Capsule Wardrobes

When you see the word ‘capsule,’ chances are the memories of a brown, cardboard shoe box filled with random knick knacks and whatchamacallits from your childhood floods your imagination. I’ve definitely made a few time capsules in my lifetime, however none of them have ever seemed to resurface. My younger selves treasured gems are more than likely still buried somewhere in my backyard. While time capsules are pretty cool, it’s time to reinvent your idea of a ‘capsule’ and associate it with something that you’ll actually see and use again after creating it: a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a method designed to help you maximize your outfit options while minimizing your articles of clothing. You know what they say, less is more. Yes, it is fun to splurge on unique pieces every once in a while, but spending money on clothes should be practical too. The money you use to purchase this necessity doesn’t grow on trees, so it’s important to make the most of your buck. That’s where I come in. Here are all the rules and regulations for finding, creating, and rocking a capsule wardrobe…

The History.

The capsule wardrobe was originally designed with the intent to help working women have the most practical closet they can, housing as few pieces as possible that created multiple combinations of outfits suitable for their job. It was meant to help those females feel beautiful and confident in their own skin at work because all of their outfits were guaranteed to look professional and put together while still being items they liked. Now-a-days, it’s a technique widely used by anyone, mainly focused on limiting your closet to a few simple, versatile pieces that you can mix and match with ease. The goal is to make the most out of your clothing budget by investing in a smaller quantity of expensive, but higher quality, pieces that you know you can re-wear often without getting bored of them.

First and Foremost…

Before making a shopping list and hitting the racks, you need to think about the most important factor of this technique: focusing on a central color theme. Neutral shades of brown, black, and white are the easiest colors to match with everything (including the bright colors you already own). Getting your basics in neutral colors allows for an endless amount of outfit combinations.

Where To Shop!

Like I said previously, you want to make the most out of your budget so sometimes less is more, but that saying should only relate to the amount of clothes you buy, not the price. Some people believe buying a lot of random clothes from cheap places (such as Romwe and Shein) is the best investment, however, let’s think realistically. Extremely cheap clothing is made very poorly and won’t be up to standards with the classy pieces I know you’re really looking for. In the long run, purchasing a few staples on the more expensive side will serve you much better than three times the number of random pieces (that will probably be worn once or twice, then sit in the back of your wardrobe until your next closet clean out). Some good, high-quality shops that I recommend to help you build a successful capsule wardrobe are Madewell, Free People, Everlane and Urban Outfitters.

But What Should I Buy?

Below is a blueprint of the core pieces you need to create your capsule wardrobe:

  • Turtlenecks: Turtlenecks are great pieces that not only help you stay warm when you layer them, but also look cute by themselves. Whether you wear them with a sweater vest, button up, crewneck, or as its own shirt-it’s classy. Even if you just wear it as an extra layer for warmth, the neck will stick out, adding another cute detail to your fit.
  • Little Black Dress: Everyone needs a little black dress, no matter the season. In winter, this is a great piece to double as both a dress and skirt. If you live somewhere where winter stays warm, you can obviously wear it as a normal piece without loads of layering. But if you’re somewhere like me where temperatures drop drastically, the little black dress looks great paired with tights, under a sweater, or with an additional coat on top. This piece is great because it’s so simple that you can easily dress it up or down.
  • Puffer jacket: Especially this season, puffer jackets are totally in style. They’re typically used as the finishing touch to a look. Having one or two puffer jackets in neutral colors can add the cherry on top to any outfit without looking repetitive if you accessorize properly.
  • Shackets: Shackets are always a good idea. Buttoned up or worn as a cover up, they dress up every look a little bit and, of course, provide some extra warmth. They’re also not only stylish, but comfortable as well, and match everything!
  • Blazer: Having a solid blazer is a staple that’ll go with every piece in your capsule wardrobe, allowing you to add a little bit of elegance to any outfit.
  • Sweaters: You’re definitely going to want lots of sweaters for the Winter season as they’re super cute, comfy, and convertible. From V-necks to chunky cable knits to cowl necks, there are so many different styles. To be the most practical, I’d recommend not getting more than one or two sweaters in a specific sweater to ensure greater diversity and versatility. And if you get a different color in each of your sweaters, that just broadens your fit options even more.
  • Your favorite pair of jeans (or two): Whether you’re a flare leg, wide leg, or skinny jeans person, having one or two pairs of jeans that you know you love is all you need. Jeans go with literally any look, so they are great to mix and match with whatever top you feel like wearing.
  • Trousers: Trousers are another style of pants I’d recommend because they, too, match everything, but can seem a little dressier at times, adding a different touch than your blue denim. Wearing the same shirt with a different pair of pants can make the outfit take a total 360 and look like a brand-new fit.
  • White button up: A white button-up is an essential basic to complete your capsule wardrobe. It’s a simple piece that adds a unique touch to switch up any look. Like turtlenecks, they’re great both under other clothing items, and worn as their own top. They can also be used as an accessory tied around your torso or waist for a more preppy look.
  • Accessories: This part of the wardrobe really depends on your style and what accessories you feel comfortable wearing. This winter season, I got myself a big, black and white plaid scarf as I believe it’ll not only keep me warm as I walk across the drill field in freezing temperatures to class but match every coat/jacket combo I own.
    • To help pull together any outfit, it’s imperative to have a basic belt, purse, and pair of sunglasses that you can count on to match everything.
    • Another big part of this is shoes. Whether it’s knee-high boots, sneakers, combat boots, or heels, you need a few basic pairs in neutral colors that work well for you and can go with anything.
    • As far as jewelry goes, my idea of versatile pieces are a pearl necklace and a pair of gold hoops. I know that I can throw those on with any outfit whenever I’m in the mood for jewelry. Its important, though, to get what works best for you.

Not only are capsule wardrobe’s sensible, but they also help you define and discover what your personal style is. I know that when I feel good in the outfit I’m wearing, my day is automatically better. A big goal of this method is ensuring that no matter what item you grab off the hanger, you know you’ll feel confident in it and its ability to make an outfit that pleases you. As the weather switches up, you’ll have to temporarily retire some of the pieces until that season comes again, but overall, the point of the pieces listed above are that they won’t “come and go” in terms of “being on trend.” They’ll last a lifetime. Now it’s your turn to start your journey to build a sustainable closet that caters to your taste and your wallet.

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