wardrobe as clutter-free as possible. Likewise, a smart formal suit will also be handy for weddings and other formal events, so keep this in a suit bag somewhere out of the way.  

As long as all your pieces co-ordinate with one another, you should have no problem creating a week’s worth of outfits using just these pieces. What’s more, it’s possible to create all sorts of combinations using just these 17 essential pieces, so you should have plenty of fresh looks all season long. Accessories, like belts, cufflinks, and even colourful or patterned socks can all be used to liven up your outfits, too.

Remember, while these essentials will see you through almost every occasion, it doesn’t include underwear, socks, nightwear, or workout clothes.

Ideas for mixing and matching pieces for every occasion

Ideas for mixing and matching

To give you an idea of how mixing and matching a handful of clothing can create a variety of different outfits, we’ve put together these suggestions using some of our wardrobe staples.

Outfit idea one:

This look features trousers, a shirt, and a jumper to add a pop of colour. Perfect for a smart-casual workplace or business meeting — add brogues to dress the look up or deck shoes to make it more laid back.

Outfit idea two

Outfit idea two

This outfit combines shorts, a t-shirt, and some deck shoes to create a versatile weekend look for warmer days. Add a jumper or cardigan to transition to an evening look.

Outfit idea three:

Outfit idea three

Relaxed yet still put together, this look features jeans, a jumper, and brogues. Great for almost any occasion during the winter months, whether it’s casual Friday at work or a trip to the pub.

Outfit idea four

Outfit idea four

For those days when you need to put your best foot forward, team jeans, a shirt, and a tailored jacket with some well-polished brogues or dress shoes. Ideal for a dinner date, client meeting, or drinks reception.

Know when to let go of certain items, and when to update your wardrobe

Know nwhich items to let go

Having a capsule wardrobe might help you to get the most out of your clothes, but that doesn’t mean hanging onto natty jumpers or holey socks for years on end. From time to time, you’ll still need to have a clear out, and update and refresh your wardrobe with some carefully chosen new pieces.

The best time to do this is at the start of each new season. Review your wardrobe in the way we described earlier, and then get rid of any worn or damaged items. As the weather changes, you’ll also need to move your seasonal items elsewhere until they’re ready to come back into rotation.

Once you’ve had a clear out, you can look to update your wardrobe with some new pieces that are appropriate for the coming season. Of course, you’ll want to steer clear or anything which is too trendy: instead, it’s best to keep to classic, simple styles that will stay in fashion for years to come. If you’re prone to overbuying, it’s sensible to have a one item in, one item out rule, so you don’t fall into your old habits. Likewise, if you’ve hardly worn something after a couple of months, it could be a sign that you simply don’t like it enough to keep it, so consider finding it a new home.

There are loads of advantages to creating a capsule wardrobe for men: it makes getting dressed much easier, your closet space will be more organised, and you’ll never feel like you’ve got mothing to wear. Follow the tips we’ve shared in this guide and before long you should have a versatile capsule wardrobe that will see you through every season and occasion in style. Don’t forget to check out our lookbook and blog to find more outfit inspiration.