The Day I Realized I Hated My Closet

The Day I Realized I Hated My Closet

And How Creating a Capsule Wardrobe Helped Me Love It Again

By Toni Smith, Head of Content Marketing


One evening, after a particularly frustrating week of figuring out what to wear each day, I looked into my closet and thought, “How can I have a closet full of clothes, and still feel like I have nothing to wear?” After years of living in New York City, finally having a walk-in closet was like a dream, but now it seemed that my dream closet was anything but. As I pulled each item out one by one, my confusion and frustration grew. “When did I buy that sweatshirt dress?” or “What was this blazer even supposed to go with?” and “How is my closet 50% athleisure but there’s not a matching set to be seen?” It was then I knew I needed to make a change. While I had a lot of strong pieces in my closet, I had absolutely no idea how to pull them together in a cohesive manner.

Whether a closet has 8 go-to pieces or 800 of them, closet confusion is an experience that many can relate to. Oftentimes, pieces get purchased without consideration of how they might fit into an already-existing wardrobe. Closet confusion can also rear its head when packing workwear for a business trip or picking the most comfortable and carefree looks for a summer getaway. Sound familiar?

Enter the Capsule Wardrobe

The term capsule wardrobe — also known as capsule dressing — has been used for quite some time, but began gaining mainstream popularity in the 1940s. In its most simple form, a capsule is a small collection of classic pieces that are meant to mix-and-match. Worn together, or separately, each piece is designed to make fashion choices easier by creating multiple outfits that can be worn over several days.

Whether looking to build up a workwear collection, athleisure looks, or doing a full closet revamp, a capsule wardrobe could make closet confusion a thing of the past. It incorporates several pieces designed to give maximum style with minimum effort. From day-to-day dressing, vacations, and workwear, capsule wardrobes can help maximize and organize a closet in a snap. Capsule dressing can be used in place of — or in collaboration with — a wardrobe stylist to ensure the maximization of both closet and suitcase space.

The Assessment and the Purge

Now you may be asking yourself, “Okay, capsule dressing sounds great! But I have no idea where to start!” Luckily, I went through this process and can walk through each step I took. The first thing I did was take an assessment of my closet. Items that didn’t fit, were damaged or didn’t feel like “me” anymore went out the door — either to be recycled or to gain a new life via Goodwill.

Next, I looked at the color palette I was working with. As an East Coast gal, my closet consists mostly of black, white, and grey pieces, so it’s safe to say I love neutral colors. I tend to incorporate colors in my wardrobe by way of accessories and most of my summer clothing. Although capsules are meant to be the building blocks of your wardrobe, that doesn’t mean you can’t shake things up with color every once in a while!

Finally, I took a look at my assortment of clothes. There are measures one can take to build the baseline of a wardrobe and there are certain staples that can help to streamline your closet. While I had a healthy mix of sweaters, blouses, tee shirts, pants, denim, skirts, and dresses, they didn’t seem to tell a cohesive story. That where the checklist and the build comes in.

The Capsule Wardrobe Checklist and Build

When looking to build the perfect capsule wardrobe, there are certain classic pieces and wardrobe essentials that never go out of style. Keep in mind that your capsule wardrobe pieces can and should be seasonal and you should never be afraid to experiment with trendier pieces to complement your capsule. Here are the pieces that worked best for me:


  • Trench Coat
  • Leather Jacket
  • Denim Jacket
  • Puffer Coat
  • Duster


  • Sweaters
  • Blouses/Dress Shirts
  • Solid and Striped Tee Shirts
  • Turtlenecks
  • Tanks and Camisoles


  • Denim
  • Dress Pants
  • Pencil Skirt
  • Cigarette Pants
  • Casual Twill Pants


  • Little Black Dress
  • Little White Dress
  • Linen Dress or Jumpsuit
  • Shirtdress
  • Casual Summer Dress

Bonus Category: Athleisure

  • Bike shorts
  • Bodysuits
  • Sweatshirts
  • Joggers
  • Leggings

      The Big Reveal

      Universal Standard takes the guesswork out of capsule dressing in a few ways. We offer a “Best Sellers” collection, which provides wardrobe essentials that will help to either build a closet from scratch or build upon a current closet. We also provide pre-made capsules to serve as a guide. We can help you mix and match effortless pieces, based on occasion, season, or both. Click the images below to see our "Athleisure Capsule", our "Lounge Capsule", and our "Out and About" capsule.

       If you’re looking to build a capsule on your own, here are some great places to start for your 9 to 5, your Lazy Sunday Funday or both!

      After working through this exercise, I was quite pleased with my results. Building a capsule wardrobe gave me so much more room and I no longer hated my closet! Today, when I open those double doors, I feel a sense of calm and certainty. Having a closet that is built with intention has allowed me to do so much more, with less, while allowing me to build classic outfits with ease that can take me from the office to the beach, and everywhere in between. Day-to-day life can be so hectic and unpredictable, but your closet doesn’t have to be!


      Looking for additional styling inspo? Shop Universal Standard’s Capsules or book a virtual styling appointment with our stylist Kate!