How to create a capsule wardrobe
Hi! ABLE's Brand Stylist, Tinsley, here. Remember me?
A couple weeks ago we defined what a capsule wardrobe is (having fewer pieces you can easily create more outfits with) and what it means for you and our community here at ABLE. We touched on how a capsule wardrobe can help you wear what you love every day, save you money, and benefit the people who make your clothing. Hopefully, we left you feeling ready to dive in.
Today, we want to dive into how you can create your own capsule wardrobe that works for you and what you're already doing as you get dressed every day. This isn't meant to be overwhelming and we aren't here to add something else to your plate. We just really believe in this system, and we're excited to walk through this with you to ensure you feel more confident in building a capsule wardrobe that helps you create more looks with fewer pieces.
Let's get started!
What do you need?
First, let's start with a simple task: take a week to think about what you're wearing every day or what you find yourself wanting to wear every day (but maybe don't have the right pieces for yet). Perhaps you've already thought a lot about this? Feel free to skip down to the next "Make a list" section.
Helpful questions to ask yourself:
What are you noticing yourself gravitating towards?
Is there some sort of repetition you're noticing?
If you're wearing the same combination over and over, do you like that?
If you don't, what would you rather be wearing?
Take notes! Jot them down in the notes app on your phone or snap a mirror selfie to help you remember. Soon, you'll start to see a pattern.
Make a list.
Once you've made notes and given yourself time to think about what you enjoy wearing, start building out a list of what kind of pieces you'd like in your capsule – and how many. Perhaps you noticed you love wearing dresses, or maybe you prefer pants over skirts. How many pieces do you need in each category in order to dress for your day-to-day life?
Your list might look something like this:
5 pairs of pants
This list should be completely tailored to you and your preferences. If you love a dress and don't prefer wearing pants, bump up your number of dresses! You may also notice you need more casual pieces than dressier pieces, depending on your lifestyle – whether you work from home or an office, whether you like to stay in on the weekends or go out. We aren't here to box you in or tell you what you "should" have in your closet. Whatever pieces you choose, it's also a great idea to think about the quality and longevity of each piece. Don't just think about what you need right now, but think ahead – Can you see yourself wearing these pieces in a few years? Will the quality of fabric hold up? Will those pieces be versatile enough to accommodate any changes in your lifestyle?
Start in your closet.
After you've evaluated your current dressing patterns and established a formula for your capsule wardrobe, you'll want to take inventory. Start with what's already in your closet!
What do you have that you love or find yourself wearing often? Set those things aside.
Maybe you've already noticed yourself thinking, "if I only had..." – if you haven't, make a note of what those things are.
Remove anything from your closet that you haven't worn in a while, needs repairing, or doesn't fit. If you haven't worn a piece in six months, chances are there is a reason and you probably don't need to hang onto it.
For pieces that need repairing, decide if it's worth repairing and make arrangements to make it happen.
Pro-tip: Setting deadlines for yourself is helpful in keeping this process moving!
Also, here is your friendly reminder to donate your unwanted pieces (even if they need repairing!) to a local organization or sell them. Passing pieces along to others who might give them a second life is always a better option than adding to a landfill.
Organize what you keep:
Taking the pieces you've decided to keep, section off your closet into categories. Again, make this work for you! It might be sectioned by tops, bottoms, and dresses, or by casual vs dressy.
Once you've organized your pieces, you'll have a clear visual of the items you already own and what you have, have duplicates of, and don't have. You may notice you have three different pairs of black pants that all look similar and serve the same purpose. Narrow things like this down to one or two items so your closet isn't cluttered with several versions of the same thing. Having too many options contributes to decision fatigue and eats away at your time when it comes to getting dressed. Keeping this in mind, continue curating your collection of pieces.
Fill in the gaps.
Remember that list you created of what you need to create a wardrobe that fits you in your day-to-day life? Refer back to it and prioritize that list in order of what you need first, and then by what you want.
For example, if you notice you have (and wear) a lot of tops and pants, but you're missing a piece of outerwear or a third layer, you might want to prioritize finding a versatile jacket, blazer, or sweater.
Your goal is to have a closet full of pieces you actually wear and wear often, which means these pieces should be able to be worn interchangeably. Having one pair of pants that you only wear with one top isn't going to work. (Don't worry, we can work with that. More on this later.)
Working toward a collection of pieces that can be worn interchangeably can result in a wardrobe filled with neutral colors and classic silhouettes, but it doesn't have to. If you want trendier pieces in your wardrobe, add them! In fact, we suggest it. The ultimate goal of a capsule wardrobe is to easily create more looks with fewer pieces so that you have fun getting dressed and love what you wear every day. The key to incorporating trendier pieces in your wardrobe is to envision how you might wear it multiple ways with a few pieces in your existing wardrobe. Maybe you purchase a trendier silhouette or print in neutral colors so that it pairs well with what you already own.
See? It's not so bad, is it?
Remember that old saying: How do you eat an elephant? ...One bite at a time. The trick to creating your own capsule wardrobe is to take it one piece at a time. You can do it.
You don't need to get it right the first time. Just give it a go and learn over time. It's okay to spend time re-evaluating, editing your closet, and reprioritizing. Before you know it, you'll be cherishing your capsule wardrobe with fewer pieces you can easily create more outfits with.
That's all for now. Be in touch,
P.S. Looking for a few pieces to start filling in the gaps? I recommend the Lise Tank, Mary Easy Pant, and Merly Jacket. Three steps in the right direction.