Have you ever found yourself staring blankly at the contents of your overfilled wardrobe thinking to yourself that you have nothing to wear? You’re not alone! Studies show that women spend on average 6 months of their lives deciding what to wear compared to only 4 months for men.* Building a capsule wardrobe is a great way to ensure you never run out of outfit ideas and never go out of style.
Capsule wardrobes have been trending as of late with many women wanting to go back to higher quality and more sustainable basics that will last decades, if not a lifetime. Here are our top tips to get started and never again run out of outfit options!
What is a capsule wardrobe?
The most straightforward definition of a capsule wardrobe is a curated selection of pieces that compliment each other and can be worn interchangeably to create dozens of different outfits. It’s also worth noting that generally speaking, building a capsule wardrobe means you will invest more in quality rather than quantity, a more sustainable approach to shopping.
Step 1: Find Your Style Before Building Your Capsule Wardrobe
Building a capsule wardrobe does not mean that you will end up wearing the same as everyone and that you cannot find your own style in this trend. If you find yourself with a very eclectic wardrobe with no clearly defined style and not much that actually goes together, the first step is to spend some time creating a mood board.
One of the best places to start for this is Pinterest which easily allows you to create different boards. Spend some time looking at outfit images and save them to narrow down on a style over time. It can be useful creating a board for each item of clothing for example: jeans, shirts, shoes, bags etc…
Deciding on a colour palette is also recommended. A neutral colour palette wardrobe is probably the easiest one to build with lots of options out there. If that’s the case, you will want to go for a lot of browns, whites, beiges and creams. You can also throw in some black, navy and greys.
If you’re more a colour block kind of woman, you can still build a capsule wardrobe but you may have to spend a bit more time and money on finding pieces that compliment each other and are truly interchangeable.
Step 2: Make a List
Now that you have narrowed down on your style, it’s time to make a list of key items that will make up the basis of your wardrobe. You always want to start with the must-have basics before moving to more elaborate pieces. Depending on the climate that you live in, we’re talking high-quality trousers, jeans, t-shirts, shirts, jumpers, coats, shoes and bags.
Again find shapes that you like and ask yourself the following questions:
- What fit do I prefer for top & bottom? And does that match with the inspiration images I have saved in step 1. Loose, fitted, high waisted, wide etc..
- Which fabrics do I prefer?
- Do I trust myself to look after these fabrics? If you’re not the type of person who will have the time, patience or energy to hand wash your knits, do not go for Cashmere or 100% wool for example
- What is my budget? Building a capsule wardrobe can be an expensive task although you can take time with your purchases and be patient. Your capsule wardrobe is not built in a day!
Shop a Capsule Wardrobe
1. Trench Coat
2. Navy Stripped Jumper
3. Ankle Length Light Wash Jeans
4. Short Sleeve Heavy White T-Shirt
5. White Shirt
The Frankie Shop
6. Black Leather Loafers
7. Black Leather City Bag
8. Gold Necklace
Step 3: Spring Cleaning Before Building Your Capsule Wardrobe
Now that you have your list, you’re going to want to get down to business. Being a little ruthless in your spring cleaning is key to success here. Easier than it sounds but worth it!
Take everything out of your closet and start by putting aside everything that no longer fits or is damaged. Many brands have a recycling program for damaged clothing to repurpose the fabric and you can donate what no longer fits to charity. A more sustainable approach than just putting in the bin!
Next, you’re going to want to look through your closet and see if you have pieces that you feel will work for your capsule wardrobe. Put these aside. Often these will be on your list already but they’re usually items that you find yourself wearing regularly and nice basics.
Last step is to go through any other pieces that you haven’t yet put aside and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this item have sentimental value like a gift for example? If yes, then keep it
- Have I worn this in the last year? This question does not apply to eveningwear or really special items which you won’t wear often
- Do I feel confident and powerful when I wear this?
- Does this go with the capsule wardrobe style I want to build
If you have answered no to the above questions, then it’s probably time to donate these to someone who will make good use of them. If any of these pieces are designer, you may want to sell them on Ebay or Vestiaire Collective for example and use the money towards your new wardrobe.
Many people struggle to clear out their closet but don’t fall in the opposite trap of throwing too much away out of excitement and frustration unless you have the budget to replace these items straight away.
Step 4: Shopping Your New Capsule Wardrobe!
Now this is the most fun, albeit expensive, stage in the whole process. Depending on your available budget, you may be able to fast track it but otherwise, just cross things off your list as and when you can afford them.
When it comes to shopping, we all have our preferences. In-store or online. Alone or with family and friends. So whatever is best for you, carry on as you always have. But if you’re used to shopping fast-fashion, just spend some time researching some more sustainable, higher quality brands first if you can. Here are some suggestions:
Want to look up your favourite brands’ sustainability ratings? Then checkout this website: https://directory.goodonyou.eco/
Building a capsule wardrobe is a continuous process and doesn’t happen in a day. It’s about reducing impulse fast-fashion purchases, taking the time to pick quality pieces that fit you and will last. In the long run, you will come out of this with a wardrobe that you’ll love and that will last you a lifetime.
*Study run by Marks & Spencers published in June 2016