Capsule wardrobes are the greatest thing in to happen to your closet if done properly but a crime to fashion if not. They were invented to help people save, avoid wasting money on fast fashion, and not have over cluttered closets. Some people wonder why would you ever restrain yourself from seasonal visionary couture by restricting your wardrobe to just a few select pieces. Others live by it.
To be honest, the idea of having a set wardrobe with higher quality but lower quantity pieces used to boggle my mind. I was under the impression that you didn’t need to spend a lot of money on basics or jeans but rather on specialty items like bags, shoes, jewelry, and whatever was “in style” at the moment. But the reality of the matter is almost everyone, male or female, probably only wears a select number of things in his or her closet most of the time. The other reality is cheap items that are worn often have to be replaced often, leading to more shopping and spending overall.
The internet and media has created this horrific illusion that capsule wardrobes are supposed to only consist of a handful of items to be rotated and paired with each other. That’s it. You know what I think about that?
Creating A Capsule Wardrobe
While most people who create capsule wardrobes make it seem like you are supposed to have a small amount of items, it is not feasible to just own 5 shirts and 3 pairs of pants or something delusional like that. What are you going to do if your clothes are dirty? Do laundry 3 times a week?
What you’re supposed to do when creating a capsule wardrobe is to create a basic outline of the essential items you need: T-shirt, long sleeve shirt, types of jeans you would wear/pair the most, etc. Then within these items, you can choose a few specific colors or cuts that you know for certain you can easily pair with almost anything and wear often. Afterwards, you can invest in these items at a higher quality knowing they will be worn often and durable. Every season, you can budget out a certain amount of money to spend on fast fashion pieces that are trending at the moment and can possibly be used in the future.
Your local shopaholic started implementing this idea last summer (partially successfully). I slowly converted to a more minimalistic wardrobe life and swapped out my cheaply made H&M and Forever21 crap for a some slightly more expensive but higher quality T-shirts, jeans, and jackets. The biggest improvements I found from this new habit were:
- Less regretful purchases from binge shopping or spontaneous sprees
- Long-lasting jeans and shirts
- More creative pairings and accessorizing
- More versatile looks
- More money in my bank account
As I move out of college and into the “real world,” here is what I’m taking with me.
- T-shirt: white, olive green, burgundy, black
- Tank/Crop top: white, black
- Graphic T-shirt
- Long-sleeve shirt: black, gray, white, olive green
- Button down shirt: white and blue pin stripes, black chiffon, nude/cream chiffon
- Dark jeans: skinny ankle cut, boot cut
- Black jeans: ripped, ankle cut
- White jeans: skinny ankle cut
- High-waisted shorts: medium wash, black
- Skirts: black bandage, a circle skirt, black pencil skirt
- Long-sleeve shift dresses: gray, black, pink, taupe, navy
- LBD that can be dressed up or down
- a flowy sundress
- a formal cocktail dress
- a going out item that can be dressed down casually as well (bodysuit, romper, etc.)
- Black leather jacket (or a suede jacket if you use it more often, or both)
- Olive green utility jacket
- Black blazer
- Cardigan: black, cream
- Trench coat
- (IF YOU LIVE SOMEWHERE COLD) peacoat, ski jacket, or long down fluffy jacket
- Black ankle booties
- Over-the-knee OR knee-high boots
- Two-strap heeled sandal in nude, black, or both
- Adidas All-Stars OR Converse sneakers
- Gladiator/strappy flat sandals
- (IF YOU LIVE SOMEWHERE COLD) Doc Martens, Timberlands, Bean boots, etc.
You’ll notice that within each essential item, I have a few colors of it. That’s the beauty of the capsule wardrobe! You’re not supposed to have just ONE white T-shirt but rather a few that you know matches many things in your closet. When pairing an outfit, you have the freedom to choose from the limited but highly used options. There are not as many restrictions when it comes to accessories or makeup, so you can easily change up your look with a different color lipstick or purse or set of earrings.
Buying Specialty Items
As you have seen from the header image above, I own a pair of extremely glitzy shoes that have been deemed by many as “delusional purchase,” “Barbie shoes,” and “childish, as if it came out of an arts and crafts session for kindergarteners.” I agree with the first two. Not so much the childish part. Honestly, I don’t mind what certain people say about them. A person’s taste is an indicator of his/her maturity or place in life and a person’s style is a form of personal expression that evolves and serves as his/her signature in the fashion world. (Think about it. Your taste today is definitely different from your taste in middle school, oui?)
While most people laughed at me for purchasing such a crazy shoe that “you will rarely or never be able to wear,” désolé mes chéries but the joke is on you. Because I created a capsule wardrobe, my flower child could dress up OR be dressed down by number of outfits*:
*Note: Pardon pour the ugly bandage on my left shin. I sliced a chunk of my skin off when sliding across the stage for my chapter’s Greek Sing show last week.
There are quite a few more I can come up with on the spot:
- Navy T-shirt, white jeans
- white tank, white shorts/jeans #whiteout
- fuchsia or white top, black high-waisted shorts
- mint blue top, white or black bottoms
As you can see, each item is from some part of my capsule wardrobe! Basically, all you have to do is draw a color from the shoe to highlight, put that on a top, and pair it with a neutral bottom that does not clash and also matches the shoe.
Now where am I wearing these outfits to, you might ask? Date night, brunch, grabbing drinks with a friend, seeing a show, or even a summer daytime cocktail event! For me, I might even boldly strut across the stage in the last outfit for my diploma this May. Who knows?
I’ve captured my ideal capsule. What’s in yours, mes chéries?