Many successful people have jumped on the capsule wardrobe bandwagon, and for good reason. It limits decision making, leaves you only with clothes you know you like, and gives you a multitude of mix and match options. Drew Barrymore even wrote a post about why she put her closet on a “diet.”
The purpose of a capsule wardrobe is to give you a substantial amount of versatility with a small number of pieces. A capsule wardrobe is not a free-for-all sort of deal; it takes planning and some trial and error to figure out what works best for you.
I can’t say my wardrobe is perfect; creating a capsule wardrobe is a process that takes time (and money). But, as they say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Here is what you need to know to begin your own journey towards a capsule wardrobe.
1. Get rid of everything that doesn’t fit you.
There comes a point when we need to just let go. If a piece of clothing does not fit anymore, or maybe never fit right to begin with, then out it goes.
There is no advantage to holding onto something that is likely just making you feel bad. Focus on creating a wardrobe full of clothes that work great on your body and make you feel good.
Of course, an exception can be made for situations like pregnancy. But otherwise if it has been a long time (like a year or two) and the clothes still don’t fit, think about saying goodbye.
2. Take out everything that doesn’t excite you.
We all have them— those clothes that always get passed up in favor of the ones you really want to wear until you have to wear them because the rest of your clothes are dirty. That, or maybe you just wait for the laundry and never wear them at all. Either way, it’s time to let those clothes go because all they’re doing is cluttering your wardrobe.
3. Define your style.
Actually knowing in a concrete way how to define your style is very helpful in creating one cohesive wardrobe. If you want to own a minimal amount of clothes, which is our goal here, then you can’t try to be a bunch of different styles. That does not make for one cohesive wardrobe, but rather a bunch of pieces of various wardrobes.
So be it casual, preppy, bohemian, sporty, etc., just find something that works for you that you can plan your clothes around.
4. Realize that you don’t need very many clothes.
A traditional capsule wardrobe is 30 pieces or less. This might not sound like a lot, but if you have perfectly planned out your wardrobe then you will have eliminated fluff pieces that only go with one thing and don’t add lots of value.
5. Pick a couple of neutral colors to buy most of your core pieces in.
This way they will all go together, and you will be able to wear your more brightly colored accent pieces with them. There are many different possibilities for neutral combinations.
I have chosen black and tan as my two main neutrals with olive green and brown included as well, but some other neutrals you could choose from are navy, blush, grey, cream, olive green, etc. Which neutrals do you find yourself drawn to the most?
6. Take stock of the pieces you have left and fill in any gaps.
Once you have a good idea of what you are going to keep and what kind of style you want, it’s time to start planning. What pieces do you have to have in order to feel like you have a complete collection?
Some of the general types of pieces you need to think about including are short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, cardigans, sweaters, jackets, dresses, pants, and shoes.
Most of the other types of wardrobe pieces, such as undershirts, underwear, bras, scarves, jewelry, socks, etc., don’t need to be included in your 30 pieces (unless you’d like to make an ultra-minimal capsule wardrobe).
Make sure as you are planning that all of your pieces will go together. When you’re only buying a small number of items, you need to make sure that you can mix and match almost all of your pieces. If you buy pieces that only go with a limited number of other things then you probably won’t end up wearing them as often.
7. Buy quality over quantity.
Now that you are at the buying phase, find pieces that are going to go the distance. If you are buying cheap clothes then buying a smaller number isn’t necessarily going to work well. They will wear out quickly, leaving you needing to buy more clothes again soon.
Consider finding stores that you can use as go to places that you know sell quality pieces. A couple of my favorite stores at the moment are Vetta and Able. I also have my eye on some pieces from Everlane, and I love that all of these stores are slow fashion.
8. Stock up on accessories.
With your wardrobe only being around 30 pieces, part of how you can add versatility is by having a variety of accessories to mix and match with your core pieces. This doesn’t mean that you should stuff the newly found space in your wardrobe with a bunch of items, but use accessories, somewhat sparingly, to add in some extra color or style. Things like jewelry, scarves, or hats can give you new ways to wear the same outfit.
Making a capsule wardrobe is great if you want to take the guesswork out of your clothes. It isn’t complicated to create your own; it simply takes some forethought and figuring out what works best for you. Try following a capsule wardrobe, and you just may find that it takes a lot of stress out of your morning routine.
Have you made your own capsule wardrobe? What steps did you take to do so?
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