What is a "Capsule Wardrobe" & Why Do I Need One?

I like to spend a lot of time on Pinterest and as of late I've been seeing the term "capsule wardrobe" pop up time and time again. Intrigued, I started to look into what a capsule wardrobe is, why it's becoming so popular, and how it will benefit me. Here's what I determined to be the answers to my questions:

 

The Capsule Wardrobe

What is a "capsule wardrobe"?

Here is Wikipedia's definition: "Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called "Wardrobe" in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don't go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.[1] This idea was popularized by American designer Donna Karan, who, in 1985, released an influential capsule collection of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces." 

Why are capsule wardrobes becoming so popular?

While the term was coined back in the 70s and received even more traction in 1985, I think with the help of the internet and the rise of the minimalism lifestyle, the idea of the capsule wardrobe is at its peak. People generally are wanting less stuff (aka less clutter), wanting to be able to make less decisions, and as always, want to do so fashionably. Project 333 is a popular take on the capsule wardrobe — it's a "minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months."

How will I benefit from having a capsule wardrobe?

Capsule wardrobes are pretty new to me too, but from my understanding, creating a capsule wardrobe would minimize the number of pieces in my closet while maximizing the possible outfit combinations, therefore simplifying the decision making process in the morning! Focusing on a collection of essential, timeless and mostly neutral pieces with interchangeable accent pieces just feels like the best way to structure one's closet.

 

My Dream Capsule Wardrobe

I took the time this weekend to figure out what my dream capsule wardrobe might look like, basing it on some of my favourite pieces that I already own and adding in some that I've been wanting for some time (like a full length black skirt). Note: all of these images are just from Google searches.

Doing this exercise made me realize, first of all, that I love a lot of black in my closet, and second of all that I don't need to add much to my existing wardrobe — I mainly need to eliminate some things.

This sample capsule wardrobe can be customized to include more gray, cream, white or more pops of colour. You can also eliminate the stripes if that's not your thing. I've included 35 pieces in mine, though I believe the general consensus online is limiting it to no more than 37, excluding undergarments, socks, sentimental jewelry, pyjamas and exercise clothes. I also excluded my winter and spring jackets (though if I added them I'd be at my max 37 pieces!).

Capsule Wardrobe.jpg

List of Items

*Starred items indicate they should be purchased high quality if possible.

  1. Faux leather jacket*
  2. White or cream coloured cardigan
  3. Professional blazer*
  4. Denim jacket*
  5. Long cardigan
  6. Neutral shoulder bag*
  7. Patterned shoulder bag*
  8. Stylish laptop bag*
  9. Romper
  10. Dress that can be casual or dressed up*
  11. Pencil skirt*
  12. Full length skirt
  13. Black jeans*
  14. Dark denim jeans*
  15. Light denim jeans*
  16. Loose fitting pants with elastic waistband*
  17. Black tights
  18. Crop top
  19. Black t-shirt
  20. Gray/striped t-shirt
  21. Bodysuit (for that flawless tucked in look)*
  22. White t-shirt
  23. Plaid shirt
  24. Comfortable sandals*
  25. Ankle boots*
  26. Rain boots*
  27. Flats*
  28. Open toed boots*
  29. Running shoes*
  30. Cuff bracelet
  31. Long necklace
  32. Long earrings*
  33. Hairband
  34. Chunky statement necklace
  35. Baseball cap

Sample Outfits

 

Create Your Capsule Wardrobe

To create your own capsule wardrobe, if you have Photoshop or a similar program you can create your board the same way I did. Or you can copy and paste images from online and print them out, or cut the out from fashion magazines, and assemble a physical vision board for your capsule wardrobe. Take inventory of your closet and base your wardrobe on your favourite pieces that you already have, and create a list of items that you know you want.

Eliminate the responsible way.

The fashion industry is extremely wasteful, and we don't need any more clothes in landfills. If you eliminate clothing from your closet, there's a few sustainable ways you can do it: 1) Donate it to a homeless shelter first, thrift store second, 2) Offer it up to your siblings and friends, 2) Trade it on the app Bunz, or 3) Attend or host a clothing swap party.

Similarly, if you're looking to acquire new pieces you can browse Bunz, your local thrift stores, attend a clothing swap or ask your friends if they're looking to get rid of any clothing.

Have fun!


Header image via unsplash.com