Create a capsule wardrobe so you have the perfect outfit for any occasion at any time
So what is a capsule wardrobe, why should we have one and how do we create one?
Susie Faux came up with the concept of a capsule wardrobe back in the 1970’s. A capsule wardrobe is a mix and match of essential clothes that can be adapted for any occasion. We should all have one so that when you get that last minute call for an unexpected occasion, you can effortlessly throw an outfit together that creates the perfect look. Whether that last minute call is for a black tie event, an impromptu business meeting or a last minute lunch with friends, with a capsule wardrobe you need never get caught out again.
Having a capsule wardrobe can lead to you feeling more confident about the way that you dress and look. By buying classic, timeless designs your clothes will never go out of style, saving you money in the long run. The clothes you choose for your capsule wardrobe should fit your body shape beautifully and be in colours that work well for your skin.
Although your capsule wardrobe will be made up of neutral, timeless pieces, it need never be boring as the clothes can all be dressed up or down with colourful accessories.
Capsule wardrobe rules
- Less is more.
Buy fewer clothes of higher quality that will look better and last longer. The quality and fit of the clothes will be obvious and give you an inner confidence that will shine through. You will wear these clothes more often and you will always be able to find the perfect outfit for any occasion.
- Save money
By looking at your clothes as an investment you can save money in the long run. Good quality clothes that are beautifully cut to flatter your figure will last longer and you will wear more often as you know they look good. Cheaper clothes do not last as long and are often poorly fitting. Always buy the best you can afford – quality really does show.
- Go neutral
Fashion changes colour every season. Neutrals will last forever. Think of your neutral wardrobe as a blank canvas for accessorising with colour through jewellery and make up. Your neutral wardrobe will not date so once again, makes it a wise investment.
Neutral colours to use are navy, chocolate, camel, grey and black. Be careful of using black near your face though as it can appear draining and will highlight any shadows and lines.
With the less is more theme, you can wear your capsule wardrobe in so many variations that it will never be boring and will actually become quite liberating. It also prevents you making expensive mistakes with buying clothes in the future.
What makes up a capsule wardrobe?
The basics of a capsule wardrobe are as follows:
Planning your capsule wardrobe
- Your current wardrobe
Before going out and buying the items for your capsule wardrobe go look at what you already have. Scary stuff huh? So many clothes yet nothing to wear!! How many times have you been getting dressed for an occasion and tried on a variety of outfits only to end up stressed out and feeling fat and frumpy? How is this possible with so many options? It is probably because your wardrobe contains impulse purchases that you just had to have as they were such a bargain, but in reality, have never worn. There are the clothes that don’t fit as we are waiting to diet into them. There are the expensive outfits we bought many years ago for a special occasion that we grimace at now but just can’t get rid of as they cost so much.
If your wardrobe is anything like mine, it has probably turned into a burden rather than a pleasure.
So first things first. You have to know exactly what you have in your existing wardrobe before trying to build a capsule one and get rid of anything that is not wearable, useful or wanted. You may be very surprised at what has fallen off the hangers and is now hiding in the dark depths in a crumpled heap.
- Decide what to keep
Go to your wardrobe and empty it completely. And I mean completely. All those hard to reach corners on the top shelf where that bikini is lurking that you used to parade in prior to giving birth and changing shape. The bottom of the wardrobe where an old pair shoes lies waiting the day to be re-heeled which has now turned into years. The odd socks that are still lying in wait to be re-united with their other half.
This task can be quite overwhelming so make it fun. Ask a friend over to help. Grab a glass of wine and play your favourite music. Lay out some glossy magazines with images of perfectly dressed women, or a luxurious dressing room, to inspire you.
Now you need to decide what to keep and what to say goodbye to.
Lay your clothes out into piles of tops, trousers, skirts etc. Now work through one pile at a time. When working through your pile of trousers and jeans, put on a plain white or black tee shirt. Try on each pair and be critical of how they look and make you feel. If those jeans are too tight and show off your muffin top whilst wearing your tee shirt, don’t keep them to wear with a baggy jumper one day. You won’t feel comfortable and this will show in your overall demeanour when you do wear them one day. Get rid!
For outdated clothes there are many ways to make them look up to date and fresh once again such as dyeing a new colour, adding new buttons, altering hemlines etc. But please, please, please do not save items for an alteration pile if you are full of good intentions but know in reality these clothes will still be looking exactly the same in 12 months time. Either get on and make the alterations, pay someone else to make them or once again, get rid!
The same goes for all those clothes or shoes that need repairing or dry-cleaning. Get on and do it or get rid. All the clothes you keep need to be ready to wear at a moments notice. They will remain totally useless and will defeat the whole object of building your capsule wardrobe if that pair of shoes needs re-heeling or that dress needs a stain removed before they can be worn.
What to get rid of
Get rid of clothes that you have not worn in the last 12 months. Don’t kid yourself that you will wear them one day. I bet you won’t. And if you want to take me up on the bet, bag up all these clothes, label the bag with today’s date and put them in the loft. If you really want an item you will go and get it out. If however, when you next visit the loft in another 12 months time and the bag is untouched, DO NOT OPEN IT, take it straight to the charity shop. You haven’t missed the items for the last year so you won’t miss them in the future.
The most difficult clothes to get rid of are those that cost a months wages for that special occasion that was so long ago you can’t remember what it was. You need to act quickly with these clothes or they will guilt trip you into staying in your life. If you can face selling on Ebay, go put them on there now. If not, offer it out as a freebie or swap for something else with one of your friends. If neither of these options grabs you, go take it to the charity shop and feel good that you have made your charitable contribution for the year.
So now all the items you are left with need to be put back into your wardrobe. You need to structure your wardrobe so that you can see exactly what you have at a glance. You need to be able to see what tops you have in your drawers without having to burrow deeply into the corners, screwing up everything else in the process.
Keep the rails in your wardrobe for items that cannot be folded without creasing, such as dresses, skirts and blouses.
Other items such as trousers and tops can be laid out in drawers. I never fold these items and they tend to crease more easily. I always roll them up which stops them creasing and makes them far more easily visible as you can lay the items side by side rather than on top of each other.
Keep like for like items together. Trousers and jeans, jumpers and cardigans, tee-shirts and vest tops.
Accessories play a major part in a capsule wardrobe and once again need to be easily visible. Hang scarves and belts from a coat hanger. A mug holder makes a great place to hang necklaces and bracelets.
Buy what is missing
I have 4 golden rules for buying items for your capsule wardrobe.
1. Buy what you need
Before you leave to go shopping, write down the essential items you need and do not under any circumstance deviate from this list. Remember if you see what you consider to be a bargain this is usually something you don’t need at a price you can’t refuse.
2. Buy what fits
Clothes should fit here and now. End of. Do not buy something and promise yourself that you will diet into it. You won’t. And if you do, you can treat yourself to a new item then. Remember the capsule wardrobe is for outfits that can be put together instantly.
When you try on an outfit don’t suck in your stomach, put your shoulders back and tell yourself how wonderful you look. Walk around, sit down, stand normally. Does it still look good or are there saggy areas or bits that gape? Be honest.
3. Quality not quantity
Please remember that whatever items you purchase to complete your capsule wardrobe should be based on quality, not quantity. Think wool, cashmere, silk and cotton. These items will be more expensive but they will last far longer and fit better so will work out more economical in the long run.
This rule is particularly true when buying shoes. Cheap shoes look cheap, will rub and make your feet smell. Quality leather shoes will last for years, be comfortable and make you feel like a princess.
4. Buy what you feel good in
No matter what the fit, colour or style, if you don’t feel good in it, don’t buy it. The outfit will just sit in your wardrobe and be a complete waste of money. If you do wear it, you will feel uncomfortable and that will show through detracting from your look. Just because the model in the magazine looks good in something does not mean that you will. She probably has industrial strength underwear and has been airbrushed beyond all normal recognition. You will only wear something and look really good in it if you like it. Do not deviate from this rule.
So there you have it. Feel relaxed and confident that whatever the occasion, you are ready for it.