Capsule wardrobe: Minimise your wardrobe without minimising your style

I have written my fair share about capsule wardrobes. You can read my previous posts here (CAPSULE WARDROBE - THE PRODUCTIVITY SECRET OF MANY OVER-ACHIEVERS), here (MY SUMMER CAPSULE WARDROBE), here (PLANNING A WINTER CAPSULE WARDROBE FOR A BABY GIRL) and here (HOW TO PLAN A WINTER CAPSULE WARDROBE FOR A TODDLER GIRL). After writing all these posts, I still have more to share - can you believe? Just shows you how passionate I am about this.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

In essence, it is a paired down closet that consists, in its entirety, of 30 to 50 pieces of clothing. The clothing items have been chosen to fit and pair with all of the other items, allowing you to create outfits from any top and bottom that you choose. Sounds awesome right? Right - it is. But I will also agree that the whole concept can seem a bit confining. For some people (I used to be one of them) it can feel as if they really have nothing to wear if their closet is not overflowing with clothes. But what we forget is that our brains get overwhelmed easily, so when faced with so many decisions it is easy to not find anything to wear. Not because you don’t have anything, but because you are not seeing the possibilities - they are hidden behind all of the options. So when you simplify your wardrobe you are minimising the chance of being overwhelmed, meaning you can make a decision without being clouded. You reduce the overwhelm even further if you decide on a type of “uniform”, i.e. the look that you generally go for, and then only buy or keep items that fit in with that look.

There are a list of benefits to having a capsule, or minimalist, wardrobe.

Some of them are:

  1. It saves you money. Since everything kind of goes with everything else, you don't have to worry about individual outfits. Very economical.

  2. It saves you time. Having a kind of uniform means you can (if you wish and if you are inclined that way) grab a top and bottom from the top of your piles and the outfit will not only fit you but also be coordinated.

  3. It saves mind space. Simplifying your daily routines and responsibilities means freeing up headspace that can be used for more important thoughts and decisions.

  4. It saves physical space. No need for extra storing, or using Husband's closer because you don't have enough space. With a capsule, you can make a month's worth of outfits from a mere 30 to 40 pieces. And they fit in a normal closet.

You see, just benefits all around!

Do I have to sacrifice trendiness?

Not necessarily. The golden rule to follow when working out your capsule wardrobe is to invest in quality, classical pieces that will keep for years and years to come. If you stick to a more classic look for these pieces, which then form your basic capsule, then you have a relatively neutral pallet to work with. Because you are buying quality pieces that will keep for very long, you don’t have to replace these items as the seasons change, freeing up some budget that you would normally allocate to replacing said items. With this “free” money you can then buy two or three trendy pieces that will keep your style fresh and new. If you are not one to follow the fashion magazines or runways, you can use that money to buy a statement piece that fits in with your look and feel and overall style. This piece will then form part of your permanent capsule, while the more trendy pieces can be packed away for the next time they roll into fashion, or if you bought a lesser quality item they might be worn-trough at the end of the season. In that case you can either donate (if still wearable), re-purpose, or use for household purposes such as cleaning rags etc. (if the item is really worn through with no other uses).

So I don’t have to change my style?

Of course not! That is part of what makes you YOU. Having a smaller wardrobe simply means having a bit less of the awesome stuff that you love to wear. So when you work out your capsule, focus on items that you simply love wearing, that you feel good in, and that makes you look amazing. And when they are worn through, or you need to expand your wardrobe, then buy more pieces that fulfil these requirements. If your style focuses on layering, then your capsule will be bigger than say, someone who only wears a top and bottom such as jeans with a tshirt, or a dress with pumps.

And accessories?

These do not form part of your capsule wardrobe, but usually they get restricted not because of the “rules” but because people who normally subscribe to the capsule wardrobe idea are also the same people who try to live a more minimalistic life. So their pairing down is applicable to all spheres of their lives, including their accessories. If you want to change your wardrobe to a capsule simply because of the associated benefits, and not because you want to live more minimally, then even more have as many accessories as you want. And even if you are a minimalist - if you find joy in something, and it has a use, then their is no hard and fast rule that says you have to throw it out. Living minimally does not mean only living with enough possessions that you can fit into a small car. It means that you have cut out the clutter, the unnecessary, and the joyless.

And there you have it - you can have a “full” wardrobe consisting of 30 to 50 pieces without changing your look, your style, or your fashion.

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