My College Capsule Wardrobe


My College Capsule Wardrobe

Well folks, I made it to my apartment! My dad and I got here last night, and we’ve been spending today unpacking, shopping, etc. I’m so excited because unpacking is one of my favorite things, and today I’m breaking down the capsule wardrobe I brought for college this year (if you’ve been here awhile, you’ve probably heard me talking about it for months). While my school is returning to in-person classes for now, there’s a possibility they’ll send everyone home again, so we were instructed to “only pack the essentials”. Well to me, of course, the essentials consist of three bags of clothes and a huge box of shoes (check out the pics in this post).

To be fair, the only reason I brought so many clothes, shoes, and bags my first two years of college was because of this blog—I never knew if I would need a certain item for a blog post I wanted to write. But this year, I planned out most of my content for the upcoming months before I left home and packed accordingly.

My College Capsule Wardrobe

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

For those of you who don’t know, a capsule wardrobe is where you have only a handful of clothing items that you absolutely love that can be mixed and matched tons of different ways. This encourages less shopping, shopping more intentionally, and my favorite, reworking items already in your closet. I published a whole post about tips to pack light for college this semester, so I tried loosely to follow those guidelines while packing my bags.

What Colors Did You Choose?

Lots of times capsule wardrobes involve two to three main colors, or some sort of color scheme, to maximize the pairings you can create. Today’s outfit was kind of the inspiration for my capsule wardrobe! I love the color maroon, I own a lot of items in the shade, and the color looks great in the fall. I chose maroon to be my “pop” of color, and then I stuck with brown, black, and grey neutrals for the rest of my wardrobe. Of course I packed this mock-neck top (in all three colors!) and this skirt because it can also be worn as a top. This elephant bag is one of my go-to pieces, so I brought that with me as well.

My College Capsule WardrobeMy College Capsule Wardrobe

How Did You Decide What to Pack and What to Leave at Home?

When it finally came time to pack, I started by picking the items I wear the most and the items that fall into my color scheme—so I grabbed all of my maroon tops/sweaters, I grabbed my black pants (a staple), and I grabbed all of my jeans, laying everything out on the floor of my bedroom. Next, I went through my closet item by item and decided if I wear the piece a lot (since I keep a very detailed cost per wear spreadsheet, I have a very good sense of which items I reach for most). Once I had a handful of tops and bottoms displayed on my floor, I picked up each item and counted how many other pieces with which it could be paired. So for example, I’d pick up a top and see how many bottoms (skirts, shorts, pants) it could be styled with. If that number wasn’t four or more outfits, I put the item back in my closet, since the goal with a capsule wardrobe is to be able to make the greatest number of outfits with the fewest pieces possible.

What Did You End Up Bringing?

Here’s a breakdown of what I ended up packing:

  • Tops (camisoles, cute tees, blouses, sweaters): 24
  • Dresses: 5
  • Outerwear (cute jackets, rain jackets, coats): 6
  • Bottoms: 13
  • Athletic Tops (workout shirts, windbreakers, sweatshirts): 9
  • Athletic Bottoms (shorts, sweats, leggings): 7
  • Pajamas: 4 tops, 4 bottoms
  • Swimsuits: 1
  • Cute Socks, Tights: 9
  • Hats: 2
  • Belts: 4
  • Purses: 5
  • Gloves: 1
  • Sunglasses: 2
  • Scarves: 1
  • Shoes: 12 pairs

I realize this breakdown is probably not interesting to most of you, but it’s super helpful for me to see what I ended up bringing—and where else I can shed some items. My goal was to fit all my clothes, shoes, and bags into my carry-on suitcase and one blue Ikea bag (I highly recommend these bags for packing/moving), but I couldn’t quite fit everything. I didn’t have time back at home to take some items out and repack everything, so now that I’m at my apartment, my plan is to send some items back home with my dad. This list showed me that I still packed way too many tops/cute tees!

My College Capsule WardrobeMy College Capsule Wardrobe

Even though this is still a big capsule wardrobe, I’m really proud of myself for cutting down so much. I did the math, and what I packed is actually about 18% of my total closet! Which tells me two things: A) I have way too many clothes, and B) I did a dang good job of narrowing down my stuff.

Aside from short vacations, this is the first time I’ve actually created a capsule wardrobe, so I plan on documenting the process throughout the upcoming semester, keeping track of how many times I wear each item, which pieces I wish I had brought from home, etc. My hope is to start publishing Saturday blog posts once school starts next week to share a little recap of the week’s outfits and to discuss how the capsule is going so far. I was planning on doing a capsule wardrobe this fall anyway since I was supposed to be studying abroad, and I decided it would still be a fun challenge to do even just for a semester in the States (plus, a smaller wardrobe will make it way easier to flee campus if it comes down to that again).

My College Capsule Wardrobe

Here’s a sneak peak of my closet! It’s HUGE and even extends a couple of feet to the right of the blue hamper. I definitely won’t be needing all this space! Stay tuned for a full room tour in the coming weeks.

Have you ever used a capsule wardrobe? If you could only pack five things from your closet right now, what would they be?? I’m super curious to hear what you’d choose. Thanks so much for reading today’s post, and have a great Labor Day!


Miles of smiles,



Maroon Mock-Neck Top: JCPenney, $11, last worn here | Elephant Print Skirt: Gift, last worn here | Red Snakeskin Sandals: DSW, $30, last worn here, still available – shop them through the widget below! | Black Elephant Purse: Francesca’s, $20, last worn here

8 comments on “My College Capsule Wardrobe”

  1. Burgundy is a lovely colour on you! It’s great you were able to create a capsule wardrobe and I hope that things are safe for you and you don’t have to pack up and go back home! It will be good to get updates about how the capsule is going for you 🙂 I tried a capsule wardrobe for my 3rd trimester but that was driven more by only being able to fit into a fraction of my wardrobe, haha! I didn’t do so well on our Europe trip – packed more than I needed for sure, so I really should try a capsule wardrobe again soon!

    Hope you are having a good weekend 🙂

    1. Haha totally understandable! And thank you! So far things at school feel pretty safe, although it’s getting a little dicier now… And I always overpack too, sheesh.

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