What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a curated selection of pieces pulled out from your full wardrobe. This is usually done seasonally. A “standard” capsule contains 33-36 pieces, and can include shoes and accessories.
Why A Capsule Wardrobe?
After reaching the six month mark of my no-buy year, I want to have a better understanding of my current wardrobe. I want to understand why I am choosing certain pieces over others, if my current wardrobe is serving my lifestyle, and if I can get more outfits out of my clothing. To do this I decided to give a capsule wardrobe a shot. My capsule wardrobe contains 36 pieces, and does not include shoes or accessories. I am using this method because it will allow me to pull outfits from a smaller selection of seasonally appropriate clothing.
With only 36 pieces in my closet I am able to see all of my options. I don’t have to worry about forgetting pieces or having to sift through clothes that are not seasonally appropriate. The smaller selection also lends itself to creativity. Working with a set number of pieces pushes me out of my comfort zone when putting together new outfit combinations.
There were two things I needed to think about before I pulled even one piece of clothing from my wardrobe:
- What weather do I need to dress for?
I decided that I would create my capsule for the months of July through September. These months are HOT! Although many of us start thinking about fall in September, the weather where I live is still quite hot around that time. When creating your capsule, think about what works best for the weather where you live.
- What upcoming events or activities do I need to dress for?
I thought about what will be coming up within those three months. The only thing I have “planned” is continuing to work. Whether or not that will be in an office within that time is up in the air. With this in mind, I needed to make sure I had a few pieces that were work appropriate. Lucky for me, work-appropriate clothing makes up a good chunk of my wardrobe.
The Trial Run
Before fully committing to the items I was considering for my capsule, I decided to pull them aside for a week to see if they were actually functional for my daily life. Turns out some pieces weren’t great choices, so I made some adjustments.
One adjustment was cutting the number of skirts I had pulled for the capsule. I had originally chosen about 8 skirts—I love skirts and they’re great for warm weather, but I wasn’t reaching for them every day. What I was actually reaching for was the two pairs of jeans I had allowed myself. With that in mind, I swapped some skirts for a few pairs of jeans in my final capsule.
Putting It All Together
Based on what I learned during my trial run, I kept these five things in mind when I went to pull my final capsule wardrobe:
- This capsule is for hot weather. I live in a city that gets humid in the summer on top of hot temperatures, so the pieces must be appropriate for the heat.
- Must include work-appropriate outfits for working in an office. Eventually I will be back in an office for work, so I need to be prepared for that.
- Pretend you are packing for a trip. Choose versatile items in terms of function and color to get the most out of each piece.
- A cohesive color story for tops and bottoms will make putting together outfits easier and make sure colorful pieces work with more that one outfit.
- Start with bottoms and dresses. Emma Losey’s videos made me realize that bottoms and jackets can make an outfit feel quite different, but since I won’t be reaching for many jackets, I decided to pull bottoms and dresses first.
My Summer Capsule Wardrobe
My Tips For Capsule Wardrobe First Timers
- A few weeks before you create your capsule, do a test run to see if you are actually using the pieces you’ve chosen, or if you’re struggling to put outfits together.
- Choose pieces that are versatile so they can be worn for more than one occasion.
- Think in terms of outfits instead of just individual pieces to avoid working with items that don’t go together.
- Use shoes and accessories to increase the number of outfits you can create, and give your capsule even more variety.
- Pull pieces you love! Life is too short to wear outfit you’re not in love with!