Okay, so I’ve decided you want to give a capsule wardrobe a try but the question is what should be in it? You want to create a wardrobe of clothing items that mix and match but also work well with your individual lifestyle. For me, it is quality, wash ‘n wear neutral clothing I can easily layer with a little colour thrown in here and there.
Let’s take a look the individual items you’ll want to include when creating a capsule wardrobe that reflects your personal style.
Tank tops are invaluable. I tend to wear them daily under my other shirts. They are also a must have piece for any see-thru blouses and sweaters you may have.
Generally I keep my tank tops neutral with the exception of a few more colourful ones for the spring and summer season.
Short sleeve T-shirts
I find my short sleeve T-shirts are the most versatile items I have in my wardrobe. They carry me through most seasons and can easily be dressed up or down.
I wear them alone, paired with scarves, blazers and have even been known to sleep in them.
The style options for T-shirts are vast. You'll find everything from loose and fitted options to V-neck scoop and crewneck styles. Select the style and colours that are the most flattering on you.
Long sleeve T-shirts
For fall and winter dressing, a long sleeve tee is a must. It can stand alone or be worn under a sweater when the weather is chilly.
Again, neutral is best here but you might also want to consider stripes.
Blouses and shirts
Depending on your lifestyle, you may wish to opt for classic style blouses or more casual shirts. Or, keep your wardrobe balanced by incorporating both.
There are many styles to choose from such a straight button up ones and pullovers to ones that wrap. You can opt for solid colours or prints.
You can easily switch up your look by pairing them with skirts, pants, or jeans.
Dressy or casual, blouses and shirts are key elements to adding varied look to your wardrobe.
Like T-shirts, the neckline on sweaters also varies from V-necks and U-necks to round-necks and crews.
Well it's good to have one bulky neutral sweater in your wardrobe, I find lightweight sweaters are more versatile and will carry you through more seasons. Lightweight options will warm you on a chilly summer evening but also layer well in the fall. They also often pair well with a bulkier vest or cardigan in the winter.
A good wardrobe isn't complete without a black dress. When it comes to more formal occasions, it's an essential piece.
Keep the one in your wardrobe that is not only the most versatile but the most flattering on your body type.
If shopping for a new one, aim for black dress that is classic with limited detailing. You want to be able to keep this piece for several years.
Who doesn't love a cardigan for warming you up on a cool day? It can also add a little flair to your look (in the case of a waterfall style) or if you favour a button up, it can come in real handy if you get a food stain on your blouse, T-shirt or tank.
Whether paired with skirts, pants or jeans, blazers can really dress up your look. Opt for styles that complement the other clothing items in your wardrobe. Blazers come in all shapes and sizes from classic to crop and long styles as well as signature waterfall styles.
Your lifestyle will determine whether or not a black skirt is a wardrobe essential for you. Personally I'm more of a pants girl so even though I do have a black skirt I tend not to wear it as much as I wear my pants and jeans. That said I did include it in this list of essentials as it can be a very versatile wardrobe item.
If you don't already have a black skirt you absolutely love but think you could benefit from having one in your wardrobe then shop for one that suits your body type. For instance you may not be a pencil skirt kind of person but a skater or A-line style maybe quite flattering. Also consider the length of the skirt that is the most attractive on you.
Jeans and pants
How you spend the bulk of your days will likely determine whether you favour jeans over pants. A combination of both that are flattering to your figure will cover you from day to evening.
Look for cuts and lengths that are most flattering on you. Not sure which styles are best? Go to a department store like Marks in Canada that features a variety of brands, styles and sizes to help you determine the best options.
When it comes to jeans and pants it's in your best interest to only invest in ones you love. As a wardrobe staple jeans and pants are the foundation of your wardrobe so select them wisely.
The bottom line to this above list is to always focus on quality over quantity and select fabrics that feel comfortable and are flattering to your body shape.
Of course there are many more items you can incorporate into a capsule wardrobe like shawls, leggings and jean jackets.
It's really up to you as to what you want to include or leave out of your closet. The important thing is to have fun playing around with your wardrobe and to create something that works well for you on a day-to-day basis.
We all deserve to have a wardrobe we feel good in.
When it comes to creating a capsule wardrobe that works best with your lifestyle you want to give some thought to colour and versatility as well as what kind of basics work with your personal style. Other considerations include the wisdom of purchasing quality items and how best to maintain your clothing so it lasts longer.
Keep things neutral
You want to look for neutral, versatile pieces that will pair with anything. The key here is to have a few items in your wardrobe that are subtle and don't distract from your statement pieces. These basics keep your wardrobe balanced.
Aside from complementing your statement pieces, your basics can easily be dressed up with accessories making them ideal for transitioning from day to night easily. Basics are also the key to travelling light and by having a few good quality basics in your wardrobe and some great accessories; it is unlikely people will notice you’re wearing the same clothing frequently.
Determine your style basics
When it comes to the ins and outs of basic wardrobe items there are several factors to consider. You'll want to give some thought to your preferred style. Your personal style is reflected in the neckline you like and in the style and length of your pants as well as the fabric (rayon, cotton) and the fit (fitted or loose) you prefer.
Not sure what style basics are best for you? Consider the basics you currently have in your closet that you wear most frequently and ask yourself why? Still not sure, whether you're more suited to a scoop than a V-neck? If that's the case, it would be good to go shopping, not necessarily to buy, but to try on a variety of styles to help narrow down your basic style preferences. It is also wise to consider the styles of the statement pieces you'll be mixing and matching your basics with e.g. crew and turtle necks accessorize well with longer, bulkier necklaces while V-necks work better with shorter ones.
Opt for quality over fast fashion
Invest in high-quality classic clothing items. The reason for this is two-fold. One, classic styles never truly go out of style and two, quality well-made basics will last longer and stand up to multiple washings than their cheaper counterparts will.
Wash your clothes less frequently
As personal stylist, I often get questions from clients re: how to make their clothes last longer. Personally I’ve found the key to having a sustainable capsule wardrobe is to wash my clothes less often. Aside from being better for the environment to wash less, my clothing lasts longer. When I come home from work I make it a habit to switch out what I'm wearing for more appropriate clothing for what I'm planning on doing next be that cooking the family dinner, house cleaning or just relaxing with a good book.
Sometimes I spot clean or in the case when something does need laundering, I hang it to dry versus throwing in the dryer. If it is something that wrinkles easily then I put it in the dryer for a short period of time, and then hang it to finish drying. Doing this also helps to preserve the fabric.
On an aside, if you look for basics that are a little roomier around the underarm area, you'll find they are less stinky after being worn for a day than basics that fit more snugly.
Personally, my capsule wardrobe has been a win-win for me. I am now much more efficient as I don’t have to spend time trying on multiple outfits. I can simply grab the appropriate outfit and go. I’ve also found I save a lot of time and money by being more intentional about what I buy.
A capsule wardrobe is essentially a wardrobe of key investment pieces that works really well with the other items in your closet. It helps you maximize your wardrobe so it can cover all aspects of your lifestyle from work to weekend wear and everything in between.
I love the fact that my capsule wardrobe is simple and suitable to my needs. It reflects my personal style and as such I’m inspired to keep it organized and colour coordinated.
A capsule wardrobe is also a stress-free wardrobe. Putting together an outfit that I feel good in is simple. I know I am going to look my best in any situation because I’ve invested to time into creating a wardrobe that works and allows me to get on with my day without having to spend time mixing and matching a closet full of items that don’t work for one reason or another.
I feel good about the clothing in my closet and the investment pieces that are the backbone of my seasonal wardrobe. I no longer have any clothing or accessory items that make me feel guilty about purchasing them or make me feel bad about a few extra pounds I may have put on.
"Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called "Wardrobe" in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don't go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. This idea was popularized by American designer Donna Karan, who, in 1985, released an influential capsule collection of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces."
There are many different approaches to capsule wardrobes. I will explore these in future posts. Some people like Courtney Carver of www.bemorewithless.com and Project 333 likes to wear only 33 items (including footwear, outwear and jewelry) every three months and focuses on one season at a time while putting the rest in storage.
Personally, I find having my entire minimized wardrobe in one place works best for me
The main reason is if I don’t see it I forget about it. Since the weather in Canada is constantly changing I frequently find myself layering my clothing. Plus, I love thrift shopping and staying organized so I like to be able to grab something from my wardrobe and take with me when shopping to make sure it’s the right purchase. I rarely shop without an item from my closet to coordinate with. If I find something that works with another piece of clothing better than an item I already have in my closet, I buy it but then make a point of donating the other clothing item from my closet to charity ASAP.
"...The term is widely used in the British and American fashion media, and has been the subject of several popular television series. The term has come to refer to a collection of clothing that is composed of interchangeable items only, to maximize the number of outfits that can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be "key" or "staple" items in coordinating colours."
I also have yet to count the items I wear each season. That said, I am seriously considering giving Courtney’s approach of sticking to only 33 items a season, a three month trial. When I do, I will certainly blog about it. I am curious about what my magic number of clothing and accessory items is – is it 33, or maybe 28 or 35? Will my number fluctuate between seasons? Either way, I am interested in finding out.
By having a capsule wardrobe that works, I’ve reduced the amount of time I need to spend shopping which has been great. That said, I still enjoy the thrill of the hunt and thrift shopping experience but now as an intentional shopper who has the willpower not fall prey to impulse purchases.
You should love every single item in your closet and maximize your dollars per wear.
Why have more clothes in your closet than you actually wear?
I welcome your thoughts on having a capsule wardrobe. Please leave your comments below.