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The term “Capsule Wardrobe” was coined in the 70s by wardrobe consultant, Susie Faux.
In 1985, it hit the mainstream when Dona Karen launched her “Seven Easy Pieces” collection containing high-quality, stylish basics including items like a skirt, a pair of trousers, a tailored jacket, a sweater, and a white shirt.
The rise of fast fashion has led to many of us becoming overwhelmed with the clothes we wear and own. What should be a simple act — choosing an outfit — turns into a painful, difficult process.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and want to get back to basics, without compromising on quality or sustainability, this guide is for you.
We’ll show you what a capsule wardrobe is, the benefits of building one, and example of items to include.
Let’s jump right in!
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing items that you can mix and match to create different outfits for any occasion. The idea is that you’ll have less clothes, but not feel like you’re ever missing anything from your wardrobe.
It’s all about having the right pieces for your lifestyle and knowing how to mix them together in different ways. Each item you own will have the ability to make other pieces in your closet look great, even if it’s something as simple as a high-quality t-shirt or pair of jeans.
Your clothes won’t go out of style, and you’ll be able to wear them all year round.
How many items do you need in a capsule wardrobe?
Naturally, everyone’s capsule wardrobe will be slightly different.
But, you can get started with just a few pieces.
- Shoes: 1-3 pairs, for casualwear, formalwear, and comfort
- Bags: 1 – 2 for casual or work environments
- Sweaters: 1 – 2 minimal that can be worn for smart or casual occasions
- Blazer: A well fitted blazer can be worn in any environmnet
- Jewelry: A few simple pieces can elevate any outfit
- Jeans: A good pair of jeans — needs no explanation!
- Dress: 1 – 3 for casual or smart wear
- Shirts: A small collection of shirts and tees
- Coat: Classic winter coat like a trench or duffel
Once you have a set of basic items you can mix and match them to create new outfits for every day of the week.
Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe
Save money in the long run
A capsule wardrobe will force you to stick to a core collection of clothes. When you make new purchase you’ll consider how they fit into your capsule collection and be less willing to impulse buy as you know they won’t work well with your wardrobe.
In the long run you’ll save money on impulse purchases, and feeling like you need to buy new clothes every season.
That said, we would recommend spending a little extra on high-quality items when building your capsule wardrobe. If your capsule wardrobe is made up of pieces from H&M and Zara, chances are, they’ll fall apart relatively quickly and it’ll be impossible to escape the pull of fast fashion.
Save time deciding what to wear
We’ve all had those moments where you try on 5+ outfit variations before leaving the house. Nothing quite looks right…
A capsule wardrobe should be designed to easily adapt to different functions, events, and formality levels.
Whatever you’re doing that day, choosing what to wear will be simple. Whether you’re attending a big job interview or a dinner with friends, you’ll only need to switch out a few pieces and you’ll be ready to go.
Every outfit reflects your personal style
A capsule wardrobe sounds limiting in terms of style. But, it’s not. The idea is that every item reflects your true style and you love every item.
You’ll never feel that you need to put on a top or pair of trousers that don’t resonate with your style.
How much should you spend on a capsule wardrobe?
The big question: what’s this going to cost you?
Rather than pull numbers out of the air, we’ll show you what popular capsule wardrobe brand Vetta Capsule offer for pre-made capsule wardrobes.
They charge $479 for their capsule wardrobe collections, which generally consist of 5 items.
The twist is that all of their items are designed to be worn in different ways.
For example, their Utility Jacket can be worn with a hood, without a good, with or without a button on the bottom panel, un-cinched, or cinched at the waist. That’s six ways to wear one jacket.
Brands worth checking out when building a capsule wardrobe
Shop a range of items designed to be worn as part of a capsule wardrobe.
Their pieces are high-quality, versatile, and ideal for anyone wanting to get started building a minimalist or capsule wardrobe.
You can buy individual items, pre-made capsules, or build your own custom capsule wardrobe.
Pact create a range of simple, stylish clothes, made with 100% organic cotton and a sustainable supply chain.
From simple high-quality tees to pants to sweaters, they’ve got you covered.
For example, the cardigan in the picture can be worn as an oversized top on its own, as a jacket, or as a layering piece under a larger coat and looks good with dresses, skirts, or jeans.
For a stylish, minimalist sneakers and apparel, Allbirds are a great choice.
All of their items are carbon neutral and made with sustainable materials.
Their sustainable minimalist sneakers are a great option if you want comfy but versatile shoes that make just enough of a statement, but don’t overwhelm an outfit.