It is lovely to pull anything out of your closet and feel instantly put together and ready to conquer the day.
Unfortunately, that’s not what getting ready in the morning typically feels like. Instead, many women find themselves trying on multiple pieces, spending what feels like an eternity settling on an outfit as it becomes nearly too late to arrive anywhere on time, and leaving their room looking like a tornado wreaked havoc.
If the latter scenario is a regular occurrence in your household, my friend, may I suggest creating a capsule wardrobe?
What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?
If you’ve ever wondered why you face a closet filled to the brim with all types of clothes and thought, “I have nothing to wear,” a capsule wardrobe may be the answer you’re looking for.
A capsule wardrobe is a minimalist approach to your closet. It consists of a small number of high-quality pieces that share a cohesive color palette and style. These pieces are versatile and can be worn together, maximizing your possibilities without the need for tons of clothes.
This concept dates back to the 70s when Susie Faux, a London boutique owner, noticed that many of her customers had one thing in common. They spent too much money buying too many clothes they ultimately didn’t need or wear. Pieces that seemed trendy at one point but ended up irrelevant within a year. And most importantly, low-quality items that seemed more affordable, but cost more in the long run because customers needed to replace them frequently.
Later, in the 80s, Donna Karan released a groundbreaking collection called Seven Easy Pieces, which created multiple outfits by combining seven wardrobe staples. It was a hit and cemented the idea of the capsule wardrobe.
The Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe
Adopting a capsule wardrobe has many benefits. Some of my favorites include:
- Develops your sense of style. Curating a capsule wardrobe means being intentional with your choice. Each piece requires careful consideration and honesty — does it really match the rest of your selection?
- Makes getting dressed easier. When everything fits and goes well together, you can pull any two or three pieces and be ready to walk out the door in only minutes.
- Reduces your carbon footprint. The fashion industry is infamous for its significant environmental impact. Production and shipping generate carbon emissions that would make many people cringe. A capsule wardrobe means wearing clothes for longer, shopping less and generating less waste.
- Saves you space. Many of us don’t have a massive walk-in closet to store clothes and accessories. The capsule wardrobe’s minimalist approach helps you organize your space more effectively. And most importantly, it makes it easy to see everything at once, whereas a full closet might mean forgetting about pieces at the very back.
- Is cost-effective. The emphasis on quality vs. quantity, and shopping for timeless, long-lasting pieces, translates into financial savings down the line. In addition, investing in high-quality pieces may even bring a profit — just look at the historical price of a Chanel chain wallet.
The Fundamentals of a Capsule Wardrobe
There are four main criteria when curating a capsule wardrobe.
First, your lifestyle dictates your wardrobe needs. In her 1988 book, Susie writes:
“If we apply capsule to everyone, we have to ask: What is his or her lifestyle? What is the most important piece for that lifestyle? That might be a perfectly tailored dress to see friends in; or a beautiful jacket for the office. For others, it might be nice jeans and tops. But for the average person, women and men who go to work need the best clothes they can.”
Second, items must be high-quality and durable, ensuring a positive return on the investment (you can wear the item for a long time). A great cocktail dress or trench coat will last you for years, and other items, like purses and jewelry, can become family heirlooms and smart investments.
Third, versatility is a must. Versatile pieces mean that simple variations allow you to wear each piece in the different facets of your life. Accessorizing, changing your hairstyle or makeup, or adding high heels can take your basic skirt from the office to a cocktail party.
And finally, a good fit is paramount for the success of your capsule wardrobe. It boosts your confidence and makes clothes stay relevant for longer.
Capsule Wardrobe Checklist
As I mentioned earlier, your lifestyle is the foundation of your capsule wardrobe. You must consider your daily needs and preferences when curating one, as a mom of two toddlers may have drastically different needs from a childfree woman navigating the corporate world.
That said, these are the staple pieces for you to consider when curating your capsule:
- Two to three blouses.
- Plain, neutral T-shirts.
- White button-down shirt.
- Knit sweater or cardigan.
- Classic trench coat.
- Neutral blazer.
- Great-fitting jeans.
- Dress pants.
- Fun mid-length skirt.
- Day dress.
- Cocktail dress (perhaps a Little Black Dress?).
- Tailored suit (pants or skirt).
- Versatile handbag.
Factors like the weather and your office’s dress code will undoubtedly affect your choices. Many people opt to create seasonal capsules and use the in-between times to transition from one to the next. So keep these factors in mind when curating your garments.
Many times, we fill our closets with countless pieces that don’t suit our style or body type. We feel tempted when perusing the sales rack or scrolling on social media. But falling for this temptation often translates into a closet packed with clothes that rarely see the light of day.
A capsule wardrobe is a smart, affordable approach to exploring your personal style and creating a polished look that increases your self-confidence. When done well, it saves you money and time and frees you up to enjoy other rituals instead of rushing to get dressed every time you head out.
Schedule a style audit today. Together, we will explore your personal style and curate a capsule wardrobe that feels like you.