Capsule wardrobes are incredibly useful and a great way to start with minimalism if you want to take that first step towards starting to live with less things. I took the plunge on that lifestyle in September 2020, when me and my husband started living in Airbnb’s full time all over the US. Then we took things even further and started our dream of quitting our jobs and try to make a living out of full time traveling. Right now, we’ve been exploring the world full time since September 2021 and based on what I packed and the fact that I have created so many different outfits and haven’t bought a single item, I feel qualified to write this capsule wardrobe checklist, along with some styling tips for each piece.
Whether you have a home and a closet like a normal person, or live out of a suitcase like me, I hope these 7 capsule wardrobe essentials will inspire you to start living with less things and maximize every single piece you have in your closet!
These are basically all the outfits I wore on our 3 month trip to Turkey!! Which was our first destination. We document our entire journey in this YouTube channel in case you want to know more.
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Ready to learn what to actually include in your capsule wardrobe checklist? Let’s do this!
Table of contents
- Why am I ‘qualified’ to share a capsule wardrobe checklist?
- A Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – 7 Items To Start With:
- Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #1: White Button Down Shirt
- Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #2: A Midi skirt
- Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #3: Wide Leg Pants
- Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #4: White T-shirt
- Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #5: Crewneck Sweater
- Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #6: White Sneakers
- Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #7: Black Skinny Pants
- Final thoughts – Capsule Wardrobe Checklist
Estimated reading time: 19 minutes
Why am I ‘qualified’ to share a capsule wardrobe checklist?
As I mentioned earlier, I have been living out of a suitcase since September 2020!
It all started when we decided to start living in Airbnb’s full time all over the US and it continues now that I still live out of a suitcase while traveling around the world.
Of course I packed more than 7 pieces, but I’ve taken photos of all my outfits and these are 7 pieces I think I will continue to pack no matter where we go and on top of that, these are 7 pieces I have styled the most!
If you pay close attention to these looks, I constantly mix and match all these pieces together. I have styled them for many different occasions, climates and I always try to make them look different.
Ready? Let’s do this!
A Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – 7 Items To Start With:
Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #1: White Button Down Shirt
I’ve had white button down shirts since I can remember! I love them because you can layer them, tie them around your waist, wear them open with a cami or t-shirt underneath, use them as a coverup for the beach or just simply wear them as they are (which I rarely do!).
The one I’m wearing is from a brand called Grayson that unfortunately is now out of business :( which makes me so sad. However, it was a little bit of a pricey option (but still worth it). So I’m providing a couple of other great options below and they cost half the price!
I wear my white button down shirt multiple times a week and it’s still in great shape. I’ve had it for 3 years or so.
I recommend linen because it works for hot weather and acts as a shield from the sun. And if you want to use it when it’s a little bit colder, then you can layer it with a sweater or jacket like I did below.
Another option from J.Crew (on sale right now!)
As you can see in the 4 photos below, it looks good with skirts, over a midi or short dress, as a cover-up and with a crewneck sweater on top. Also, it can be dressed up or down according to the occasion. You just have to play with the accessories.
BONUS! More Styling Tips – White Button Down Shirt:
Think outside the box! Think about ways you can layer them, tie it around your waist, tuck it in and add a cool belt, accessorize with a statement piece like a necklace or earrings, unbutton it and wear it with a lace bralette below or button it all the way up and add a cool necklace. Also, don’t forget you can wear for the beach/pool with a mini skirt, over a short dress or with shorts. There’s so much you can do with a button down shirt!
Pro Tip: All of these styling tips apply for any button down shirt! It doesn’t have to be white.
Also read: How to style a white shirt for more outfit ideas with this closet staple!
Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #2: A Midi skirt
Oh midi skirts… I’ve never really liked midi skirts until a few years ago and now I can’t live without one. Ok, I guess I totally can, but you get it :)
I love them so much and there’s even more you can do with them, but since I travel full time, I never ever have heels with me or many options to play around with, but just know that you can totally wear a midi skirt ALL YEAR ROUND! Think about wearing them with tights and booties.
I wrote a blog post using a pleated midi skirt and styling it in many different ways and for all seasons: “How to wear a midi skirt – Midi Skirt Outfits for every season”
This green one I’m wearing is from GAP and I couldn’t find anything similar, sorry! But I have faith they will come back in the Spring/Summer time so keep your eyes pealed for those!
In the meantime, you can browse my favorite midi skirts from Nordstrom here!
More Styling Tips – Midi Skirt:
When investing in a midi skirt, think about the colors you already have in your closet. A printed one is a great option too! Also, remember you can style it with different colors and don’t forget about monochromatic outfits. Some of my favorite looks with this midi skirt are the ones where I style it with green tops, even if they were not the same shade of green.
Also read: How to style a midi skirt for more midi skirt outfits
Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #3: Wide Leg Pants
Wide leg pants are another surprise in my capsule wardrobe checklist. I’ve always been a skinny pants kind of gal, but 2 years ago or so, I tried them for the first time and OH MY GOD, they are SO COMFORTABLE!!! Not to mention, super flattering for a girl with big hips like me!
The ones I’m wearing are unfortunately sold out, but here are a couple of stores that I like for wide leg pants and comfy pants in general:
- This one for sustainable and comfortable options. They just released wide legs pants (but I don’t have them yet) BUT their skinny ones are THE BEST! I didn’t bring them on this trip, but in January when we leave again after spending the Holidays in the US, I will definitely be packing these!
- This is the store where I got the ones I’m wearing. They don’t have many options available this time of the year, but check in April when they re-stock!
- This brand always have AMAZING wide leg pants options! (a personal favorite!)
BONUS! More Styling Tips – Wide Leg Pants:
I recommend investing in a good pair of wide leg pants and have fun with the prints! It can be a fun print with just a few colors like mine because you can style them with black, white or grey but also with a colorful top for a pop of color.
Also remember you can wear them with sneakers, sandals, booties or heels!
Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #4: White T-shirt
Ok, this should have been #1 on the list but since all of these 7 pieces are equally important, it’s now #4.
I’ve had white t-shirts and t-shirts in general my whole life and I’m still a huge fan! There’s just so much you can do with them!
Here’s where I get my white t-shirts (and all my T-shirts!). They have the best basic pieces, are great quality and are not super expensive. Make sure to sign up to their email list to get a 20% discount on your first order!
BONUS! More Styling Tips – White T-shirt:
Remember you can do so much with these! Layer them, dress them up with accessories or just simply wear them with jeans and sneakers, I promise they will never go out of style. Also, it doesn’t have to be white, I understand this color is not convenient for every lifestyle, so also consider a graphic one, a black one or a neutral color that will work with different pieces in your closet.
Your style is unique to you, so have fun and think about what would work out for YOU!!
Also read: How to wear a white t-shirt for more outfit ideas with this closet staple!
Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #5: Crewneck Sweater
This is one of my favorite pieces ever and I think one of the most underrated closet staples! With so many cute sweater options out there, who would want to have just a plain crewneck!? Well, this girl right here!
They are so simple but so perfect at the same time because you can do anything you want with them, just look at the photos below. I’ve styled it with both of my pants, with the midi skirt (I don’t have a photo), and over my floral midi dress!
- This is the exact link to a similar one.
- This is where I get most of my sweaters (it’s a splurge, but so worth it!)
- Cute & affordable option from Nordstrom here.
BONUS! More Styling Tips – Crewneck Sweater:
Remember that because they are so simple, you can do anything you want with them! I recommend investing in a high quality piece that you can wash multiple times and it will still be in great shape and also to invest in a neutral color like black, grey or beige. Think about a color that would work with the other pieces you plan to style it with.
Also read: How to style an oversized sweater for more outfit inspo!
Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #6: White Sneakers
I have been wearing these white sneakers every single day for the past month now that it’s getting colder in Turkey, and I’m so glad I packed them! (they are also in a desperate need of a wash LOL)
They look good with dresses, skirts, pants, shorts, if it’s hot, if it’s cold… I mean honestly you can do whatever you want with a pair of white leather sneakers.
This is the exact link to the ones I’m wearing. I can’t say enough good things about this brand. I mean, they are so good that both, me and my husband travel with them! #twinning
Note: Be aware that the white sneakers mentioned above are almost always sold out (sorry!)! But I also have these ones and I’ve had them for over 5 years and they are still in amazing shape!!!
Have fun browsing at their cute colors, but if you ask me, I recommend a pair of white leather sneakers. (bonus points because this brand is SUPER sustainable!)
Also read: How to wear white sneakers for 60+ more outfit ideas!
Capsule Wardrobe Checklist – Item #7: Black Skinny Pants
And last but not least… black skinny pants!
I had to decide between these pants and a denim jacket because I really wanted to keep this list super simple for someone who’s getting started with this whole capsule wardrobe thing, and I went with the pants because I honestly styled them multiple times a week during the 3 months we spent in Turkey.
There’s one thing I would change about this specific pair; I wish they were slightly longer, so I’m going to buy a new pair soon, but these ones have honestly served their purpose perfectly fine during our travels!
I’ve styled them with T-shirts, black tops to make it look like a jumpsuit, during hot weather, cold weather, with sneakers, sandals, to go to the market and to go out for dinner… you name it! They are so versatile :)
Accessories I Travel With To Elevate My Outfits:
- Headbands. I travel with 2 headbands at a time and I choose them based on what I’m packing. This is a great website for super cute and high quality headbands. I also have a couple from here.
- Necklaces – You only need a couple to be honest, and it depends on your style
- Earrings – I have like 3 or 4 only – Make sure to have some variety in terms of style and colors. I have tassel, pearls and a couple of colorful ones. Where I get most of my earrings might surprise you! (more cute tassel options here!)
- Hats! One for Fall and one for Summer.
- Headscarfs – I have 3 and they are from here.
Final thoughts – Capsule Wardrobe Checklist
I hope you found this post useful and that you are able to start building a smaller closet with this 7-item capsule wardrobe checklist.
As you can see, it works! I haven’t bought anything in a long time and I styled these 7 pieces I shared above, so many times during the 3 months we spent traveling around Turkey.
Quality is important to me because I have to do laundry every week, so I want my pieces to last. I can’t recommend it enough! Also, it feels so good not to shop! Saving money and spending it on things that actually matter to me, like traveling the world full time with my husband :) I used to shop A LOT, and if I changed, so can you. I promise it makes a huge difference in your life.
I really hope this was useful and that you feel inspired to live with less and recreate your own version of these looks while maximizing every piece you have in your closet! As always, you can connect with me on Instagram (even though I’m way more active on @waysoftheworld_) or ask any questions below. I’m always here to help!
Thanks so much for stopping by and hope you have a great weekend!
PS: I try to keep my Reward Style profile up to date with new travel outfits + styling tips. You can check that out here :)
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Related Capsule Wardrobe Posts You May Also Like:
- How to create a Summer Capsule Wardrobe
- Traveling soon? Check out all these comfy airport outfits + styling tips on what to wear for the airport and what not to wear!
- My must haves for my Capsule Wardrobe for Fall
- Traveling somewhere warm? Check out my Capsule Wardrobe for Traveling! What I packed for Croatia last Summer!
- Starting from zero? Learn about capsule wardrobes and minimalist wardrobes and see which one is for you!
- Looking to support more sustainable & ethical clothing brands? Check out my try and tested list for the best options!
- On a budget? No problem! Check out this post for a list of Affordable Sustainable Brands
If Interested In Any Travel Related Content, Here Are The Links To Travel Guides To The Cities Where These Photos Were Taken:
- 27 Amazing Things To Do In Kas Turkey
- 37 Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting Pamukkale Turkey
- 15 Unforgettable Things To Do in Konya Turkey
- 17 Popular Things To Do In Fethiye (with costs and reviews)
- More posts about the other destinations coming your way soon! Make sure to sign up to our newsletter here to receive a weekly update with new destinations and travel tips!
- For travel related blog posts, read our travel blog! And our viral blog posts about Isla Holbox (and why you shouldn’t visit!)
PS: This post contains affiliate links. Which means I receive a small commission if you shop for anything at no extra cost to you. Thanks in advance for supporting Ways of Style! This is how I keep sponsored posts out of this blog!
Michelle Nolan says
I used to live in Turkey so it was fun to see where you took the photos- thanks for including that! Love see it again. Love your top picks for travel. We travel a lot and only take large backpacks so it’s important that every item work with the rest of my wardrobe. We are spending a month in the UK this summer and I have to choose wisely what I take in my backpack. Thanks for your list. I’m going to bring all of them except the skirt- I never look good in skirts. Wish I did. Anyway, thanks for sharing!
Can you tell me the brand of the taupe crossed sandals you are wearing? Are they Birks?
Ways Of Style says
Hi! yes, they are and they are amazing for traveling! The model is called ‘Yara’ – here’s a direct link: https://www.birkenstock.com/us/yara-oiled-leather/yara-core-oiledleather-0-eva-w_3974.html#sz=216 I have them in Tobacco ;)