The change of season is the ideal opportunity for a new wardrobe. But that doesn’t mean shopping! It means sorting, rediscovering and curating from existing stock. This is the time to minimise and become mindful about your wardrobe with a capsule collection.
What’s a capsule wardrobe, you ask? It’s a concept that limits your closet size to usually just 30 main items that you change with the season, so every three months. It generally allows for limited accessories and doesn’t include active wear, night wear, uniforms and shoes.
I’ve done this for a year now to be exact, and find that operating a capsule wardrobe really encourages me to be mindful about fashion consumption, let’s me hone my style, reduces the “I have nothing to wear” conundrum, and teaches me to make each item last. With only 30 spaces, I am forced to choose carefully and buy little.
If you think you might like to try it but have no idea how to choose only 30 items, stick with me and I’ll tell you how I went about embarking on my first capsule wardrobe.
Today, I’m going to guide you through a step-by-step spring – um Autumn – clean!
Step one – Lay it all bare
Take all your clothes out of the wardrobe and lay them bare. Sort them into four piles;
- Keeper – items you love, look great, go with the other Keeper items and are weather appropriate. Don’t worry about how many for the time being, although if you’re hitting 50, I suggest being a lot more critical!
- Unsure. In case you still have a few empty hangers!
- Loved but not sure. Create a sub-pile for loved items that need fixing, or look good but maybe aren’t trendy enough right now, or look great but you’re not confident enough.
- A quick note – something that looks great never really goes out of style. There are so many trends these days, you can almost get away with anything!
- Get rid of. These are items you have never worn or won’t again. You could on sell them, donate them or gift them. This is the liberating part!
Step Two – the other wardrobe
If like me, you have items in another cupboard somewhere (i.e. winter jackets stored away in summer, and shorts away in winter), you’ll want to dip into that cupboard and pull out Autumn Keepers.
Step three – Curate
This is where the magic happens.
- Take all your Keepers and lay them out. Select your top items. Tip – try to create outfits in your head or on the hanger so you know they work with each other. I suggest around 20. That’s tough, but then that’s what this is about – putting brakes on excessive consumption.
- Dip into your Unsure and Loved but not sure pile. Select about 10 and have a good think about them. If you aren’t going to fix something for a while, put it in another cupboard and fix it later – no point wasting a spot… Everybody needs that special outfit, but probably not more than two. If you bought it but still haven’t worn it – set a date, a special event and make that commitment. Having less choice makes you take risks.
Step four – complete the capsule
Maybe there’s a jacket that will tie it all together, or a top you’ve had your eye on. Leave a space or two to complete the capsule for something new (pre-loved or brand spanking new). Something fresh and new is like adding the bow to an already beautiful gift box. And of course, if you buy brand new, consider a sustainable, ethical fashion label.
The result: stand back and survey your great work!
If you’re up for an extra challenge…earlier this year I participated in a six items challenge – wearing only six items for six weeks. Yes, it was tough! You can read more about it on my blog. You might like to try 10 items for 10 days, or 30 for 30 days.
Hi, I’m Frederique Gulcher. My goal is to share, write, collaborate and encourage more mindful fashion consumption. This is a space to share my own thoughts, tips, likes and discoveries of and about good fashion. I can also help you to do the same. Join me on my journey.
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