At the end of January I embarked on a little capsule wardrobe experiment. The rules I set myself were quite simple: 30 items for 30 days. This would include coats, jackets, shoes, bags, scarfs and tops, skirts, dresses and bags. It does not include underwear or gym wear – that would just be skanky … and smelly!
For those who know me, this was no easy task and, at the start of the challenge I was completely daunted by the prospect. I spent a long time reading up on capsule wardrobes and watching blogs on how to curate a collection of clothes that works for me.
Before choosing my items, I spent several weeks monitoring what I wear, taking note of the items that I’m drawn to regularly in my wardrobe.
One thing that stood out is that I wear a lot more colour than I realised. I’m drawn to vibrant reds and bright blues. This was something that I hadn’t seen in other peoples capsule wardrobes of grey, black and white. Of course, these neutral toned items feature regularly in my own daily style but a splash of colour is definitely something that I really couldn’t be without.
This meant that my final selected items contain the vibrancy and life that I love in my personal style whilst maintaining the minimalist aesthetic that I admire so much in others’ wardrobes.
The Process: Tips & Tricks for choosing your Capsule Wardrobe
1. Spend several weeks monitoring what you wear regularly and place them in a different section of your wardrobe.
I was amazed at how quickly it became apparent that I migrate to the same items of clothing again and again. Of course, some of the neglected items were simply not weather appropriate and so I have packed these away to reevaluate come spring/summer and warmer weather.
2. What do you consider your core items that you can’t live without?
For me, my core items consist of my my faux leather-coated trousers, my patterned mini skirt, a statement blazer, and a colour-pop jumper. No matter what I wear or how I style it, the chances are that one of these items will feature in my daily outfit choice.
3. What are the colours that you are drawn to regularly? And what colours do you pair these with?
Blue and red definitely reign supreme when it comes to my colour palette. I tend to avoid full on colour and pair the more vibrant items with neutral colours:
- black trousers or a grey jacket with a bright jumper
- a white or black poloneck with a patterned mini skirt
- a white blouse with a coloured coat.
4. What are your basics? The items that get thrown on with everything but don’t stand out alone?
The Process: What to do once you’ve chosen your items
1. DON’T throw your items away
Once you’ve got that beautiful reduced, minimalistic wardrobe it is so tempting to just trash the rest. I’m not saying don’t do this eventually, but take some time wearing your capsule wardrobe to see if it really works. I have vacuum packed the items that I’m unsure of, storing them away to see if I really do miss them and, as an extension, if I really do need them.
2. Don’t over think getting dressed in the morning
Just go with your gut – throw on those items that you’ve loved wearing the most and don’t over complicate it with thoughts such as, “oh, I haven’t worn that yet” or “oh, I must wear that dress cause its day 22 and I haven’t worn it yet“. The idea is to learn what you gravitate towards naturally, not to feel pressured into wearing anything you don’t want to.
3. Keep a style journal
Note down what makes you feel great! And the items that make you feel less great. All record the items that you miss – those pieces of clothing that you look for only to remember that you’ve packed. Or those items that you crave but don’t yet own. This is a really useful task for refining your wardrobe and working out what you really want to wear.
If you haven’t been able to tell already, I have really enjoyed the Capsule Wardrobe experiment. I have spoken a lot lately about wanting to create a more minimalistic life and this has really helped with that process. Getting dressed in the morning has been simplified; I simply go with my instinct, throwing on what I want to wear rather than being lost in a maze of choices.
I have also realised that I really don’t need half of the clothes I own. My endless array of dresses are frivolous to my needs – I mean how often do I really go out anyway?
I have also become a little more experimental with my dressing; mixing textures and patterns more, playing with lengths and different colour combinations.
And some things that I have learnt?
- I spill coffee a lot – meaning that my dry cleaning bill has gone up with only a select few items for me to throw coffee over
- I love wearing a silk shirt – I should probably buy some more of these
- Denim and a blazer is my real go-to look – both items could be expanded upon
- I really don’t need many dresses – I scarcely wear them
- I do need one or two items for more formal occasions – a tailored pair or trousers that can be dressed up or down and a fancier dress or skirt/top combination for nights out.
And will I be continuing with the capsule wardrobe?
Yes, I think I will!
Although 30 items might be a bit limited, I am going to carry on with this model of outfit building as it makes me really consider what I want to buy and wear.
The notes I’ve kept through the challenge means that, come the change in seasons, I have a clear idea of what I want to buy and wear for the transition. And, although my dry cleaning bill has gone up, I think this is the first month in a very long time that I haven’t wasted money on impulse purchases that will simply just sit in my wardrobe gathering dust.
Would you try a capsule wardrobe?