All You Need to Know About Starting a Capsule Wardrobe
Updated: Nov 29
Fast fashion has taken over the clothing industry, with social media fuelling our consumer culture and tricking us into believing that we must own everything. Surely, there has to be a better way. But of course there is! Here, we have summarized all you need to know about starting a capsule wardrobe.
The pandemic has given us an opportunity for more clarity in all areas of our lives - including our closets. We realize we have more than we need, and yet, it seems like it is ever enough. This dilemma has plagued us for years until we discovered the Capsule Wardrobe.
WHAT IS A CAPSULE WARDROBE?
A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of curated clothing pieces that all work together in a cohesive fashion; a mini wardrobe made up of go-to garments that you love to wear and can be interchanged to create whole new outfits. They are usually timeless pieces that can be worn year after year, without going out of style.
Most capsule wardrobes start out with the basics (ie colours and type of clothing) and work their way up from there. Here, we explore the topic of creating a capsule wardrobe and how it greatly contributes to sustainability.
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET RID OF CLOTHES?
We love clothes just as much as the next person, so we understand that it can feel hard to part ways with the pieces that no longer serve us. This can be for a multitude of reasons:
The feeling of having wasted money on a purchase
The guilt of not using an item that someone had given as a gift
Retro items making comebacks every now and then
Body shape and size have changed
Keeping items for sentimental reasons or emotional attachment
The volume of clothes or amount of effort that one needs to go through to minimize their belongings
Whatever the reason may be, we always recommend wearing what you have first, before buying new. And if the piece is no longer something you wish to wear, donate it (if it’s in good condition) or repurpose it (kitchen or floor rags is an easy one).
BENEFITS OF A CAPSULE WARDROBE
Keeping quality over quantity means having less but long-lasting, high-quality, well-made items from ethical brands.
‘Ditch Fast Fashion, Embrace Slow Fashion.’
1. Get dressed quickly, without having to over-think about what to wear on a daily basis. Something more commonly known as ‘decision fatigue’ or ‘ego depletion’ - a psychological phenomenon surrounding a person’s ability or capacity to make decisions. The fewer decisions we have to make each day, the more energy we can redirect towards others.
2. Maintain a neat closet with your favourite clothes. Internalizing which pieces of clothing are actually being worn and if the fit and function of these pieces suit your current state.
3. Different combinations of outfits to wear because all of the pieces work together, cohesively. It works in all of your personal and professional settings. Need more outfits but don’t want to spend a load on new clothing? A capsule wardrobe is the answer.
4. It helps you understand your personal style or look. It might be practical to have neutral-coloured basics, but one might find it a bit boring. Likewise can be said for clothes that are heavy on the prints or designs. You will begin to notice the articles of clothing that match your unique style quickly.
5. Save time and money. Shop intentionally by knowing how much you are willing to spend on your collection. Have a close look at each of the pieces in your closet, and if needed, build a budget and shop only for the very few items that complete your wardrobe. You’ll spend less time and money replacing the items or making impulse purchases.
6. Buying less often could give you more flexibility to research where you’re buying from and the brand’s sustainability practices. When you’re intentionally reducing your consumption, you begin to think twice when it comes to opening up the purse strings.
BUT HOW MANY PIECES?
While the concept of a capsule wardrobe is not new, people’s techniques in getting their own version together vary from one another. As we learn more about our own personal style in professional and social settings, the concept of the capsule wardrobe can greatly vary in colour, style, number, and pieces.
What do we think? There is no specific number or set style but the perfect number is one that is small enough to simplify your closet while capturing your own personal style, yet large enough to give you the creative freedom to express your personality, which means that the size of your capsule wardrobe will be different from someone else’s. Experiment for yourself and figure out which items work perfectly for you. If you can refine it even further by using fewer pieces, that’s even better!
3 WAYS TO GET STARTED
1. COLD TURKEY: The fastest, perhaps the toughest, way to create your capsule wardrobe. By taking everything out and removing all items from your closet, clothes racks or chest of drawers, it gives a blank slate to start. Physically hold each piece then sort these out in piles: to keep (what you like and love), to donate or sell, to repurpose or recycle. Take your time in trying every piece to see how they fit and if these are articles of clothing that you would honestly wear again.
2. START SLOWLY: If you need help in purging your items, then ease your way into the whole process. Create a plan or list of what you would like your dream closet to look like - a moodboard, then work towards this goal in 3-hour increments. As well, you can try the 10x10 Challenge™ - 10 items into 10 outfits for 10 days, and see how that process works for you. Follow through with sorting them in the same piles: keep, donate/sell, recycle/repurpose.
3. SEASONAL FITS: Try creating a capsule wardrobe for a certain season and use that opportunity to reassess what you’d like to include in your small collection. Summer outfits may have fewer items than winter looks. Take the process as a seasonal practice so that you don’t get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of the piles of clothes.
‘Choose kindly, Reassess. Spend Wisely, Progress.’
It all sounds fairly easy: create your own bespoke wardrobe collection by going through pieces you already own. Start with your base colours and articles of clothing, add accent colours and patterns, ensure that you have room for outdoor essentials and shoes, and then a splash of accessories. It is, however, time-consuming especially at the beginning of the entire process. You’ll need to invest the energy, time and effort into creating the wardrobe that works for you. It is an ever-evolving process of evaluating what articles of clothing work for you at certain points in your life.