As a society, we are driven by consumerism; by fast fashion, seasonal trends, and an endless array of wear-once items. As a plus size fashion blogger, I have fallen into the trap of parading an endless array of newly purchased items. My three double wardrobes were bursting with elaborate dresses, statement jackets, and 1001 varieties of the same jean. Not to mention the colourful array of heels whose labels hadn’t even been removed.
Yet at the start of this year I found myself becoming disillusioned with fashion, falling out of love with the endless choice in my wardrobe and craving a more simplistic life. I was wearing the same items over and over again and dust was literally settling on the hangers of other items.
So I decided to do an experiment. I would live with just thirty items of clothing for thirty days. This includes coats, jackets, t-shirts, bottoms, etc. With shoes and handbags, the number rose. Underwear wasn’t included – thankfully!
The challenge was a revelation – getting dressed in the morning became simple, I stopped the try-on-discard patterns that I had worked through for years, and a I felt like I was dressing for me! The challenge became a lifestyle; one that celebrates simplistic dressing and a more conscious approach to fashion that focuses more on durability than the latest trends.
So, what is a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a reduced wardrobe of key items, all carefully curated to compliment one another. Most people work on a premise of thirty-seven items (accessories, gym wear, formal wear and underwear not included) but mine is less than that. I think currently I have thirty-two items in my wardrobe that have seen me through summer. As autumn approaches, I’ll pack away a few key items such as my vibrant Elvi shorts and replace them with more weather-appropriate clothing – perhaps a wooly jumper that was stored away at the end of winter.
How do I start a capsule wardrobe?
I dove straight in with a thirty day challenge but many people prefer to try a 10×10 challenge that involves wearing only ten items for ten days – this acts as a taster to see if you really enjoy the style of dressing. After all, a capsule wardrobe isn’t for everyone.
Before starting, I followed some really simple steps:
Keep a style journal for a month – document what you wear regularly, what you’re drawn to, and what makes you feel happy
Turn your clothes hangers the other way once you’ve worn them, so you can see what you actually wear
Focus on colours – what colours work well with each and which make you feel best
Create a mood board of looks that you enjoy wearing
Once you’ve followed these really simple steps you’ll start to see patterns in your daily wardrobe. You cause these patterns to create your favourite selection of clothes that you know make you feel great and that work well together. Hide the rest of your clothes away to prevent temptation and off you go with your capsule.
How often do you revamp your capsule wardrobe?
If a capsule wardrobe is working well, then it is usual to adjust it seasonally. As autumn approaches I will add a few more blazers, a trench coat, and switch my floaty skirts for warmer fabrics. I look back at last autumn to see what I liked to wear the most and incorporate those items into my wardrobe.
Obviously, if an item wears out or you suddenly change your mind about it, you can switch it for another one. There are no hard and fast rules with a capsule wardrobe and you don’t have to be tied to seasons to make changes – just go with the flow and do what works best for you.
Does a capsule wardrobe have to be black and white?
Absolutely not! I love bright, vibrant colours and have pinks, reds, and blues in my capsule. It is true that you need a lot of neutral toned items in your wardrobe that will go with the colours, but its not true that you need to exclude colour all together. For me, white shirts are my go-to for mixing and matching. I also love grey and know that it looks phenomenal with royal blue.
Do you need to have lots of separates for a capsule wardrobe?
Absolutely not. You can mix and match cute dresses with different jackets and cardigans to get variety in your wardrobe. I have both dresses and jumpsuits in my capsule that can be made to look so different with the addition of a belt or a different jacket. Varying items with shoe types is also a great way of transforming dresses from day (with plimsoles) to evening (with brogues or heels).
Isn’t a capsule wardrobe expensive?
It doesn’t have to be. Although a capsule wardrobe is built around quality, not quantity, it doesn’t mean you only have to buy expensive items. Instead, its about buying items that you can wear multiple times for different occasions. It is about versatility – whatever your own budget.
So what is in your capsule wardrobe?
My summer capsule is built around colour pops. I’m very basic in my style so a strong blazer paired with a white body and high waist jeans is my daily wardrobe – that or a patterned blouse and skinny p-leather trousers. My wardrobe currently consists of: