Does having a capsule wardrobe really work?

Whether you’re into fashion or into sustainable living, you’ve probably heard about the term “capsule wardrobe” before. The approach has grown in popularity over the years and some swear by it, but are capsule wardrobes really worth the hype?

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of essential, versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create various outfits. They can be seasonal or year-round and it’s all about having a small number of high-quality pieces that you love and that work well together.

How do you build a capsule wardrobe?

To build a capsule wardrobe, start by decluttering your closet and removing items you no longer wear or love. Next, focus on selecting key pieces that are versatile, timeless and of good quality. Choose a color palette that complements each other and make sure that your clothes can be paired easily. Basics like a white shirt, a little black dress, jeans and a good blazer are great starting points. Most people opt for having less than 40 pieces in their capsule but that’s completely up to you. Just add some accessories to complete your outfits and you’re good to go.

What are the advantages?

Capsule wardrobes help make getting dressed easier since all the pieces work well together. That feeling of having nothing to wear? Gone. You will definitely have less decision fatigue when getting dressed but at the same, having less to choose from will force you to be more creative. Over time, this will help you define your personal style a lot better because you will learn which type of garments work best for you. Plus, capsule wardrobes promote mindful consumption by encouraging you to focus on quality over quantity. You save money AND you save the planet. Last but not least, having, fewer items will help declutter your space.

capsule wardrobe

Why capsule wardrobes sometimes fail

Some people may find it difficult to adjust to a more minimalist wardrobe. Actually, I’m one of them and in my case it all came down to the weather. I have always lived in areas where it can feel like summer one day and turn into autumn the next. One second I’m reaching for a tee shirt, the next a sweater so obviously, limiting myself to 30-ish items each season isn’t exactly realistic. Other reasons capsule wardrobe may fail include not having identified your personal style or color palette, not taking your lifestyle into account, not owning clothes that are comfortable or fit properly or even how often you are able to do laundry. But don’t worry, most of these issues can be avoided with a little planning.

It’s what you make of it

The capsule wardrobe is a great minimalist concept but that’s what it is: a concept. Nothing forces you to implement it to the letter. If it doesn’t work for you, use it as inspo and create something hybrid. Focusing on quality, fit, colors and having clothes you actually wear are good things. Start from there, experiment and you will figure it out.

  • Step 1 : do a closet inventory and keep what fits
  • Step 2 : identify your basics and create base outfits
  • Step 3 : style your base outfits with statement pieces and accessories
  • Step 4 : keep track of what you wear the most
  • Step 5: use what you learned in step 4 the next time you’re shopping

I may have abandoned capsules but having one taught me a lot. My wardrobe is much smaller and practical than before and having learned what type of clothes I actually wear has made shopping so much simpler. Dressing up can be fun but there is something liberating about not letting wardrobe choices take over your life.