• 09/16/2022

How to Start a Capsule Wardrobe


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Minimalism is on trend, and for a good reason: The style helps you declutter your home and learn to be content with less. One of the aims of a capsule wardrobe is to reduce clothing waste and help you learn how to make the most of the clothing you have. 

Capsule wardrobes are convenient because they leave less up to chance. You know precisely what you’re going to wear and can design endless outfits, thanks to the versatile pieces in your collection. Learning how to start a capsule wardrobe is the first step toward cultivating a closet you love.

A Quick Way to Find Your Style

Knowing your style can help you design a wardrobe full of clothes that you love to wear and can continue wearing again and again. Your personal style is also always recognizable as you — it reflects who you are, and when your loved ones see you, they know that you’re happiest in those clothes and love to wear them. Learning how to start a capsule wardrobe can emphasize your style and make it more apparent to those who may not know you. 

If you’re at a loss for where to begin, look at famous people with plenty of photographs online. From there, you should determine who you think always looks fantastic and aim to describe your style through them. Do you have a similar accessory you wear every day that you love? It’s part of your style.

From there, examine your activity level and what you like to wear regularly. Your style should reflect what you do or want to do in your free time. Don’t count designated work clothes or activewear in your style. Your capsule wardrobe should include the things you wear in your free time, but you’re also free to make a smaller wardrobe of work clothes and activewear if it helps you. 

Find your preferences. See if you prefer silver or gold, bold or simplistic patterns. In time, you’ll start to define your style and which clothing items in your closet reflect it and which you bought just because of a trend. From there, you’ll be able to start building your capsule wardrobe in your unique style.

How to Start a Capsule Wardrobe in 5 Easy Steps

Capsule wardrobes can seem intimidating if you don’t know how to create one. The best answer for how to start a capsule wardrobe is to begin with the items you have in your closet. You may not have the opportunity to buy all new clothes for your wardrobe, especially if you’re on a budget.

It may take some trial and error to learn which items can blend seamlessly with other items — and even then, you may have a few things that stand out and can’t be used in a capsule wardrobe, but that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of them. Follow these easy steps to help you start building a capsule wardrobe that sparks joy in your life.

1. Keep Track of What You Wear

The first part of building a capsule wardrobe is to conduct a little experiment. Without any restrictions, just wear what you usually wear out of your closet. Once you’ve worn it, make sure to turn the hanger the opposite way. After around three months, you have a pretty good idea of what you like to wear out of your closet by the orientation of your hangers.

Some people believe that 33 is the magic number — meaning that you should have only 33 items of apparel, counting anything from outerwear down to shoes. Versatility is the most essential part of a capsule wardrobe, so having the right kind of short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts can help you design new looks for every day without clothing waste.

2. Purge Your Closet

You don’t need to have a lot of clothes to have a beautiful closet. One of the purposes of a capsule wardrobe is to inspire you to get creative, to push you to show yourself what you can do with limited articles of clothing. When you’ve found something you don’t wear, either by the left-alone hangers or some other means, it’s time to look for other things to do with it.

If the clothing is in good shape, you can give it away. As long as it’s something someone could still wear, without holes and stains, it’ll go to a good home. The average American trashes over 70 pounds of clothing every year, but you should only resort to that if you have no other option. If the clothes are torn and not in good shape to donate, you can always use them for rags around the home or to stuff bedding for your pets.

3. Set Color Palettes and Moodboards

Before you go any further, analyze the clothes you have left in your closet. Are there any color palettes that stand out? Likely, these colors are ones you like on yourself and hues that make you feel good or beautiful. You’ll want to frame your capsule wardrobe around this color palette. That way, you’ll constantly be surrounded by colors you like and clothes you feel good in.

However, despite your color palette, there may be staples you need to include in your larger wardrobe that can hang out with your activewear and professional garb. Items like a little black dress are valuable in numerous situations, and you can dress it up or down depending on the environment. Try not to forget about these staples as you go through your closet. While it may not become a part of your capsule wardrobe, you can still keep it in case you need it.

4. Find Matches and Identify Missing Items

With what’s left of your wardrobe, you should identify the most flexible pieces. Look for items that can fit just about any occasion, then find out what you’re missing. You may find that you have plenty of pieces to cover every occasion and give you a versatile capsule wardrobe. Take note of how many outfits you can make with what you have.

A capsule wardrobe should be small enough to fit on a garment rack. It’s called a “capsule” because it’s a minimalistic attempt to make a variety of outfits out of only a few pieces of clothing. It might seem complicated, but you can do it. Remember that less is more, and you should only hunt for missing items when you know that your capsule wardrobe can’t function without them.

5. Make Additional Purchases

Once you know what’s missing from your wardrobe, it’s time to make additional purchases to complete your capsule wardrobe. Ideally, you won’t be buying a lot — just enough to round out your closet to enable you to create more designs than before. If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to make sure the pieces you choose are diverse enough to go with any outfit rather than being so bold that they clash with the items you already own.

Only add pieces to your collection if you feel that you need them. Can you see yourself creating multiple outfits out of this garment? If not, it has no place in your capsule wardrobe. The purpose of buying additional clothing is to fill in the gaps left in your closet, not to clutter it further. A capsule wardrobe is meant to be small, so it’s okay to repeat outfits when you must.

You Don’t Need to Start From Scratch

You likely have clothes you love to wear that can make great foundations for plenty of outfits. Knowing how to start a capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean that you have to buy new clothes — you can use the clothes you have and supplement new clothes for any missing pieces. Once you narrow down your style and the clothes that support the vibe you want to express, you’re on your way to having a capsule wardrobe that reflects you.

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