The capsule wardrobe concept is not a new idea, but it is growing in popularity. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of only interchangeable items to maximize the number of outfits that can be created.
The concept started in the 1970s by London boutique owner Susie Faux. I’ve been using the same ideas in my business for 12 years by coaching my clients through the five Fs: Everything should (F)it you, (F)latter you, (F)unction for your lifestyle needs, (F)eel good about it and be (F)riendly. The more friendly your pieces are with each other, the better your capsule wardrobe will work.
To get your capsule wardrobe started, follow these steps:
1. Lay out every piece of clothing you cannot live without. These are the pieces you’d save in a fire if you could. They may be pants, dresses, skirts, tops or accessories. These are the foundation of your capsule wardrobe.
2. What are you missing? What is there not enough of — shoes, pants, T-shirts or jackets? I have found that a minimum of three pieces of each category of clothing will give you enough options. Your list of missing items becomes your shopping list.
3. When it’s time to shop for those missing pieces, follow The Five Fs strictly, with ‘friendly’ being the most important of all. Whatever you buy must work with the other times in the capsule wardrobe. It may take more work, but if you find pieces that compliment everything in your foundation then you’ll never be without an outfit to wear.
4. The last step to achieving a capsule wardrobe that feels stylish and pulled together is to remember “the bow.” I often compare getting dressed to wrapping a present. You find a box that fits the gift, you buy wrapping paper that fits the occasion but the gift isn’t quite done without a bow and an outfit isn’t complete without something to finish it. It could be a statement necklace, a stylish handbag or a fabulous pair of shoes. This finishing step will pull your look together and make it an ensemble. The ‘bow’ can change the entire feel of your look, and this small addition to your capsule can make the strongest impact.
To have a working capsule wardrobe requires discipline. When you buy something, it can’t go with just two or three pieces in your wardrobe, that item must work with everything you own. For those who love the creativity of putting outfits together, this might be too restricting. You may also find that your wardrobe begins to look and feel like a uniform. This may work for some but may feel uninspired for others. Whether this style of shopping is for you or not, there are lessons to be learned from the concept that can make your wardrobe more functional and efficient.