What is a capsule wardrobe?
The very first time I came across this concept was at the beginning of my retail career in the fashion industry when I had to learn visual merchandise basics.
In brick and mortar stores, clothes aren’t just nicely arranged to look desirable; they’re also displayed to tell a story. With this phrase, industry insiders define a section of seasonal wear, made up of coordinated clothes that can be mixed and matched to create a number of different combinations.
Check also The Fall Capsule Wardrobe 2020
Your closet should be a story about you.
Creating a capsule wardrobe means relying on a selection of your favorite clothes (something between 24 to 36 pieces) that you can easily wear in a variety of ready-made outfits, put together ad hoc, that matches your lifestyle and gratifies your fashion needs.
Sounds pretty impossible, right? It’s not! This is not about limits; this is about crafting the perfect closet, with reliable, effortless clothes that will ALWAYS make you look perfectly ‘put together’!
A capsule collection only has space for things that you love and look great on you. It doesn’t have to be the trendiest choices, it’s all about the fit, both stylishly and practically.
Also, do bear in mind that you can replace items that are worn out or doesn’t suit you anymore. You should be passionate about every single piece in your capsule.
If you haven’t yet, I would strongly encourage you, to build an all-year-round core wardrobe with basic, timeless clothes that you can pair with seasonal selections. This will serve as the foundation of your seasonal capsule wardrobe.
Are you already convinced that a capsule wardrobe is the right choice for you but you don’t know how or where to start building one? Well, my name’s Mara and I’m right here to guide you through the process.
In this post, I will share with you tips learned behind the scenes of the retail fashion, to help you put together the best possible capsule collection to win your everyday style game.
Let’s get to work!
1. Sync Your Wardrobe To Your Lifestyle
Before making your clothes selection, you should take some moments to consider who you are and what are your apparel /outfit demands:
What would work with my lifestyle?
Do you spend most of your time sitting behind a desk or do you run from one place to another?
Does your work require elegant, formal wear or can you wear whatever you’ve jumped into for the school run? Are you a social butterfly or a ‘couch and good book’ kinda gal/guy? As obvious as this sounds, make sure you build your wardrobe from thoughtful insight, based on your lifestyle, according to the activities you engage in each day.
What is my signature style?
Fearless and bold like Chiara Ferragni? Or sophisticated and classy like Olivia Palermo? Or reserved yet confident like Jennifer Aniston and her casual outfit looks.
There’s nothing wrong, taking inspiration from your style icons but when it comes to ‘what to wear?’ the one influencer you should truly follow is your own Lifestyle. How you spend your time and how you feel about everything in your capsule. You don’t need anything that looks good on hangers but not you!
What clothes do I wear more often and why I do like them?
There’s a reason you wear the same thing over and over again, those few privileged pieces while other clothes lay in your closet for ages. It might be that black A-line, over the knee dress that looks so flattering on you or that pair of dark-washed, skinny jeans that allows you to jump from the office to your night out.
Now think about the items of clothes you don’t like wearing and ask yourself why?
The answers behind these ‘whys’ will form the foundation brick to start building your own clothes collection.
THE PRO TIP – Start by going on Pinterest and create a board by collecting outfits that you feel inclined to. What do you like about them? The color or style? Are they suitable for your lifestyle? Can you recreate those looks with what you have? Would it look good on you and make you feel confident? If the answer is yes go ahead! If the answer is no – keep searching darling 😉
2. Choose A Color Palette
Select a palette of color, which includes a basic color such as black, navy or white, two coordinating colors and one accent color (we’ll talk about this one a bit later…). A palette made out of four colors is a great start for your first attempt.
Select the main color first. This should be one that you can see yourself wearing EVERY DAY, the dominant color that covers the majority of your outfit.
I strongly recommend to start with a neutral color such as black. It’s a great base that you’ll probably find in your current wardrobe; it fits many occasions and it’s easy to match with the rest of the items you require.
Once you have your pivotal color move onto coordinating colors to match.
Start with a maximum of three shades of matchable, coordinating colors but start with two, especially if this is your first attempt.
Classic choices can be solids like white, beige, blue and greys. It’s always best to start with safer options to begin with – a classy choice will always work!
Every neutral color that you choose should work with the main color and mixable with other coordinating colors too. The more versatile your color palette, the more outfits you will be able to create.
If all your coordinating colors match your main one and at least two of your secondary colors – you’ve nailed it!
THE PRO TIP – when choosing my palette I always take into consideration key pieces, like coats, shoes, bags. So I wouldn’t choose red as a complementary color if I don’t have any pair of shoes or bags to match then with. This helps me to create a color palette that works. You want to avoid ending up with a palette that’s nice to look at but is unwearable.
3. Rely On The Essential
First, let me explain what ‘essentials’ are. Essentials are basic wardrobe pieces that will never go out of style and will help you put your outfits together, such as that timeless and classy, buttoned-up, white shirt. Essentials are those wardrobe staples that will never let you down when it comes to style.
A well-made capsule wardrobe should give you plenty of choices to wear. The key is to make sure everything coordinates with each other. So before moving onto working your accent color, you should select your essential pieces among the coordinating colors. Tops and bottoms should be picked in the range of solid colors such as black, grey, white and beige. Examples include that simple white t-shirt, a light grey cardigan, a camel trench coat or a denim jacket, etc.
A few of these basic essentials and you’ll give yourself a variety of flawless outfits that you’ll always love wearing!
These pieces are the heart of your wardrobe. My suggestion is to see how many basic essentials you can gather from your current closet, that corresponds to your newly created color palette.
Before choosing and depending on how many clothes you posses it might be a good idea to declutter your wardrobe first and get rid of the unwanted items. If you haven’t done so yet, please take a look at how to declutter your home in 5 simple steps.
Working with what you have is always a good idea to avoid splashing your cash needlessly. However, if you realize your wardrobe lacks these ‘must-haves’ and you do have a little budget to spend on do yourself a favor and make the investment.
The latest, trendy designer belt that you keep seeing all over Instagram will be meaningless if you don’t have a core outfit at hand.
Before I buy something I ask myself these questions to make sure I’m making the right choice:
- Does it go with at least 3 colors in my color palette?
- How many outfits can include this item?
- Is it suitable for my lifestyle?
Normally I would choose five to seven bottoms such as dark-washed denim; black skinny jeans; neutral, beige slim-line chinos; black leggings (can be leather in winter) and a black pencil skirt.
Probably something around 10-12 tops among my essentials. Examples include a t-shirt in black and also white; a buttoned-up, white blouse; a long-sleeved t-shirt; a denim shirt; cardigans in grey and black; any solid-color blazer and a white or beige sweater if the weather calls for it. Don’t forget that little black dress for special occasions and a couple of jackets for the coldest days. Personally, I would never leave out my black leather jacket!
This will now take you to a small collection of about 20 pieces.
I do not normally count accessories and shoes in my capsule as they belong to my basic wardrobe. At this point, I start to gather three to four pairs of shoes, two bags and maybe a couple of scarves to match.
THE PRO TIP – I always start choosing my essentials by gathering the base color first. This way you’ll ensure that your closet is functional and everything matches. You can search Pinterest for specific items such as ‘black skinny jeans’ or ‘camel coat’ and it will give you plenty of outfit ideas. This will help you mix and match all of your essentials.
4. Sparkle Your Accent Color
Who said a minimal wardrobe is all about black and white? With one or two accent colors, you can add a little sparkle to your capsule. Accents are colors that go well with your base palette and are used moderately to draw attention.
This means choosing a few pieces that will complement your capsule wardrobe and make it current and trendy. In warmer seasons I love to complement my wardrobe with shades of rose, bright reds or lighter blue. In colder seasons I normally would go for burgundy, silver or amber.
Ensuring your accents work well with your basic colors and essentials – you can now pick your favorite pieces!
For example, a good accent piece could be a bronze, satin tank top, worn with a cardigan or later, a jacket; or you could go for an extra dress, maybe white denim, particularly if you haven’t included one yet; or a trendier skirt. I would say five to six accent pieces make a good combination.
While your core wardrobe should focus on the timeless and essential pieces, it’s important to choose a few bonus pieces to keep it fresh and contemporary.
I suggest adding one to two trend items, either clothes or accessories and strategically use them, relating to the latest fashion forecasts!
Are you a stripe or polka-dot lover? What about that animal-print scarf? How about that blush, pleated long skirt? Now is the time to fit those little jewels in your collection!
THE PRO TIP – In my experience, you should never use more than two accents and it should never be more than five to 10% of your outfit. In addition, when it comes to seasonal trends, I wouldn’t recommend buying too many or even pricey items either.
These trends tend to go out of style quite quickly. Instead, invest your money on basic, timeless essentials that you can wear for many years to come.
5. Putting Outfits Together
So now you have a capsule wardrobe – how do you use it?
Creating a sleek and polished look is totally possible when you define the occasion.
- Dressy or casual – always start by identifying the dress code.
- Select your leading base item (this can be a pair of trousers or a sweater you want to wear).
- Next, choose your shoes.
- Select a top or bottoms to go with your base items. Solid colors go well together, but avoid choosing two different shades of the same color and never use more than one patterned item in one outfit.
- If the weather calls for it, always add a third layer like a jacket to complete your outfit and make it more interesting.
- Accessorize! Choose your bag and if it’s your everyday one, make sure it matches. Adding a scarf is great for that little classy touch to your outfit. Don’t forget details such as a necklace or bracelets.
THE PRO TIP: Keep an open mind about what works. As easy as it looks, the secret to building an impressive outfit is in the details. Put a belt on a baggy dress and you’ll transform into fashion genius! Even an oversized jumper can be elevated from cheap to chic ☺
Love the contrasts: dark with fair, tight with loose, hard with soft, the results will be fashion worthy! Add character by mixing evening and high-end with casual and every day. That simple white t-shirt can go well with your denim as well as that silk pencil skirt.
Nothing is off-limits when you style it right.
Looking for some inspiration? Check 15 seriously gorgeous summer outfits!
I can’t wait to see your capsule so please email some pics or leave me a comment below if you have any questions or any doubts about it!
I will be very happy to help:)