Capsule wardrobes are all the rage lately—and for good reason. The benefits of paring down your wardrobe include spending less of your money; streamlining your hectic mornings; and embracing a clearly defined, minimalistic style.
But how do you create the perfect capsule wardrobe without sacrificing your creative flair? And more importantly, how do you avoid getting bored after two weeks? Here six essential tips to make this trend work for you.
Tip #1: find key pieces that you love
People always say that you only wear about 20 percent of your current wardrobe, and that’s mainly because day in and day out, you stick to the pieces you feel great in.
Whether it’s the flattering cut, the stunning colour that makes your eyes shine, or that distinctive top that always gets you a compliment and an inquiry about where exactly you bought it, dressing every day should be a fun experience that makes you feel attractive, capable and put-together—even if you’re not quite there yet.
The trick is to combine signature, distinctive pieces with basics for versatility.
TIP #2: it’s all about separates
The truth is this: the more you mix and match items, the more outfits you can create, and the more your limited items will feel limitless.
Thinking through real-life scenarios when building your capsule wardrobe is essential. Consider the follow questions to help narrow down your selections.
- How many other pieces can you mix and match this item with?
- How many different occasions’ is this item suitable for?
- Can you dress this item up and down? For example, taking your outfit from work, to dinner with your squad.
TIP #3: build a capsule wardrobe that fits your life
What good are a bunch of beautiful clothes if you’re never going to wear them? If your style is boho-chic, you can still build a minimalist wardrobe around the key principles, it will just look a little different than what you currently have.
Think about longevity, versatility and building practical outfits—not styles you can only wear a few times. For practicality sake, this may mean you opt for the slightly lower heel, dressier jean, or the more classic coat—because you know that although you’re going for stylish, you can’t wear a sequinned bomber jacket five days a week.
Search for fabrics with durability and ease of cleaning. If half your wardrobe is stuck at the dry cleaner every week, building outfits will be a lot more challenging.
TIP #4: less is more, when less gets you more quality
Having a smaller wardrobe provides you with the option to invest in higher quality pieces. Of course, you will only want to spend within your means. But it doesn’t hurt to seek out high quality fabrics, pristine cuts, and stylish pieces that you know have the ability to remain timeless.
After all, building a capsule wardrobe is a process in refining your personal style.
TIP #5: shop your current wardrobe to start
Although you may be tempted to start from scratch, turn your attention to your closet first and begin your overhaul.
Identify items that are worn and toss them. Go through each piece you own, if it’s not a “hell yes!” then it’s a “heck No!”. It can be a tough decision to make, but think about the simplicity it will bring when you’ve finally narrowed down the most important pieces that still speak to you.
TIP #6: refresh every season
Update about half of the pieces in your wardrobe every spring, summer, fall and winter. This approach allows you to swap out shoes, coats and fabric weights, while mixing in seasonal trends and updating colour palettes.
Total items included in your capsule wardrobe can vary, but the popular capsule wardrobe challenge Project 333 can help provide a more concrete plan.
Here’s a sample list of 33 items that could start your capsule wardrobe for spring:
- 2 pairs of jeans – dressy & casual
- 2 pairs of black pants – dressy & casual
- 2 “other” pair of pants that reflects your style
- 1 little black dress
- 1 casual dress
- 1 favourite special dress
- 1 day-to-night bootie
- 1 day-to-night blazer
- 1 “distinctive” blazer, sweater or kimono jacket that reflects your style
- 1 versatile A-line or pencil skirt
- 1 day bag (backpack or large tote)
- 1 real or vegan leather jacket
- 1 seasonal coat
- 1 pair of fashion-forward running shoes
- 2 black, white or cream blouse (one more dressy, one more casual)
- 1 plaid or chambray shirt
- 1 cozy Sweater
- 1 tailored/fitted sweater
- 2 camisoles or day-to-night tops
- 1 pair of dressy shoes
- 1 pair of everyday flat shoes or sandals
- 1 cardigan
- 2 versatile t-shirts
- 1 statement necklace or other piece of accessorizing jewelry
- 1 small bag (cross body or clutch)
- 1 a second skirt that’s less basic (pleated, midi, printed, etc.)
- 1 sleeveless top that you can dress up and dress down (mock-neck, V-neck)