30 Capsule Wardrobe Essentials: How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe from Scratch (for Recovered Shopaholics)

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Capsule Wardrobe Essentials - Woman Drinking Water

“Minimalism” is the new black—so hot right now, especially with these capsule wardrobe essentials that will make you forget that three-sizes-too-small dress you got on sale from TJ Maxx and those cowboy boots you wore once to that date party in college.

Let’s chat how to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch!

My Capsule Wardrobe Story

Hi, I’m Lauryn and I am a recovered shopaholic. I used to collect clothes like baseball cards or Beanie Babies. Shopping was a hobby and there was nothing like the “high” of  my next shopping spree…followed by my new clothes collecting dust in the closet—the tags still on them.

Three different pairs of Tory Burch shoes.

Seven pairs if designer jeans—at least one for every day of the week.

20 Lululemon tanks.

Designer bags.

My high school formal cocktail dresses.

Boxes of ratty college t-shirts.

15 sweaters I NEVER wore in Austin, Texas.

Seriously. I was a big shopaholic UNTIL the day mold happened. And not just say mold…toxic mold. Long story short, I got REALLY sick from a rental home contaminated with toxic mold and I had to get rid of everything. EVERYTHING.

Out with the Fast & Free Lulu tights…the Louis Vuitton bags…the

And you know what? It was the MOST LIBERATING experience EVER!

I was forced to “Marie Kando” my entire life—my closet included, and I became a minimalist. A reformed shopaholic.

To this day, several years later, I maintain a minimalist lifestyle and no longer collect things or stress over shopping…especially with these 25 capsule wardrobe essentials.

Here’s how to build your capsule wardrobe essentials from scratch with 30 pieces that can  dress up or down any outfit.

30 Capsule Wardrobe Essentials: How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe from Scratch


  1. A few basic tees like Michael Stars: 2-3 short-sleeve and 2-3 long sleeve
  2. Fun, trendy tops: 3-4 seasonal tops (I love Anthropologie)
  3. Essential undershirt tanks: white, black, cream


  1. Light Down Jacket: Northface Thermoball Jacket
  2. Audrey Hepburn Style “Everything” Coat: Like a Barbour coat
  3. Cozy sweatshirt or 2
  4. Great black blazer 


  1. A great pair of jeans that you feel amazing in
  2. A pair of black pants/jeans
  3. A pair of white jeans
  4. A pair of jean shorts
  5. A pair of white shorts 

Dress Up

  1. That “little black dress”
  2. A fun, sexy cocktail dress 

Athletic Wear

  1. Black yoga pants (I love my Fast & Frees)
  2. Lulu Swiftly tanks, tees and long-sleeves (I wear these DAILY)
  3. Sweatshirt jacket: Scuba Hoodie 


  1. Pair of street tennis shoes (I am digging APL)
  2. Pair of workout tennis shoes (love my No Bulls)
  3. Pair of everyday sandals/slides
  4. Pair of ballet flats
  5. Pair of everyday booties 


  1. Gold necklace
  2. A couple pairs of everyday studs 


  1. Your favorite backpack
  2. Small travel duffel
  3. Work bag
  4. Everyday Clutch


  1. A couple PJ sets you feel pretty in
  2. Extra large sleep tees
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