What is a capsule wardrobe

Everyone always goes on about a capsule wardrobe, there are lots of write ups, posts and general rules about what a capsule wardrobe should consist of.  However as a personal stylist, I believe in order to help individuals with this, one needs a guide to follow or understand rather than listing actual items, as obviously for everyone a capsule wardrobe is different.  There is no standard rule to what you should own but rather a palette and carefully curated items that suit your lifestyle.  You get some individuals out there who really dislike wearing jeans and love to wear skirts, whether they are visiting a park with their toddler or going to an evening function.  They may however dress their skirts down with sneakers and a tee.  Then you will come across somebody who needs to dress for a corporate job 80% of their time so would need to own 4 pairs of court shoes in various colours as part of their capsule wardrobe.  Be honest with yourself and what you need to get out of your wardrobe, don’t build a fantasy wardrobe of things you love over things you need.

Lifestyle: Obviously this plays a large part when figuring out what you need.  What you do career wise and what percentage of your week you are wearing formal vs informal.

Ask yourself how many ways or occasions can you wear an item.  Anything less than 3 is a waste.  In other words you want to be able to wear a blouse three times and each time with something completely different from your wardrobe.  Obviously we all have a few pieces like dresses that this wont count for, but then that dress is not being counted as part of your capsule wardrobe (and then do you need it?).

Quality: If you want to build your capsule wardrobe to last then choosing quality over quantity is essential.  Invest in well made basics and look out for sustainable clothing where possible.  Look for good quality fabrics that wont wear out after a couple of washes.  Consider where the clothing has been made and by whom.

Choose fit over size and find brands that work for your body.  Just because your friend loves J Brand jeans doesn’t mean they are going to be your best jeans.  Try on many different brands and sizes to find what works for you.  This goes for size, if you are a size 8 in one store doesn’t mean you will definitely be a size 8 in another .  Try and buy the one that fits!

Style: we all have our own style and hopefully you are familiar with your style.  Buy your clothes for today not for tomorrow.  I have made this mistake so many times, I see something I love, I have no clue when I am ever going to wear it but I purchase the item regardless and actually never end up wearing it.  There will always be good stuff out there, so don’t buy something for “one day, maybe” or your fantasy wardrobe as mentioned before, buy for now!

Every closet needs a consistent palette of neutrals (figure out the colours that suit you). White does not suit everyone and neither does black so find your neutral colours first.  Then add accent colours to your wardrobe to bring in colour.  You want to be able to mix and match your wardrobe and wear as many combinations as possible.

A couple of signature pieces are enough.  Choose timeless over trend pieces.  Not only as this will be more useful to you but it will be less harmful to the environment.  “The clothing industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, second only to the oil industry”.  Also look out for ways to recycle your old clothes.

Organisation: Make sure you have a clean and organised closet.  This way you will be able to see your clothes and get dressed with ease.  Having a full closet with clothes spilling out creates chaos and is damaging to your garments.  Launder your clothes with care, follow label instructions and if anything is remotely delicate pop it into a bag before adding to the machine load or hand-wash.

So I am now going to challenge myself to a small capsule wardrobe which you should try too.  I will be selecting 15 items from my wardrobe and only wearing those 15 for the next 10 days.  This is a great way for anyone to trial a capsule wardrobe before completely committing if you are feeling apprehensive about letting go.

For anyone seeking further one on one styling advice please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Hope you are all having a super week!

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