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The 5 Steps To Build a Capsule Wardrobe for Men (Step-by-step)

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Are you looking for a way to simplify your closet and make getting dressed easier? Building a capsule wardrobe makes it more efficient to choose the items you need to wear daily and on special occasions. With a capsule wardrobe, you can be consistent with your style and make the most out of every piece of clothing.

You can build a capsule wardrobe for men by choosing a suitable color pallet and style. Next, identify key basic items and add versatile pieces for multiple occasions and seasons. Focus on quality fabrics, materials, and styles that fit you well. 

This article will show you the five key steps to building a capsule wardrobe for men. I’ll cover everything from identifying your personal to choosing the right clothing items that will help you build a versatile capsule wardrobe that will last you for years.

1. Identify Your Personal Style

I have found that looking at photos of myself from the past two years is a great way to determine how I like to dress. Try to find your favorite photos, put them into a separate album, and use them to inspire you to determine your personal style.

Building a capsule wardrobe can be a lot of fun. But before you hit the mall to shop for new clothing or discard outdated items from your wardrobe, take some time to reflect on what types of clothing best suit your lifestyle and personality. The ideal capsule wardrobe is built with pieces of clothing that are well-coordinated and reflective of your personal style.

Consider what type of activities you participate in throughout the week, as this will give you an idea of what kind of clothing works best for you. Look at the activities you enjoy most, the type of work you do, and the places you hang out in — all these will help determine how the clothes in your capsule wardrobe should look and fit. 

Think about the silhouettes, fabrics, and designs you love wearing and create a focal point around them. What colors and patterns complement your skin tone and hair color best? Knowing what shades bring out your best looks can help you shop and pick out items for your capsule wardrobe.

2. Choose a Color Pallet

Me and my many greyscale clothes.

The key to building a successful capsule wardrobe is choosing a color palette that will work for all seasons and occasions. For men, the best colors for a capsule wardrobe are neutral colors like black, white, navy, and gray. These colors can be mixed and matched to create various looks appropriate for any occasion. They ensure maximum versatility when it comes to creating different looks with the same pieces of clothing.

If you want to add colors to your capsule wardrobe, decide on a general theme. Do you prefer warm tones or cool tones? Bright colors or more muted shades? Once you have decided on the main colors that will form the foundation of your wardrobe, think about how they will work together when making outfits.

In addition to neutral colors, don’t forget to choose a few colors that complement your skin tone. You may choose two to three accent colors that contrast with the main colors, such as white or black, to add some variety to your looks. Doing so helps break up the monotony of a basic capsule wardrobe and allows for more creative styling options. 

If you are unsure which colors work best for you, consult a professional color consultant or take a color analysis test.

3. Choose From the Items You Already Have

Here I am looking through my wardrobe and putting the clothes into four piles: keep, store, donate, and toss. You can learn more about my 4-pile purging method here.

Starting a capsule wardrobe can be an intimidating process, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by emptying everything from your closet onto your bed. This gives you a comprehensive view of the items currently in your wardrobe and allows you to assess what pieces work together and which don’t.

Once all of your clothing is on the bed, take a step back and assess what’s in front of you. Examine each item individually and consider whether it fits into the vision for your capsule wardrobe or should instead be donated or given away.

Create piles of items that fit with your style and color palette. Note any items that could use some repair or tailoring so they can easily be found later on when needed.

Be honest with yourself regarding the clothes you wear and those you don’t wear. You should get rid of anything in your wardrobe that does not conform to the color pallet and personal style that you have selected.

4. Shop for Essential Items and Classic Pieces

Tor Rydder shopping for essentials on his iPad.

Your capsule wardrobe should include classic pieces that will last for years and can be worn in multiple ways throughout the year. They shouldn’t go out of style in a few short months. 

Make sure to have versatile pieces of clothing that can be dressed up or down as needed. Choose high-quality fabrics and silhouettes that are comfortable and flattering, as this will ensure you look your best no matter the occasion. 

Investing in timeless pieces is also recommended, as these will never go out of fashion. You can always rely on them when nothing else seems suitable.

Let’s take a look at essential capsule wardrobe items and classic pieces in more detail:

Basic T-Shirts

I have personally chosen to adapt a greyscale style for most of my undershirts as they generally go with everything else.

T-shirts are one of the most versatile pieces of clothing in your capsule wardrobe. They come in various colors, styles, and fits, so it’s easy to find one that suits your taste and body shape. Having a few basic T-shirts as part of your capsule wardrobe is essential because they can be worn with almost anything, from jeans to shorts and trousers. 

When choosing t-shirts for your capsule wardrobe, opt for versatile colors that are easy to match with other pieces. White, navy, and black are all great choices. You should also opt for t-shirts made from 100% cotton or a blend of natural fibers. Not only do they look great, but they are also incredibly comfortable and perfect for any weather.

Dress Shirts

Here is my primary shirt collection. I also have a tuxedo shirt in storage.

Dress shirts are an essential piece of clothing for any man’s capsule wardrobe. They can be dressed up or down for a variety of occasions. For something formal, you can wear a dress shirt with a pair of slacks. If you need a casual yet stylish outfit, you can wear a dress shirt with jeans and a blazer.

The classic look of dress shirts can instantly transform any outfit into one that is stylish and timeless. They’re also incredibly comfortable to wear, making them ideal for all-day wear no matter what the occasion may be.

From linen-cotton blends to twill weaves, there is a huge selection of dress shirts out there, so you’re sure to find one that fits your style perfectly.

For daywear, stick with a classic white dress shirt. If you want to make more of a statement, go for a bolder color or pattern. And for a more formal look, opt for a shirt with cufflink holes. 


Grey, dark blue, and black blazers are great to enhance your primary look.

Blazers are perfect for formal and casual occasions and can be dressed up or down to suit the occasion. The best thing about a blazer is that it can be made from various fabrics, so you can choose one suitable for all seasons. Wool is a great option for a blazer as it is breathable and durable. 

Here are some tips on how to use a blazer with other fittings in your wardrobe: 

  • Choose a blazer in a neutral color such as navy, gray or black. 
  • Combine it with a shirt, t-shirt, pair of chinos, and slim-fit jeans to create various looks. 
  • Accessorize with a scarf, tie or pocket square to add a personality to your outfit. 

With a few key pieces, you can create endless looks with a blazer for various looks that are perfect for any occasion.

Casual Jacket

Casual jackets will be your best friend once you adopt a more simple capsule wardrobe as they can greatly enhance your look with very little effort.

If you’re looking for a piece of clothing perfect for work, dates, and weekend trips, you need a casual jacket! A casual jacket is a versatile piece that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. 

The best part about a casual jacket is that you can wear it all year round. You can layer it over a sweater or shirt in the colder months. You can wear it over a t-shirt or tank top in the summer.

There are many different styles of casual jackets to choose from. You can go for a bomber jacket, a denim jacket, or a leather jacket. You can also find them in a variety of colors and patterns.

Knit Sweater

Here is my traditional Norwegian knit sweater that my aunt made for my father 30 years ago (I “stole” it.)

Knit sweaters are not just for grandmas! A well-crafted knit sweater is the perfect foundation for a capsule wardrobe for men.

A Merino wool sweater is great for men who want to dress up in various styles. You can pair this sweater with a pair of black jeans and classic shoes or dress it down with a pair of wool trousers and loafers. 


My khaki chinos.

Chinos can be worn with everything, and you only need three pieces to start. Chinos are perfect for the office, a night out, or even a casual weekend look. With the right accessories, you can easily take your chinos from day to night.

Navy, khaki, and gray chinos are perfect for building a capsule wardrobe. You can easily add pops of color by wearing your chinos with ties.


Blue jeans are a winner for me personally. Grey is also a great option.

Every capsule wardrobe for men should have a good pair of high-quality jeans. Jeans can be dressed up with a blazer, dress shirt, or a t-shirt and sneakers. They are also perfect for various occasions, from casual to formal.

When choosing jeans for your capsule wardrobe, it’s important to choose a flattering style that fits you well. I recommend choosing slim-fit jeans in a dark wash. Start with only four pairs of jeans and then build up from there.

Classic Shoes

You want to find a pair that goes with everything for classic shoes. Generally, you will find minimalistic black, white, brown, and grey shoes as your best option.

The classic shoe is a timeless staple in any man’s wardrobe. Not only do they make an outfit stand out, but they can also be worn with virtually anything, from casual outfits to dressy looks.

When it comes to classic shoes, loafers offer endless styling opportunities. They come in a variety of colors, materials, and styles, and they’re also timelessly versatile – making them an invaluable addition to your capsule wardrobe.

For more formal occasions, nothing beats the sophistication of a smart oxford shoe, which provides effortless style with minimal fuss. Its sleek appearance pairs well with dress pants like chinos or wool trousers for a timeless look. For a more contemporary take on the style, try wearing them with jeans for a polished yet relaxed ensemble.

Leather Boots

While scuffed up in the photo, a pair of leather boots will be one of the most versatile shoes you can own.

Fall and winter are the best seasons to break in a new pair of boots. With all the rain and snow, it’s the perfect opportunity to invest in a sturdy pair of boots that will keep you warm for many years to come.

But with so many different styles and materials, it can be difficult to decide which boots are right for your capsule wardrobe. 

One material that is often overlooked is leather. Leather boots are not only stylish, but they are also durable and comfortable. If you’re looking for a pair of boots that will last you for years, go for a pair of leather boots. Chelsea boots are a great option because they are ideal for rainy and snowy weather. 

So next time you’re in the market for a new pair of boots, don’t discount leather – it just might be the perfect material.


My shoes by Vivobarefoot. They are actually great for trekking too!

Sneakers are an adaptable item that can be paired with almost any outfit. They are also comfortable and practical, making them a great choice for everyday wear. If you are looking for something to wear while going out with friends or on a date, sneakers are a must-have item in your capsule wardrobe.

5. Find Quality Accessories

Accessories can make or break any outfit. The right accessory can add a touch of glamor or sophistication. The wrong one, on the other hand, can leave you looking out of style. 

Choose quality accessories that can be used to transform and elevate an everyday outfit in your capsule wardrobe into something special. They should complement the other items in your ensemble while still reflecting your own personal taste and style.

If you are looking for ways to add some style to your wardrobe, consider investing in the following quality wardrobe accessories:


A trusty leather belt that goes well with your primary wardrobe can do wonders for your style (and to keep your bottoms up.) Generally, one brown and one black belt will cover most situations.

When shopping for a new belt, pay attention to the width. You don’t want a belt that’s too narrow or too wide for your pants. It should also match your shoes in both color and style. The belt size should be based on your waist circumference. 

A black belt with a silver buckle is a versatile accessory that can be worn with many types of pants. Brown belts are also quite popular and can be worn with casual and dressy pants. If you’re looking for a belt that makes more of a statement, you can try a belt with a colorful buckle or a printed design.


Once you get the hang of your core capsule wardrobe, accessorizing becomes much easier. Here is my current watch style.

A watch is more than just a timepiece — it reflects your style. Whether you’re a minimalist who prefers a sleek and simple design or someone who likes to make a statement with an ornate and luxurious timepiece, there’s a watch out there that’s perfect for you. 


A chain.

Necklaces are one of the most versatile wardrobe accessories. You can get away with wearing a casual outfit, but adding a necklace can instantly make you look more put together. 

There are many necklaces to choose from, ranging from chokers to pendants to statement pieces. And the best part is that there’s a necklace for every budget. Whether you’re looking for something cheap and cheerful or something a little more luxurious, you’ll be able to find it. 


Find sunglasses that suits you.

Sunglasses are a summer wardrobe staple and an essential accessory for any outfit. Not only do they protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun, but they also help you make a fashion statement.

Pick sunglasses that compliment your facial features and match the style of clothing you usually wear. Dark sunglasses look best when paired with a black or white outfit. 

Baseball Hat

Tor and his trusty trucker hat.

A baseball hat is not just for baseball players or fans. It is a practical and stylish addition to your capsule wardrobe. The key to wearing a baseball hat is to choose a plain style that will match as many outfits as possible. 

Baseball hats come in various colors and styles, so it is easy to find one that suits your taste. They are also relatively inexpensive, which makes them a great option for those on a budget.

So, if you are looking for a new wardrobe accessory, consider a baseball hat! You might be surprised by how versatile and stylish they can be.

Final Thoughts

Building a capsule wardrobe is a great way to get a functional, stylish wardrobe with minimal effort. To build your capsule wardrobe, start by choosing a color palette and general style. Get rid of items that your rarely wear and do not match your style. Then, select essential, timeless pieces that can be mixed and matched to create various looks. 

Finally, accessorize with items that reflect your style. With a little planning, you can build a capsule wardrobe that will keep you looking sharp for all seasons and occasions.

For more information on creating your perfect capsule wardrobe, check out this 14-step challenge.

Frankie Riddle

Thursday 29th of June 2023

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