How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe
Too often I stand in front of a closet crammed full of clothes on the verge of a mental meltdown because “I have nothing to wear.” Just as often I think to myself there has to be a better way. Normally I try and convince myself I need another closet, more room for more clothes. The reality of my first world problem is less is more. I have made a habit of accumulating on-trend styles throughout the seasons, in addition to being very repetitive about the key essentials in my wardrobe. How many pairs of vintage jeans does one need? Same goes for bomber jackets. To minimize my frustration I have come to realize what I need to do is curate a capsule wardrobe. I am not kidding myself though. This may not be easy to do but it is worth a try. Let me tell you why.
The term capsule wardrobe was coined in the 70s by Susie Faux, a London boutique owner. Susie defined the capsule wardrobe as a small wardrobe with a few key pieces. The sweet spot was a dozen or fewer pieces in the wardrobe. You read that correctly, 12! Occasionally, the wardrobe could be updated with a few seasonal items to accent the look. Three times a year…maximum. As you add pieces, you need to remove pieces. By the time the capsule wardrobe made its way to the U.S. in the 80s, things changed. A minimal wardrobe consisted of 30 pieces to include accessories and shoes in coordinating colors. Any more there seems to be increased flexibility in creating a capsule wardrobe. The focus is still on a compact wardrobe with anywhere from 30-40 pieces.
One thing in my favor is I don’t make nearly as many impulse clothing purchases as I used to. It also helps that I have a serious aversion to frequenting anything that resembles a mall. The caveat is when I’m traveling and the anchor store is something I don’t have access to in my city. I do however subscribe to the newsletters of all my favorite online retailers, which can sometimes be disastrous for my closet space. This is especially true if there is a sale on shoes! The creation of a capsule wardrobe will help cut the emotional strings of hoarding clothes, it’s a way to save money for at least the three-month trial and, will further ignite my creativity as I work to enhance my pared down wardrobe with just a few essentials.
If you are thinking about giving this a whirl, in order to create a capsule wardrobe the first thing you have to do is pull everything out of your closet to figure out what you have. I guarantee you will be surprised at what you’ve accumulated. Decide what you want your capsule wardrobe to consist of – what works for your career and your lifestyle. You then need to whittle your current wardrobe down to the key pieces. For instance, a few pair of denim (including a vintage pair), black and white pants, a blazer or two, nice pima cotton tees, a black dress and similar items. You can then enhance your wardrobe with some moderately trendy enhancement pieces. My tastes would lean towards a statement tee under an essential blazer or a lacy top over a staple cotton tee (or under an essential sweater).
Donate, sell or store what you don’t have a need for after you’ve sorted through your wardrobe and selected your essential pieces. In order to keep this capsule wardrobe going, you will need to continue shedding your seasonal items – of course you can donate or sell those also. An added bonus in adopting this fashion lifestyle, even for a brief time, is the space savings that will come along with it. No more crammed clothes in the closet as long as you are embracing a minimalist approach to the items in your wardrobe!
I’d love to hear from any of you who’ve tried it – successfully or not.
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