CAPSULE WARDROBE: WHAT, WHY & HOW

The What

To understand what a capsule wardrobe is I think we should first learn where and how the concept came about in the first place. “Capsule wardrobe” is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. Faux described a capsule wardrobe as a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.

With the career woman specifically in mind, in 1980, Faux pioneered the term and provided a more detailed look into the concept in her book, “Wardrobe: Develop Your Style & Confidence. The idea was then popularised by designer Donna Karan in 1985 when she released a capsule collection called, “Seven Easy Pieces”. 

The term has since come to refer to a collection of clothing that is composed mostly of interchangeable items to maximize the number of outfits that can be created. The aim is to be able to create an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” “staple” “essential” or “basic” items. 

The Why

Capsule wardrobes just make life easier! I aim to make things as simple and uncomplicated as possible. chronic stress and anxiety have been a part of my life since I was a child. I now structure my life in a manner that creates calm by reducing stress, overwhelm, and decision fatigue as much as possible. It’s why I’m a minimalist. Minimalism is how I manage my mental health. It creates calm, peace, and organization in my life and I LOVE it. Here I’m going to give you my top 5 reasons why I choose a lifestyle of capsule wardrobes.

  1. Capsule wardrobes push me to be more intentional, present, and mindful
    I am more intentional with how I spend money, and the pieces I bring into my home and put on my body. They push me to be more present because I shop by choosing pieces that fit my body and lifestyle right now. I don’t shop for “one day” or “maybe”. This has helped me become intentional about buying clothing I will actually wear, and to carefully consider whether I truly need each piece before bringing it into my closet. I am also more intentional about choosing to shop from brands that practice mindful manufacturing, fair labor rights, natural materials, and lasting garments. This pushes me to be mindful about staying away from fast fashion
  2. Saves time
    Ain’t nobody got time to be wasting on trying to figure out what to wear *eye roll*. I mean really, who has time for that? Because my closet is filled with pieces I LOVE, I already know everything I own looks and feel good on me. I don’t waste time and energy going through and/or trying on pieces I don’t love, don’t fit, or know damn well don’t look or feel good on me.
  3. My closet is organized and neat
    I love my organized closet! It’s my favorite. I love finding what I’m looking for with ease and putting away clean clothes easier and faster. Plus, just looking at my closet all organized makes me happy!
  4. Less stress
    This should have actually been number one. This is really my number one reason why I choose simple living in the first place. Capsule wardrobes help me relax. They create calm and peace in my life. Laundry day is much more manageable (thank you, Lord!) and I’m able to focus my attention and decision-making on more important things.
  5. Confidence Booster
    Before adding a piece to my wardrobe I ask myself what I call the three C’s, Do I feel, cute, comfortable and confident in this? I must say yes to all three. If I am unable to say yes to all three, I don’t buy it. By doing this I create a wardrobe I LOVE and fill absolutely confident in. A capsule wardrobe means I fill this way every day, even if I’m just rocking my uniform.

51D15B7A-F310-4A48-AF21-E648A069A3E9The How

Before we go any further, I feel the need to emphasize that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all capsule wardrobe and there certainly are no set of rules to this. It is what you make it. YOU set your closet rules. YOU define your enough. And, you create what works best for YOU. I suggest writing down your “why” in as much detail as you can. This will help with setting your intention and sticking with it. Okay, so let’s get started.

  1. Go through your calendar and pick a day to purge and organize your wardrobe. WRITE IT DOWN. You really want to PLAN for this. Do you need hangers? Boxes for donating? A sitter or friend for the kids so you can focus?
  2. Take all your clothes out and put them in one big pile. Yup, EVERYTHING. Then look at everything you have. Is it a lot? Do you have a lot of items you’ve never even worn? Do you have a lot of items you haven’t worn in years? Take it all in.
  3. Divide your clothes into 4 piles. 
    1. Love it: Do You feel cute, comfortable, and confident? It fits well? yes, girl, keep that!
    2. Maybe: You kinda like it, but something is off about it. Don’t worry you’ll come back to it.
    3. Donate: You are over it! It doesn’t fit and it’s not even your style anymore. NEXT!
    4. Trash: You see holes? It’s in poor condition? Don’t nobody want that! TRASH!
  4.  Once you have everything sorted into your four piles go back through your maybe pile and try on those pieces. Are you feeling cute, comfortable, and confident in them?  If not, it’s time to let someone else have a go with them. There’s no need in holding on to clothing that you feel so-so about and won’t really wear. The point here is to create a wardrobe filled with pieces you absolutely love and will wear often. If your immediate reaction is not, “I love this” then go ahead and put it in the donate pile.
  5. For those pieces you are donating, go ahead and box them up and label it “Donation”. Those clothes do not belong to you anymore. You have let them go and they will serve someone else’s needs. For your trash pile, throw them away immediately! 
  6. Now that you have your pile of pieces you LOVE, hang them up and admire your new wardrobe full of pieces you love! At this point, you may still have a lot of clothes or you may not have much at all. When I did this process I was left with 29 pieces!

  7. At this point, it’s decision time. Are you going to go bigger? Smaller? Create a seasonal wardrobe? A year-round wardrobe? Or, stay where you are? You have to decide what type of capsule you are going to build. Courtney Carver, the creator of Project 333, from Bemorewithless, does a great job showing you how to create a seasonal wardrobe using 33 pieces for 3 months. This was very inspirational to me and I was planning to do it, but the idea of having to switch out my wardrobe every three months felt draining. So, I decided a year-long capsule would work best for me. When trying to figure out how to go about creating one I came across Laurie, from Laurie loo, who created a 52 piece year-round capsule wardrobe, consisting of 37 basics and 15 fun/trendy pieces. I was very drawn to this concept right away but still felt like it didn’t quite fit me. So I decided to put my own take on it and created a 77 pieces year-round capsule wardrobe. So, as you can see, there really is no one-size-fits-all capsule. Create one that works perfectly for YOU.  Below is a sample list showing how I put my 77 pieces together.

    Bottoms: 
    8 jeans 
    2 pants/trousers
    4 shorts
    2 pencil skirts
    Tops:
    7 tanks
    5 T-shirts
    6 Camisoles
    7 Sweaters
    14 blouses
    Dresses:
    7 casual dresses

    3 black dresses
    Outerwear:
    2 blazers

    3 cardigans
    1 trench coat
    1 jean jacket
    2 leather jackets
    1 zip-up sweater
    2 peacoats
    ——————–
    77 PiecesI break this list down in more detail here. As you can see the only things included in my 77 pieces are clothing items. I do not include shoes and accessories. I like to keep those in their own separate capsule.  You can check those out here and here.

If you take anything away from this, I hope it’s that there is no one way, or right way, to create a capsule wardrobe. I think the key is finding YOUR style, creating a wardrobe that works best for you and your lifestyle, and defining your enough. 

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