I'm a Stylist and Here's How to Personalize Your Wardrobe to Look Great Every Day

Newsflash: There's no one-size-fits-all approach to curating a capsule wardrobe.

In case you hadn't noticed, the way we approach building our clothing collections is drastically changing: More and more people are taking a minimalist approach, prioritizing quality over quantity and being mindful of sustainability. Enter the capsule wardrobe—a small selection of pieces that can all be worn interchangeably. The idea is that by editing down your closet, you can save money, cut down on decision fatigue, and maximize your closet space.

But according to stylist Kenzie Welch, there's one major mistake that many people tend to make when taking this approach. Here's what to avoid when crafting your own capsule wardrobe, so you can look great every day.

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Your capsule wardrobe should be personalized.

Woman looking in her closet
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In a recent TikTok video, Welch explains that there's no one-size-fits-all approach: "Your capsule wardrobe should not look like everyone else's."

After all, a capsule wardrobe is only effective if it features items you consistently love to wear. So, don't make the mistake of forgetting to have it reflect your personality, preferences, and lifestyle.

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First, you need to figure out your style aesthetic.

Woman looking at her outfit in the mirror
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According to Welch, there are eight core style aesthetics:

  • Boho: Hippie-inspired, with lots of flowy fabrics, fringe, layered jewelry, and floral or nature-inspired patterns
  • Classic: Timeless and elegant, with simple silhouettes, tailored pieces, and high-quality natural fabrics
  • Casual: Laid-back and effortless—you might wear sneakers or denim jackets with skirts and dresses, for example
  • Edgy: Unconventional and black-heavy with an emphasis on rugged materials—think chunky lug-sole boots and distressed denim
  • Glam: Glitzy and attention-grabbing, with an emphasis on shiny and luxurious fabrics like satin and sequins, and pops of metallic shades like silver and champagne
  • Minimal: Clean lines and a monochromatic neutral palette—understated pieces with few patterns or ornamental details
  • Preppy: Ivy league chic, with lots of cable-knit, pastel colors, nautical stripes and check/plaid or seersucker—the kinds of pieces you'd wear at the country club or on the golf course
  • Romantic: A focus on feminine colors, vintage-inspired silhouettes, and luxe, floaty materials—think blush pink, full skirts, and lots of lace, chiffon, tulle, and silk with embroidered detailing

There are also subcategories for all of those aesthetics, says Welch. For example, if you consider your style to be edgy, you might lean more in the direction of streetwear, or you might lean more grunge.

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Craft your capsule wardrobe around your aesthetic.

Shot of a young woman going through clothes from her wardrobe in her bedroom
LaylaBird / iStock

Once you know your aesthetic, Welch says the next step is to identify some staple pieces that speak to the "essence" of your style. Ask yourself questions like: "What are some silhouettes I find myself reaching for time after time?" and "What colors make me feel the most confident?"

For instance, if you have a boho style, Welch says your staple pieces might include graphic tees, flared bottoms, denim shorts, western boots, fringe-lined accessories, and felt-brimmed hats. Or, if you have a minimalist aesthetic, your staples might include blazers, neutral bodysuits, trench coats, white sneakers, and straight-leg jeans.

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Focus on the classics.

Brown and tan sweaters and coats hanging in closet
Naletova Elena / Shutterstock

Capsule wardrobes tend to focus on neutral pieces that never go out of style—after all, these are the most versatile, cost-effective, and easiest to mix and match. So, while Welch does advise personalizing your capsule wardrobe to your aesthetic, she says it's also worth incorporating certain classic, essential pieces to make sure your collection stands the test of time.

"There are pieces in a capsule wardrobe that are universal for everyone," she explains. "This includes t-shirts, denim, sweaters—all of those pieces that everyone wears regardless of what style they have."

For instance, a leather jacket or little black dress is an excellent capsule wardrobe addition whether you have a minimal, edgy, or casual aesthetic. A solid tailored blazer in a fun hue like pink can work for your capsule wardrobe whether your aesthetic is preppy, glam, or classic.

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Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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