I’ve built hundreds of capsule wardrobes for hundreds of different women in my 15 years as a personal stylist. I love the challenge and the creativity of finding the perfect pieces to reflect a client’s unique lifestyle and personal style, and ensuring they all work together to create a versatile wardrobe. For the right client, a capsule wardrobe is life-changing. (By the way, a capsule = a small wardrobe, i.e. 37 pieces, that mix and match to create multiple outfits).
There is one person I haven’t successfully created a capsule for, however.
And that person is me. I am the problem child.
When you have an eclectic style and your job involves trying a little bit of everything, a capsule is not always the most practical choice.
A cluster, however, is magic.
A cluster is a concept I developed that can help minimalists and maximalists alike build versatile wardrobes that maximize their budget and give them lots of outfit options. And it’s super simple. Here’s the breakdown:
These 6 pieces combine together to create 12 items, and, when combined with other clusters that work with each other, your outfit options increase exponentially.
I’m not a math genius, but that’s a lot.
Whether you want to travel more efficiently, update your wardrobe for a season, or build mini-wardrobes for different areas of your life, a cluster is a tool that you can use over and over again. If you’re just starting out, consider creating an entire cluster from a single store, like I did in today’s video.
I chose Boden because I love it, and because I knew it would be a good source to show you a cluster that is not neutral. Neutral and solid clusters are the easiest, but it’s a little more of a challenge to create clusters based around an azalea-colored pair of pants with a floral pattern.
Here, my 3 step method for creating a spring cluster with color and pattern. (Again, this would be even easier with neutrals and solids, so it works for every personal style!)
Create a Spring Cluster in 3 Easy Steps
Here are 3 easy ways to build a cluster, even as a beginner!
- Pick a Favorite Store: Choose your favorite specialty retailer (not a department store) as a shortcut to creating a versatile cluster. This makes it foolproof to choose colors and patterns that match, as stores like J. Crew, Loft, and Talbots tend to have a color scheme for the season.
I chose Boden for this sample cluster.
- 2. Pick a Pattern: Choose a favorite pattern or print to build your cluster wardrobe around, and to serve as your color palette. This makes it easy to find coordinating pieces and quickly build that cluster.
I chose the azalea-colored pants with a floral print as the starting point for this cluster.
- 3. Choose A Color Palette: Using the pattern for inspiration, choose the colors you will pull out for your cluster. It might be colors that are in the pattern, or colors that simply go well with the pattern.
My Spring 2022 Boden Cluster
And now I’ll show you how this works! I fell in love with a pair of pants at Boden, but when you’re looking at a statement clothing item (which these definitely are) you want to make sure that they are also versatile. So I decided to use them as the foundation of a cluster.
You can shop this cluster right here.
I used the pattern from these pants to inspire the cluster.
I decided to choose the matching sweater to create a chic set, and then neutral tops for the other two tops in the capsule. A bold neutral like the golden brown and a denim jacket round out the cluster.
Using these 6 pieces, I can create 12 different outfits. (I did not include accessories in these pictures to keep it simple, but of course you would wear shoes and stuff. LOL)