Capsule Wardrobe: a small group of coordinating basics and accent pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits.
If you’re new to slow fashion, a great way to dip your toe in the water is to experiment with capsule wardrobes. Capsule wardrobes have been gaining popularity for several years now and it’s really no wonder when you consider their numerous upsides.
Enthusiasts swear that downsizing their closet saves them time, stress, and money, on top of helping them hone their individual style and focus on the pieces they truly love and feel great wearing.
Though there’s no hard and fast rule, a capsule wardrobe generally consists of about 30-40 pieces that should serve you for at least 3 months. The idea is rooted in the philosophy of “less is more.” Less choices to consider (and be overwhelmed by!) means more time, energy, and resources to put towards the things that really matter in your life.
And, while a 40 item limit can sound severe to newcomers, when carefully curated, a great capsule wardrobe can take the stress out of getting dressed without actually limiting your options.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind When Creating Your Capsule:
Don’t try to overhaul your entire closet in one shot. Plan your capsule for the next 3 months and see how it goes. At the end of the 3 months, do it again.
If even breaking it down into seasons seems like too much, create a mini-capsule and try it for one week. The idea is to make your life easier. If baby steps are what you need to avoid feeling overwhelmed, that’s fine.
Stay True to Yourself
Your first capsule wardrobe is not the time to reinvent your personal style. This is about simplifying your life and focusing on what you naturally gravitate towards. Your capsule wardrobe is for you! Do your best to let go of any pressure tied to outside expectations of what your style should be.
Consider the Weather Forecast
You’ll want to select pieces that will be weather appropriate for at least the next 3 months. Since we’re in Pennsylvania (where it’s been known to snow in April!), our spring capsule wardrobe needs to be versatile enough to handle a wide range of temperatures. Yours may look completely different.
With these things in mind, you’re ready to begin the actual process of creating your capsule wardrobe. We’ve broken it down into 5 easy steps.
Step 1: Define It
The first step to creating a capsule wardrobe is defining your own personal style. Try pulling out a few of your favorite pieces from your closet and ask yourself what you love about them.
Which cuts or styles make you feel like you look your best? What do these pieces have in common? Are there certain colors you prefer? Do you like to layer or prefer to keep it simple?
Once you’ve defined the features you’re looking for in your capsule wardrobe it will be much easier to part with the items that don’t measure up.
Step 2: Limit It
Decide on the maximum number of pieces you want to keep. A typical range is 30-40 but, like we said before, there are no hard or fast rules. Do what works for you but remember that the point is to simplify your closet. The more items you keep, the more likely you are to end up right back where you started.
Here’s an example breakdown of a spring capsule wardrobe:
3 Coats, 1 peacoat + 1 ski jacket + 1 moto jacket
2 Dresses, 1 t-shirt dress + 1 LBD
12 Tops, 4 t-shirts + 5 blouses + 3 sweaters
10 Bottoms, 3 jeans + 3 pants + 3 skirts + 1 shorts
7 Pairs of Shoes, 1 tall boots + 1 booties + 2 ballet flats + 2 sneakers + 1 heels
3 Handbags, 1 clutch + 1 tote + 1 crossbody
Step 3: Sort It
Now it’s time to say goodbye to the clothes that are no longer serving you. We recommend sorting into 3 piles:
Gone: anything that doesn’t fit you well, is out of style, or on its last legs
Maybe: anything you’re undecided about or is out of season and could become part of a future season’s capsule
Keep: the mainstay pieces that pass the capsule wardrobe test by being comfortable, flattering, and versatile
At the end of the sorting process you’ll be saying a final goodbye to everything in the Gone pile and storing the Maybe pile to be reassessed at a later date. The Keep pile will become your exciting new capsule wardrobe for the next 3 months!
Step 4: Test It
Use the pieces that survived the final cut to create as many unique outfits as you can. A capsule wardrobe of 35 pieces can create over 1,000 outfits! You certainly don’t have to come up with that many right off the bat but you want to be sure you’ve covered your bases in the versatility department.
If you’re having trouble creating enough outfit variations from what you have, look for style staples that may be missing. Ask yourself what type of piece could help you create more outfits with what you have. Then check your Maybe pile to see if it’s hiding anything that can fill that role.
Step 5: Embrace It
Hooray! You’re all set to start living a more intentional life – at least when it comes to getting dressed. We hope this guide helps you declutter your closet and savor the sweetness in your day-to-day routine for greater overall peace of mind! Enjoy your new capsule wardrobe!
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