After 5 years of doing a capsule wardrobe, it’s time to introduce you to this life-changing process, which has much to do with a minimalist lifestyle.
What is a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a wardrobe made of selected pieces that you really love and go well with each other. This means that every item is versatile and can be paired (and look lovely) with different pieces.
To achieve an effective capsule wardrobe you really need to reflect on your style, plan and shop consciously.
Reflect on your style
Growing up, I think everyone goes through “phases”: I used to love sweatpants in pastel colours, then I was obsessed with piercings and V necks… Slowly, I found my style and colour palette. For me personally, it’s all about:
- turtlenecks in Winter
- white t-shirts in all shapes
- slim leg denim jeans
- simple shoes
- fine gold jewellery
- nice designer bags with subtle logos
How can you find your style?
Most people figure out their own style in their twenties. If you are not sure of what is yours:
- look at your “saved pictures” on Instagram and at your pins on Pinterest
- identify the prominent colours to understand which colours you really like wearing
- identify patterns (example: you like mini skirts but not sweatpants)
- ask yourself who are the people whom you love the outfits the most
These tips are useful when you start assembling your first capsule wardrobe.
In the next paragraph, we will see how to build it. For now, let’s say that planning is a key element of a capsule wardrobe because it is based around smart shopping, not compulsive buying.
How to build a capsule wardrobe: step by step
Nobody starts this experiment without clothes in its closet, so start by decluttering.
Keep only items that sparkle you joy and that you have used during the last months. Throw away items that
- you like, but don’t suit your body shape
- don’t suit your style anymore
- are not in your colour palette
There is no point in keeping clothes that you like but do not use. Do not let them collect dust, gift or sell instead, it’s a much better use of space money.
2. Create a mood board
I create a mood board following the same process illustrated before with the goal of understanding what it’s getting me inspired that season. My attention is attracted to camel turtleneck? I have liked fifteen very similar pictures what was the element I really loved?
I screenshot pictures I like style-wise and group them in “sections”, writing down the key element.
Then, I ask myself:
- would this piece fit me well?
- would this piece get along with my other clothes?
- in which occasions would I wear it? + I try to envision a couple of outfits in my head.
- can I recreate this outfit with things I already have?
Most of the pieces in your wardrobe should go along well with one another.
3. Write a list
Write down a list of things you are going to incorporate in your capsule wardrobe for the current season.
Divide them into three main categories: beauty (skincare, makeup), clothes and accessories. I use Google Keep to organize the things I want to buy for each category.
4. Plan your future shopping
Example: you have decided to buy a black leather belt. Start searching online in various shops online until you find the perfect one in a budget that feels comfortable for your pocket.
Start monitoring the prices. I suggest using Shoptagr, a website\app that lets you save in a dashboard and track items from supported stores and send you sale alerts when one of those items goes on sale.
This tool will help you with saving money and time. I say “time” because the alternative is keeping an eye on every wishlist and “saved items” section on every website you have stuff.
Then, wait. Be patient. Optimize your budget: wait for a discount and sales and check the same item on different e-commerce platforms.
I printed a small “guide” from The Minimalists and I read it every time I’m about to make a purchase. I’ll report it for you (© The Minimalists):
Can I afford to part with this money?
If you have to charge it to a credit card, you can’t afford it.
Can I pay the actual cost?
Remember, the true cost of a thing stretches far beyond the price on the price tag.
Will it add value to my life?
It must serve a purpose or bring joy; otherwise, it does not add value.
What are the alternatives?
In other words, is this the best use of this money? If not, then use the money elsewhere.
Can I get by without it for a while?
If so, wait. Who knows—maybe a day of contemplation will help you realize you no longer want the thing you wanted.
Why you should start one?
My journey as a minimalist started in 2017 precisely with this experiment and got myself more and more passionate about everything about minimalism.
Only wear things you love
Avoid trends and the world of fast fashion, go for clothes that make you feel amazing. You should look in the mirror and think “I look great and I feel great”.
Personally, I’ve got an “everyday uniform”, the outfit I wear for ordinary office days: denim jeans, nice jumpers and sneakers.
Shopping with intention, instead of impulsive shopping, makes you save money and decreases the risk of regretting a purchase (= wasting of money).
When you have fewer clothes, you privilege quality over quantity. You invest in clothes to make them last the longest. It doesn’t mean to spend a lot of money, but to look for quality.
Always look at the fabric. What are sustainable and high-quality fabrics? Organic cotton and line, for example.
Also, you have to care about your clothes so they can last longer. I use this fabric shaver on a regular basis to remove pills and bobbles from my jumpers and make them look brand new.
The best source for sustainability in fashion is by far Good On You, a website full of informative content and with an app for resourcing ethical brands.
The main difficulties at the beginning
Money. It would be easier starting from scratch and owning a lot of money to invest in your capsule wardrobe. Especially for students and low-income jobs, you can’t spend all in once.
For me, it was difficult to get “the basics”: a good wool black coat (around 100€) or t-shirts (10€ each) are few items but cost a lot all together. It took me two years to get there with basics!