How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe, the Easy Way

You know I like lots and lots of clothes, right? I would hardly consider myself a minimalist. However, even I have to admit that there is such an elegance and a simplicity in a minimal wardrobe.

And I’m not talking about minimal as an expression of personal style here. I am literally talking about a minimal number of pieces.

One of the reasons I developed my Cluster Capsule Concept (you know me and alliteration) is because it gave women a simple, practical tool that they could use to build a versatile, beautiful, mix-and-match-able wardrobe from scratch.

  • Maybe you’ve:
  • Gained or lost weight
  • Changed jobs, towns, or cultures
  • Gone from one climate to another
  • Need to update your wardrobe for a new season or a new role

Whatever the life event, you’re going to need clothes, and a Cluster is a simple way of focusing your wardrobe building efforts. Here’s how I break it down:

When chosen well, a cluster can create 6-12 different outfits out of just the 6 pieces. Here’s a simple cluster from my own wardrobe for illustration.

As you can see, with the exception of a single pop of color, this cluster is all neutral.

These 6 pieces can be combined to create 12 different outfits. Because these pieces are so simple, you can have fun with accessories to make each outfit unique and interesting, but here they are, in their most basic form.

With just 6 pieces, you can refresh a wardrobe for a season, a promotion, or a new climate. The real fun, however, happens when you use the first cluster as the building block of a new capsule. By adding an additional cluster, you bring the number of outfits up from 12 to 24, and give yourself multiple options for the season.

Here’s how that might look. First, we add Cluster #2.

And then we mix and match to create multiple new outfits. Since everything in the first cluster goes with everything in the second cluster, we can create 24 different looks. Here are 6 possible looks using just one top. (This doesn’t even count the 6 additional outfits that could be formed when each of the top-bottom combos is worn without the jacket).

So using my Cluster Capsule Concept:

12 pieces are transformed into 72 different outfits.

Now that you’ve seen the Cluster Capsule Concept at work, here are a few tips to help you use this system in your own wardrobe:

  1. Make the first cluster neutral.
  2. Pick one element for prints: Tops, bottoms, or jackets
  3. Create outfits.
  4. Choose a second cluster that goes with the first.
  5. Rinse and repeat.

Practice makes perfect, so my suggestion is to head into your closet and see how you can use the Cluster Capsule Concept in your own wardrobe!