Household Hacks: How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

If you’re moving to Davis, CA and you don’t want to bring an entire mule train for your clothing, may we suggest you consider creating a capsule wardrobe. If you’re not familiar with the term, it simply means a small number of basic clothing items that are timeless classics that you can mix and match for a variety of looks.

The exact number of items (excluding underwear, socks, workout clothes, etc.) varies from source to source (some say 37, Project 333 says 33, others say 24). One guy, Matt Souveny, spent an entire year with just one outfit (10 items total). Here’s his recap: 1 YEAR 1 OUTFIT – 365 DAYS ALL DONE. Some capsule wardrobe advocates have one wardrobe for the whole year, while others vary for each season.

Capsule wardrobes bring great benefits. It saves money, closet space and sanity. As one Treehugger writer summed up the benefits of minimizing one’s wardrobe:

“There is a good reason why successful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Hillary Clinton, even fashion designer Vera Wang, opt for the same, often plain outfits on a daily basis. They’d rather spend their time and brainpower elsewhere than standing in front of their closets in a state of panicked indecision.”


There is a lot of advice on the Internet on how to do this, for example WikiHow has a helpful primer here. But the BEST place to start is Caroline Rector’s blog Unfancy.  She has reduced the number of items she wears each season to just 37 items (excluding underwear, workout clothes, socks etc.). Below is her handy graphic which shows how she did it.


But what does that look like in practice?  Here is what her spring wardrobe looks like:

How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe  #theeverygirl

To get the Unfancy free Fall Look Book, download it here (PDF link).

Instead of classics you might also want to look at clothes that can do double, triple or in the case of Morph (available for both men and women), 24 looks with one shirt.


We create a capsule wardrobe every time we travel, for example here’s a quick guide (for men) How to Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe, which includes:

Capsule Wardrobe Packing List

  • 4 t-shirts
  • 2 long-sleeved shirts
  • 1 light jacket
  • 1 pair of jeans or chinos
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 6 pairs of underwear
  • 6 pairs of socks

For a year round wardrobe, here’s a look at a men’s basic capsule wardrobe while FashionBeans has a definitely more uptown look for men’s capsule wardrobes. Men’s Health has reduced a man’s wardrobe to THE ONLY 24 WARDROBE PIECES YOU NEED.

For men the number depends on your fashion requirements. UC Davis students can be a little more casual but people who have to interact with the real world might have more formal needs. Below is a capsule wardrobe video that shows all of some very student-friendly fashions for men.

By the way this part six of a capsule wardrobe series, parts 1-5 are videos for women.

Whatever your capsule wardrobe choices, enjoy this experiment in minimalism while you’re large living in your fabulous Tandem Properties apartment in Davis, CA.