Updated: Jul 7, 2020
Do you have a wardrobe full of clothes and no idea what to do with them? This isn’t a trick question, many of us have wardrobes full of clothes that actually makes getting dressed in the morning more stressful than it ever needs to be. A capsule wardrobe can help save you time and make it easier to decide what to wear. Built on the idea of less quantity and more quality, a capsule wardrobe is a carefully edited selection of clothes that are versatile and pair well with each other. Here are my top tips to creating your own capsule wardrobe.
Decide on your Goal
The first step is making the decision to tackle your wardrobe, it’s also helpful to have an idea in your head about how many items you will keep in your capsule wardrobe. Generally you should try to aim for less than 50 items, anything more and you are likely to slip back into your old ways. Your capsule wardrobe should consist of dresses, trousers and skirts, tops and coats / jackets. Essentially it should be items that you love to wear and that are interchangeable and can be worn together, just changed to suit the occasion.
Have a Clear Out
When I am doing a wardrobe edit for a client this is generally the most stressful part of the process for them. Often people have emotional attachments to items like ‘’I wore this to go on our first date’’ or for ‘’my son’s christening, 10 years ago’’, it’s important to keep reminding yourself why you are going through this process, i.e; to make life easier, save time and get rid of items that you haven’t worn for a decade or more. Remember to be realistic with yourself about your lifestyle and needs. Your wardrobe should be expertly curated to contain only your most wearable and versatile items. There is no point having a wardrobe full of work clothes if you now spend your time looking after your children or working from home. If you are struggling to be objective with your decisions around what to keep and what to get rid of, get an honest friend to help you or consult an expert.
Decide which Items to Put into Storage
Although your capsule wardrobe should work all year round, depending on the time of year that you choose to clear out your wardrobe inevitably you will need to put some items into storage, such as winter coats in the summer. You may also want to store a few sentimental items that you no longer wear but aren’t prepared to part with, such as your wedding dress. Just remember to draw the line somewhere. Not all old clothes deserve precious storage space.
Invest in Quality Basics
It’s important to make a list of any items that you may be missing, it may be white ‘t’shirts, a smart dress or a leather jacket. When buying basic items it’s advisable to invest in quality fabrics and classic cuts that will last a long time. In the short term this may be more expensive but in the long term it will save you money. It’s also a much more eco-friendly choice than burning through countless low-quality, fast-fashion items.
Add Personality with Accessories
Living with a capsule wardrobe doesn’t need to be boring. You can add personality to your outfits with accessories. Having a selection of bags, shoes, scarves, jewellery and sunglasses is an easy way to add interest and keep your outfits exciting. Having a few statement items that you can throw on over a minimal outfit is an easy way to elevate an outfit to make it suitable for a different occasion, without spending hours deciding what to wear.
Trial your Capsule Wardrobe
Once you have decided what items will form your capsule wardrobe and you have purchased any missing items it’s advisable to trial your wardrobe for a 3 month period, this is long enough for you to see if it works for you and your lifestyle. I usually advise my clients to plan to update their wardrobes when the seasons change from autumn/winter and spring/summer and vice versa. During each season, try to avoid shopping as much as possible. Instead, wait for the beginning of the next season to buy what you’ll need. Although you don’t have to stick to strict rules, it’s important to be conscious of anything new you add to your wardrobe. Also, be careful to avoid emotional spending, such as shopping for a pick-me-up or celebrating an occasion with a new fashion purchase.
Re-assess your Wardrobe at the Start of Each Season
Once you have your capsule wardrobe it’s easy to update it when the seasons change. When reviewing what items you’d like to add to update your wardrobe remember to revisit any items that you have put in storage, it may be that you don’t need to buy very much at all just a few key on-trend pieces to keep your look fresh.