By Adrienne Suhm

Reduce, reuse, recycle: out of the the three, we probably spend the most time thinking about reusing and recycling what we already have. But reducing consumption is an equally important step in the process, and it involves buying less, a habit that can be difficult in today’s consumption-driven world. Luckily, capsule wardrobes have made a small, well-curated collection of clothing very trendy.

A smaller wardrobe will save you money each year and free up much-needed space while helping to limit material items in your home, allowing you to focus on other areas of life. With fewer pieces to choose from, you will also less time putting together an outfit each morning. Visionaries like Steve Jobs and Anna Wintour are famous for wearing the same work uniform every day, a practice that cuts down on the decision fatigue generated by making constant wardrobe selections.

There is no specific number of pieces required for a capsule wardrobe, but 30 to 50 items is a good target size at first. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should trash the rest of your apparel if you have a good selection of pieces that you already like, but as you wear through older clothing, try to limit new purchases. When you do need to add to the wardrobe or replace older pieces, take time to find clothing that you really like rather than impulse shopping. Ideally, you can maintain the same core apparel in the long term and supplement it with extra pieces for new seasons or special occasions. Your mantra should be to buy less, but always buy quality and versatile pieces. Clothing that may have looked out of financial reach before is now totally feasible, because instead of spending a few hundred dollars on a dozen shirts from a cheap fast fashion retailer, you can buy one classic and quality piece that will be a wardrobe staple for years to come. You should also invest in a good tailoring job so that each and every article of clothing fits as though it was made specifically for you.

Classic pieces in neutral colors make up the core of any versatile capsule wardrobe, while smaller items like jewelry or accessories can be used to add flair when needed. Ready to begin? Here are some of the key items that should make up the base of your wardrobe:

  • Trench coat or camel coat
  • Black blazer
  • White button-down shirt
  • Sweater
  • Silk blouse
  • Monochrome tees
  • A wear-anywhere dress
  • Matching suit set
  • Black skirt
  • Quality blue jeans
  • Black pumps
  • Neutral boots
  • White sneakers