How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe: 6 Easy Steps To Follow

By Mike-Dave Ayeni
Sustainable Fashion Writer

 

Do you ever find yourself standing in front of your closet, absolutely frustrated at not finding anything to wear? Does this happen even when you have tons of clothes waiting for you to wear them? If you answered yes to those questions, your closet might need intervention immediately. Despite having a lot of clothes to choose from, many people struggle to wear up to 50% of the clothes they own. A lot of women have struggled with the pressure of needing to buy and wear a different outfit for every occasion they attend. With the rise in the popularity of capsule wardrobes, this view has started to change. If you struggle with finding proper outfits in your wardrobe or are simply looking for a total streamline/turnaround with your closet, then what you need is a capsule wardrobe. Capsule wardrobes are the future of conscious and simple fashion. 

This style of wardrobe building is easy, effective, and most importantly, you don’t need to break the bank!

WHAT IS A CAPSULE WARDROBE?

The simple definition of a capsule wardrobe is a carefully curated wardrobe that consists of selected essential items that you love to wear. This collection of selected items are versatile but well-fitted to your style and taste. Depending on the source, your capsule collection should averagely consist of 25-50 pieces, including clothing, shoes, and accessories. The wardrobe could consist of tops that you love, bottoms that are easily matched with those tops, dresses, essential and timeless outer pieces and shoes. Your accessories are also a big part of your capsule wardrobe. 

Building and maintaining a capsule means that you let go of all the trendy pieces that pile at the back of your closet once they go out of style. You will swap those for high-quality, timeless pieces that will stand the test of time and remain valuable regardless of the seasons or trends. Capsule wardrobes can be curated and changed from season to season and also cater to your evolving taste. It all depends on you!

WHY SHOULD YOU START YOUR OWN CAPSULE WARDROBE?

Eliminate The Decision Fatigue And Stress

Too many times, you may find yourself standing in front of all your clothes - hands on your hips, a mind beyond confused and annoyed. All the clothes are there, but for some reason, not a single coherent outfit is there for you to pick out. So, you skip the entire process and settle for your favourite over-worn pair of jeans, leaving behind tons of items you have never worn or have only one a handful of times. When you go over this routine so many times, you start to get tired. This decision fatigue is not a great way to start the day. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to have a cohesive wardrobe with items that just flow together? 

Clear Out Your Space

Believe it or not, you do not need 100 clothing items taking up your closet space...especially if you’re not going to be wearing more than half of them. According to widely quoted statistics, most people only wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. A capsule wardrobe helps you narrow down your items, allowing you to clear out your space. 

Save Time Shopping

Having a carefully curated wardrobe saves you a ton of time at the store. You know what your style is, and you know what pieces and themes will work best for you. This saves you the time otherwise spent on shopping mindlessly while also saving you the time wasted digging through piles of clothes stuffed into your closet.

Sustainability

With a few selected timeless pieces, you wear every item in your wardrobe, leaving nothing to waste. Most of these pieces can last for many years and won’t go out of style. This is a much more sustainable way to approach fashion.

How To Build Your Capsule Wardrobe

STEP 1: ANALYSE YOUR STYLE AND LIFESTYLE

The most crucial step to building the perfect capsule wardrobe is knowing your lifestyle and personal style. Ask yourself specific questions to get a comprehensive look at your style and overall schedule. These questions may include:

  • What are my primary activities?
  • What activities do I engage in during my free time?
  • What are the predominant items in my closet? Heels, mules, lots of floral dresses, casual shirts, and jeans? 

You can go the extra mile and track what you wear for some time. If you have a certain fashion style you want to adopt, look online for inspiration. Take note of pieces, styles, and colours that you love. 

STEP 2: AUDIT YOUR CURRENT WARDROBE

There is no better place to get started than with what you already have! The Considerary’s Meghan (Fashion curator and Stylist) said:

'It is so vital to be able to see and know what you own. Often we have so much, but it’s tucked away in that very back corner with the dust and dog hair. So we can’t even remember what we already have.'

Making that deep dive into your wardrobe can be scary, but you need to bring out every single item of clothing and really look at them. Select the clothes that you have worn in the past month and note them as the majority of your 20%. Depending on your lifestyle, these could be work clothes, activewear, or everyday items. Set out space for four piles:

  • The “Love” pile

These are the items that you love to wear. You wear them frequently, and they fit nicely into your lifestyle. 

  • The “Maybe” pile

This pile consists of clothes that might not fit perfectly. You can’t say why exactly, but you just don’t wear them anymore. These might have sentimental value and if they do, consider putting them in a box for storage. If you haven’t gotten around to wearing them by the end of the year, then you seriously need to consider donating them.

  • The “Definitely Not” pile

These are the clothes you do not wear, and you know that you probably won’t touch them for a long time. Whether they don’t fit or you simply don’t like them, set them aside to be donated. Do not be scared of the donation pile. The rate at which Australians and people across the globe, in general, throwaway clothing is astounding. The average Australian reportedly disposes of an average of 23 kilograms of clothing to landfill each year, making up nearly 93% of the overall textile waste generated. According to a 2017 YouGov report, a whopping 75% of Australians threw out at least one piece of clothing in a year - 30% tossed out more than 10.

  • The “Seasonal” pile

Do you remember that cute knit sweater that you thought would be great for fall? You don’t have to part with it, but there’s no need to keep it in your closet in anticipation for the next winter. Fold it nicely and put it in a storage box. You can go back for it when the season is right.

STEP 3: CHOOSE A COLOUR SCHEME 

This step is optional, but it can come in very handy for building a capsule wardrobe. Your colour scheme should basically consist of 3 main colours, 2 neutrals, and 4 accent shades. Depending on your taste, these numbers could change. 

STEP 4: PICK OUT A FEW ITEMS FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS

Go ahead and pick out a few items that you need for special occasions. Everyone needs a few of those in case any special events come up. Avoid holding on to items that you fantasise about wearing but never really do. 

STEP 5: REDUCE AND REPEAT

Go through the previous steps again and meticulously streamline. You might not like it, but “reduce and repeat” is a key to getting your capsule wardrobe. Take out all the flimsy “what ifs” and excuses and move on! 

Side note: This does not have to be done all at once. Curating your wardrobe is a gradual process. 

STEP 6: INVEST IN QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY

Those juicy discounts are nearly irresistible. There are just some items that look too good in the store to pass up. Other times, it’s your distress shopping spree for that unforeseen event that one time. We have all been there, but it is time to let that go! When shopping, keep calm and pick quality over quantity. Ask yourself questions. “Will this be a long-lasting investment? “Will this be a frequent item that I wear often?” “is it versatile” “does it match my general style?”

Don’t let the sales get in your head. Decide if you really need the item and see if it goes with what you already have in your closet. 62% of store purchases are reportedly considered impulsive buys. So, before you swipe that card, make sure you ask yourself the important questions. Trends will always come and go, but the clothes that you add to your wardrobe are there to stay. Choose wisely, make a plan to purchase the right pieces, and save up for high-quality pieces.

PIECES THAT YOU NEED: A SAMPLE WARDROBE

    • Neutral t-shirts: These could come in the main colours or neutral colours on your colour scheme. You may pick 2-3 of these, and you could also include a polo neck. 
    • Tank Tops: Tank tops would be best suited as basic inner layer pieces in neutral colours. Pick 2 of these that you can rely on to match almost anything in your closet. You could add or replace one of these with a lacy or silk singlet to be layered under outer pieces.
    • Dressy Shirts: If you have a more formal aspect of your lifestyle, the number of dressy pieces that you pick may vary. Ideally, you could use 3 — a white button-down shirt, a stylish lace top, and a more formal and constructed blouse.
    • Outer pieces: Jackets for women come in fun varieties. For your capsule wardrobe, stick to 4 versatile pieces consisting of 2 jumpers and two jackets (a trench coat and a denim/leather/khaki jacket).
    • Bottoms: Include 2 pairs of versatile shorts and 2 skirts. Depending on your work/school lifestyle, the numbers may vary. Add 2 pairs of jeans and 2 pairs of dressy pants. A jumpsuit is a worthy addition.
    • Dresses: the most basic capsule can have 2 dresses: a casual dress and a more formal dress. Pick this carefully to suit the outer pieces in your closet.
    • Shoes: a functional capsule needs 3 pairs of shoes - dressy shoes (these could be heels or a pair of stylish boots), a pair of active shoes (sandshoes), classy neutral-coloured flats.
    • Handbags: Pick 1 casual handbag and 1 formal, constructed one. It is best to choose these in solid, neutral colours, so they match other items perfectly. 
    • Sunglasses: 1 pair is enough. Make sure to pick the ones that go with your face shape and reflect your style and personality. Invest in a quality pair that will last more than a season.
    • Everyday accessories: Pick out 2 pairs of earrings and 2 necklaces that best suit you and your style. And there you have it, your basic 32-piece capsule wardrobe to get started with!

Final thoughts

Ultimately, the key to building and maintaining your capsule wardrobe is using versatile pieces. Creating outfits will be a whole lot easier and quicker. While you will discover that you need different pieces to match your evolving lifestyle and the seasons, the primary goal is to build a capsule that can be seamlessly rotated. Over time, it will all come together.


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