You decided to create a capsule wardrobe, a wardrobe that you love. What next? How are you going to decide what to wear for the next month, three months, or even six months? Don’t worry. Step by step you will make it happen!
A capsule wardrobe means you limit your clothing options to a certain smaller number of items (e.g., 30 pieces) for a certain period of time. Limiting your closet to fewer pieces sounds like a big step. And indeed, it is – for me it ment a complete change of mind, a complete change of my wardrobe philosophy. But, as you may have noticed, I couldn’t be happier with my decision and I can wholeheartedly encourage you to try it yourself.
Where to start?
Start with yourself and not your closet. Stop the mental accounting of how many shoes you are “allowed” to have, and do a little soul searching. Why do you want to create a capsule wardrobe? What motivates you to make this step? Do you want to save money? Do you want to live a more sustainable live? Do you want to get ready faster? Do you want to feel confident in your clothes? Knowing your why is a powerful motivator and ultimately, it’s the force that keeps you dedicated and focused..
Next up: The declutter
I’m going to be upfront about this: there is no way around decluttering if you want a capsule wardrobe. You don’t remember all the items that are buried in your closet anyway, do you? So decluttering it is. Take everything out of your closet and your drawers, gather all your clothes (yes, that sounds like Marie Kondo) and sort your clothes into piles of definite keep, maybe, and definite out (out can mean selling, donating, or trashing depending on the state of the garment). The maybe items for the season of your capsule stay out, the rest of them is boxed up or moved to a drawer outside of your closet. Out of sight, out of mind. Wait for a month or two, and then go through the items again. You will see much clearer about these items then.
Decluttering your whole closet sounds like too much of a time committment? How about you only declutter items that are relevant for your first capsule wardrobe and store all the other seasonal items out of sight until you need them again.
One more thing about the out category: pay attention as to why you put clothes on the out pile. You only want to wear sustainable, ethical, and high-quality clothes? Throwing all your clothes out, just because they don’t comply with your goal closet, isn’t helpful – or sustainable. If you love to wear an item, keep it in your closet whether it complies with your dream wardrobe or not. Transitioning your wardrobe is a journey and the ultimate criterion for the content of your closet should be whether you love to wear it right now.
Your capsule wardrobe
Before you dive into creating your wardrobe, take some time and decide which concept is the right one for you to follow. And then? Some alone time. In order to set up your capsule you will have to plan and spend some time with your clothes. Whether you do most of the preparation in your head or in front of your closet is really up to you. Personally (and I’m a planner) I brainstormed my capsule mostly in my head and only spent about one hour in front of my closet. During that hour I tried on the maybe-s and re-organized my closet according to my new capsule.
What you should consider for your capsule wardrobe
Reducing the overall number of items means that you need to have a couple of basics that can be easily combined. Which basics are ideal strongly depends on your style and your lifestyle – are you studying, are you working, do you stay at home with your kids? For me personally, my favorite basics are a pair of skinny jeans, a white button up, a chunky knit, and a Breton-shirt or dress.
Deciding on a color palette sounds limiting, but it makes your life a ton easier. If your clothes follow a color palette, it will be easier to combine pieces to an outfit. Neutrals are your best bet to achieve high compatibility. No, don’t frown, I’m not suggesting you should only wear black and white (as in true minimalist stereotype).If you like a little bit of color, how about creating a color scheme out of darker neutrals, such as black and navy, and pairing them with pastels such as pale yellow or blush. Or how about combining bright colors with white and beige. It’s really up to you. My point is: the colors in your closet should be coordinated and you need to have a critical mass of neutrals to ensure compatibility. If you have lots of bright-colored pieces, creating outfits can be more difficult – unless you love the color-clash look. Then by all means go for it!
In order to create a wardrobe that you love, you need to identify those clothes that you love, that represent your style. Pinterest can be a great tool to find inspiration for your style and how you would like to develop it further.
But while Pinterest is a great way to find inspiration, you shouldn’t solely rely on Pinterest to get a feeling about your style. Pinterest with its beautiful photos can make us dream about a certain way of dressing that is not sustainable in our everyday life. I strongly believe that to evaluate your style, you need to look inwards: inside your closet and inside yourself.
Pick and mix, plan and choose
Brainstorm your capsule wardrobe on a piece of paper, a note on your phone, or in front of your closet. Start with your favorite pieces that have to be in your capsule, and then add pieces step by step. Make sure that you have more tops than bottoms, and that the clothes can be combined. Take the time and try to create different outfits with the items you aren’t sure about. The more time you allow yourself for this planning phase, the easier getting dressed will be, because you already have set outfit-ideas in your head.
On wish lists and waiting
While you’re planning your capsule wardrobe, you will identify a few gaps in your closet. Resist the urge to shop immediately! Create a wish list of all the items that are missing in your closet. Try to be as precise as possible: don’t just write “jeans” – skinny, boyfriend, flare, which color and wash, cropped fit or regular length, distressed, with zippers, plain, …? And then wait. Revisit your wish list a couple of times and re-consider all the items. Do you really need them for your capsule wardrobe? Once you go shopping, be picky. Don’t make compromises on quality, fit, or style!
This sounds a little corny, but I mean it. Have fun with your capsule wardrobe. Don’t put pressure on you to create the perfect capsule wardrobe. Changing your habits takes time – just as it takes time to overhaul your closet. Allow yourself the time and enjoy the journey! A capsule wardrobe will teach you a lot about yourself and your style. And if something wasn’t ideal in your capsule, then you learnt something for the next one for sure!
Full disclosure: this post is based on a post I guestposted on my friend Ann-Kathrin’s blog a few months ago.