A Simple Teacher Capsule Wardrobe in 5 Steps

Scenerio: You have just got your first position as a teacher.

Dilemma: You don’t have a lot of disposable income to buy yourself a whole new wardrobe to start your new career.

Solution: You can put together a simple capsule wardrobe based on things that you probably already have in your closet. This post comes by request for a first time teacher who wants some ease in choosing her teaching wardrobe.

The following steps are going to include you removing a lot of things from your wardrobe so make sure you have a large space set aside like your bed or an alternative clothing rack. Use the above list as a guideline to help decide what you may need while you go through your own closet.

Step 1: If your school has a dress code go through your closet and pull out every single piece that follows that dress code. Leave everything else in your closet that does not. For this capsule the dress code was relatively simple along with a few personal preferences. No blue jeans, or distressed denim, no heels, no suits, no spaghetti straps.

Step 2: Since you are already aware of your colour preferences by what you already own, what key colours do you want to incorporate with your basic neutrals? For this list we chose the basics of black, grey, white, tan, navy.

The colours to add are mustard, cranberry, olive-green, and dark teal. I tried to include as many of theses as I could while still maintaining the ability to mix and match as much as possible. Remove everything that doesn’t work for the colours you choose and put back into your closet.

Step 3: Depending on the climate you live in, figure out what kind of pieces you will need to have a fully rounded, all season wardrobe. Make a rough list on paper.

Step 4: After determining what you will need decide how many of each piece you want to include. For example you won’t need 5 pairs of black pants. Choose one or two of your most comfortable, versatile, and flattering and use those. Put everything else away.

Step 5: By now you will have a narrowed down, rough outline of your “new” teacher capsule. This is the creative step. Clear away your piles of clothes into organized groups of tops, bottoms, shoes, accessories and start to make outfits with the pieces.

Use your bed or floor to put together as many outfits as you can. Add accessories and change shoes to get different looks or transition outfits through different seasons.

Take pictures of these outfits for reference. See how many looks you can get from one outfit by simply changing one piece, or the shoes, or accessories. You’ll be amazed at all the different looks you can make with a little creativity. Belt a cardigan, tuck/untuck a blouse, add a scarf, omit the blazer, etc.

During this process be sure to note any pieces that you did not or barely used during the outfit step and decide if you wish to include or omit them. Be as ruthless or forgiving as you want.

While it’s nice to have a small, tidy capsule, it is also nice to have a few alternates so don’t feel you need to stick to a specific number. Also note anything you didn’t have but wished you did when you were making outfits. Maybe you didn’t have a black blazer, or brown boots. These will be the pieces you may have to buy later.

By now you should have made your decisions. All the pieces you have remaining out of your closet are your new teacher wardrobe pieces. Maybe you want to find a way to keep these separate from your weekend wardrobe or maybe (if you are like me and don’t have a lot of space) you will just put everything back and use the pictures you took as your guideline.

This process should only take a few hours to complete. After you finish it is time to start shopping to fill those holes. You don’t need to buy brand new. Shopping second-hand, sale racks, even trading pieces with friends are all good options for achieving this without spending a lot of money. Ebay and Thredup are great options for second hand treasures (although thredup isn’t in Canada yet I have American friends who find amazing deals on it all the time)

The outfit options for this list can be found in this post. You can see how many ideas that you can get from a small list of pieces.

Good luck with building your wardrobe and with your new job!

If you like this post you can find more Capsule Wardrobe posts here.

Follow me on



One Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.