When Julie Andrews sang “these are a few of my favorite things” in The Sound of Music, she very well could have been thinking about capsule wardrobes. Of course, she made her clothes out of curtains, so…
Capsule wardrobes are a recent trend, but they actually originated in the 70’s. What is it, you ask? A capsule wardrobe is a limited amount of versatile clothing items (roughly 20-30 or so pieces) that make up your entire wardrobe, typically divided by seasons, and also including outerwear. Only your favorite pieces are included, ensuring that you are wearing nothing but the best for you each and every day.
The idea of a capsule wardrobe was first introduced by Susie Faux, a London boutique owner. She coined this term to describe a small, yet timeless, interchangeable clothing collection for women. Her boutique, Wardrobe, was in essence a one-stop-shop for creating a capsule wardrobe.
There are several reasons why they are so popular.
First off, this limited selection includes only your favorite items. Say goodbye to the days of trying on outfit after outfit and still thinking nothing looks good on you. When your entire wardrobe is made up of only your favorite clothes, you are free to feel good about yourself without the burden of stressing about your physical appearance. You feel good everyday when you get dressed because you are no longer judging yourself. And we all know that when you feel good, it shines through. Everything seems a little bit easier when we have comfort and confidence in ourselves.
Another perk to having a capsule wardrobe is the minimalism. How many of you have closets and drawers full of clothes and still feel like you can’t ever find a thing to wear? Many of us overcompensate with our clothing and keep things that we just don’t use. A capsule wardrobe ensures that you are only holding on to items that are actually worn on the regular. No waste. No excess. Mostly, they are comprised of a neutral color palette; blues, grays, whites, blacks, etc. The point is to have pieces that can be intermixed with each other, making your limited wardrobe incredibly versatile and getting dressed every day a time-saving breeze.
Not convinced yet? A capsule wardrobe makes your life easier. That may sound silly, but realistically how much time and attention do you spend picking out clothes, shopping for clothes, and repeatedly changing your outfit before leaving the house? If you stop holding on to clothes that you don’t even like, you will stop putting them on your body, and this can really cut down on the time it takes you to get ready. It’s no secret that some of us can take hours trying to find something to wear.
Also, if you stick to the capsule wardrobe method, no more shopping sprees! Some of you might miss this, but that is why it takes commitment. You only shop once before the new season starts. Can you imagine shopping for clothes only 4 times a year? How much money do you spend on clothes and accessories during the year? Think of all the money you can save when you stop splurging on things that never even make it out of your closet.
Capsule wardrobes are great for men too. Anyone with a busy lifestyle or who is just looking for simplicity can benefit from having one.
So just how do you build one? Begin by creating a list of what you need in your new capsule wardrobe with a total piece count in mind. For example, if you decide on a 32-piece capsule wardrobe, list the individual pieces you need it to be comprised of and the number of those pieces you need. This is just the beginning, so you may change it as you build and that’s ok. You have to start somewhere. An example of this is below:
1 Dress Pants
2 Light Sweaters
1 Button Down Shirt
2 Tank Tops
1 Trench Coat
The next step is the purge. The only items you want to keep are the ones that wind up in the “absolutely LOVE it” category. Donate all other items. Don’t forget that this includes coats, shoes, and other accessories like jewelry, purses, and scarves. Under garments and lounge clothes don’t have to be restricted to this method, but still try to keep them to a minimum.
The key is to have quality pieces that are considered an investment. Typically you want a few pieces that can be used for all seasons, maybe your favorite jeans and t-shirts. The rest of the wardrobe changes based on the season, and this is the only time you should be spending time and money shopping for clothes.
After you have purged your closet, fill in your numbered items with actual pieces. Number another sheet of paper 1-32 and begin filling in the blanks.
1. Black Over-the-Shoulder Purse
2. Tan Purse
3. Black Wrap Dress
4. White Dress
5. Lace Skirt
Continue building and revising your list until you find yourself content with the collection you have. If you need to fill in some gaps, now is the time to shop. Try to invest only in quality pieces to guarantee their value and prevent frequent replacing.
A few key tips:
If you find yourself not wearing something for some reason or another within your first two weeks, ship it out! That defeats the whole purpose of the capsule wardrobe. You should want to wear any of the items in this collection at any given time because remember, they are only your favorites and what you feel most comfortable in.
If you find yourself having an incredibly hard time getting rid of certain pieces, try boxing them up and putting them out of sight. You can feel comfortable knowing that you still have them, but tucking them away will open your eyes to just how badly you want them. If after a few weeks, you haven’t even missed them, give the box away without even opening it.
Not everyone includes outerwear and accessories in their capsule wardrobes. If you are looking for minimalism to the extreme, this is for you, but if you are just experimenting, start out with only your clothes. Workout clothes, sleepwear, and the like can be excluded.
When it comes to cleaning and caring for your capsule wardrobe, make sure you give it the attention it needs. Again, think of this as an investment. You want to prolong it for as long as possible and that means proper care and cleaning. Consider dry cleaning your items to extend their life. When properly cared for, a capsule wardrobe can be easier and more affordable to take care of. The benefit of having a smaller wardrobe is the smaller cost of cleaning that comes with it, along with less upkeep.
If you are interested in trying out a capsule wardrobe for yourself, there is an abundance of information online on them. While we put a lot of stock in how we look and may think limiting our wardrobe will cause this to be more difficult, you have to ask yourself if you are really spending your time and money productively. It doesn’t take a hundred stylish outfits to make you feel good, just one great outfit that you love and feel like yourself in.