So you’re fed up with the constant closet conundrum; heaps of clothes but nary a thing to wear. You’ve spent countless hours and probably close to a million dollars shopping for clothing, shoes and accessories but the options are always scant. The problem isn’t that you have nothing to wear, but rather too much and your brain in sensory overload; enter the “Capsule Wardrobe”.
A “Capsule Wardrobe” can be described as a collection of classic garments which do not go out of style. Since these items are timeless, they can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. This type of wardrobe is designed to be small (30-50 items is a good starting point) but interchangeable, giving you an (almost) unlimited amount of outfits without an extensive amount of clothing. Think of a capsule wardrobe as an apple; it consists of a “Core” (basic items that are wearable year-round; jeans, leggings, t-shirts, cardigans), the “Fruit” (seasonal items; dresses, skirts, shorts, heavy knits, jackets), the “Peel” (trendier pieces; featuring this year’s must-have pattern, fabric or style). The “Core” remains throughout the year and the “Fruit” and “Peel” change based on the season and trends. (Source: Wikipedia)
Here are five points to consider when you create your capsule wardrobe:
In order to achieve a cohesive wardrobe (to have all items coordinate) choose items that fall into similar color families; they can be solid colors or patterns but the more items you have that go well with one another, the easier it will be to put together an outfit. Pay attention to the
shades of each color; incorporating light blue and navy blue into your wardrobe, for example, can offer a sense of continuity, especially if you are going for monochromatic. Buying pants, skirts and shorts in neutral colors such as black, brown, navy, beige and white will give you more mileage, they go well with everything. There are really no rules when matching colors but some combinations triumph over others, for example: blush and grey is way better than orange and brown.
Typically people prefer to wear darker colors in fall/winter and lighter colors in spring/summer but I don’t believe this must be strictly adhered to.
Weight of fabrics
The “Core” of your Capsule should consist of basic pieces that can be worn in any season. This will vary depending on your climate; in Ottawa, for example, the temperatures range from -35 Celsius (-31 F) in winter to +35 Celsius (95 F) in summer Having items that can be easily layered or worn alone will work for you no matter what the weather is doing. T-shirts and tank tops in organic cotton are great as they are lightweight, breathe well, are soft and can be layered under knits. Jeans are a staple for any wardrobe, as they can be worn year round. Full length denim can be easily rolled up for spring and summer or you can go with cropped denim, which can then be covered with socks and tall boots for fall/winter. Lightweight, knit cardigans are essential for your core wardrobe, they are perfect transition pieces between seasons and are not bulky, perfect for layered looks.
For the “Fruit” of your Capsule go for heavier knits for winter (if your climate is cold enough) wool and bamboo are nice natural options. A warm coat or jacket is an essential piece to have in colder weather; buying a jacket that keeps you toasty means that the layers you wear underneath can be minimal. Tanks and tees are covered in the core but you can also add more patterned blouses to your spring/summer wardrobe in nice lightweight silk (sustainable fibre in terms of production but is not silk-worm friendly). Shorts, skirts and dresses are an essential part of any wardrobe; depending on your occupation and your climate, these may be part of your “Core” Capsule but for others (like myself) these items are for spring/summer (aside from the odd special event/holiday). Choose fabrics that breathe (essential for those sticky, humid days), are comfortable, and will wash and dry easily. Shorts and skirts that require ironing or steaming every time you wear them are not my cup of tea (I’m a lazy girl after all).
Quality of garments
You should always aim for quality in the clothing you choose, you are spending your hard-earned money and deserve to take home items that will last. Taking proper care of your clothing plays a big role in how long a garment will last (I have been guilty of this offense). Hand Washing and line-drying whenever possible (time-consuming, I know) will greatly extend the life and overall quality of your clothing. Pieces in your “Core” should be top notch, these are the “investment” pieces, the ones that you want to last in your wardrobe for years.
Items purchased for your “Fruit” should also be good quality; although they are worn seasonally, you will want them to last; for example, I purchased a black, wool and cashmere Mackage coat, it cost me $700 (the most I’ve ever spent on a single item) I still have it, I still wear it and it is still in great condition. Buy cheap, pay twice.
For the “Peel” items; those must-have trends; think “Pyjamas as clothing”, “ath-leisure”, “velvet”, “furry items”, and the list goes on.
Size and fit
This can be tricky; they always say, “dress for the size you are, not for the size you want to be” and I tend to agree with that. For obvious reasons; you need clothes that fit and are comfortable. I have had two children so my size has changed a bit over the last 4 years but luckily I have maintained a consistent weight. I understand for others this is an ongoing struggle and I always hope that people are able to achieve the body they desire but also to feel comfortable and secure in the body that they have. That being said, I think that you should buy for the body that you have right now, this may involve more money spent as you move towards your goal but you must be comfortable, the fit must be right and it must suit your body type, clothing that doesn’t fit (whether too big or too small) looks weird and draws attention or the wrong reasons. This can be the problem with trends or fads; they may not suit your body-type, or your personal style. It is ok to pass on a trend, not every trend will be for you. No love lost, really.
This can be tied in with the section on quality but it is more about the style of the garment. Discovering items of clothing that are “classic” can be difficult in this fast world of fashion we live in. Some brands only design for the “here and now” but there are others who are thinking “long-term”. If we could go back in time, we would see that our ancestors didn’t have the luxury of shopping daily, weekly or even monthly for clothes. There were wars and depressions and one income families; money was tight. Buying items that you treasure, won’t get bored of and won’t fall apart just makes good sense!
I trust that these tips will serve you well as you build your Spring Capsule. Enjoy the process and send me some pics of your choices on Instagram 🙂