Scandi-style capsule wardrobe: stylish, practical and sustainable

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Fewer clothes, more outfits? In recent years, the capsule wardrobe has gained a new lease of life. Here you can find out how to create different Scandinavian-style outfits with just 25-50 basics that are all minimalist and stylish at the same time – without having to think forever about what you want to wear today. Find out what makes a Scandi-style capsule wardrobe and how you can put together your own in 5 steps and with the help of a few decision-making questions.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a carefully put together selection of a few clothing items that can be combined in a variety of ways. Not only can you save time and money, but you can also consolidate your individual style and do something for the environment. There are different types of capsule wardrobe, such as specific ones for each season.

Whether you want to create a general capsule wardrobe that works all year round or a seasonal one, the important thing is that there is a consistent style so that everything really fits together. The more minimalist and unagitated the design, the better and easier the system will work. Therefore, the Scandinavian style is particularly well suited. But where does the concept of the capsule wardrobe actually come from?

Origin of the capsule wardrobe

The capsule wardrobe was created by Susie Faux in the 1970s. As the owner of a boutique, she wanted to describe a timeless and combinable collection that would bring practicality to everyday life. High-quality garments should emphasise personal style and be wearable in the long term, making consumption more conscious and sustainable. The capsule wardrobe was intended to create a counter-movement to fast fashion, which has many disadvantages due to its fast pace and focus on quantity rather than quality.

However, the concept only really became known in the 1980s when fashion designer Donna Karan presented “7 Easy Pieces”, a collection in which 7 items of clothing could be combined to create many different looks for a wide variety of occasions. With this collection, the concept of the capsule wardrobe became more and more popular, as it enables precisely this variation with just a few pieces.

The capsule wardrobe has been a trend topic for many years and is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the area of sustainable consumption and minimalism.

Capsule Wardrobe example image


The versatility and simplicity of a capsule wardrobe saves time. Time that would normally be wasted on making decisions or buying new clothes. If you go shopping less often, you save money in the long term. By focussing on high quality and durability, the outlay may seem higher at first, but it quickly pays for itself when you wear the clothes for a long time. At the same time, you are setting an example for sustainability! Not only will your wardrobe be tidier and clearer, but your style will also gain clarity and expression. No wonder the concept is so on-trend, as the desire for simplification, a clean aesthetic, economic efficiency and the expression of personal identity are becoming increasingly important.

Capsule wardrobe in Scandi style

In order to create a capsule wardrobe with Scandinavian-style fashion, it is important to know what characterises it: minimalist design, high quality, functionality and versatility.

Scandi-style fashion

Which colours belong to the Scandi style?

You can never go wrong with neutral colours such as white, black, grey, navy blue and various shades of beige and brown as well as other earthy tones. Pastel shades such as pink, light blue and mint green are also part of the northern colour palette. However, such subtle outfits can be broken up with bright accent colours. Deep red or bright yellow, for example, are suitable for this.

Are patterns part of the Scandinavian style?

As Nordic design is characterised by minimalism, patterns are often subtle and rather reserved. However, graphic prints or stripes are used quite frequently. Motifs inspired by nature are also very popular, such as floral and organic patterns, which tend to be simplified and stylised. Patterns are generally more subtle and should not overload the garment.

What fabrics should the garments be made of?

Natural and breathable materials such as wool, linen, cotton and silk are typical of the Scandi style. The focus is on environmentally friendly fabrics and high wearer comfort. Recycled materials can also be included. Knitwear is an integral part of Scandinavian fashion, especially in winter. Make sure that the garments can be easily layered to ensure flexibility in terms of climate and outfit combinations. Overall, it’s all about the quality and durability of the textiles so that they have a long life cycle.

Checklist: these are the essentials you need

The basics of the capsule wardrobe comprise around 25-50 items, excluding underwear and socks. You can decide whether or not you want to include sportswear or clothing for other leisure activities. The basics can then be supplemented depending on the season. If you have a specific dress code for work, ask yourself whether you want one capsule wardrobe for work and home together, or two separate ones. There is no right or wrong here, it should suit your lifestyle and make things easier for you, not more complicated.

An example of a Scandi-style capsule wardrobe
An example of a Scandi-style capsule wardrobe made up of 33 pieces

Trousers/skirts(5-10 pieces)

  • Jeans
  • Casual trousers
  • Formal trousers
  • Skirts
  • shorts

Dresses (1-5 pieces)

  • Casual dress
  • Smart dress

Shoes (3-7 pairs)

  • Trainers
  • Sandals
  • High or low heels/smart shoes
  • Winter shoes/boots


  • Jewellery
  • Sportswear
  • Sunglasses

Tops (8-15 pieces)

  • T-shirt
  • Top
  • Shirt/blouse
  • Jumper/knitwear
  • Blazer/Cardigan

Jackets (2-5 pieces)

  • Thin jacket
  • Transition jacket
  • Winter jacket


  • Scarf (thick and thin)
  • Belt
  • Cap/Hat
  • Bags

Create your personalised capsule wardrobe in 5 steps

  • Write a list with your goal and the basics you need
  • Get an overview of your existing items of clothing
  • Clear out items that don’t fit your goals/style & those that you hardly wear anymore
  • Test the possible combinations of the garments
  • Add missing pieces, take enough time to do this, Pay attention to the decision questions when buying
  • Extra tip: Create an overview of your capsule wardrobe, including possible combinations, so you save even more time and energy in the end and always have an overview!

Decision questions

Capsule Wardrobe: Decision-making questions

When building your capsule wardrobe, it’s crucial to ask the right questions to ensure you choose garments that best suit your lifestyle, needs and preferences. You should therefore choose each piece carefully to ensure it gets maximum use and brings you joy.

Consider your daily routines, your leisure and work activities, as well as the weather where you live. Do you travel a lot and often? Then make sure that you have suitable items of clothing for this, or that the ones you have are versatile and can be used for different occasions.

Pay attention to quality, make sure your clothes are easy to care for and find out about sustainable brands. Your outfits should be comfortable and fit well so that you enjoy wearing them. Check your capsule wardrobe regularly so that it stays up to date and you can adjust it if necessary.

Here are a few questions to help you choose your clothes:

  • Does the garment suit my lifestyle?
  • How often do I expect to wear it?
  • Does it go with other items in my wardrobe?
  • Is it comfortable and does it fit well?
  • Does it suit my style?
  • Is it versatile?
  • Is it easy to care for?
  • How is the quality?
  • Is the price justified?
  • What impact does the purchase have on the environment?

Storage and care of the capsule wardrobe

To ensure that your capsule wardrobe really does last a long time, it is important not to neglect the correct storage and care of your clothes. The following tips can help to ensure that shapes, colours and materials remain as intact as possible.

Clothes rail as a storage option

Hang garments made of delicate fabrics so that they do not crease and retain their shape. It is best to use high-quality hangers made of wood or with padding to avoid marks. Shirts, jeans and knitwear can be folded neatly to save space. Decide on a sorting method: organise your clothes by colour or by type (trousers, shirts, etc.). Store seasonal items or clothes that you rarely use in breathable materials, such as cloth bags. Avoid plastic, as this can lead to mould and musty odours due to high humidity. If possible, avoid storing them in the cellar. If this is unavoidable, you should make sure that the cellar is dry and well ventilated. Clothes should be perfectly clean and dry before being stored. Breathable cotton bags and airtight containers provide the best protection against damage.

Shoes should be stored on a shoe rack or in boxes. Shoe trees and paper/newspaper are suitable for preserving the shape. Wash the clothes together with similar items of clothing and follow the care instructions. If possible, treat stains immediately and allow the textiles to air dry, as this is the gentlest method. If necessary, use an iron or steamer to smooth out creases. If you can, repair holes etc. yourself as quickly as possible or take the garment to a tailor so that you can really enjoy it for a long time.

The capsule wardrobe for different seasons

Due to the flexibility of the clothes, they work in different seasons, especially if they can be easily layered. However, you also have the option of supplementing your main wardrobe with smaller, seasonal capsule wardrobes. These garments, colours and fabrics characterise the respective seasons and serve as a guide:

Spring: Light transitional jacket/trench coat, thin scarf, cardigans, light jumpers, long-sleeved shirts, light colours and floral patterns

Summer: Linen, thin cotton and silk, shorts, skirts, short T-shirts, swimwear, hats for sun protection

Autumn: warmer jumpers, scarf, weatherproof jacket/light coat, earth tones, boots

Winter: High-quality coat, thermal shirts and underwear, hat, scarf, gloves

Capsule Wardrobe for men

Capsule wardrobe for men

Of course, the concept of the capsule wardrobe is also suitable for men, especially if you don’t feel like putting a lot of time and effort into your clothes but still want to look stylish. Scandinavian menswear is just as minimalist and functional as womenswear. The essentials are quite similar:

Tops & jackets (10-16 pieces)

  • T-shirts/long-sleeved shirts
  • Sweaters/Cardigans
  • Shirts (white, blue, subtle patterns)
  • Blazer/jacket
  • Transition jacket
  • Weatherproof jacket
  • Winter jacket

Shoes (3-5 pairs)

  • Trainers
  • High-quality (leather) shoes
  • Boots
  • Slippers/sandals

Trousers (5-8 pieces)

  • Jeans
  • Chinos (beige/navy blue)
  • Suit trousers
  • Shorts


  • Belt
  • Hat/Cap
  • Watch
  • Backpack
Exemplary capsule wardrobe for men
Exemplary capsule wardrobe for men in Scandi style with 27 pieces

Capsule wardrobe: sustainability & slow fashion

Capsule Wardrobe: Sustainability & Slow Fashion

One thing is clear: a capsule wardrobe is a sustainable approach to our everyday consumption. By consuming less clothing, you produce less waste. If you pay attention to high quality when buying and consciously care for your clothes, product life cycles can be extended. If you take more time to make your purchasing decisions and support sustainable brands, you are also supporting fairer working conditions.

Reduced consumption conserves resources such as water, energy and raw materials and produces fewer emissions. As a slow fashion model that prioritises clothing needs instead of focusing purely on material desires, the capsule wardrobe offers a counterpoint to the fast fashion industry.

Another advantage: you learn to appreciate your clothes and possessions in a completely different way! By focussing on more conscious decisions, you will generally feel more clarity and satisfaction. Isn’t it much more relaxed to prioritise your personal style and needs instead of following countless trends that will be ‘out’ again in 3 months at the latest anyway?


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