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Capsule Wardrobes & Why You Should Have One

January 19, 2018

Ethical capsule wardrobe easy pieces

Photography by Rita McNeill, words by Ellen Tirant.


The term ‘capsule wardrobe’ gets thrown around a lot these days and it seems it’s true meaning is getting a little lost among fashion trends and is being stretched to actually incorporate more shopping, rather than less. As capsule wardrobe creators and owners ourselves, this article aims to shine a little light on the concept and provide some guidance on building one for yourself.


What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

The original concept of a capsule wardrobe was coined in the 1970’s by Susie Faux, owner of London boutique, Wardrobe. According to Faux, the ideal number of pieces to have in your closet sits around 12, with larger capsule wardrobes consisting of up to 30 items, inclusive of shoes and accessories.

In 1985, American designer Donna Karen popularised the concept with the release of her 7 Easy Pieces Collection, a collection of 7 interchangeable work-wear items. With this collection, Karen aimed to empower working women with a practical, stylish and efficient wardrobe.

Today, the concept has become something of a trend, with many bloggers, magazines, stylists and trend setters utilising the term as a way to create seperate seasonal wardrobes, encouraging seasonal shopping rather than eliminating it. This modern version is about sorting your closet into seasons, packing away the other three seasons and heading to the shops to top up your new ‘capsule wardrobe’ with current trends. Although this method is helpful to declutter and keep the love alive for your clothing when you unpack it each season, it’s not necessarily fulfilling the idea of a seasonless compact wardrobe, with minimal, high quality and coordinating pieces.

A capsule wardrobe in its truest sense, according to Faux, moves through the seasons, is not trend driven and if curated well, does not need to be added to or updated for at least a year. The purpose is to reduce the amount of clothing you have, creating a collection of high quality, versatile staple pieces that you can wear all year round, feel confident in and thrive.


Men's basic tees in soft, comfortable cotton jersey never go out of fashion SHOP MEN'S


The Benefits

By streamlining your wardrobe, you are not only only saving yourself time and money, you are also reducing your impact on the environment with less demand for products and much, much less waste.

A money saver: if you do it right, capsule wardrobes eliminate the need to shop each season, reducing the amount you spend each year on clothing.

Quality over quantity: investing in high quality pieces ensures they will last you through the seasons and eliminate the need for updating or replacing. You may find that to buy these quality pieces, you need to spend a little more money upfront, but you will save in the long run.

Time is precious: not only do you save time actually shopping, but with a well curated wardrobe you can spend much less time each day choosing and coordinating outfits. The more time you have free to spend on other important things, the better.

Reduce your impact: with all the time and money saved with your capsule wardrobe, the more time there is to research and get to know brands that produce ethical, sustainable and high quality products that don’t negatively impact producers and the environment. With less consumption, you are creating less waste and reducing demand in the market for the production of clothing, ultimately leading to a more sustainable industry.

Value your clothes: clothing design and production is an art - why not spend your time and money on something that is beautifully crafted, has a beautiful story and that you can wear and love forever? Express yourself through what you wear and love the clothing you show the world.


A loose-fitting cotton dress is a staple piece for work and play, all year round  SHOP WOMEN'S


Building a capsule wardrobe

Tip number one is not to get overwhelmed. It can be tricky at first, but once you have an idea of what you want your wardrobe to look life, it’s a fun and fulfilling process!

Define your style: take some time to consider your personal style and what you want the end result of your wardrobe to look like. This will help you stay focused on which items to include in your wardrobe, making sure they all work together to achieve your desired vibe.

Go seasonless: for a year round wardrobe, consider pieces that you can easily layer and wear at different times of the year. Be sure to limit the amount of season-specific items, such as coats or heavy sweaters.

Consider colour: thread colours through your capsule wardrobe that suit any weather, all occasions and all work well together.

Mix and match: the most important step perhaps, is making sure that each piece you include can be worn with most other pieces in the collection. Maximise the number of outfits you can create from the minimal amount of items.

Build the foundation: the key to a successful capsule wardrobe is a foundation of simple basics that you can wear with anything, use as layers, dress up or down and are reliable everyday pieces.

Capsule wardrobes don’t have to be boring: you don’t have to completely change your style or eliminate personality. You can still be you, just a newly found, well curated and efficient version!


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