How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe


Summer 2024

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Do you often find yourself rummaging through an endless collection of clothes, only to discover another hurdle of not knowing what to choose? If selecting the right outfit from your personal collection is becoming increasingly difficult, the solution is simple; start a capsule wardrobe.

What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?

The term “capsule wardrobe” dates back to 1970 and was coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called Wardrobe. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is essentially made up of a few versatile pieces that you love to wear. 

Each season, you must clear your closet and keep a set number of pieces in your wardrobe. Although there isn’t a definitive number of clothing items, 30-50 pieces are more or less appropriate. Faux’s philosophy is becoming increasingly popular, especially among designers and celebrities.

A capsule wardrobe doesn’t negate the use of a full-fledged wardrobe; nevertheless, it emphasizes minimalism and finding your own perfect high-quality outfit that would last year after year. The goal is to focus on fit and function.

The famous fashion designer, Donna Karan was among the first to embrace the capsule wardrobe concept by creating her own capsule collection in 1985. The collection included a bodysuit, skirt, tailored jacket, dress, a leather outfit, a white shirt, and a cashmere sweater. The pieces were intended to take a woman from day to night, or from an office to a cocktail party instantly.

Advantages of a Capsule Wardrobe

There are several benefits to incorporating a capsule wardrobe. If you don’t know what they are, we rounded them up.

  • Reduces Decision Fatigue 

Spending hours searching for the right outfit isn’t a characteristic of a capsule wardrobe. Because they use a defined colour palette, which narrows down your focus, the decision process is quick and easy.

  • You Can Afford Nicer Pieces

When you only purchase the clothes you need, you will have more money to invest in timeless, elegant, high-quality pieces that will last for many years.

  • Are Good for the Planet

Purchasing fewer clothes will significantly impact the environment. Fewer clothes mean fewer chemicals in our waters and oceans, and less pollution in clothing landfills, which reduces the carbon footprint.

  • Boosts Your Confidence

Confidence is vital when putting outfits together or trying new pieces. When you like the way you look, your confidence increases. Because all the outfits in a capsule wardrobe are carefully selected and work collaboratively, you can’t help but look and feel stylish.

Three Steps to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

The first step to creating a functioning capsule wardrobe is to audit your closet. Once you know what’s in your closet, follow these easy steps.

  1. Declutter Your Wardrobe

Decluttering your wardrobe involves removing items that you don’t necessarily need or use. That involves donating, selling, or recycling outfits that are duplicates, you don’t like, or no longer fit. It is essential to clear enough space in your closet and use the remaining space to organize denims, sweaters, tops, blouses, tees, tanks, and jackets.

  1. Choose Your Core Pieces

Once you have decluttered your wardrobe, decide on the number of pieces you would like to work with for each kind of clothing item you have. Consider how an outfit blends in, and how it can be mixed and matched with other pieces, colours, and patterns. When evaluating your outfits, choose a colour scheme that includes neutral colours. Having neutral-coloured clothes will make them easily interchangeable to match other outfits. You can always include a few accent colours you like and suit your tone.

  1. Create Ten Everyday Outfits

Having a pre-planned strategy for everyday outfits will make you feel more comfortable with your wardrobe size and save you time and energy. It might be challenging to figure out how to create an everyday outfit ensemble, but you can always look for inspiration on Pinterest or magazines like Vogue and Burda. Select the styles you like. Finally, when you begin creating ensembles, take photos to document the details. You can create a capsule wardrobe folder on your iPhone photo album to quickly access it.

Some found it helpful to write down the details of each ensemble while including a checklist of all the necessary accessories like shoes and jackets. Identifying gaps and weak links in the process is imperative. Chances are some outfits will not always work for you; if this is the case, see if you can swap the outfit for something else or replace it with a more versatile one. If you discover that one of your core pieces works in more than one or two ways, it is worth keeping.

Aaron Levinson | Staff Writer

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