Capsule Wardrobe - the Whats, Whys and Hows

Capsule Wardrobe - the Whats, Whys and Hows

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A small collection of effortless pieces such as a classic T-shirt, a flattering pair of jeans, a versatile button-down shirt, a long dress that is timeless, and can be extended with seasonal pieces.

Why should you start a capsule collection?

Save Time

As the pieces are coordinated in colours and styles, you do not have to waste time trying out multiple outfits to find pieces that match well and look good together. And with a curated collection, you have fewer pieces to choose from, and can make decisions with less effort and faster.

Save Money 

Being aware of what clothing works for your body, lifestyle and body shape, a capsule wardrobe approach helps you to be intentional and curb excessive buying. And with a collection of interchangeable and versatile pieces such as T-shirts, skirts, dresses, shirts and pants to create multiple outfit combinations, you will not need to buy clothing often.

Save Space

Having a smaller, curated collection means less closet space. And it will also result in a more tidy and organized wardrobe, making it easier to find items that you need.

Save the Environment

A capsule wardrobe is a sustainable approach to fashion consumerism. Invest in quality, timeless pieces that you can wear many times and for many years, and will not go out of fashion. Buy less, wear more.

Am I ready to start a capsule wardrobe? Ask yourself these questions.

Has your body, size or silhouette changed recently? 

If the answer is yes, it might be a convenient time to start since you have to update your wardrobe anyway.

Do you own many clothes but still feel that you have nothing to wear? 

This happens when you buy pieces without planning and without thinking in terms of full outfits and you end up with lots of things that do not go together. If you find that 50% of your clothes don’t actually leave the hangers, maybe it’s time to start.

Are you an impulsive shopper who wishes to prevent or control your impulsive shopping? 

A capsule wardrobe is a good budget control tool, and being intentional about what you need will help to curb impulsive shopping.

Do you prefer to invest in quality rather than in quantity? 

If you are always looking out for more eco-friendly, sustainable clothing or better cuts, fits and patterns, a capsule wardrobe approach will help you to be more informed, and you are going to buy less clothing but better quality ones.

Starting a capsule wardrobe? What to look out for

Consider the weather.

The weather will influence the number of pieces you need to build your wardrobe. For seasonal weather, you will need to plan for both short and long lengths, light and warm pieces, whereas in tropical climates, a neat selection of linen and cotton staples will be adequate.

Consider your body shape.

Some cuts or styles might be more flattering for your body shape. Look through your wardrobe and pick out pieces that you enjoy wearing because you look good in them, these are likely designs that flatter your body shape. Start your capsule wardrobe around these designs.

Choose your colour scheme.

Select one or two basic colours such as black, white, grey or navy for items such as shirts, skirts, dresses, pants and jackets. These colours will match with everything in the wardrobe. Choose one or two brighter colours that you enjoy wearing for dresses, tops and accessories. All these pieces can be interchangeable and the colours will always be coordinated.

How to create your capsule wardrobe list.

You might want to clean out your wardrobe before you start. 

  1. Put aside pieces for special occasions, seasons and activities, such as an evening gown, a winter coat or swimwear, and sleepwear and underwear. 
  2. Pick out pieces that you rarely or never wear and decide if you want to give them to friends or family, or resell or donate. 
  3. The remaining wardrobe should be pieces that you wear often because they make you look good and are comfortable to wear. These could be foundational pieces or serve as a good guide for the designs or fits to create your capsule wardrobe.

Categorise your wardrobe list by tops, bottoms, outerwears and accessories, and colour-code each item based on the colour scheme that you have defined. 

Go through your wardrobe and create a shopping list of missing pieces.