You may have heard about a capsule wardrobe, or you may have not. If you are interested in an affordable concept of a sustainable approach in the fashion industry, keep reading.
Table of contents
What is a capsule wardrobe?
The capsule wardrobe is a collection of versatile, timeless, minimalistic, and easy-to-match apparel. The colour palette usually consists of neutral shades, allowing us to create numerous outfits for every occasion from a limited number of pieces of clothing. Neutral colours are easy to match and perfectly complement even more daring attire. A less stuffed wardrobe means we wear the same clothes more, so they must endure more washing cycles than average. Do not be afraid to invest more when buying apparel with a longer lifespan. Higher quality usually means better endurance and a longer lifespan. High-quality materials, universal style and timeless design make a capsule wardrobe a rewarding investment that will serve you well for many years to come.
Never underestimate the power of accessories and shoes. When chosen appropriately, accessories and shoes can perfectly complement every outfit. Take, for instance, an oversized plain white shirt. Combine it with black pants and subtle jewellery for the perfect attire for work. Wear it over a simple T-shirt, match it with pants or shorts, add summer sandals or slip-ons, and you have an outfit for summer strolls in the city or a coffee date with your friends. The power of accessories and shoes in the capsule wardrobe is undeniable.
Why a capsule wardrobe?
Cross my heart, who opens a wardrobe in the morning and immediately knows what to wear? Who has never used the phrase „I have nothing to wear“ while looking into an overstuffed closet?
A capsule wardrobe may be smaller in size, yet it offers almost endless possibilities for every day and every occasion. Easy-to-match wardrobe makes our mornings way easier. Did you know we have our brains programmed to make a limited number of decisions per day? When we reach this limit, we risk so-called „decision fatigue“. So, technically, having skipped morning decision-making in front of the wardrobe is a service for our brains.
The capsule wardrobe is a way towards a sustainable approach to fashion. Thanks to the principle of easy-to-match-together clothing, we do not need to buy new items that often. Fashion brands introduce new collections every few weeks, claiming the older models have already gone out of fashion. This approach pressures customers to buy new apparel to keep up with the fashion trend. The capsule wardrobe puts an end to this seemingly endless struggle. Thanks to its versatility and timelessness, the capsule wardrobe serves us without going out of fashion. Having a capsule wardrobe does not mean we stop buying clothes. It just means we need to buy less. Every once in a while, we add something to freshen it up or to add more options. There is a perfect correlation between buying less and buying better. When we do not need to invest in quantity, we can invest in quality. We can support slow fashion producers and local manufacturers. They have their focus on quality rather than quantity. This way, we can be a part of a sustainable approach towards the fashion industry.
Let's see a reason for buying a better quality product shown on a simple white 100% cotton T-shirt - the cheap and not-so-cheap one. The cheap one is made of non-bio cotton (so commonly used in fast fashion) and costs a few bucks. But what is the price nature has to pay? This cheap cotton is a thirsty beast. Cotton (amount for one plain tee) consumes the amount of water that a single adult person would use in 3 years. Ridiculous, right? The fibres of non-bio cotton are weaker and tend to have a shorter lifespan. Now, let’s take a look at the expensive one. This tee is made of bio cotton from sustainable production. This cotton is not even half as thirsty as its cheap cousin. The production of bio cotton does not harm nature and does not consume such a ridiculous amount of water. Tee made of bio cotton is more durable and finer, and when taken care of properly, it can retain its quality for many years. Additionally, this sustainably-made T-shirt is nature- and budget-friendly.
How to create a capsule wardrobe
Audit of our closet
Step number one towards our capsule wardrobe is to audit your current closet. This is the hardest part because most people tend to hoard things. Things they do need or do not use. And that is the problem. Our closets are usually full of unnecessary items, making it hard to find something we like and forcing us to feel like we have nothing to wear. Having said that, you need to do a little clearance and get rid of things that no longer serve you. Open your closet and divide your stuff into three piles:
- Apparel I do wear regularly
- Apparel I have not worn for several months
- Apparel I have not worn in a year+
The first pile is the one you keep. The third pile is the one to go. Now for the hard part - the second pile. You have to decide which item from this group to keep a which to say bye-bye to. Take each item and ask these questions: is this thing versatile? Is it timeless? Is it easy to match? Does it fit my vision of a capsule wardrobe? Why have I not worn it for a couple of months? The answers to these questions will lead you to which pile this particular item belongs to. The result of this audit should be a small pile of clothes, creating a base pillar of our future capsule wardrobe.
Find your style
When creating a capsule wardrobe, you should know what style the closet should represent. It is essential to set some outlines of what you want to achieve before you start to stuff your wardrobe. Otherwise, your closet would become a mix of different styles that do not fit together. Asking these questions may help: What is my life like? Where do I work? Do I work full-time? What do I usually do in my free time? What cut of clothes does suit me best? Do I like my clothes loose or slim-fit? Low-cut or high-rise? What do I prefer to wear – skirts, dresses, sweats or pants? Answering these questions will lead you to the style you should follow.
Search and combine
If you made it this far, you should know what style fits you best and what you expect from your wardrobe. Now is the time to plan and find suitable apparel for your dream wardrobe. To achieve absolute combinability of items in your capsule wardrobe, look for clothing on the neutral side of the colour palette. The pieces of clothing should be minimalistic, versatile, timeless in design, and made from high-quality materials, preferably from sustainable sources. Try to avoid bold patterns, as they are hard to match. If you are a die-hard fan of prints, you should narrow your selection to one to two pieces to retain maximum compatibility with all your other clothes. Choose a pattern that is not overly dominant (such as timeless pinstripes, or whatever works for you) and can be paired with the rest of your capsule. Combinability should be your number one rule when choosing new additions to your capsule wardrobe. Always make mental combinatorics with clothes you already own. If it fits, you are good to go.
Always choose comfortable clothes that suit you well. Do not purchase new clothes only because you like how they look. Do not buy things that make you feel uncomfortable. That is against the core philosophy of a capsule wardrobe. Choose clothes wisely, always think twice and rather buy one or two items of higher quality once in a while, than a handful of new items of poor quality every other week or so. Think about the capsule wardrobe as an investment. You would not buy a cheap car only because you like its colour, would you? Do the same with clothes. Invest more, think twice or thrice, do not rush and take your time. If you want to stay faithful to the idea of a capsule wardrobe and fill it only with high-quality items that will last a lifetime, take your time. It is okay if it takes several years to accomplish, especially when building it from scratch. Good things for those who wait, they say.
Four seasons, four capsule wardrobes
As we have already said, take your time to build up your capsule wardrobe. Do it consciously, add one piece at a time, and most importantly, do it in concord with the current season of the year. If you reside in a country where four seasons take turns, you should keep that in mind and create four seasonal capsule wardrobes. To keep the idea of a minimalistic closet, rotate your seasonal wardrobes and store those clothes you do not currently need. You will wear some clothes throughout the year, no matter the season, such as tees or pants, but others, more seasonal, such as dresses or coats, should be stored and retrieved when in season. This rotation will also make you feel less tired of your wardrobe. Wearing the same clothes all over again can be annoying. Changing an entire (or almost) wardrobe now and then can be more than refreshing.
Switching from a standard to a capsule wardrobe does not happen overnight. To make things right, you need to treat yourself to enough time. Think about it. Visualise. Sit in your closet, touch your belongings and think about them. Be aware of having to say goodbye to most of your apparel. Are you ready? Perfect. Make an audit, sort, and make no compromise. Do not hoard anything you do not need. Get rid of all things you do not see fit for your future wardrobe. Do not create waste only because you want to get rid of your old clothes. Donation or selling is a perfect way to give clothes a second chance before they end up in a landfill. Plan, search and combine. Think about what you want to achieve. What do you see yourself wearing in a couple of years? What do you want to manifest? Most importantly, for everything you do, do it consciously.
Think about accessories to elevate your style and create endless outfits. Be daring, mix, match, and experiment. Think about the right minimalistic shoes to complement your style. Be Lenka offers a wide plethora of suitable shoes. Timeless and minimalistic design is what you should aim for.