Capsule Wardrobes

A guide to capsule wardrobes according to 5 experts

Capsule wardrobes can be a daunting project to take on. How do you balance your bank account with those beautiful hand-sewn linen pants? It takes a lot of time and intention to plan out a season’s wardrobe with a limited number of items. But it’s so worth it! There are environmental benefits, it’s less stress on you and your bank account in the end, and it definitely makes getting dressed a faster process in the morning!

We gathered some tips and reflections from five fashion experts who have created capsules to help guide you through the process of creating your own capsule.

Closet of minimal capsule wardrobe clothing

 

PURGE AND KEEP THE MOST IMPORTANT ITEMS

Once I started my capsule wardrobe I found I was very aware of how I felt in my clothes. Having fewer items meant I wore items over and over again and it became much easier to identify the pieces I really loved versus the things I kept out of some false sense of obligation or idea that I needed them. As I continued to purge those items that I wasn’t totally in love with, I ended up with a wardrobe full of things I am am excited to wear and feel great in. Between that and having fewer choices, getting dressed each morning has never been easier.

I love that I’m not wasting energy early in the day trying on ten different outfits and struggling with the decision of what to wear. I never thought I’d be able to stick with a capsule wardrobe, but once I started I was totally hooked and I don’t see going back anytime soon.

-Paige Marchi, Style This Life

DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE EDITS

I did several seasons of strict capsuling, I made it almost two years in fact! Those seasons were really shaping of my style, and helped me realize how much excess I previously had in my wardrobe. Now it’s normal for me to have a much more scaled back closet. I am a lot pickier about what I let in, and I still ruthlessly edit. However, I am sort of itching for some constraints again. I’d considered a Project333, but that takes a lot of restraint. I’m definitely planning to do a 10×10 in fall, which is always an amazing exercise of defining style and learning how to make your existing pieces work well for you.

-Andrea Hartman, Seasons + Salt

PLAN FOR RIGHT NOW

Your style may change over time and that’s okay. All that you can plan for right now is where you are in life and what you love. Work with that. Identify your favorite outfits and silhouettes, find your wardrobe color palette, and learn how to maximize your wardrobe with as many combinations as you can. Working with a capsule wardrobe brings style clarity and after a time, you may be ready for a change. When you notice a shift happening and preferences changing: identify what the motivation is, sit with it for a little while and collect inspiration, then make a plan for how to integrate new things into your existing wardrobe. You don’t have to have it all figured out to start but you can’t edit what you haven’t written.

-Michelle Nace, Michellenace.com

TAKE IT SLOW

As someone who truly values the journey and process that comes with a minimal/intentional lifestyle, I always stress the importance of taking it slowly when you begin using capsule wardrobes. It will take lots of trial and error to determine your style, choose pieces you actually love on your body, and learn how to curate a wardrobe that works for your real life.

After a full year of strict “capsuleing” I’m finally comfortable with moving away from the term and embracing what I call a “slow wardrobe” instead. Every journey looks different and the beauty of it is that there’s no right way to capsule!

-Olivia Youngs, Simply Liv & Co

LEAN INTO THE ENTIRE JOURNEY

Ever since I made the switch to lean closet living I’ve been so much more content with my wardrobe and personal style. It has truly been a life changing experience! Although I don’t personally subscribe to a ‘capsule closet’ I do try to keep my shopping and closet additions to a minimum and I always give my purchases a lot of consideration.

When starting out on a lean closet journey I always suggest the following:

1 – Start with a Shopping Fast 

This means taking a break from shopping or adding anything new for a set amount of time. All too often we try to add more items that we think will help remedy our wardrobe frustrations but instead it just adds confusion and clutter. By taking a break from shopping you’re able to regroup and forced to revisit and reinvest in your existing closet by getting to know it better. Aim for a minimum of 2 weeks and consider taking a full 30 days off.

During this time explore your existing closet, assess what’s working and what’s not. Are there silhouettes, specific pieces or certain fits you’re drawn to again and again? What outfits make you feel most confident, stylish, comfortable and most importantly, like your best self? Keep a style journal with notes on how different looks and pieces are performing. Read more about going on a Shopping Fasts here.

2 – Define Your Style 

Once you’ve had some time to revisit and reinvest in your existing options and what you like wearing most, try to put your personal style into words. I truly can’t stress how helpful this step is! Choose 3-5 words that best describe your style. Read more on how to define your style in 5 simple steps here.

3 – Conduct a Closet Edit

Now that you know your closet well, you’ve tested different looks and items and you’ve defined your style, it’s time to let go of the pieces that aren’t working. Be thorough, honest and ruthless about what you really want to wear going forward. Let go of the excess and strive to keep only the items you’re really excited to wear again. Read more about conducting a closet edit here.

4 – Prepare a Wish List

Chances are, when you’re done editing, there are going to be a few things you need or would like to add to your wardrobe to round out your options. Create a short and specific Wish List to keep handy going forward. Take your time and when you’re tempted to shop, consult the wish list first and assess whether or not the piece you’re interested in is worth adding. Always ask, ‘Does this fit my personal style definition?’. Read more on creating a wish list here.

To maintain a lean closet I try to repeat the 4 steps above once a season or at least twice a year. This really helps me stay on top of my closet and feeling great about my personal style!

-Lee Vosburgh, Style Bee

 

 

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