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Capsule Wardrobe

The Capsule Wardrobe

There are two common sentiments people have when staring at a closet full of clothes. For women, it is “I have nothing to wear.” And for men, it is “I don’t for the life of me have a clue as to how to put any of this together.” This happens because when we shop for clothes we often do so without a strategy, much less paying attention to the long-term goal of building a workable wardrobe. Good image consultants and stylists will advise their clients in the beginning stages of wardrobe building to put together a “capsule wardrobe.”

What Is A Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of high-quality, versatile basics that are permanently stylish and, most importantly, are interchangeable. The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is that each item in the capsule can and should be paired with almost any other item in the capsule. It’s a great option for men who are just beginning to build their wardrobes and need to have lots of functionality.

The goal of the capsule wardrobe is to own fewer items that are higher-than-normal quality, and wear each of the items more often. Your classic businessman’s capsule wardrobe typically involves the following:

  • Two worsted wool navy suits, one solid and one pinstripe
  • Two worsted wool charcoal suits, one solid and one pinstripe
  • A few white shirts
  • A few blue shirts
  • Red, yellow, and blue ties
  • One white pocket square in cotton, linen, or silk
  • One pair of black shoes with belt to match
  • One pair of brown shoes with belt to match
  • Navy and charcoal dress socks

Mans capsule warbrobe items: suit, shit, and ties

The idea here is that nearly everything in the capsule can be combined with the other items in a foolproof way. Any suit will look good with any shirt, which will look good with any tie. The solid navy coat can function as a blazer in a pinch, and the pants can be worn casually when a jacket isn’t required.

This is money in the bank for the wearer in a couple of ways. In the figurative sense, this makes dressing simpler and ensures that you will look appropriately dressed for nearly any occasion, be it a wedding, funeral, job interview, or night out to dinner. In the literal sense, it allows the wearer to buy fewer items at a higher quality. This can save him money in the long run, as better made suits last longer and don’t need to be replaced nearly as often as their more cheaply-made counterparts.

Intermediate Wardrobe Building

man with cool complexion in a suit

So, what do you do after you have your wardrobe in place? “Charblue” suits (a greyish-blue color) are good workhorses to have in the stable. Brown suits, though they go in and out of vogue, are a smart alternative to charcoal. Plaid suits, suits with brighter colored stripes, and windowpanes can start coming into the mix too. Shirts in ecru, lavender, yellow, and pink are good options, as are ties in orange, green, purple, and pink.

Does a Capsule Wardrobe Make Sense For You?

A capsule wardrobe is not right for everyone. Some men like to own and use many clothing items, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if anything we’ve said thus far has peaked your interest, tell us – do any of the following statements describe you?

This will give you a better idea on if a capsule wardrobe makes sense for you!

  • You are never satisfied with your clothing selection.
  • You always feel like you have nothing to wear, yet you have a closet full of clothes.
  • You frequently wear the same pieces of clothing, although you have many to choose from.

However you decide to build your wardrobe after the capsule is full is up to you and, if applicable, your tailor. Take your time, experiment, and learn what your real likes and dislikes are. In time, you’ll be the best-dressed man wherever you go.


If you can relate to any of the above statements, a capsule wardrobe may work well for you. If this sounds like an idea you’d like to learn more about, give us a call 215-310-0219 or email info@henrydavidsen.com. From custom-fitted men’s suits to high-quality custom dress shirts, our Philadelphia image consultants and master tailors can set you up for success!

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