How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe in 4 Steps | What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
Like everybody else, I've spent a lot of time at home with my family this year. A lot more than usual. Because of this, I started to feel the walls closing in around me, and I had this insatiable urge to purge my house of any unnecessary clutter. If this even remotely sounds where you are right now, then read on and discover how to build a capsule wardrobe in 4 steps!
One area of my life that felt especially wearisome was my closet. Most of my clothes didn't look good on me, didn't fit me, or were saved for that ever-elusive "someday" occasion. I was also tired of taking trips to Old Navy and coming home with items that I would love for all of two weeks.
Enter the capsule wardrobe!
What is a capsule wardrobe?
The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is that you can have a finite number of articles of clothing at any given time. Some have a year-round capsule wardrobe, while others plan theirs bi-annually, with "warm" and "cold" weather options, or quarterly, based on the seasons.
Our culture today favors the fast and the cheap, and that applies to our food as much as it does to our clothes. Forever 21 can come up with hundreds of new designs a week, discarding unsold merchandise like those paper napkins they hand you at Popeyes. The result is an incredible amount of waste, in clothing, in time, and in materials.
How do I know if I need one?
Do you spend more than 5 minutes deciding what to wear every morning? Do you try on five outfits before you pick "the one" on any given day of the week? Do you buy clothing every month or even week? Do you throw out clothes due to rips or shrunken fabric?
If you said yes to any or all of the above, the I'm about to change your life.
How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe in 4 Steps
1. Decide what kind of capsule wardrobe you want. I would suggest with doing a quarterly wardrobe at first, then once you have your toes wet, jump into a bi-annual or year-round capsule wardrobe. You can always get rid of more later on!
2. On your bed, lay out every piece of clothing you own. Do a quick once-over, sorting out anything you know you want to get rid, anything that doesn't fit you (do not hang onto things that "might fit one day"), and anything you've been keeping even though you don't like it. Sentimental items are definitely okay to hang onto, but I'll touch on how to handle that later.*
3. Try on everything. Yes, this takes some time, but the end product is soooo worth it! You'll need a full-length mirror, a camera, and, if possible, someone who's opinion you trust. Try on every top with every bottom, every pair of shoes with every outfit, and take pictures of every combination.
Weed out any items that don't make you look and feel great. And yes, both look and feel are important - if it's cute and uncomfortable, you won't wear it. Be realistic about what fits and what doesn't. Saving those jeans that are two sizes too small will likely just bum you out over and over. Be comfortable with who you are, and whatever you wear will look amazing!
4. Lay out whatever remains, then sort based on outfits. If you have a shirt that doesn't go with anything, toss it. Even that adorable skirt that matches nothing...get rid of it. Likely by this point you will be so ready to have that slim closet rack that you won't even feel bad putting it in the thrift store pile. Personally, it felt like a rush of relief when I finally let go of things I had been saving for a decade!
Voila! You now have your capsule wardrobe!
If you are dividing items based upon seasons or hot/cold periods, you will probably end up with more than if you had gone the annual capsule route. That's alright, just make sure you have a storing method that will keep them from
*A word on sentimental items
I'm one of the most sentimental fools you can find, but the process of closet-purging was still extremely freeing to me! However, I did find a couple of tricks to help parting with some of the more beloved items. You can make well-loved clothing into throw pillows for a quirky living space, or hand old graphic tees down to your little ones to wear as nightshirts! I even downgraded a couple of tshirts to sleepwear for myself.
Transitioning to a capsule wardrobe may sound daunting, but it is one of the most empowering decisions I've ever made! Now, it takes me an average of 5 minutes to get dressed every morning, and I feel cute in whatever I wear because I got rid of everything that didn't look good on me.
Be kind to yourself during the process, and have fun discovering your style! Stay true to what you like and what looks good on your body.