Two weekends ago my relationship nearly ended ….
...ok that’s a tad overdramatic but still, my boyfriend whom I live was ready to blow. Both our wardrobes were overrun with my clothes. Most of which I had never or hardly worn. A large majority of my clothes did not match, were too small and had fallen apart beyond repair because they were cheap and poor quality. Sifting through the mess of my wardrobe every morning was turning out to be time consuming and frustrating. Also, not knowing what I really owned, as it was stuffed in the back of my closet would cause me to buy the same thing again and again. Before a night out I would let out the scream, I have nothing to wear … when in reality, I did. Just nothing matched nor suited me because I was unaware of my own personal style and a sucker for fast fads. I was a careless shopper and it needed to stop. With the end of the year approaching, and my new-found knowledge of sustainable buying practices (plus the added pressure from my fed-up boyfriend) it was time to cull my vast clothes collection and create a capsule wardrobe to ensure a stress free dressing future. The term capsule wardrobe was coined by Susie Faux, the owner of London boutique "Wardrobe" from the 70s. The term, capsule wardrobe basically means a collection of a few essential items of clothing usually consisting of 20 – 30 pieces (this does not include underwear, sleepwear and work out gear) of your favourite clothes that don't go out of fashion, fit your lifestyle and body, which can then be remixed regularly with seasonal pieces. By creating a capsule wardrobe with a smaller number of staples you can reap the rewards by reducing decision fatigue because it leaves you with clothing you really love that works interchangeably with your wardrobe. Not only does it relive stress, but by converting to the capsule model, it can also curb an out-of-control shopping habit, help you get to know your own style better, save closet space and boost environmental and social responsibility by reducing consumption. It's the minimalist attitude of "less is more", lived out in a tangible way. Looking to take that approach more literally? Here is a seven-step guide on how to create a capsule wardrobe from someone (aka me) who has just done so.
1. Spring Clean
First things first, a big spring clean is essential. My main problem with this process was that I had clothes stuffed into every orifice of my apartment, I couldn't do a tally of what I owned. I would often go out and buy ANOTHER black dress, simply forgetting that I already owned 20 as they were nowhere to be seen. Step 1 is simple, empty your wardrobe onto your bed, and only add back in the items you love and wear. This exercise will be eye opening. During my recent spring clean I found remnants of my scene kid phase from 2007, which definitely should not still be in there. Going all in might seem like a lot of work and daunting, but by arranging everything in your wardrobe out where you can see it all at once is a good way to get a complete view of what you own, linking what works well together and noting how many of your possessions you actually wear regularly. Once you have done this you will then know what you need to buy to complete your capsule wardrobe, if anything… Photo from @refinery29
2. Stay true to your style
Choose clothes that are comfortable and that complement your size, lifestyle and colouring. Draw inspiration from what you already own and wear regularly and/or from people whose style you admire. I tend to save pictures in my Instagram of clothes and looks to serve as a virtual mood board to refer to when I’m shopping. Also stay away from trends that a. don't suit you and b. will be outdated within a month. One of the best tips is to choose classic cuts and patterns. While some cuts and patterns go in and out of fashion, others are considered 'classic' because they do not date. Tips: stay away from crazy flairs and psychedelic prints, a straight leg and fitted top will always work well with other items of your wardrobe and for your figure. When choosing a pattern go for a simple floral, stripe or animal print.
3. Build the core
No capsule wardrobe is complete without high quality and versatile basics to form the core of your wardrobe. Allocate 50% of your capsule wardrobe to basics then the other half to special items that are best suited to you. That's anything from spanx to undergarments, singlets, basic tees and so on. As Donna Karen said, "with the right basics, a woman can accomplish anything".
Photo from @satclines
4. Consider colours and shape
One of the most crucial factors to consider when building your capsule wardrobe is colours and silhouettes. If all your colour tones and silhouettes complement each other then your outfit choices will become endless. Best to go for neutral colours when buying basics and accent colours, which are brighter than the base colours when buying your special pieces. When choosing colours consider your complexion, as with cuts of clothing, some colours are more flattering than others, to both skin tone and body shape. If the colours are well-chosen, then the items are more likely to remain in favour. Personally, I do not suit purple, so will steer clear of the 2018 pantone colour of the year.
Photo from John Zawaba
5. Take care of your wardrobe
Learn how to repair and care for your clothes because loved clothes last. You will now be wearing the same items of clothing more regularly so you should be more careful about how you maintain them seeing as they will be more susceptible to wear and tear. Choose clothes that can be more easily washed and repaired, like jeans and items that are not so delicate. Clothes worth wearing are worth repairing. Picking up a needle and thread to make some minor repairs should be easy.
6. Invest wisely and in the best
Your capsule wardrobe will last longer and look better if you invest in beautiful timeless classics like jeans and a white t-shirt, a classic silk piece and winter coat. Research brands that provide better quality garments, meaning high quality fabrics and finishes. This may cost you more at first but will help you save in the long run. Finding brands that are sustainable and high quality is even better for both your pocket in the long run and the environment!
7. Dress for the seasons
Unless you live in a country where the climate stays the same all year round you will need to adjust your wardrobe throughout the year. Keeping this in mind, try to find clothes that can transcend the seasons and fit well together. Like jackets that you can fit a knit underneath, skirts and dresses that look good with both a bare leg and while wearing tights and tops that can be layered. The possibilities should be endless.
And finally remember that culling your clothes does not mean throwing them in the bin….