Start a Capsule Wardrobe

Edited by Rebecca Kelsey Sampson, Eng, Inukshuk

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Intrigued to lower the amount of money you spend on fashion? Want to make getting ready for work, school, and just life quicker? Then you should start a capsule wardrobe. It's an easy clothing technique to hone in on your style and give you a list a staple clothing items to switch between every day.

The goal is to guarantee that you'll always have something to wear, that your clothing will always make you happy, and you won't feel the impulses to unnecessarily shop because your clothes will be tailored perfectly.

The Principles

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The principles of a capsule wardrobe are a set amount of clothing, typically under 40 items, that you cycle between every day. During a season you do not buy anything new to go with that season, you can only buy new items when you are editing your capsule wardrobe for the weather and styles of the next season.

These 40 items include tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, and outerwear/jackets. Some people include purses and accessories into their capsule, but not everyone does. It's up to you. Underwear, fitness clothes, and pajamas don't count as part of your capsule.

These 40 pieces will challenge you to think creatively about how to accessorize, what combinations to wear, etc. It helps you get ready quicker, stay organized in your fashion choices, and help you enjoy your clothing more.

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If you buy one item, you have to put another item into storage for a different season or donate it, so your wardrobe does not grow season to season.

Remember, it's all customized based on your needs. You don't have to follow these rules to the tee.

An example capsule wardrobe from un-fancy:

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How to Get Started

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  1. 1
    Start by taking everything out of your closet and then slowly go through and create piles
    Create piles for items you can only wear in certain seasons, items you love for sentimental value, items that don't fit or look to worn out, and anything else that you think would be helpful.
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  2. 2
    Do the same thing with your shoes and any other accessories
    Shoes count in your capsule wardrobe, your accessories don't but if you are in the mind of organization - it's good to go through these items and see what items are still making you happy.
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  3. 3
    Looking at these piles, put back into the closet items you think you'll wear this season
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  4. 4
    Put in storage bins items you only wear in specific seasons and don't need now
    You may also want to include any formal wear that you'll only wear once or twice a year into the storage section.
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  5. 5
    Look at what you put back in your closet
    What is missing from these items? Do you have some of the traditional wardrobe staples like a good pair of skinny jeans, a button down shirt, booties, a chunky sweater? While these may be staples for some, they aren't necessary for everyone, so make sure not to buy things you think you should have but don't actually need. The point of a capsule wardrobe is to define your style and stick to it so look for gaps of items that would make your wardrobe feel perfect for you.
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  6. 6
    Now that you know what you are missing, go shopping
    It's best to go with a list and to really research the items you are shopping for. You don't want to buy something that is only going to last for one season, you should invest in items you can wear comfortably for years. The goal is to be more minimal and intentional with your wardrobe, so you should try not to impulse shop when planning for the next season.
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  7. 7
    Time to have some fun
    Every day take pride in picking an outfit combination that makes you happy and makes you look great.
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  8. 8
    At the end of the season, see what worked and what didn't and then take that knowledge into the next season
    You basically start again at the end of every season, seeing what you should put in storage, what you should take out of storage, and deciding if you need to buy anything.
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Does it have to be 40 items? No. It can be 37, 52, whatever magic number works best for you.

Do you have to buy a new wardrobe of 40 items each season? No! That would be so expensive. The aim is to minimize spending and make your clothing intentional. I recommend looking through your storage items every season, rolling over a few items from your current wardrobe, and adding maybe one or two new items that you know you'll love for years.

What about fitness clothing? They do not count in your capsule wardrobe, you can keep them separate. Alternatively, if you impulse shop fitness clothing you can create a separate capsule just for fitness.

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Do work clothes count in your capsule? Yes and no, it's up to you. You can create a second capsule just for your work clothes or if you only work part-time or work in a casual environment, you can add your work clothes to your regular capsule.

Another example capsule wardrobe from un-fancy:


Photo credits

All photos in this how to are from un-fancy, a great resource for those who want to start a capsule wardrobe.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


Article Info

Categories : Fashion

Recent edits by: Eng, Rebecca Kelsey Sampson

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