What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

If you have ever opened up your closet full of clothes and sighed “I have nothing to wear…”, you’re not alone. Like you and me, many people have found themselves drowned in poorly made, untrendy clothes, feeling miserable because they didn’t serve them.

This probably led them to shop for trendy things again and perpetuate that vicious cycle another year. That’s how fast fashion survives: by making accessible, cheap, low quality clothes that we feel we can get more and more of. In the end, they seem disposable.

The need for better quality

Apparently, in the 1970’s it wasn’t that different.

Susie Faux, owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe”, found the fashion industry impractical and noticed people were spending far too many resources on multiple poorly made fashion items that didn’t fit right, and would likely be out of season by the following year.

Thus, Faux came up with the term “capsule wardrobe” — a collection of essential, timeless pieces that did not go out of fashion, could last decades and could be paired with seasonal accents. Who would not want that? I asked, finding out about what seemed like an idillic dream.

A capsule wardrobe is about personal style and lifestyle, but it’s also a sustainable, long-lasting solution that ultimately saves time and money.

So, how do you create one?

1. Make an inventory.

The best way to start is to audit your clothes and accessories. Lay them on the bed, take pictures and write down how many you have by season. After you have done that, reflect, piece by piece, on whether you absolutely love each piece and how much you wear it.

2. Define your needs.

After that, it’s a good time to figure out what clothes you need the most. Do you need more business outfits because you spend most of your time at work? Do you need more loungewear because you work from home? Does your lifestyle require mostly practical clothes such as jeans and t-shirts? It all depends in what percentage of time you dedicate to each activity.

3. Sell or donate clothes you won’t keep.

Once you have audited your wardrobe and have sorted out which clothes you love and need, you can start the process to sell or donate the clothes you wish to replace. It’s normal for this process to take months or years, often given the investment.

4. Dress for your body shape.

When you start looking for your favourite clothes, you’ll also want to consider your body shape. Which cuts fit you better? Something fast-fashion is usually terrible at is custom made clothes and personalised cuts. We’re not all a size 2 and our heights and proportions vary. We should embrace our bodies, not be ashamed of them.

5. Define which fabrics you feel comfortable in.

At the same time, you might ask yourself which fabrics you feel most comfortable in. Is it linen, cotton, wool or cashmere? Fluid fabrics such as silk or chiffon? I doubt you will answer synthetic fibres such as polyester and viscose. Sometimes mixes of natural and synthetic fabrics can be good long-lasting options, depending on their manufacturing.

6. Buy less, but better.

The previous point brings me to an optional but significant tip: investing in higher quality items. The beauty of carefully crafted items is that most of them have been produced thoughtfully, taking in consideration people’s comfort. An example of a brand that cares for their consumers is one that whose tags are made of fabric.

The practice of curating your wardrobe down to your favourite clothes, that fit your lifestyle and body shape will allow you not only to mix them regularly, but to shop more intentionally.