What’s the First Step in Creating Your Perfect Capsule Wardrobe?

The question I get asked the most is how can I create a capsule wardrobe of chic outfits without spending a fortune. Many of you have also told me that you have a full wardrobe but still find it difficult to put outfits together. Despite that you may be reluctant to get rid of items that you think you might wear again, even though you haven’t worn them for some time. But like it or not this has to be done. If you can’t see the wood for the trees in your wardrobe you may have some gems hidden away that could be really useful. It can be a long job but it’s worth it in the long run. Rather than spending more money commit to not buying anything new until you really know what you already have. Wouldn’t it feel to good to open your wardrobe and be able to see what’s in there and pull an outfit together easily?


creating a capsule wardrobe

What gems are hiding in your wardrobe?

Navy blazer // Scarf // Black shoes // Navy trousers // Silk cowl neck top // Black jeans // Red dress // Nude shoes // Drawstring bag // Stripe top //

So the first step in creating your perfect capsule wardrobe is taking stock of what you already have.

Take an afternoon (or weekend, depending on the scale of the problem) for a wardrobe weed and empty everything out. While it’s empty give your wardrobe a clean and make sure there are no moths lurking.

Then start going through item by item as quickly as you can giving a gut response of yes or no. Anything you can’t decide on quickly put into a maybe pile.

The no pile should include:

  • Anything tatty and beyond repair as it will do you no favours – remember you are aiming for chic – and damaged or ruined isn’t!
  • Anything that you don’t feel really good in – why keep something that doesn’t make you feel happy?
  • Anything you are dieting to get into – it may happen, but your wardrobe should be full of things you can wear now rather than those that make you feel guilty or miserable – be kind to yourself.
  • Things you don’t really love or don’t feel comfortable in. Your wardrobe should reflect you, if you are wearing things you don’t love you aren’t being true to yourself. What’s in your wardrobe is your choice, why do you have to wear things you don’t like? Getting dressed should be a pleasure. Try to understand what it is about the item that you don’t like as this is valuable information for when you go shopping in the future so you don’t make the same mistakes again.

The yes pile should only include things that fit and flatter you, that you wear and that make you feel good. Try not to feel guilty about the amount of money your no pile represents; it’s done and you can always recoup some of the spend by selling on ebay or a dress agency or feel good about donating it to your favourite charity.

Split your no pile into things that can be donated, sold or are really only good for the tip. Then pack them up straight away and remove them from the room to stop yourself going back through and pulling things out that you have already discarded.

Next make sure the yes pile is all clean and immediately wearable and return it to your wardrobe. Put aside things that need cleaning or altering and make sure you organise to get them done as soon as possible, otherwise they may make it back into your cupboard and get left there because they are unwearable.

Now it’s time to work on the maybe pile…

With each item try and figure out what it is that makes you unsure. Is it the colour? Or maybe it’s too long or too short, or doesn’t really fit right. Now be honest with yourself and decide if you will make the effort to put it right. If it has sat like that in your wardrobe for 6 months or more then it should move to the no pile – if you haven’t done it by now you probably never will.

If you have pieces that you like, that fit well and are in the right colours and shapes but you don’t know how to wear them get some inspiration for how you can make them work. Check out my outfits or capsule wardrobe boards on Pinterest. Or do a search on Pinterest, it’s a great way to see how others are wearing that item. For example if your item is a white skirt put that in the search box on Pinterest and see what comes up.

Pinterest boards

Once you have some ideas make a list of anything you do need to buy, but check amongst the rest of the yes and maybe pile to make sure you don’t have something similar that would work.

By the time you have worked through the maybe pile you should be starting to get an idea of what does work for you. Keep a note of this information or start your own Pinterest inspiration board, you can keep it private if you want to, but it will be useful to refer back to when you are ready to shop.

Now that you have a good idea of what you have and you have made some space to be creative the fun can really start. So reward yourself for a job well done.

Thanks to all the positive feedback I received about an online style course I am already busy creating the content and will be releasing more information soon. Having cleared your wardrobe you will be ready to jump in and learn how to create your perfect capsule wardrobe.

If you have any questions or comments about what you would like to see included get in touch.




  1. Vivien
    July 3, 2015 / 10:51 am

    Thanks to you Maria, I am sitting in my office wearing a blush Hobbs linen top (recommended by you in early June), white jeans which I hardly ever wear and only on holiday but they are a great shape, and blush/gold sandals I bought last year and have only worn 3 times. Even in Edinburgh the sun in shining!
    I am learning (slowly) to put things together and create new outfits using my current wardrobe and careful buying.
    Really looking forward to your on-line course, just what I need.

    • Maria
      July 3, 2015 / 11:40 am

      Thank you Vivien! So glad you are getting some sunshine – Edinburgh is a lovely place to be to enjoy it and you sound very chic. It’s great to hear that the information has been useful. I’m looking forward to launching the course because I have so many reader questions to answer. Have a lovely sunny & stylish weekend!

  2. Ginger
    July 9, 2015 / 7:49 pm

    I have been working on my capsule ward robe and have made a vision board with pictures of my clothes and accessories. This is my problem, I am having trouble remembering what goes with what. Yes, I know that everything should go with everything else, my problem is remembering how to make a casual outfit or a dressy outfit from the same skirt or pants. Should I take many more pictures and keep on with my vision board?

    I am learning so much from you. Thank you

    • Maria
      July 11, 2015 / 9:12 am

      Hi Ginger, Thank you for your comment – I’m glad you are learning some new tips from my posts. If you are visual you could lay out the outfits and take pictures of them, or if you are more analytical you could create a spreadsheet to stick inside your wardrobe. I find it useful to make sure I can see as much as possible inside my wardrobe, including bags, scarves etc so that when I am pulling an outfit together nothing is hidden away that I can forget. I hope that helps.

      • Ginger
        July 12, 2015 / 1:03 am

        Thank you for your reply. I am tantalized by doing a spread sheet because it appeals to my analytical brain. However, I think I need to see the pictures of possible outfits. You have started me thinking….if I come up with a way to list multiple outfits visually, in a spread sheet I will let you know.