A Beginner's Guide To Building A Capsule Wardrobe

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Struggling to make the most out of your current items in your wardrobe? Or would you like to know how to build a capsule wardrobe while still being stylish? Look no further! This article will show you how to give your loved pieces new life and how to perfect the art of capsuling.

Before we delve any deeper, it’s important to know what capsuling actually means. Capsuling can be described as refining or editing your current wardrobe down to your favourite pieces. This will most likely be clothes that suit your lifestyle at this present time, can be used to create new looks, offer versatility thereby enabling you to shop less, more intentionally and consciously.

With the growing number of millennials, speaking about sustainable/ethical/slow fashion, it appears that there is an inner desire to shop more sustainably but a “disconnect exists between what clothes want and what clothes they actually buy.” (BBN Times, 2018) Money is a major factor which drives decision. With fast fashion becoming so readily available, it’s easy to splurge excessively on the latest “new arrivals.” Fashion drives consumption through the exposure of peer-pressure via social media.

But how can we work collectively to shop less and combat over consumerism?

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This is where building a minimalist capsule wardrobe can really resist the urges. A capsule will normally consist of “a set number of pieces of clothing that you wear for a season before starting the next capsule.” (Fashionista, 2017) You’ll focus on adding some new items (don’t forget, based on your lifestyle and what your wardrobe is currently lacking) at the start of your capsule. It’ll allow you to re-wear, remix and re-create rather than ‘swiping up’ in your favourite influencer’s Instagram Story to shop her latest ‘new arrivals” every. single. day.

We’ve all heard the phrase "less is more” but how many of us are actually living up to this? Well, a capsule wardrobe will help you live it out in a realistic way. After making the decision to capsule, the method has controlled my shopping habits. It has helped develop my personal style, save a lot of wardrobe and room space as well as improving my environmental and social responsibility - donating to/supporting charitable causes and reducing impact on landfills.

Here’s how to build your own capsule wardrobe:

Empty out that wardrobe!

So let’s say, you’re in the middle of putting your Autumn/Winter pieces together and you’ve decided to only wear these pieces until the end of the season - you’ll need to make sure that you’re picking those pieces mindfully. The first step is to take a look at what’s lying around in your closet.

What helped me was, literally, tossing every jean, sweater, t-shirt, coat, jacket, onto my bed and only adding back the items that I truly loved. It’s an eye-opener and makes you notice the percentage of items you wear regularly. It helped me to decide what I’d hand-down and donate to my local charity shops.

There’s something so satisfying about laying everything out and getting a close view of what you already own and what works well together. I’ve been able to stick to a neutral/muted colour palette as that’s what the majority of my wardrobe is made up of. Important note: if you’re ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ about a specific item, it’s a sign that you need to let it go!

Try and limit your capsule to about 35 pieces consisting of tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear and shoes. While doing so, ask yourself a couple of questions: Can I style this in numerous ways? Is it something I’ll actually wear regularly rather than occasionally? Is it season/weather friendly? Is it durable - can I trust it to last through to the end of the season with repeated wear?

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Pack unwanted items

Once you’ve mindfully selected your capsule pieces, pack everything else and keep it out of sight! It’s so tempting to have a rummage through the black bag of unwanted items now and again, because we’ve gotten bored of what we already have.

Have you got a Depop account? You might even consider re-selling some quality pieces over there. Think of it this way - you’e giving your clothing new life to somebody else. As mentioned above, I donate my old/unwanted items to local charity shops with the intent to keep it in circulation.

Stick with it for three months or until the end of the season

Now you’ve got your capsule and you’re ready to start living in it! The aim here is to only wear the pieces you’ve selected in your capsule, for three months or until the end of the season. I’ve challenged myself to wear my capsule pieces until the end of Winter, hopefully.

Yes, you’ll get bored and will continuously be tempted by the latest fresh, new in pieces but look at the positive side of it - it can certainly help you find your personal style, identify what works best for you and get your creative juices flowing as you consistently create new ensembles that you probably would never have thought of. Most importantly - you’ll be saving money!

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Start all over again!

As you’re nearing the end of your three months or season, you’ll be in a good place to reflect on what worked for you and what didn’t. Did you inject too much colour/prints into your wardrobe, and later realised that you’re a minimalist who just lives in white, grey and black? These discoveries will aid in planning your capsule for the next season. The best part? Being able to fill any gaps in your wardrobe with new items that will work throughout the new season. Notice how you’d only be shopping for pieces at the beginning of each new season, consciously and intentionally.

On a final note, my move towards capsuling honestly feels like weight that has been lifted off my shoulders (or should I say, purse!) as I now have the freedom to remix my key pieces regularly. At the beginning of the season, I made a list of some core items I need to see me through Autumn/Winter. It won’t be easy but I do enjoy a challenge so here’s one for you!

I challenge everyone reading this post, to create a capsule wardrobe for at least three months, documenting your journey through your preferred social media platform (this will probably be Instagram for most people!) or create 10 looks for 10 days using clothing/accessories already in your wardrobe. (make sure to tag me in your posts!)

If you’d rather skip the above challenge and would rather pop me an email or message on Instagram for further advice then feel free to do so. Comments are also welcome below as I’d love to know your thoughts on this post :)

Thanks for reading,

Eunice x