What exactly is a capsule wardrobe?

Imagine you have a wardrobe full of durable clothes that perfectly reflect your lifestyle and fit your body shape, body size, taste and colour world. This wardrobe contains all kinds of clothes: dresses, tops, trousers, coats, blazers, shoes, accessories and bags. 

Because these clothes perfectly complement your measurements, you can combine them in countless ways and create numerous outfits effortlessly every morning. This is what we call a capsule wardrobe.

A capsule wardrobe is the collection of basic, yet versatile, pieces of clothing and accessories made of exceptional materials that can easily be combined in a variety of ways with one another, allowing you to create an infinite set of outfits for any occasion. These basic items of clothing and accessories can become the solid foundation for any wardrobe and suit any lifestyle, and thanks to their timeless, simple design, they won’t go out of fashion.

Every woman needs reliable pieces that perfectly sit her body shape and accentuate the most flattering parts of her body.

The number of items in a capsule wardrobe is the subject of much debate, but EW believes this is entirely up to the individual to decide.

If you’re not in the habit of getting dolled up all the time, you need not fill your closet with LBDs. A few simple dresses, black skirts, shirts, coats and trousers will do the trick and can be combined with a few seasonal or trendy pieces.  

The capsule wardrobe is based on the concept of having basic garments that can be combined to create any number of outfits and that are suitable for every occasion, without the need to purchase excessive amounts of clothing.

Why do you need a capsule wardrobe?

Many women love to dress up and hate having to wear the same clothes over and over again, yet there’s always the problem of ‘What should I wear today? There’s nothing in my closet!’ Sound familiar? 

This is something you’ll never experience once you have a capsule wardrobe. There’s no occasion, no time of day, no activity where you won’t be able to put together at least 3 or 4 outfits with minimal effort. And you won’t waste time in the mornings trying to decide what to wear.

Take some time to assess what your wardrobe looks like today and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your closet is overflowing with clothes, but you still feel you have nothing to wear?
  • What percentage of the clothes in your closet do you actually wear? If it’s over 70%, that’s not too bad, but our experience suggests women wear only 30-40% of their clothes on average! What about the rest? Isn’t it a waste of money and contributing to polluting the environment?
  • Are there articles of clothing in your wardrobe that have been just sitting there for years, and you’ve never worn them? They seemed like a good purchase at the time, but you wouldn’t be caught dead in them now.
  • Have you run out of ideas of what to wear and don’t know how to combine your clothes in creative ways?
  • Do you feel nothing looks good on you? And if you do manage to create an outfit, you think it’s just not right?
  • Why don’t you wear certain clothes? Are they too small, they don’t fit your shape anymore, or you only wear them for special occasions? Can certain clothes only be worn with one or two items in your wardrobe?
  • Has it ever happened that you bought or ordered something you liked, but it didn’t fit your style or your figure, and it didn’t feel right?
  • Do you have clothes in your closet that are favourites and that you wear almost all the time?
  • Do you have similar items of clothing but only wear one or two pieces, like a white blouse and jeans?
  • Do you have clothes that don’t go with anything?
  • Are you unsure of what you really need when you go clothes shopping?
  • Are you often frustrated in the mornings or before a special occasion, thinking you have nothing to wear?

If these problems sound familiar to you, then perhaps it’s time for a change!

What’s a functional capsule wardrobe? Why is this a good concept?

With a capsule wardrobe, every component (or piece of clothing) can be combined with another, on any occasion, on any morning. In just moments, you can create any number of outfits, feel stylish and satisfied, and voilà, you’re ready to conquer the world!

Over the years, we’ve come to understand that every woman needs pieces of clothing that she can count on every day, pieces that perfectly suit her style and define her.

While the basic principles of a capsule wardrobe are very much integrated and uniform, the individual is what makes it unique and personalised. Because of this, it’s never dull or monotonous, but personal and customised.

Going away for a few days or a longer holiday is never a problem; it’s quick and practical to pack the clothes you need, and you’ll always feel stylish.

Importantly, it’s a concept with a purpose, a conscious consumer behaviour, since it eliminates the accumulation of unnecessary clothes, puts limits on impulse purchases, and favours good quality clothes over fast fashion pieces. In essence, it’s about having long-lasting, good quality clothing.

It’s not rocket science, just an everyday, well-organised capsule wardrobe that’s personalised to fit your body shape, colour type and lifestyle.

It’s all about creating more outfits using fewer pieces of clothing, leaving more space in your closet.

There’s no right number of pieces: it depends on each individual’s lifestyle and personal style, so each capsule wardrobe reflects the specific individual’s needs.

The capsule wardrobe of a doctor whose hobby is dogs will differ from that of a career professional with 3 kids, even if they have the same body shape, colour style and measurements. There may be similarities, but for a capsule wardrobe to work, lifestyle and personal style are the most important components.

What are the general ‘rules” of a capsule wardrobe?

1. Body shape

Creating the perfect wardrobe means being aware of your body shape. A certain style or cut may not be suitable for everyone. Apart from your height and size, your body shape (i.e. your figure) is equally important. Your unique shape is defined by your skeletal frame, in other words, it’s what you were born with. Weight matters, but at the end of the day, you gain or lose weight within the same body structure. In fact, changes in weight also tend to be reflected in the body areas that stand out (eg. thighs and waist). In in addition to understanding your lifestyle, it’s important to know your body shape to select the clothes and accessories that best suit you.

2. Colours

Choosing the basic colours is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when creating your capsule wardrobe. These colours will be based on your skin tone and will be natural colours. In doing this, all your pieces of clothing can be combined and will complement one another.

3. Lifestyle

Different occasions, such as going to the office, having dinner with friends and staying at home, require different outfits. These activities will determine your selection of clothes in addition to your basics items. As a result, you will need different outfits. You will also need to make sure you have outfits for different seasons. That’s why each capsule wardrobe is unique to every individual and there’s no single “rule” for creating one.

4. Classics

There are several patterns and styles that become fashionable and then disappear just as quickly as they came. And then there are timeless classics that almost never go out of style. Consider choosing classic pieces when designing your capsule wardrobe, so you can wear them for a long time.

5. Quality

We like to wear our favourite clothes over and over again, and they can wear out and lose their shape over time. That’s why it’s essential to purchase quality clothes made of durable materials that will keep their shape longer, even if you wear them regularly.

6. Style and accessories

The great thing about basic pieces, and why they work for any capsule wardrobe, is that you can combine a well-tailored dress that suits your body shape, height and skin tone with different accessories to create an entirely different look.

Creating a capsule wardrobe - a long-term investment

The capsule wardrobe is a creative process that requires an understanding of your lifestyle and finding excitement in creating different outfits from your wardrobe without the need to constantly purchase fast fashion items. Fast fashion clothes rarely last longer than one season. Even with the right care, their lifecycle is limited because they’re not designed to be worn for a number of years. 

Price can be an important factor, and fast fashion clothes are often cheaper. But by looking only at the price of a piece of clothing, you lose sight of the fact that a good quality, durable slow fashion piece can last longer and save you money in the long run. Capsule wardrobes are the twenty-first century’s sustainable solution to fashion. By purchasing less, you stop supporting the fast fashion industry and wear your clothes for longer. Capsule wardrobes are a good long-term investment.

It’s no secret that good quality clothing tends to be more expensive. As consumers, we’re used to cheap clothes, and purchasing quality clothes for your basic capsule wardrobe can seem like a significant investment.

Remember, you don’t have to buy all your basic pieces at once, and you probably won’t be able to find everything straight away. When making a decision to buy a certain item of clothing, think about how many times you’ll be likely to wear it and how long it can last. Look at the material it’s made of and its tailoring, then ask yourself, is this a good investment? Can I wear it for the next few years? If this were a fast fashion piece, would I have to buy several of these within the same period of time?  

How can you add a new piece of clothing to your capsule wardrobe?

If you’ve already created your capsule wardrobe, the next question is obvious: what do I do next? How can I add new pieces to my well-functioning wardrobe?

Having a capsule wardrobe does not mean you can’t add new clothes or accessories to it, but it’s helpful to keep the following in mind when making new purchases:

  • Does it suit my body shape and colouring?
  • Is it a quality piece that reflects the rest of my capsule wardrobe?
  • How many sets of outfits can I create with this new piece?
  • Is it easy to care for and can I wash it in a low temperature?
  • How many seasons will it last? Can it only be used during one season or all year round?
  • Do I already have similar pieces of clothing (in color, tailoring, etc.)?

Want to learn more about conscious shopping and how to create your own capsule wardrobe? Get our eBook!

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