Creating a capsule wardrobe: brights

by Sylvia

how to build a wardrobe: creating a wardrobe capsule

As I mentioned last week I have done some shopping lately. I have bought a complete new capsule wardrobe which gives me lots and lots of new outfits to wear.

I stuck to mainly cheap clothing so the whole capsule is quite affordable.

As I stumbled on some other lovely clothes, I already extended the initial capsule with some other pieces like the green bright drape dress I showed you earlier.

I will let you know what I bought and show you the total budget. You will find that it’s amazing how many great outfits you can create for less than $200. I can use these clothes for casual occasions, evenings out and even work if dressed up with a blazer.

I am only counting the clothes and will leave out accessories and shoes for now, because frankly my shoes would ruin the whole budget and I’m sure that where you live you will be able to find nice shoes at affordable prices.


Check out our most recent capsule wardrobe for spring


Creating the bright capsule wardrobe

How to create a wardrobe capsule

I bought 1 green-white t-shirt (H&M $19.90), 1 green tank (H&M $19.90), 1 dress/tunic (H&M 24.90), 1 green skinny pants (H&M $39.90), 1 yellow striped top which is quite long (Mango $19) and 1 red pants (Mango $49.90) Total = $173.50 (US$137.62 / E105)

All the items in this capsule can be worn with one another and the dress can be worn by itself.

  • Red pants can be worn with all 4 tops = 4 outfits
  • Green pants can be worn with all 4 tops = 4 outfits
  • Dress can be worn by itself = 1 outfit

Total number of new outfits I can create is 9.


Want to build your own capsule wardrobe? Start with your wardrobe essentials!


Extending your capsule (if your budget allows)

Wardrobe capsule extension


Extension: 1 black and white top (MPhosis $27.90), 1 red top (Mphosis $27.90) 1 dress (SabrinaGoh $89) = $144.80 (US$114.86 / E78

It will be best if you can extend with items that can be worn with all basic outfits of your first capsule, which is not the case here as the green and red are slightly different colors than the red and green of the pants.

I chose these outfits because  my eye fell upon them and they are so easy to combine with lots of my other clothes. If you wanted to really add to the number of outfits, it would be good to buy an extra bottom piece instead of an extra top.

  • Red pants can be worn with all 4 tops from first capsule and dress and top from second = 6 outfits
  • Green pants can be worn with all 4 tops from first capsule and dress and top from second = 6 outfits
  • Dress can be worn with green striped t-shirt from first capsule and red pants = 2 outfits
  • Dress can be worn by itself = 1 outfit

Total number of new outfits I can create is 15

Now add what you already have in your wardrobe!

Creating a wardrobe capsule

But of course what really increases the number of outfits you can create with your new clothes is to add the clothes that you already have.

All these colors go really well with your black and white basics. Other colors that combine well, are any other brights you already have in your cupboard like yellows, reds and  blues. Of course all of these tops are great to wear with jeans as well!

What I have added so far is 1 white button down shirt, 1 white blazer, black shoes, a red cardigan and white pants. But really there are just so many items in my closet that would look great with all the items I bought.

Total outfits I can create with adding all of my own items: probably more than 50.


Check out our capsule wardrobe for fall


how to build a wardrobe

In the end I spent a total of $318.30 on clothes which is less than the price you would pay for a nice designer dress by CK Calvin Klein.

Instead of one outfit, I now have more than 50. It does make you think!

Does that mean I will never buy an expensive dress again? Probably not. One part of me really likes well-designed high quality garments.

For the moment I have taken this option, but it started off an interesting thinking process about style, which I will discuss in future articles too.

Trousers: Mango
Top: Mango
Blazer: Zara (old)
Shoes: Max & Co

I have taken a lot more images from some of the combinations with the green pants, which you can find here. Some more photos with the green pants and cream jacket are here.

Do you create capsule wardrobes? What do you think I wore the green pants with? What would be your favorite combination?

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather Fonseca

Interesting! I tend to buy outfits or fall in love with certain stand alone pieces. Then I take them home and try to figure out what to wear with them, but i like your capsule idea. I really want to add pastels into my wardrobe but I have a hard time with those sorts of soft colors.perhaps I’ll invest in a capsule!


2 Sylvia

That is what I used to do as well. But it does help when you have several combinations. Sometimes you buy a spectacular piece and it doesn’t go with anything. Still, that’s why I shopped in affordable places. You couldn’t do this with designer clothes (unless, of course, you have a stellar budget!)


3 Bella Q

I think you look fantastic! The thing about cheap clothes is that often times they don’t wear well, or last as long as a nicer garment. But they are a great way to explore a new style or look. I love how your pieces don’t look trendy but instead are classic pieces put together to play up a trend. Great capsule!


4 Sylvia

I think the colours make the clothes trendy. I have come to like colours more, so we will see how well these clothes perform. If I get very comfortable in wearing bright colours, and still like them end of season, I’m sure I can pick up a nice bright designer dress from the sales in June!


5 Nanne

I love your capsule, although it’s a little bit to bright for me at this stage. You know me and my neutrals….I have actually bought the exact same dress from H&M though, and I look forward to wearing it! I really like the idea of wardrobe capsules, however I’m not particularly good at it, at least not yet. Hopefully I’ll get better at it as my basic wardrobe comes together.

To be honest I have no idea what top you wore with the green pants, but I’d go for a combo including the white blazer there, as well!


6 Sylvia

How funny you bought the same dress! I actually worn it today. Sofar so good and I felt really good in it. Yes I should probably have started with the basic wardrobe capsule, but at least readers will get the idea of a wardrobe capsule…


7 Greetje

I like the dress very much, but it is not a colour splash. It is black/white and blue. Or am I wrong? Sylvia you wrote that the dress is 1 outfit as it can be worn by itself. But you love to wear dresses with trousers. So that would make more outfits wouldn’t it?


8 Sylvia

The dress actually features quite a lot of bright yellow, which still makes it colourful. I don’t think it has any blue. I already counted the dress as a top as well 😉


9 Jeannie

You look lovely and stylish Sylvia! What a great idea. I try to buy items of quality because they DO hold up so much better, but this would definitely freshen up your wardrobe without breaking the bank!


10 Sylvia

Thanks Jeannie. Will see how I go with these. I’m waiting for a good excuse (a great party?) to buy a special dress again! But there are so many nice things in the stores, I’m sure there will be something nice in June at sale time!


11 Suzanne

You bought an entire wardrobe capsule for less than I pay for one dress (US). I love the bright colors and the fact that everything goes with everything else. This would be a fabulous idea for a vacation. Lots of looks with fewer items to pack. I like that. One problem I have with buying less expensive clothes is I wear a special size and very few stores carry it. I buy Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors because they design an updated Petite line each season. For me the fit of a garment is what determines what I purchase much more than price. But I really appreciate this lesson in putting together a capsule – and I do enjoy a good sale. 🙂
I like your green pants so much I want a pair! I think you wore them with the black and white top. They would look great with cobalt or navy blue and yellow accessories too.


12 Sylvia

Thanks Suzanne! The green pants are comfortable and I think they have all kinds of size. Should definitely have a look at H&M as they’re so affordable! Will post the green outfits probably Monday!


13 Greetje

I am in a hurry and will comment later. For now: what a terrific article. Thank you very much for all your work. And it looks great!


14 Greetje

Here I am again. Never known what “a capsule” is, but I get it: it is a set of clothes which all go together and which items you can vary. Right?
I put these capsules together when I go away for city trips of 3 to 4 days. Shoes are still the most difficult thing with my capsules.
But back to your effort Sylvia: very well done. The colours look great on you and you know how to combine them. I still need help with combining. Sometimes I get it right, but it doesn’t come naturally. Which is why I go to this blog nearly every day. And it helps. I think you will have combined the green trousers with the black and white top and the pink/red cardigan. Or are these items “off limit” for the excersize?


15 Sylvia

That is why capsules are so handy. If you buy a capsule in a season rather than all kinds of separate pieces, you will end up with a lot more varied outfits. It’s how you can effectively ‘plan’ your wardrobe.


16 Tamera Beardsley

Well done!


17 Kristin

Those colors are just beautiful together! LOVE the pants. Thanks so much for linking up to Monday Mingle!


18 Lauren@Styleseer

Really cute outfit. I love the mix of bright colors and stripes for spring.


19 Sylvia

Thanks Lauren!


20 Laura

The capsule is a new concept for me – could you please give me more information about them. Do they become a challenge to dress out of for a certain period of time? Do they get organized together in your closet? Are they specifically for trips? Are they “just” a helpful way to organizing your shopping trip? Is the idea to do 1 per season? Any and all thoughts would be great – I love the idea, just swimming with possibilities! 🙂


21 Sylvia

A wardrobe capsule is basically a set of clothing that you can mix and match. So rather than buying 3 pants and 3 t-shirts that only go with that particular pants, you try to buy pieces that you can easily mix with each other. That way you can create a lot more outfits and always have something to wear. You can create capsules for specific needs like: a work capsule, a weekend wear capsule, or as I did above for a particular trend that you really like for a season. It helps you from getting wardrobe orphans and will give you a lot more versatility! The way you organise it in your cupboard is up to you, but you may hang clothes from your capsule with eachother. However, bear in mind that some items, like a blazer may be part of multiple capsules in your closet. Hope that helps? If you like to discuss more then you can ask a question in our style forum:


22 Barbara

I am 63 and just have had lifestyle changes- I am determined to downsize my wardrobe and make it work easier for me but I also do not want to look like the typical old fat lady. I have problems with my legs so skirts are not my bag they would be rarely used. Also I am overweight more apple than pear. I am a summer but I do love black and don’t intend to give it up. Everything I read say a dress and skirts not sure if what I should replace those with perhaps more accent colors ? My basic neutrals will be black, black with a tiny pinstripe , navy and charcoal grey and dark brown and a faded denim. I do not wear light color pants at all they never seem to be clean. Any advice you might have on what items I should have in my capsule would be graetly appreciated.


23 Sylvia

You can look fab wearing pants. Make sure they are full length and get straight width or wide legged pants. Be mindful of the length and let you pants almost touch the ground. If you like to wear black, grey, navy and brown, they are good colours for the bottom part or even the top. Make your looks current with some brighter and colourful accessories. That way you can easily make your look modern. For example black, well fitted pants with a striped shirt (that fits lose on your tummy but has a good fit around your bust) could work really well. If you get you pants in all the basic colours then it will be easy to add a few blazers, shirts and jumpers that you can mix and match with all of them. Focus on the right fit for your body type, and make sure to make your look current with a few nice accessories, like belts, bags, scarfs and shoes. That way you can look hip while keeping a basic wardrobe in easy to mix colours. A white shirt with navy pants and a nice scarf and belt always looks stylish, especially when you combine it with a nice bag. Some further tips on how to dress for the pear shape can be found at: Good luck and let me know if you have any further questions.


24 Midnight Cowgirl

Wonderful tips!


25 maureen

lovely outfit l like the combination


26 angie

I’m obsessed with capsule wardrobes and I so thank you for the info.


27 Raina

Very nice capsule. I love the bright colors


28 Marney Austin

I really enjoyed reading your blog. Much of it I knew but as I have aged I noted I needed to “re-adjust” and it was great to see that I was on the right track (and see why some things I bought did not work).
I noticed you mentioned Singapore. I lived there for 8 years so I know what a challenge it is to shop (or was) for anything over a size 6. At the time I was a size 10 and even an XL wouldn’t fit. Hopefully the shopping is better.


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