How to: keep a capsule wardrobe

Ever thought about trying out a capsule wardrobe? Travel Editor Beth Robson shares her tips and tricks for keeping your fashion purchases minimalist.

Beth Robson
10th March 2020
If like me, you're an impulse buyer, you may be in need of a capsule wardrobe. As a student there are many benefits to keeping this penny-saving kind of wardrobe, but what is it and where do you start?

A capsule wardrobe, as term-coiner Susie Faux explains, is a wardrobe made of essential pieces of clothing such as skirts or jeans etc. that can be interchanged with seasonal pieces but never go out of style. Think of the 'little black dress' or a tailored suit; a timeless fashion piece that every person needs in their wardrobe and can be used for any engagement. The idea behind these timeless pieces is that they're versatile and importantly, can be dressed up or dressed down. This theme is the essence of the capsule wardrobe trend.

To set up a capsule wardrobe you need to do a few things; the first being rule setting. What are going to be your base colours? Typically these are either black, navy blue, grey, or nude (of whichever shade fits!), because for the most part these colours go with everything and can therefore be worn with any of your outfits. Once you've established this, you now need to do a purge.

Not as daunting as it sounds, a purge is going to help you determine what makes you look and feel good but also helps determine your overall style. This is the prime time to ask yourself, in the words of purging queen Marie Kondo herself, "does this piece spark joy?". As a rule of thumb I suggest donating or throwing away (dependant on the condition of the piece) anything that doesn't fit you, doesn't flatter your shape, or doesn't suit your day-to-day life. We all have a pair of shoes that look great but hurt like nothing else and as a result, sit at the bottom of our wardrobes (or under our beds!) collecting dust; the aim of the capsule wardrobe is to eliminate this kind of problem.

GIF Credit: FOX TV via Giphy

Once you've purged your wardrobe you will be left with pieces that suit your personal style and aesthetic and this is where the fun begins! Taking note of what is missing from your wardrobe's basics, it's now time to go shopping! I must make it very clear, that this process can last months and certainly won't be completed in a matter of hours. You now need to be a conscious shopper; trends can be fun to play with, but with a capsule wardrobe you need to be strict on sticking to the classic basics and using trend pieces sparingly. Whilst some may see this as far too limiting, I found having a 'rule book' on what not to buy very reassuring, and took the stress out of shopping for seasonal styles that just didn't work for my body.

Once you have a wardrobe of set basics it's now time to accessorise. Playing around with different metals or patterns can really set the tone of an ensemble, and how you choose to style them can say a lot about your personality. A criticism of capsule wardrobes is that they can feel too 'cookie-cutter' but it doesn't have to be! If you're into big statement jewellery, for example, the capsule wardrobe lends itself nicely; just keep the number of items down to a minimum.

Capsule wardrobes exist to limit our clothing purchases and make us more ethically and consciously-minded shoppers. Whilst many of us revel in the luxury of retail therapy with every new season, there is a lot of good to be found in keeping things simple, so why not give it a go?

Feature Image Credit: ewelinakanty from Instagram

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