The one thing I’m asked more often than not is
“How do you make a capsule wardrobe work for you??”
Only second to, how do you curl your hair 😉 But honestly on Instagram, ladies will often approach me and ask how i make it work.
As a previous clothes fanatic, hoarder, fast fashion crazy shopping lady I totally understand how easy it is to stand in-front of a crammed wardrobe full of clothes, yet feel like you have nothing to wear.
I have been there many, many times over and often fell on to my bed in despair wailing ” Its so unfair.. I have nothing to wear, my life is so harrrdd!!”
Well sorta. Perhaps a tad less dramatic, but in my head that was totally what was happening.
So i thought i would write today, alongside these #ootd pics from my Instagram, a little capsule wardrobe help; A guideline if you will to save your sanity, and to show that if I can work to a minimal wardrobe, then so can you. And you will also find out how liberating it is, just like i have.
So here goes:
- Dress for who you are, not who you want to be
This is the first thing i took in to consideration when i started the capsule wardrobe process 3 seasons ago.
And this basically is one of your most important factors when choosing your clothes.
What i mean by ‘Dress for who you are’ is exactly that: Don’t buy clothes or keep clothes for when you loose weight, gain weight, change hair colour, get a tan, etc.. A capsule is for the here and now and it needs to work for you every.single.day of your present life.
- Dress for your lifestyle
Again this is so so important and was one of the major things that i had to consider.
I am not a lady who goes out very often. With small children, a husband that works away and hermit like tendencies, you won’t generally find me out-out very often. Therefore having a ton of fancy dresses and such attire is pointless for me.
My life consists of school run, dog walks, sitting at my desk at home, the supermarket and coffees or sometimes lunch out. Thats it.
Be brutally honest. Your life may be much more fancy than mine (it wouldn’t take much, ha!) But box clever with your dressy pieces. Buy a versatile black dress that can be remixed with shoes and jewellery, or smart trousers, a leather skirt and a dressy top, again, totally remixable.
But for the rest of your capsule, only include pieces that you know you will suit your day-to-day life.
- Only include pieces you LOVE
Sounds kind of obvious, but it really is important. If you have, lets say a few tops, but you look at them and think, meh.. then you won’t end up wanting to wear them, you will then want to go out and shop and before you know it you are back at where you were with a wardrobe bulging and nothing to wear.
When i pick the pieces for my capsule wardrobe i only include pieces i love to wear, feel comfortabe in and confident to wear.
- Find your defined style, or work with a loose theme
This has always been hard for me as i tend to have a slight bi-polar style disorder, in the sense of my style changes.. regularly. Not as much as Madonna, but i do still like to dabble with different trends/ styles. This capsule sees a mix between slightly boho and a bit of preppy. Which on paper shouldn’t work, but for me it does.
Think about this when you’re looking at your pieces. Do you like a preppy style, are you more girly, do you like a more scandi minimum style? Do you live in trainers /sneakers and causal attire? Have a good think and it will really help.
The one thing a lot of mums have come to me and said over the years, is that they don’t have a style. I think we all have one, but perhaps we just don’t know how to define it, or sometimes they just aren’t confident enough to wear the style that they see in their heads. For this i say go for it. Its your life and your style. You want to be bohemian? You rock that maxi dress. You want minimal? Wear black and white every day, Sporty? Rock those trainers! Just be true to yourself, and your style will shine through.
And if you really don’t know what your style is, think of your favourite celebrities, what draws you to them, head to Pintrest and look through fashion posts and see what draws you in and feels ‘right’ to you. Make a Pintrest board ,I have a few i regularly use for inspiration!
- Choose a colour scheme
Not compulsory, as some work with a whole rainbow of colours, but from my personal experience, I know that if I have a colour scheme it will make for a more coherent wardrobe, making dressing much, much easier. From the photos its quite clear to see that I am partial to : denim, camel/tan, black, grey, a bit of blue and a bit of blush pink. Neutrals, i find, are the easiest thing to remix, and for me this has been the most enjoyable capsule for me so far as i love every piece i’ve included ( I have actually flexed out some of the t-shirts as its just too cold now after a drastic drop in temps.. but i’ll come on to that later)
So with my neutrals I love to add in a pop of colour or print here and there with an accessory.
- Include great basics
For me Jeans are SO important to my every day life. I love a good pair of jeans, so finding what suits and fits well, and ones you know will wear and wash well is important. A big portion of my capsule are infact jeans after coming unstuck last Spring and not having enough.
I also couldn’t live without a plain white top and black top, yes they are incredibly simple, but they are a must for remixing under dresses, with cardigans, skirts etc.
- Have your Fun items
For me key items are those pieces that bring a little pizzaz, usually for me that’s with my coat. I do like a nice coat or two.. But what this could be is a fun top, an on trend piece or something that is perhaps a bit different. Its nice to throw in a wildcard here and there and enjoy remixing it.
- Number isn’t important
Don’t get hung up on a number. If you google ‘capsule wardrobes’ many articles will tell you your capsule should be 35 pieces or less including shoes and accessories.
But just work with what is best for you! I work at around 40, but that doesn’t include my shoes and accessories or coats at the moment. Infact i have found I’m not wearing a few of these pieces and it could decrease by about 6 i’d say, however, I’m happy to flex.
The idea behind a capsule is to make your life less about buying more and more and working happily with a contained selection. If you previously had hundreds of items, but have now gotten it down to, say 50 items, then well done, that’s awesome!
This isn’t supposed to be a painful process, its to help you wear what you have, make dressing each morning easy and enjoyable.
- Use the Flexi-Wardrobe way
I’ve mentioned this lots of times, but with British weather having a mind of its own, I find a Flexi-Wardrobe works best for me. This means that if i start a season with tshirts but know as time goes on they aren’t getting worn because its just too cold, i will flex them out for pieces that i know i will wear (sweaters in my case). Its important to keep this a one in one out process, and try where possible to switch in things you already own instead of seeing it as an excuse to shop. The Flexi-wardrobe enables me to work with a smaller number of clothes but not be closed minded to the fact that sometimes, something needs to be switched out.
Again, if something isn’t working for you ( I had that recently with a particular shirt.. i liked it in theory, just not on) switch it out, donate it to a friend or sell it. There’s no point keeping it and feeling bad that you’re not wearing it, or feeling like you could have had a better top if you hadn’t of included it. You are restricted in numbers (to a degree of course) so its important to make sure you are utilising every single piece. Therefore if its not working for you, flex it out and replace it.
- Make a list of outfits with corresponding items
I always do this so i feel even more prepared. I sit on the end of my bed looking in to my wardrobe and mentally plan outfits. I make a note on my phone of outfit ideas; so say biker jeans+checked shirt+ biker jacket. I do this in point form so its nice and clear. Each morning if my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders, I look at my list and decide what outfit i’d like to wear
- Store/Sell the rest of your things
So anything that you aren’t including in your capsule, sell it,donate it or store it. I sold lots recently (and still am here!)and that enabled me to buy a few more pieces that i needed for this capsule. It was self funded and meant i didn’t have to touch our family income to fund some shopping. Put out of season pieces, or things that you think may be useful in future keep in storage, then each season pull out your storage and see what you have to work with. From there you will know if and what you may need to buy.
- Keep a separate drawer for gym clothes, loungewear.
Nothing else needs to be said there really. Just keep these to a minimum and no need to include in your capsule.
- Shop if you want, just try to shop less
This isn’t about deprivation, if you do want to shop still do it, but it’s all about moderation. There’s nothing worse than craving something you feel you can’t have. You will end up just being miserable and resenting the whole process. Try not to shop for the sake of it, shop clever and if you purchase something make sure it will work hard for you and with your other items in your capsule. Anything you add in has to be an asset.
Also if you are adding something in, try taking something out so you really are careful about what you shop for. If you’re already happy with what you have and can’t think of anything you would want to take out of your capsule, then think, do you really need to purchase that new piece? The answer is probably no. But give yourself time to think on it before making a purchase.
And that’s it, I really recommend giving it a go, even if its just for one season, it really open your eyes to the potential of living with less but still have great outfits and being happy with what you have.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions and i will help as best i can!