Your guide to a capsule wardrobe

Earlier this year, I started operating a capsule wardrobe.

“Huh? What is that?” I hear you say.  It’s a limited-item wardrobe that for me is curated mainly from my existing closet and lasting three months. I have 30 main garments of clothing, with an additional two drawers holding active wear, pyjamas and slouch-and-get-dirty items not for public consumption.  Accessories are unlimited.

Not only do I find the process incredibly liberating, but it also makes me mindful about my consumption of clothes and how to make them last.

And… it saves time and energy in the mornings, and who doesn’t love that?!

Read on, if you think you might like to try this at home! I highly recommend it.

spring clean poster.jpg

Earlier this year, I participated in the six items challenge, wearing only six items of main clothing for six weeks. I won’t say it was easy, because it wasn’t, but there were moments of clarity, and they were worth it. Two revelations really stand out: 1. We don’t need as much as we think we do, 2. people remember a smile or an attitude more than they remember your clothes. The background behind point 2 is that people forgot or didn’t event realise I was wearing the same clothes over and over.

The other thing that I loved, and one of the reasons for working with a capsule wardrobe is that when you have a small allocation, you make it work for you. The challenge and the capsule wardrobe process have allowed me to really understand my style and what matters to me, and to be true to that. I have always found it hard to ignore fashion marketing – and I still care about fashion as an artistic expression of ourselves, our culture and demography – but thanks to this process, I am able to resist and filter.

When I do buy new items – and I do add a couple of new items to my collection each season – I make sure they suit my style, will last long, and work with my existing capsule. Sometimes they are replacing a loved item that can no longer be mended.

If you’re in need of a spring clean both of the wardrobe and the mind, then you may enjoy these handy tips to create your own Spring capsule.

  1. The best way to start is to pull absolutely everything out of your wardrobe and create piles of most wanted to least wanted/unsure
  2. Now purge – get rid of anything that doesn’t deserve a spot. You could keep it for a future wardrobe if you’re not ready to part with it. Otherwise swop, sell, upcycle or donate.
  3. Considerations as you start putting items back – practicality, versatility, seasonality, and will you love and wear it for three months?
  4. Think about colours, outfit combinations and what accessories to use when curating.IMG_1944
  5. I recommend putting only 20 of your most loved items back and leaving 10 for one-off/statement pieces
  6. Everybody needs a couple of great statement/controversial/confidence pieces to keep things interesting. But even with these, prioritise those you can wear on multiple occasions, using accessories to change the look if need be
  7. Put your 30 items back neatly in the wardrobe. This should give you a great sense of pride and achievement, and also make it incredibly easy to see what you’re going to wearMy wardrobe
  8. If you’re feeling a bit apprehensive and itching to put another few items back, don’t stress. This is about you and the process, and if you need a few more spots then take them. Aim for less next time.
  9. You can swop clothes during the season, especially if this is your first time. I have done it all three seasons so far when I’ve realised I have made a mistake and chosen an item that I won’t really wear at all.
  10. Finally, if you do want new clothes, leave a couple of spaces in advance. I recommend looking for sustainable ethical brands to fill them. But, if you’re this far, you’ve done an awesome job already.

Enjoy your new you!