Imagine a world where you give clothing little to no thought at all, at least for a period of time. This was the rationale behind the capsule wardrobe, one of the biggest fashion trends of the 2000’s.
The idea was simple, as online shopping gained popularity, consumers were inundated with choice at a scale never seen before. Research has shown that humans are tasked with making about 35,000 remotely conscious choices in a day on average, and buyers reported feeling fatigued about the speed at which trends rose and faded. To ease this process, fashion stylists began to advocate for a ‘capsule wardrobe’, a way to combat analysis paralysis when building our wardrobes by creating a list of versatile outfit basics that could be repurposed for different looks.
That problem persists till today, and that is probably capsule wardrobes have remained a staple for fashion lovers looking to make the most out of their purchases. Creating a capsule wardrobe makes clothing one less choice you have to make in your day.
Contrary to what you might think, it is quite easy to create one that works and still keeps you stylish. Here are our suggestions to get you started.
Start with a theme
Think meal prep or menu, say, Chef’s special? Your capsule is just that. A capsule is a numbered selection of clothing items for a specific purpose or event. Your theme equals your purpose/event. Imagine you’re going on a vacation to the Maldives, the destination in itself is a theme. For this, you’ll plan to take more pieces that align with the location and scenery and ambience. If you’re planning for work, you’ll want to curate pieces that align with your company’s dress code but still show your personal style. The goal is to get versatile pieces that can be repurposed with any given theme.
Keep it seasonal
Knowing your theme is good, but you can take it one step further. Capsules are best planned as seasonal. This is important because different locations experience different seasons at different times. A vacation themed capsule is limited by the your length of stay. A work capsule is more flexible. You can plan a capsule weekly, monthly, quarterly or bi-annually. Find what works for you, but if you had to ask us, we’d definitely say stick to a monthly rotation.
Gather your inspiration
It’s always a good idea to create a moodboard when styling your clothes. In the glory days of Polyvore (in loving memory), this would have been much easier but thank goodness for Pinterest. Over there, you can save endless style inspiration especially if you’re unsure of the direction to take towards your capsule.
Know your pieces
After you’ve figured out your theme and time, there are two key parts to consider: number and individual pieces.
You need to decide how many pieces you plan to work with. You can build a capsule with as little as 5 items and as much as 100 items. However, to limit the time you spend on choices as is the intent, it is better to not have too much. Quality over quantity. Figure out the pieces you need based on how you can incorporate your style and how many are relevant at the stipulated time.
These vary across categories in fashion. We have jackets, shoes, earrings, tops, dresses, trousers, scarves, etc. You can have anything you want at that moment in your capsule. It’s more about having a variety of functional and versatile pieces in your capsule. These will make it easier to mix and match which gets you the most out of your capsule wardrobe.
When planning for your capsule, think about layers. Staple pieces are versatile basic items, some of which can be used as both underlays & overlays. Overlays typically consist of coats, jackets and scarves. Underlays are the pieces you pair overlays on like your tops, dresses and pants. The idea is to have a creative mix of overlays and underlays to create versatile looks after factoring in your theme and timing adequately.
Colors are important
For capsule wardrobes, solid colours should form the base of our capsule, prints accentAll primary and secondary colors are welcome but it’s worthy to incorporate neutral colors as well. Neutral colors give a more timeless look to your outfits especially when paired right. If you’re building a leisure capsule or vacation capsule, you can definitely incorporate more bright colors. For the best result, mix the neutrals with a pop of color sometimes.
Building a capsule wardrobe is all about having fun with fashion by mixing, matching and contributing to the global fashion cycle. You also make healthier fashion choices by re-styling valuable pieces in your wardrobe & saving the planet while at it.
As a plus, it is that it saves you a lot of time and amps up your productivity.
If you’re having second thoughts, ask Matilda Kahl, she gets it.