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The Capsule Wardrobe: The Art of the Minimalist Wardrobe
Grumbling that you have nothing to wear in front of your wardrobe each morning is something that you know all too well. With everyone heading back to work soon, you’re probably getting ready to rush to the store to buy the latest trends and add more to your closet that’s already crammed full.
What if it were these types of compulsive decisions that were causing your dilemma of having “nothing to wear?” If you want to refresh what’s in your wardrobe, you might as well do it in a smart way! This is where the “capsule” wardrobe comes in.
What Is A Capsule Wardrobe?
This term was coined by Susie Faux, a British boutique owner, in the 1970s. It’s a versatile assortment consisting of about forty pieces (clothes, shoes, and accessories) that are hand-picked to create a complete seasonal wardrobe. Much like a designer making his next collection, the idea is to create the perfect assortment for you. It contains functional pieces that transcend the trends, but that also flatter you so that you’ll constantly gravitate towards them.
What Are Its Advantages?
As this concept isn't new, it shows an important shift in the mentality and behavior of consumption in the fast fashion era. The sheer number of choices we're exposed to each day fills our wardrobes with clothing that we don't often wear. Instead, we end up being indecisive and frequently wasting time!
The capsule wardrobe is based on the idea that good clothing that's chosen intentionally will create a strong a wardrobe. It focuses on pieces that are truly appreciated and necessary, that take you less time to come up with outfits that work, that suit you, and that you like. Whether you're a fan of color and flamboyant patterns, loose fits and neutral hues, or you have a soft spot for black, this system for re-editing your closet works for everyone. Once your choices have been thought through, you won't need to shop for the next three months!
Imagine: A wardrobe that makes you feel good, that’s been created just for you, and that only contains your favorite pieces. Not those of someone else or from a fashion magazine—only yours! It’s the dream, right?
How Do You Create A Capsule Wardrobe?
It’s all about choosing your clothes logically each season according to their versatility, practicality, and above all, your style. To start the process, you should perhaps take everything out of your wardrobe and evaluate. While you are sorting through your pieces, ask yourself a few questions:
What’s in your capsule wardrobe will depend on the season and the evolution of your style. But at all times, you want to keep a balance of about 40 pieces between tops, bottoms, coats, and accessories/shoes.
Ideally, this new way of consuming fashion should go hand-in-hand with making eco-friendly and more qualitative than quantitative choices. In other words: buy less but buy better. Choose eco-friendly fabrics that either aren’t blended or have been very minimally blended, and natural fabrics like organic cotton, organic linen, wool, and down that’s been responsibly harvested. As much as possible, switch to brands that manufacture locally and have a low carbon footprint. However, before you venture into stores, the most important thing is to learn how to make the most of what you already own after your evaluation. For example, for back to school, why not style summer dresses and skirts with fall wools and underlayers?
Just as we are less scared of paying several hundreds of dollars for a winter coat that will be worn for half of the year for years to come, why not think the same way when buying trendier pieces? You just need to practice calculating the cost per wear (or CPW) of each piece. The CPW calculates the real value of a product in relation to how much you have worn it and how much you will wear it.
Make a list of the clothing you wear the most each season: the straight jeans that you have on every 4 out of 7 days, that pair of boots that pairs perfectly with dresses and pants, the wool coat that takes your looks to the next level every spring and fall, and even the white T-shirt that you have at least 15 of… If you want to wear them for a long time, it's worth the cost of investing more in all your “second skin” pieces. You'll take better care of them and love them much more!
Your well-thought-out shopping spree can now begin. Make a list of what you need for the upcoming season (ideally, 2-3 weeks before it starts). You must be able to wear each of the pieces at least 4 different ways. Obviously, neutral colors are always a great option since they pair with many different things, but don’t be shy to explore color. Dive into the upcoming palettes for fall and find out what color combos work best. Roasted chestnut and pistachio green? Cool neutrals and blood orange? Khaki and dark prune? For fashion fans, it’s a subtle way to wear the season’s new trends.
Our List for Fall
- 3 pairs of jeans
- 3 to 5 cotton T-shirts
- 2 to 3 thin turtlenecks
- 1 dress or skirt for day
- 1 dress or skirt for night
- 4 shirts or blouses
- 3 to 4 wool sweaters
- 2 blazers
- 1 puffer
- 1 trench coat
- 1 overcoat-style mid-season coat
- 1 leather (or faux-leather) tote bag or backpack
- 1 compact clutch
- 3 to 4 pairs of shoes: black high-heel ankle boots, sneakers, loafers…