What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
“I know exactly what I want to wear today”- this statement probably seems strange to you, doesn't it?
Have you ever felt like you have nothing to wear, even though your closet is filled to the brim? You stood in front of your closet and felt overwhelmed at the thought of having to get dressed? We've all been there, but imagine that your closet is organized and full of clothes that you love and that you can combine easily. Getting dressed in the morning would no longer be a time-consuming challenge but your new favorite ritual- whatever the occasion! Doesn’t that sound like the ultimate dream? To never feel indecisive and as if you have nothing to wear? That’s the magic of a Capsule Wardrobe.
The concept of a Capsule Wardrobe has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years. The term was first introduced in the 70s by Susie Faux who owns a boutique in London. It is defined as having a collection of few essential items of clothing that do not go out of fashion (e.g. trousers, blouses, coats) which can be expanded with seasonal pieces.
Faux limits the Capsule Wardrobe to about twelve pieces which can be changed two or three times a year according to the seasons.
The goal is to have less clothes but to be able to combine them all and thus create many different styles. By focusing on timeless basic pieces and essentials that fit you and that you love to wear, you will always know what to wear.
How many items does a Capsule Wardrobe contain?
On average, the Capsule Wardrobe should contain 37 pieces per season including shoes and bags but excluding underwear, pajamas, sportswear and socks. You can however adjust it to your needs and preferences. It is just meant to help you find your true style, make you more mindful when dealing with clothes and encourage you to buy less.
How do I build a Capsule Wardrobe?
Step 1: Determine your lifestyle
Why are our closets filled with clothes but we still feel like we have nothing to wear? The answer is quite simple: because the clothes we don’t wear simply don’t fit. They don’t fit our bodies, our lifestyle and taste because we bought them based on an idea we had in our minds without assessing the practical aspects.
In this step, the goal is to determine what kind of activities you do on a weekly basis and to figure out which items of clothing you actually need regularly. Owning lots of elegant attire when you have more of a casual lifestyle might not be a perfect fit.
Step 2: Find your personal style
Once you have figured out your lifestyle you can continue by trying to find your true personal style. This might be the most difficult step because we are constantly being flooded with fashion inspo-pics, new trends and items that we think we need to have which can get quite overwhelming and make us feel like we don’t really know what our personal style is.
In this phase it’s important to be patient with yourself and to remember that your style doesn’t have to match one specific aesthetic. It’s about finding clothes that allow you to express your unique self and that make you feel comfortable and confident. Your style can be as versatile and eclectic as yourself!
Step 3: create a color scheme
Your color scheme should ideally consist of a few base colors, neutrals and a couple of accent colors.
Base colors are – as the name might suggest- the foundation of your Capsule Wardrobe. They are timeless and classic neutrals that will make up the core pieces of your wardrobe and that you will use to build your capsule on. Usually, they include neutral colors like black, white, grey, navy, beige. But feel free to use other colors as base colors if you wear them a lot. You can build your Capsule Wardrobe on as many base colors as you want but we suggest sticking to one or two of them.
Neutrals are colors that are particularly easy to combine with your base colors. Usually, neutrals are all colors mentioned above that you haven’t included in your base colors.
Accent colors are all colors that are not included in your base colors. They are supposed to elevate your outfits and make them more interesting. Many people change them according to season but you can do it as often as you want. Just keep in mind that you should feel comfortable wearing them and that they should make up a smaller amount of items. Feel free to use prints and patterns as accents.
We created some examples for possible color schemes to help you visualize what your palette could look like.
Step 4: declutter
Now that’s where you can finally implement everything you have established in theory. Before you get too enthusiastic, remember to take your time for this process and to not rush your decisions. Every item you throw away causes pollution so you might want to think of other ways to get rid of your clothing (e.g. donate, sell, give it to a friend).
While decluttering you can put your clothes into three categories.
Keep: Items in this category are the ones you love and that you will want to keep for your Capsule Wardrobe. When you categorize items as such, keep in mind that they should match your color palette and your lifestyle.
Maybe: Those are items that you are unsure about. There is no need to make decisions for all items at once. Store those pieces in a box and see if you find yourself going back to them in the following months. If you realize that you don’t actually wear the items you put away, you can donate, sell or recycle them after a certain period of time.
Sometimes we already know the answer deep down but we are not ready to accept it, so this is a good way to evaluate if you really want to keep an item or not.
Donate, sell, give away: This category contains items that – as Marie Kondo would put it- no longer bring you joy. They have served their purpose and can be given to friends, sold or donated.
Step 5: buying new items and maintaining your Capsule Wardrobe
After decluttering you should have a good overview on what’s in your closet so now it’s time take note of what you are missing in your wardrobe. A good strategy to avoid impulse purchases is to make a list of things you need to buy beforehand. When shopping, make sure that your basics are of good quality so that you can wear them for a long time. When choosing shoes, we also advise you to consider whether they really suit your type and lifestyle and are of high quality. We've also fallen in love with a few pairs of shoes before, but then found out that they didn't fit into our everyday life. Shoes in particular are a long-term investment, so be careful when choosing and keep your capsule wardrobe in mind.
In between, treat yourself to statement pieces that are a little more exciting. Once you have created a good base, you can easily combine these special pieces to make your style even more individual. You can also accentuate your clothes with great accessories to add more colour.
Since your style will probably change over the months and years it’s useful to keep reassessing your colors and choices and to go through this entire process every now and then.
A Capsule Wardrobe is a great way to reduce the amount of clothes you buy and to stick to your personal style. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself- it’s a concept that can be adapted to your needs and it’s supposed to be fun!
Every piece of clothing should make you feel confident and excited for the world to see your beauty!