Tips for Creating a Capsule Wardrobe
It’s getting to be Springtime where I live, and even though it's a tiny bit premature, I pulled out all of my spring/summer pieces from storage and did a huge swap of my wardrobe. I tend to put away as many winter items as I can once the weather changes and only keep my most used items for the new season within easy reach in my closet. I’ve found it’s easy to let my closet become overwhelming and crowded with heavy winter coats stacked next to all my summer dresses, so I decided to box everything up and away that won’t be used any time soon.
Going through all my pieces for spring made me reevaluate some things - excited to see some old, well loved items that I can’t wait to wear, and then some odd ones that don’t really fit into my lifestyle or wardrobe anymore. Since I just did a small purge and curated my closet for the new season, I figured I would write down some tips I’ve found that work really well when I create my capsule closet each season to ensure that it is versatile and not boring. I’ve had a capsule closet for about three years now, and I firmly believe that a pared down wardrobe should make you excited to get dressed everyday - it’s not about a specific set of numbers or depriving yourself of the joy of creating outfits with pattern, color, etc. It should bring you joy and be lots of fun!
Some of these tips can be found in my post on How to Declutter Your Wardrobe, which I highly recommend you take a peek at if you’re having a tough time getting the decluttering process going. The goal here is to create a smaller wardrobe that makes it easier to get dressed for your day. It should be a wardrobe only filled with items that you are truly excited about, and each outfit combination should be easy to pull together - it is important that each piece should boost your confidence! The functionality of a capsule wardrobe should also enable you to create more free time for what is most important for you in life.
Tips for Creating a Capsule Wardrobe
Mixing & Matching is Key: This is huge. I talk about this a lot. For a smaller wardrobe, you need pieces that can easily be worn in different ways. My rule of thumb is to only keep items that can be used effortlessly in 3-4 outfits I would wear on a regular basis. Pieces that require a specific pair of pants to be clean, and then that certain pair of pants can only go with a particular pair shoes, but only when it’s to an event that’s shorter because they will kill your feet, etc. is going to create a huge traffic jam in your closet. I only keep pieces that are easy, no fuss, and go with everything. Consider items like a coat and how they will look layered over jeans, dresses, skirts, and make sure the item will look nice when paired with nearly everything in your closet rather than just one single outfit. My goal is if I pulled items out of my closet in the dark and threw them on, they would all go together.
Pick a Cohesive Color Palette: This doesn’t mean a boring one! I started out with almost all neutrals and have slowly layered color over my neutral pieces - please refrain from laughing at the tiny pile of color… I’m working on it! I’ve found for myself that neutrals are a great foundation for layering colors on top. They allow you the ability to mix and match more color. So find your key neutral pieces and don’t be afraid to add punches of color or pattern on top. I’ve added some blush, dark green, maroon, and even mustard into my wardrobe for this season. I’ve found adding just those four colors and some florals still allows my wardrobe to mix and match seamlessly. It’s important to always reevaluate your colors and ensure that they create a cohesive scheme together. Always keep mixing and matching in mind!
Always Have Basics, Then Add Statement Pieces: Basics are important for making a capsule easy to use, but don’t overcrowd your closet with five basic black tees like I did - you really only need one or two good ones! Pick the minimum amount of basics you need in a category, and then add statement pieces to mix it up. This will keep your wardrobe from feeling boring. I’ve found that I love colorful winter coats or finding vintage pieces with pretty floral patterns. They aren’t crazy out-of-the-box, but for me they feel like statement pieces. Find bold pieces that you love!
Purchase Quality Items: Because you own less, your closet is going to be run through the wash way more often. Do your research and purchase new items for your capsule wardrobe that will last much longer. Please know that higher quality does not always mean a higher price tag. Everlane is my favorite place to purchase denim and basic tees without over paying - I’ve ordered clothing from them for years and they all look exactly the same as the day I purchased them.
Another great way to find items that will last longer is heading to the thrift store! It's better for the environment and your wallet, but it’s also a great way to see how things look after they’ve already been washed and worn. This is helpful in preventing shock when you bring a new item home and it shrinks two sizes and picks up every speck of lint. Real life.
Eliminate Fear: Dressing with less can be scary, and the idea might seem really intimating. But I encourage you, just try it! Don’t set rigid rules for yourself in the beginning. You can always swap, add pieces in and out, and create your own perfect number of items that works for you. The benefits of having a smaller wardrobe are numerous. I wrote all about it here: Benefits Of A Smaller Wardrobe.
If you are at all curious if it would work for you, go for it! Here’s the thing - you don’t have to immediately get rid of everything and commit right away. Pack away your pieces of clothing that don’t make the cut into your capsule, and keep them in an easy to reach place. At the end of the day, you can always pull pieces back into your wardrobe! For me, the benefits of have a smaller wardrobe are so huge, that I sometimes wonder what my life would be like today if I never took the plunge. Go for it!
I hope this was helpful and fun! I am by no means an expert in this area, but I am passionate about it and would love to help just one person start their journey to living with less. The place I started decluttering my life was my closet and it had such a huge impact on my life! Let’s get excited about our closets for this season - lets take control of our space and have fun with it!