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What Is A Capsule Wardrobe? Should You Consider Building One, and How?

by Kathleen Largo. |

If you’re someone who values comfort over style, perhaps it’s time to try out this minimalist trend which promises to boost your confidence level. Creating a capsule wardrobe is easy especially since a lot of beauty bloggers and fashion brands have caught on the wave so you have plenty of references; but what exactly is this movement and why should you follow it?

It all started when London-based Susie Faux opened her fashion boutique Wardrobe and offered advisory services on clothes and beauty for women. She understood that classic, well-fitting clothing can make one look beautiful and inspire confidence. In her book Wardrobe: Develop Your Style and Confidence, she stated that “by building a capsule wardrobe you will buy fewer clothes of a higher quality that you will wear more often. You will look and feel confident and successful because the quality will show and because you know that the overall look works.”

As we now have lookbooks at our fingertips, capsule wardrobes are making a comeback but for different reasons. The call for a more sustainable lifestyle is hounding our every interaction with digital and mass media. It wasn’t long ago that the minimalist movement achieved mainstream status (thanks to Apple). In 2017, Trendwatching identified minimalism in their Future of Customer Experience report as a continuing trend in product and service design.

Does that mean sustainable living is achievable by adopting minimalism? Not necessarily since minimalism is an aesthetic. You’ll be surprised at how some brands champion minimalist design at the expense of harming natural habitats. IKEA was once accused of cutting down 600-year old trees to produce affordable furniture. The pressure to be environmentally-conscious consumers is rising; but here are some climate-friendly reasons why you should practice minimalism starting with your closet:

1. It saves space

The first thing you’ll notice upon assembling your capsule wardrobe is the number of loose hangers you’ll end up storing. All of a sudden, your perfectly pressed clothes stay that way without wrinkles and you can see the back of your closet! That’s because after the revamp you will be left with only your wardrobe essentials; and a side note: be wary of keeping too many of your old t-shirts as pajamas because as it may just kill your capsule spree.

2. It saves time

How many times have you stood in front of the mirror and changed outfits just to go back to the first one you put on? Time spent dressing up are precious minutes you could have used for sleeping or squeezing in a morning meditation. Choosing from a handful of tops that already match with your other sets of clothing is a luxury that hoarders wouldn’t be able to enjoy.

3. It saves money

Trendy clothes are cheap but they don’t last long. Our appetite for fast fashion has increased in the last decade, although they, too, can contribute to setting up a capsule wardrobe with some of their better quality pieces. It is advisable to choose a good brand and watch out for deals - it helps because you know your colour palette and most of the basic styles adapt with the season. If mall retailers are out of your budget, opt for thrift stores and bundle shops. Consider the possibility that you’ll wear your outfits at least 50 times during the year so invest in the best quality materials.

4. It helps save the planet

When you practice a capsule wardrobe, you will have less laundry hours since you basically rewear several pieces throughout the week. This way, you use less water and detergent. Lesser laundry hours would also entail a more thoughtful buying process which involves sticking to 2-3 types of fabric (like cotton, wool and linen) so your clothes last longer when you wash them all together instead of separately.

If you really set your mind to it, your capsule wardrobe will come true in under a month. Follow these suggestions to ease you through:

Create a gallery or Pinterest board of capsule wardrobe inspiration. This whole process may take a few weeks depending on your decision-making ability. Be prepared to get schooled on the different types of hats, shoes, dresses, and even shirt collars; look through all the clothing choices and decide which ones suit you best.

Get feedback on clothes you currently own. Whether it’s remembering that compliment a colleague gave you on your blazer or a limited edition piece that reminds you of someone special, take note because the purpose of assembling your capsule wardrobe is to increase your self-confidence. These things will make a difference.

Be practical and toss out clothes you no longer wear or like. Even though you looked good in that bright red bodycon dress four years ago, imagine who else will look good in them now. Consider giving it as a gift or altering it so that it can fit your desired capsule.

Scout for boutique shops or brands where you can complete your capsule collection. Plan at least a week where you’ll head to the strip mall to shop, or fork out some time to browse and carefully filter your selections in your online shopping cart.

Do a quick search online for any deals, coupon codes or promotions. You might be able to squeeze one more pair of socks if you use a voucher!

A common myth when assembling a capsule wardrobe is that you’ll need to get rid of everything you currently have. The truth is, you’ve got your own style all this while and the capsule’s job is to help you achieve it in a more efficient and effective way that doesn’t break your bank. Based on experience, a good capsule collection will last you at least 2 years, after which you can check which tops may have developed holes in them or shirts with irremovable stains.

With all the concern on sustainability, wouldn’t you say that the next fashion movement should involve repairing and altering what we already own, in an attempt to prolong their life span? Personal style is timeless anyway, and even though designers continue to prioritize style over comfort, a capsule wardrobe will definitely help you in balancing both.

You can also learn more about the writer on her Instagram.

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