Do you want to know how to build a capsule wardrobe with items that you already have?
Shopping for new clothes is always fun, but not always necessary. Giving a second chance to what you already have is a very sustainable choice. And, if saving the planet (…and money) is something you are into at the moment, I have a few tips for building the best capsule wardrobes without buying new clothes to keep your closet feeling fresh!
1. Do an audit of your current wardrobe
Streamlining what you already own is a great starting point to build a core wardrobe. This helps you identify any gaps you might need to fill in the future. Don’t be scared! Your closet should be filled only with clothing and shoes that both fit you well and you know how to style and wear.
Take everything out of your closet and separate them by category, for instance, t-shirts with t-shirts, trousers with trousers and so on.
Go through each piece and get rid of any items that, for whatever reasons, you don’t wear anymore. These can be items that:
- do not fit anymore
- are old and worn
- were part of a short-lived trend unlikely to return
Check also for any pieces that could be reused with some tailoring or transformed into something else.
It’s always a great idea trying to sell the ones that are still in good condition or at least donate them.
2. Do an audit of your lifestyle
What is the dress code you require for the next 3 months? Workwear? Casual? Dressy? What are the clothes that you have been wearing the most for the last 12 months and why? Answering these questions will help you identify what space to give to certain pieces. For example, a few years back I was required to wear a suit every day to work and spent my free time in central London meeting friends for a drink. Now I work from home and spend my time off having friends over for dinner.
My wardrobe adapted as my work life and the location of my aperitivo changed. The point is you can create the most epic capsule wardrobe but it’s useless if it doesn’t fit with your lifestyle! If there is anything that I’ve learned in the last 14 months is how much our lifestyle affects what we wear. And that is what becomes the basis of our wardrobe. Once, a pair of sweatpants was something that I barely looked at in my wardrobe. In 2020, it became the one item I reached for the most. So don’t go crazy for heels and fancy dresses if you’re only going out for the school run. We all live different lives, therefore we need different basics to get us through the season.
3. Choose your must-haves
I will never tire of telling you that it’s not about having many clothes, it’s about having the right ones! Once you’ve identified your dressing requirements it will be easier to select the pieces that will serve as the core of your capsule wardrobe.
Disclosure. When I say basics I don’t mean boring and plain, but rather those pieces that you tend to reach for most days and can’t live without.
Don’t worry if you only put together a small group of items at this point, it’s totally normal as most of us only use 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. It’s funny because the same principle applies to kitchens! Keep this in mind for your spring decluttering :).
If you need some guidance identifying what are your basic items, this article can help!
4. Choose your capsule wardrobe colors
Time to think about color combinations. The easiest way is to pick 1, or max 2 base colors from among your pre-selected must-have basics. The reason you should do this is that those are the colors you will wear in the majority of your outfits. Therefore, it’s easier to choose basic colors like navy, cream, white, black, or even denim. Generally, a capsule wardrobe has about 24-36 items in total. Ideally, you want to end up with a small collection of 10-14 basics at this point. So you will still have plenty of space to add more pieces.
Choose 1 or 2 coordinating colors. These are colors that go well with your basics and will allow you to create many more outfits. Finally, pick your accent color. This is a color that goes well with the others and will help you update your basic wardrobe to current trends and freshen up all collections. I recommend using it sparingly and preferably with small details like a top, a scarf or some accessories. I like to reserve a small budget to spend for these seasonal pieces that will match well with my essentials and keep them on-trend, but it’s totally ok to use an evergreen seasonal color that you already have! Patterns like stripes, dots, or flowers come in really handy for Spring and are most likely to come back for many years!
You will find the full guide on how to build a capsule wardrobe here!
Tip – I find it particularly helpful to do some color grouping of items once I’ve selected my color palette. Deciding outfits based on color groups and complementary colors makes life so much easier and mistake-free.
5. Put outfits together
A great way to put outfits together fast is to focus on a central item and build everything else around it. A simple outfit formula:
staple item + complementary items + interest details + statement item
For example, pick a pair of denim that you want to wear. That is your staple item. Then, choose a top and shoes that will complement it. Let’s say a simple white tee and a pair of sneakers. Next, make it interesting with some details like rolling your hem. Finally, add a statement piece or two! How about a blazer and a nice long necklace. Now, look at you! All ready to go and killing it! 🙂
you can shop this and other outfits on LIKEtoKNOW.it app!
What I’ve learned from building a capsule wardrobe from items I already owned
1. Start small. Do not attempt to fix your wardrobe and build capsules and outfits for all year. Don’t try and completely alter your style and commit to doing a closet overhaul in one day. It will be very overwhelming. Do it gradually. Work a season at the time and an outfit at the time.
2. Be compassionate and patient. Style is not something that you can achieve in one go. It’s a journey. Enjoy putting together a nice look but be patient and ready for when things don’t exactly turn out the way you wanted. Take a few steps back or start over if necessary.
3. Keep the focus on your favorite items. Building a capsule or an outfit starting with a piece that you love is always a great place to begin as you will feel more confident. Identify the pieces you love to wear and that you feel great in.
4. Change your style code. Changing how you style and accessorize an item gives a fresh feel to what you wear. Breathing new life into your “style code”— what you wear each day— makes a big impact on your silhouette. For instance, tucking your sweater into your jeans adds interest by changing proportions, taking what you wear to a different level.
5. The power of makeup and hair. Sometimes that’s all it takes to freshen up a tired look. A bright lipstick, a new nail polish, or a new haircut can go a long way.
6. Give a second chance to old pieces. Use a scarf as a top or belt. Transform an old pair of jeans into a new pair of shorts. Shorten a skirt. Fashion your boyfriend’s old shirt into a dress. Think outside the box 🙂
Thank you! I decluttered my closet and I feel so good! 😊
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