How To Put Together A Man's Capsule Wardrobe

How To Put Together A Man's Capsule Wardrobe

By: Storyteller -

Today more so than ever the term “capsule wardrobe” is being thrown around. If you don’t know what that means, I’m here to help you out. Follow along with this guide so you can build your own capsule wardrobe for men.


By Renaldas Kaveckas

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What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe makes much more sense when you realize how many unused items there are in your closet. The primary purpose of this method is to minimize your wardrobe by maximizing the number of outfit combinations. By doing so, you essentially create a collection of clothes that you can wear for an entire season. The best example here would be pants and shirts. Every single pant and shirt you own should match each other. Let’s not forget there are four seasons a year. That means four different collections of clothes for every season. Some items will overlap, which is a great thing.

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Stylish Wardrobe Doesn’t Mean More Clothes

For some, owning 30 different pairs of pants is satisfying. However, for some, it might be torture. Having too many choices can make you frustrated and unhappy in many cases. By reducing the number of clothes you buy every season, consider curating and investing in a high quality, versatile collection instead. This would include pants, shirts, jackets, and shoes. Underwear and other accessories are not included. I can assure you that the minimalist approach to dressing will benefit you well in all aspects.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men@fredrikrisvik A Brief History of a Capsule Wardrobe

This concept first appeared in the 1970s. Donna Karen was the first designer to release a women’s workwear collection that was based on a capsule wardrobe concept. This term is more common in womenswear. However, it can be applied to men’s closets as well.

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The Advantages And Disadvantages of Having a Minimalist Wardrobe

The Advantages

  • It’s much easier to get dressed.
  • Less clutter in your wardrobe.
  • It’s good if you travel a lot.
  • You’ll spend less on dry cleaning.
  • You can spend more on quality clothes.
  • Clear your closet – clear your mind which means less stress when choosing what to wear.

The Disadvantages

  • It can get a little bit boring.
  • Certain occasions require certain outfits. It would be best if you considered that.

11 Essential Pieces For Men’s Capsule Wardrobe

To give you an idea before you start getting rid of everything in your closet, I’ll guide you through 11 essential pieces to create a stylish capsule wardrobe. Mind that this approach comes with its flaws, but to minimize that, there are some things you need to be aware of to benefit from this method:

What is a capsule wardrobe for men@fredrikrisvik 

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  • Versatility: a bomber jacket or a neutral color blazer would be considered a versatile piece of clothing.
  • Colours: as mentioned above, solid neutral tones are your best options. Avoid graphics and logos.
  • Quality: when wearing items back to back, like jackets, jeans, or shoes it’s better to invest in high-quality items. They are going to last much longer, not to mention they feel and look much better.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men@fredrikrisvik 

1. A bomber jacket

For a minimal approach, we should start with a jacket that has a minimalistic design. Without a doubt, this jacket is one of the most versatile pieces of outerwear you can buy. Wear it casually with jeans or pair it for a more smart, casual look with a pair of chino pants and a shirt underneath.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men

Bombers come in a variety of colors and fabric. As for tone, choose something discreet. Black, navy blue, or brown would be your best options.

Avoid poorly-made cheap bomber jackets. Opt for something premium instead. Suede and cotton are the best fabrics for your capsule wardrobe.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men@fredrikrisvik 

2. A blazer

A blazer is a must-have item in your wardrobe. It’s not as formal as a suit. You can wear it open over a shirt or a t-shirt if you prefer it. Both jeans and pants look great with it.

Blazers are versatile, which is appealing to someone who is not exactly keen on wearing a suit. Just throw it over a white casual shirt while wearing dark blue jeans, and you’ll feel as comfortable as possible.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men

Avoid bold colors when buying a blazer for your minimalist wardrobe. Grey, black, blue are the colors you need to be shopping.

If looking for the best looks possible, look no further than a good quality blazer. When buying a cheap blazer from your local mall, don’t expect much from it. They are poorly made and, let’s be honest, they don’t look as you would expect.

3. A dress shirt

I’m guessing you already have a dress shirt. Also, most probably not one, but at least a few. However, here’s where most men are making a mistake when buying a shirt. They don’t invest in a high-quality shirt, but instead opt for something cheap that is going to last for half a year at most.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men

Look at it in the long run. If you buy one quality shirt, it’s probably going to last for at least three years or so. If you do the math, you probably would buy 6 cheap shirts over a period of 3 years and would end up spending more.

Let’s keep it simple. The best colors for your capsule wardrobe are neutral tones like white, light blue, and black. After all, we are going for a minimalist approach here.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men@fredrikrisvik 

4. A plain T-shirt

T-shirts are typically associated with a cool, laid-back look. However, the best part about them is that they are comfortable and versatile.

They are not flashy or eye-catching yet still look fantastic. For your capsule wardrobe, I would suggest having at least 3 T-shirts in different colors.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men

Avoid something with prints and logos. A plain T-shirt is your best bet.

The fabric is always essential when shopping for new clothes. Cotton is what you need to look for.

5. A polo shirt

A polo shirt is an item that can be both casual and more dressed-up. Throw a blazer or bomber jacket over it, or wear it on its own on a warm summer day. No matter what, a polo is always going to look stylish.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men

Most polo shirts are slim-cut and made from breathable fabrics for your comfort.

If you take a look at a variety of Ralph Lauren polos, you can get a bit overwhelmed. I suggest you stick to a safer approach instead and don’t go crazy on colors.

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6. A short-sleeve henley

A short-sleeve henley shirt is a classic that will not go out of style any time soon. At first, it was a functional shirt, but it grew into a staple of men’s wardrobe.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men

It’s an easy-to-wear item that works with so many different outfits. That’s why I consider it to be a must-have garment.

Pair the henley with blue jeans or chino pants for a laid-back, relaxed look. Throw on a bomber for a chilly spring evening and head down for a night out with your friends in style.

7. A crew neck sweater

Well, you have to have a crew neck sweater in your wardrobe. It’s an excellent garment for cold days. Put it over a dress shirt or wear it on its own. It’s a stylish and sophisticated option if you want to impress your colleagues.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men

A cashmere sweater is my personal choice. It’s hard to describe how soft and cosy it feels. Nevertheless cotton is another fabric with a smaller price tag but still offers an excellent quality.

8. Chino pants

If you are looking to ditch your jeans for a day or two, wearing chino pants is your best option. They are more casual than dress pants, yet they still look sophisticated.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men

You can style chino pants for both casual and smart-casual looks. It doesn’t matter whether you decide to wear them with a shirt or  with your favourite t-shirt, you are still going to look great.

Opt for good quality cotton pants to avoid wrinkling and a cheap look.

9. Dark blue jeans

The best part about  jeans is that they are the most versatile clothing item. A good quality pair of jeans can be your go-to trousers for any occasion.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men

Black and blue jeans would be considered the most versatile options. This is what we are aiming for to get the most out of our wardrobe.

Make sure you buy simple and classic styles. Avoid those with too many details or ornaments. Minimalistic ones are the best.

10. Classic white sneakers

White sneakers come in many styles, from low-cut lace-ups to high-top. Different shapes and fabrics make them a shoe that anyone can wear.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men

White leather sneakers are the best choice because it's very easy to take care of them.

11. A pair of boots 

Boots have a rock and roll vibe to them. Not only do they look good, but they are also very practical.

What is a capsule wardrobe for men

There are many boot styles to choose from. As stylish as they are, don’t forget to consider quality and comfort. Since they are going to be your daily drivers, quality is key.

Final thoughts

I hope this guide was useful for you. If you get the fundamentals right, it’s not that hard to build a capsule wardrobe for yourself. Many guides online can be a bit confusing and overwhelming. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Plan your wardrobe this way to avoid clutter. Moreover, don’t be afraid to mix in a few items to show your own personality; just make sure they are time-proof pieces.

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