A bit about my journey to a capsule wardrobe. I used to buy cheap clothes and struggled to find a style I really liked/be confident enough to wear what I liked. After I had Emilie I started to live a bit more of a life I was comfortable in and I started to wear clothes I loved and were practical for my new life. My body was very different as well so as I sat around a heap of clothes that were falling apart, weren’t practical for my daily life, and didn’t fit right and said enough. I donated almost everything in my closet, that’s not an exaggeration at all. I loved that my closet only had a few things that I absolutely loved, that I would wear. I kept that mentality as I filled in my wardrobe. I bought quality pieces that I loved and would wear. Most of the basics: jeans, tee shirts, etc overlap in seasons and I can’t tell you how freeing it is.
Here are a few reasons I love this concept and why it really works for me, along with some tips to get you started with a capsule wardrobe and a more sustainable closet.
A capsule wardrobe is like a framework for making getting dressed and shopping/buying less easier. Ideally everything in your closet is interchangeable and will work with everything else, giving you endless outfits but with out the headache of sorting through what goes with what. This is so true.
How many items of clothing should be in your closet for the ideal capsule wardrobe will vary depending on who you’re talking to, some say as much as 50 items per season, some say 10. I like to stay around 35, that includes everything except: pajamas (I have 5 pairs for winter/fall/spring, 5 for summer), work out clothes (I have 3 bottoms and 3 tops), socks, underwear, etc. How much is in yours is going to depend on you, but the less you have the more benefit you get.
It avoids “fast fashion” and allows you to be more sustainable, this is because you use what you have and buy less. Starting a capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean running out and buying a whole new wardrobe. Use what you have that you love,what fits you well, then fill in the holes. I started doing this to create more space and to be more sustainable so I tend to really use what I have, I do buy one or two pieces a season, to update my wardrobe or replace something that has worn out or doesn’t fit anymore. Buying less means I have the money to invest in pieces that are quality, well made, good materials. For me I like to really invest in the basics, coats, shoes, jeans, t shirts, the things that I will wear constantly and get the most use out of. Oddly enough even buying more expensive pieces I still spend less than I used to. I also really try to buy second hand allowing me to get really great clothes still in good condition (some even new) but spending even less money (hurray!!).
Some of my tips for getting started:
Use a color palette this is one of the most helpful things in creating a capsule wardrobe. Yes, it takes a bit of extra time in the beginning but it saves you time in the long run and its kind of fun. For color palettes: for fall I like muted colors, dusty pink, browns, navy with a pop of crisp white; for winter lots of navy and grey with pops of white or plaid; spring soft whites, pinks, and neutral colors; for summer I love blues and whites with a bit of yellow.
Have a check list, this is the one I use. My mom got me in the wonderful habit of using shopping lists when I was young and it is a time and money saver. When I pull out a new seasons clothes I take a few minutes to tick off what on the list I have, this saves me from buying more than I need.
Take care of your clothes. Doing things like following the care instructions, having them tailored, and storing them properly all help to increase the longevity and value of your clothes.
Only wear what you love. for me that is clothes that are simple, tailored, classic bordering on preppy, comfortable, and are practical. For a long time i tried to follow trends and wear styles that just weren’t me, I was never comfortable or confident in what I was wearing so now I just stick with what works for me and ignore trends.
Set guidelines, not rules. When I first started trying a capsule wardrobe I put ridiculous rules on myself, then I would feel guilty if I bought something other that what I needed and no one needs more guilt. The whole purpose of this for me originally was to reduce clutter which for me is stressful, so my solution shouldn’t cause me additional stress, and the same for you.