The Capsule Wardrobe: A new way to shop

capsule wardrobe

When it comes to shopping, how do you shop? Do you shop just because you like it and fancy something new? Or do you plan out your wardrobe and search for missing pieces? Do you only shop during a sale? Do you prefer the op shops and Ebay or the high street? Or do you shop online or face the crowds in person?

When did shopping get so difficult?! For me, I tend to shop when I need something, to complete my wardrobe and I prefer to do this online as most of the time they don’t have what I want in my size. But to add an extra layer of complexity to the task, I’ve also been trying to make a capsule wardrobe (in keeping with my minimalistic way of living).

What is a capsule wardrobe?

capsule wardrobe

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A capsule wardrobe is a compact, concise wardrobe  of about 30 pieces (although the number can be set by you) of coordinating colours. What is considered as counted items in this list depends on the person. For example shoes are sometimes counted in the mix or left out but underwear, pyjamas and sportswear are generally left out the mix. That’s not to say you can go nuts with the count of these items but the emphasis on those items are more based on need and use rather than coordination.

Many people have blogged about this concept, but I believe the concept started in 2010  with Project 333. The idea behind Project 333 was that you limit your wardrobe to 33 items for 3 months. You can read more about Project 333 here .

Since Project 333, many other women sick of looking at their wardrobe and uttering the words ‘I have nothing to wear’ have also embarked on the capsule wardrobe journey. You can read about Caroline Rector’s capsule experiment here on her blog ‘Unfancy’.

Why start a capsule wardrobe?

capsule wardrobe

photo credit: StockSnap via pixabay

So why would anyone make the task of shopping a complicated chore? Well for me it started when we were moving from Qatar. I had already reduced my wardrobe due to the desert climate and the laws of land requiring women to dress more conservatively. What’s more, I struggled to add to my wardrobe in Qatar as the shopping was very limiting. I had better luck in nearby Dubai but then rarely had the occasion to wear any new finds. And so my spending was practically non-existent and I functioned for a year on a very limited wardrobe. So when it came time for me to have to move again, I looked at my wardrobe of clothes where I probably only wore 10 % all year and thought ‘things have got to change’. And with that thought, I sorted and sifted through my clothes, ruthlessly chucking items that had not served me well the past few years.

I have to admit, the end result felt good. I had a concise wardrobe of clothes I actually wore. And best of all, when I went back to Europe in the summer I got to spend a little bit more on a few select pieces that I knew I would wear more than once.

Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe

The benefits of a capsule wardrobe are endless. For starters you save time when getting ready because you know that everything in your wardrobe goes together. You also save money by not needing to buy as many clothes as you think and only investing in key pieces that you will use more frequently. And if those two reasons weren’t enough, I personally love the space I save in my wardrobe and doing laundry. Less is better!

capsule wardrobe

Photo by tu tu on Unsplash

How to start a capsule wardrobe?

If the idea of living with a more intentional wardrobe, never having to worry about not having things to wear and knowing that everything in your closet gets worn more than once appeals to you, here’s how you to start yourself on the capsule wardrobe journey.

Step 1: 

Clear out your wardrobe. Now there’s clearing out your wardrobe and there’s CLEANING out your wardrobe. The best method is to actually empty your entire wardrobe out.

Step 2:

You then need to create some piles. I started with three piles. The love it, hate it and maybe piles.

Step 3:

From the love it pile, take a look at what has been working for you. Also take note of what colours you tend to be drawn to.  These are the colours you like, that you feel make you look best and so you gravitate towards them more often. I even went so far as to look up some colour palettes that would suit my skin tone to help create a capsule wardrobe. Remember the clothes and colours in your wardrobe have to compliment each other.  There are tons of colour palette ideas on Pinterest so take a look.

Step 4:

Before getting rid of the hate pile, take a look at what hasn’t been working for you. Be it colours or cuts. These are things you want to avoid when shopping again. Get rid of the unwanted, shelf the maybes and create some room for your love it pile. Most people recommend not going shopping right away to see how what you have left is working for you. I would agree with this. As then you can see what is missing.

It also helps to use a wardrobe planner to figure out what your style is and what type of clothing you should be investing in. For example, if you hardly ever go out and tend to have more casual social affairs, then you would spend more of your wardrobe on the casual. Or when thinking about your style, if you are more of a jeans girl than dress girl then you may have more pairs of jeans than other people’s capsule wardrobe. Check out Caroline’s capsule wardrobe planner and give it a go.

Building your capsule wardrobe

After living practically on the equator for the last two years, I’m about to experience my first Autumn/Winter in a while. And so I’ve been hitting the shops trying to build my Autumn/Winter capsule wardrobe. So far I haven’t had much success. But I’m hoping I’ll have better luck online. Although I could buy items of clothing on offer here, I am thinking carefully about what works for me, my body and my lifestyle. And so making a purchase takes a little more time and consideration. My capsule wardrobe experiment is still an ever evolving process, but I’m loving my clothes so much more and feel like I make much better decisions.

Would you try a capsule wardrobe?

capsule wardrobe

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