Coined by the owner of a London boutique in the 1970s, a capsule wardrobe is a concept that has been floating around for several decades. Consisting of a few timeless and essential garments that can be supplemented with seasonable pieces, capsule wardrobes promise to make life easier and enable people to have stylish, functional wardrobes with minimal investments.
While the idea has been around for a while, it has seen a bit of a revival lately. Millennials have embraced the concept of owning a few basic interchangeable garments for several years. A capsule wardrobe is an excellent way to solve organizational challenges, simplify your life and upgrade your style. How can a few simple clothing items do all that? Let’s look a little bit closer.
What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?
We’ve already talked a little bit about capsule wardrobes, but what are they exactly? In simple terms, it is just a small collection of functional clothing items that can be worn interchangeably. It includes timeless pieces like t-shirts, tank tops, dress slacks, work shirts, denim, skirts, dresses, and stylish shoes. The exact garments that make up your wardrobe are up to you, but the purpose of a capsule wardrobe is to make it easy to create various outfits. You may have a capsule wardrobe consisting entirely of work clothes, or you may have one that includes options both for work and play. The specifics are entirely up to you.
There are a few recommendations for creating your wardrobe, though. Experts typically recommend including between 37 and 50 pieces but the number is not set in stone. The exact number is not as important as having all of the basics covered with garments that you like that fit you properly. All the pieces should coordinate with each other to ensure that you don’t have to worry about whether your outfit matches.
Starting Your Own Capsule Wardrobe
Starting your own capsule wardrobe isn’t difficult, but it can be a bit intimidating. After all, paring down your massive collection of clothing into just a few dozen pieces is an overwhelming challenge. Getting started requires just that, though.
Before you even attempt to create a capsule, clean out your closet. Take a few hours to go through absolutely everything you own. Pull out the things that you know you will never wear again and put them in a bag (or several bags) to donate.
When determining which pieces to keep for your capsule wardrobe, look for basics that work well with each other. Plain cotton t-shirts, dark denim jeans, black dress pants, black flats and pumps, and neutral-colored dresses or skirts are always good to keep.
Building Your Capsule
Your capsule is what you will pull your day-to-day outfits from. It should consist of clothing that falls into three basic categories. The categories you will ultimately choose should be based on your lifestyle. Some common categories include daily, work, active, fun, lounge and formal. If you hit the gym every morning, spend most of your day at work and then enjoy evenings at home with your family, your wardrobe should consist of gym, work, and lounge clothes. If you attend a lot of formal events, you’ll need items that fall into the formal category. Love going out on the weekends? You’ll need fun clothes for that.
Next, you’ll need to figure out pieces that fit into those categories. A good rule of thumb to follow when shopping is nine tops, five bottoms and five shoes. Your collection of tops should include several basic tees in coordinating colors. Black and white are must-haves, but you can also have a couple in other colors to match your personal style. For bottoms, guys should have a couple of pairs of jeans, dress pants and khakis. Ladies should have jeans, dress pants, skirts and shorts. Dresses are good to include, too.
Whether you are shopping from your own closet or buying a new wardrobe, opt for quality over quantity. Look for well-constructed pieces that look great on you and you feel great wearing. Since you’ll be wearing these clothes frequently, it is important to choose ones that will hold up to a good bit of wear and tear. Avoid any pieces that only work in one outfit. Instead, choose the ones that can be used in multiple looks. A shirt that can be dressed up for work or dressed down for drinks or a weekend of relaxing is perfect. Versatility is key when it comes to choosing pieces that will ultimately work well together.
When choosing accessories to go with your capsule wardrobe, look for pieces that coordinate with multiple outfits. Belts and scarves in neutral colors work well. Invest in a few nice pieces of jewelry or a watch that will be appropriate for numerous styles. Rather than overwhelming yourself with countless accessories to choose from, choose pieces that count.
A capsule wardrobe is a great way to declutter your closet and make getting ready in the morning a whole lot easier. With a capsule wardrobe, you can create multiple looks from a few basic pieces and look great no matter what you wear. Think about your personal style and your needs when selecting pieces and you will be on your way to having a simple yet stylish wardrobe you’re sure to love.