The Capsule Wardrobe: How to Reduce Your Closet to 37 Pieces

How it works:

A capsule wardrobe is “a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally love to wear.” Each season (spring, summer, fall, and winter), you clear your closet except for a set number of pieces to be in your capsule wardrobe. The golden number is 37 items, but it varies by season. Your capsule collection is made up of a combination of items you already own and love to wear, as well as new, quality items that you can shop for once a season.

The benefits:

Ever buy some fun new clothes, but end up wearing your old favorites anyway? Me too. Ever go to your closet and feel like you have nothing to wear, even when your closet is filled with clothes? Me too!

To me, a capsule wardrobe represents more time and energy for what really matters (less time spent deciding what to wear / less time spent shopping / less time doing laundry or caring for clothes) more money for our dreams + helping others (less money spent on clothes that never get worn) and more contentment and happiness.

By shopping only once a season, you save money on frivolous items that add up. By narrowing my wardrobe, I was actually able to define and understand my own style more. Plus, I always feel like I have something great to put on, as every single item hanging in my closet is something I would love to wear right at that moment.

How to start your own:

Five-step approach to building your own capsule wardrobe:

1. Pare down your closet to 37 items. 2. Wear only those 37 items for three months. 3. Don’t go shopping during the season until… 4. During the last two weeks of the season, plan and shop for your next capsule. ​5. The amount you buy for the next capsule is up to you, but less is more.

Your 37 pieces should include: tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and shoes. Your 37 pieces should not include: workout clothes, jewelry, accessories, purses, swimsuits, pajamas/loungewear, underwear, and the jeans you wear when you paint your living room.

Why 37? After trying out different numbers, I settled on 37 because of how it broke down in each category. For example, I knew I wanted 9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms, and 15 tops. Then the remaining 4 were just enough for 2 dresses and 2 jackets/coats. To me it feels generous yet minimal.


Step 1: Empty your closet. Seriously, take absolutely everything out of your closet and lay it out on your bed. Don’t cheat–taking everything out at once is the secret to style clarity. As you put your LOVE IT pieces back into your empty closet, your style will practically scream at you. But that won’t be the case if your closet is still being muddied with MAYBE pieces left hanging in there. So just take it all out, ok?

Step 2: Sort each item into one of these four piles:

  • LOVE IT AND WOULD WEAR IT RIGHT NOW!! Self explanatory. Put it back in your closet.

  • MAYBE. This is for items that don’t fit quite right, the color is a little off, have sentimental value, you can’t put your finger on it but you just don’t wear it, or you’re keeping it because you paid a lot for it but you don’t wear it. Put all this stuff in a box and store it in the garage. You can always go get stuff out of it, but you probably won’t. If it’s still in the box at the end of your season, it’s time to say goodbye to it.

  • NOPE. Self explanatory. Donate, swap with a friend, or sell it to fund new purchases.

  • SEASONAL. Wool coat in summer? Probably don’t need it handy. But you’d never get rid of a staple like that–come on. If it’s not in season, but you LOVE IT, put it in a nice under-the-bed box and store it. You’ll definitely use it in your capsule wardrobe when that season rolls around.

Step 3: Assess what’s left in your closet–aka your LOVE IT clothes. You’ll want to have 37 season-appropriate items in your closet. Do you need to supplement? Time to plan + shop. Do you need to downsize? Put a few more items in your MAYBE box.

Need more help?

Contact me! :)