How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

by Contemporary Fashion

In the wake of the post pandemic world, more people are turning to ideas of minimalism, reuse, recycle and other similar concepts. The reason is probably the realization that the resources in the world are a lot scarcer than we all thought. And the aftermath is very likely to strike our generation as well, not just our children.

Along the same lines, a fairly old, but suddenly trending concept that is doing the rounds now is a capsule wardrobe.

Now what is a capsule wardrobe and how can you have it…

What is a capsule wardrobe?

Capsule wardrobe sustainable fashion

A capsule wardrobe is essentially a small selection of outfits that are basic, essential, most used and versatile. It consists of pieces from different categories of fashion including tops, dresses, jeans, accessories, bags etc.

It doesn’t mean that a capsule wardrobe consists of only the most basic items though. It is all about personal style.

For example, if an individual’s personal style and comfort priorities include neutral colors and basic denim jeans, then those will form an important part of their capsule wardrobe. At the same time, if another individual is more comfortable and likes wearing brighter colors in statement tops, then those are the things that will be included in their capsule wardrobe.

In other words, a capsule wardrobe is very subjective and dependant on the person. The basic intention or objective of building a capsule wardrobe is to reduce consumption of clothes as much as possible, reduce wastage, and responsible, limited shopping.

Typically capsule collections consist of 30 to 50 pieces, all from different categories. How many pieces in total, how many of each category to include, what categories to include – all of these are questions you need to address yourself, based on your lifestyle and needs.

These pieces are meant to last you a fairly long time, and they will consist of outfits that are suitable throughout the year. For other seasonal pieces, typically, you shop once or twice a year and update the same number of clothes with seasonal essentials. For example - swapping a sundress with a sweater for the winter.

How to build a capsule wardrobe?

To build a capsule wardrobe, one of the first things you need to do is change your mind set, from being consumerist and reckless, to being satisfied and happy with less. This does not mean settling for less, rather it means realizing that you in fact need only less than what you have.

The thing with consumerism is that you follow fashion and styles everywhere, and you constantly see things you want. You get those things to feel satisfied and happy, but then you see the next thing you need, and the next thing, and it goes on. Suffice it to say, you’ll never have enough of anything.

Once you make a conscious effort to stop buying unnecessarily, you can start building a capsule wardrobe.

Sustainable fashion capsule wardrobe

Step 1

The first step is of course to clear out your closet. Completely.
This will help organize from scratch and make things easier. It will also help you see what pieces you have.

Step 2

The next step is to pull out things you have stopped wearing, things you can or will never again, things you don’t like anymore etc. Basically, cleaning up your wardrobe and putting away the things you don’t need. You can donate it, recycle it, repurpose it or revamp it for a friend.

Step 3

Step 3 is more difficult. Out of the clothes you are left with you are going to form your capsule wardrobe.

For this:

  • First figure out what your personal style and preferences are. Are you into more of comfortable and loose fitting clothes, are you more of a sophisticated fashion lover, does your job require that you wear refined clothes, are you comfortable with bright colors and textures or are you more of a neutral lover?
    Address questions like these.
  • Next, pick out 3 to 5 categories of outfits you need based on your life. For example, office wear, lounge wear, casuals etc.
  • After that pick out 5 to 6 categories of items that you absolutely need based on your style. It could be tops, pants, skirts, dresses and accessories.
  • From the clothes that you are left with after the clean out, pick out 5 to 6 of your most favorite, most usable and versatile pieces to fill each category that you have narrowed it down to. Be sure to pick pieces that go well together and that you can possible create whole looks with. Don’t include “maybe’s” or things that don’t fit well with your requirements, like a sequin dress that you probably love but something you may or may not wear. This is probably going to be the hardest part.

Sustainable fashion capsule wardrobe

That’s a three step guide to how you can build a capsule wardrobe. Once you finish picking out all that you need, don’t shop again for the next six months. When nearing the start of the next season, shop for a few replacements in your capsule and stop at that.

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