With conscious shoppers shifting away from fast fashion - the real trend is a capsule wardrobe. This is where you curate a limited wardrobe, with endless outfit options, suited for day and night - work, school, fun, you name it.
The lifestyle blog, Unfancy describes a capsule wardrobe as a mini collection made up of versatile pieces such as tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear and shoes. Unfancy says that this usually accumulates to about 37 pieces in total.
These 37 pieces can be made into many different outfits. For example, you could either dress up a white blouse with a pair of slacks and heels, or dress it down with a pair of blue jeans and sneakers.
Now, a capsule wardrobe does not need to be exactly 37 pieces - the more you have the more ways you can style something new. However many (or few) pieces make the cut is up to you - just remember it is all about creating space, and dressing for you - and not to current trends.
Building a Capsule Wardrobe
The first place to look when building your capsule collection is your own wardrobe. Pull out your favorite pieces and set aside the ones you rarely turn to.
You’ll want to say goodbye to that beautiful, but impractical, evening dress you’ve had sitting in the back of your closet - this is not something you could wear more than a few times.
Starting a wardrobe with pieces you already have puts you at an advantage- it doesn’t cost you any money. Now, you do not need to throw out all of your old clothes. You can also store some away for a capsule wardrobe better suited to a different season.
To get started on your own capsule wardrobe, you must first decide what style you are going for, and choose a style that will last you a while. Are you more into classic cuts? Or do modern, colorful pieces stand out to you the most? This is important, because you’ll be wearing and loving these clothes in all their combinations.
So if you wanted to start with a summer capsule wardrobe, you’ll need to choose differently to a winter collection. But, with only 30-40 pieces in your new stripped-down wardrobe, which articles of clothing will you keep?
Tom’s of Maine suggests thinking like you’re going on vacation for a month, but with only one suitcase - what would you pack? Can you get more combinations from a simple white strappy top, or do you love your floral blouse so much you want to wear it all season long.
Next, you must decide on your colors. Choosing a neutral color (like a tan or even denim) works well as the basis of your wardrobe, these will be the pieces you wear most often and can be easily matched with your other pieces. Once you've got your foundation, to spice things up, decide on a complementary color; one that will best match your complexion or even your favorite color.
By this point, you should have 15-20 pieces: tops and basics. Now you’ll want to add in your shoes. I recommend one pair of sneakers, one set of sandals and a cheeky heel (for when we can go dancing again).
One thing to note is that your capsule wardrobe count doesn’t include underwear. So you can stock up on ethical undies and Teddy Locks, to complete a fully sustainable wardrobe.
Why build a capsule closet?
The capsule wardrobe isn’t just great for saving space in your apartment, it’s great for the environment too. Because thanks to fast fashion, the equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles is currently landfilled or burned every second.
And according to the World Resources Institute, 713 gallons of water is used to manufacture one cotton t-shirt - so choosing to indulge into a capsule wardrobe helps save water too.
Since you’ve now chosen your favorite pieces, ones styled best to you, these threads will last you much longer - no more chasing trends or hoarding clothes you’ll never wear.
So - there you have it! Whether you’re looking to Marie Kondo your life or trying to be more eco-conscious, a capsule wardrobe may be the answer to all your styling needs.
By Meg Ahearn
Collings, K. (2020, December 18). The Capsule Wardrobe: How to Reduce Your Closet to 37 Pieces. Who What Wear.
Johnson , B. (2021). What Is a Capsule Wardrobe, Who Does It Benefit, How to Adopt Your Own.
Joy , C. (2014, March 31). What is a capsule wardrobe, anyway? Unfancy
Lord, A. (2020, January 30). Rewearing Clothes Is the Latest Fashion Trend – But Can It Actually Help the Planet?