How To: The Capsule Wardrobe

Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe

After many months of barely purchasing anything new (disclaimer: I did receive some beautiful gifts from brands though), I have been on a bit of a spending spree in the last month or so. In the past 6 months I have gone through multiple closet purges to tackle something that has bothered me for a long time: my overflowing wardrobe, full of items I never wore, some I didn’t even like, some damaged or just too worn. It left me feeling completely overwhelmed just looking at what I owned but didn’t love. I know... first world problems, right? As a blogger I am also very fortunate to receive amazing gifts from brands — which I truly appreciate! — but even though I am selective and careful with whom I work, I still acquired pieces over time that simply didn't work for me. Either for my body type or in regard to my aesthetic, as they were chosen on days where I felt like experimenting with something new. I couldn’t quite make it “me” in the end. 

With trials & errors of figuring out what I truly love and wear, I created a curated list of my wardrobe essentials: a list of pieces that I either already own or have carefully considered and am planning on making mine soon — hence the shopping spree. It was very important to me to take somewhat of an analytical approach and base my decisions on the “hard truth” and not wishful “maybe in the future” thinking: which looks work for me now, which pieces do I reach for time and time again, and which wish list items score high on quality, versatility & affordability (based on my budget).

The latter are three factors that are very important to me. My ultimate wardrobe goal is to have a highly curated selection of wearable items that can always be combined into an elevated look, regardless of the season or current trends, without sacrificing on comfort. My ideal outfit is one that stands out by being subtle. An outfit where you might think “oh, it’s just jeans, a top and some ankle boots, but it looks so elegant!”.

In the past, I always aimed for (one day…) having a French 5-piece wardrobe, but I have realized that this might be too minimalist for me. While I do like to repeat the same looks with a new twist, having options is something I like more. So creating a capsule wardrobe is perfect — for anyone, really. Well, once you’ve figured out your personal style, which is a whole other topic I’ll get into in another post soon…

For now, let’s get to the main questions that have helped me identify my wardrobe essentials and create a capsule wardrobe with pieces that, a la Marie Kondo, spark joy… for seasons to come.

How to create a capsule wardrobe

Ask yourself:

1. Does it work with the other items in my wardrobe?

2. Can I wear it in at least 5 different looks that I love?

3. Is it comfortable to wear & does it work for my body type?

4. Does it tick all the must-have & must-be boxes?

5. Is this simply a nice-to-have or really missing in my wardrobe?

Five rather simple, straight-forward questions... that I often ignored or failed to ask myself when I had the urge to shop or try something new. Until I got to the point where I was so fed up with my over-consumption, especially because I have pretty much figured out my true "fashion uniform" and aesthetic. And I almost always know whether I will be wearing — and loving — a piece for a long time to come right off the bet. Sticking to my aesthetic (point 1), with some leeway for being creative, also helps me figure out different ways to style an item with others that I already own; I shouldn't have to buy extra clothing to make this one new piece work in an outfit (!!! point 2). And then there are a few very simple rules for my body type (point 3) — small shoulders and waist, strong arms, curvier hips — namely: strappy tops are tricky (unless worn under a blazer), high-waisted denim and trousers are often best, no crop tops or ultra long blouses, and natural fabrics (cotton, linen, silk, wool) are better. And even when they score positively up until this point, they still need to match my 3 wardrobe values (point 4!): quality, versatility, affordability. Checked all the boxes? Good. Then the final, point 5, a moment to be truly honest with myself: is this piece really missing or am I also perfectly satisfied with my curated wardrobe when I don’t own this? More often than not, it really is just more of a “want” than a “need”.

What do you think? Is building a capsule wardrobe something that would suit you? And if so, what approach would you take?

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