One of the most cliché situations is standing before your overflowing wardrobe and having nothing to wear.
If dressing feels chaotic because you can’t come up with a single outfit for the day, what you need are fewer items that allow you more outfit combinations to simplify your dressing times.
|Definition: A capsule wardrobe is the holy grail of dressing. It’s a mini-wardrobe consisting of a few classic and durable clothes, shoes, and accessories that remain fashionable long after other trends have come and gone.|
A capsule wardrobe is a lifesaver because:
- Fewer items mean less clutter, making it easier to choose what to wear.
- No more purchasing trendy clothing. Instead, you invest in timeless pieces.
- No need to shop for every occasion because the few items you have are versatile.
Their durability means there’s less carbon footprint and less clothing in landfills.
But how do you start building a capsule wardrobe?
Step 1 - Declutter Your Wardrobe
The first step to building a capsule wardrobe is to go through your current one and remove whatever clothes, shoes, and accessories you’re ready to part with.
This way, you can focus on building it with the items you wear to death. These beloved pieces can be your favorite work skirt, summer dress, or weekend dark-wash skinny jeans.
As a guideline, remove items that:
- Don't fit your body shape and size
- Are similar in color or style to each other
- Don’t go with three or more pieces
- Don’t blend with your skin tone
- Are stained or damaged beyond repair
The most efficient way to help you with this sorting process is to empty your whole wardrobe and sift through piece by piece, separating what to keep and what to do away with, using the above guideline.
If there are items you haven’t worn in about a year, it means you don’t fancy their color, fit, fabric, or something else about them. Remove them because they will only take up space in your new wardrobe.
To confidently empty your wardrobe, consider using a decluttering checklist like the one shown in the table below.
This checklist is just an example and the criteria and number of items can be adjusted based on personal preferences, but it’s a good starting point to help you decide on which pieces to get rid of.
This will help you avoid analysis paralysis, which happens when you’re bombarded with so many clothes that you can’t choose which to wear.
If you’re still unsure about some items, use the hanger trick. You hang all your clothes with the hangers facing the same direction, then turn each hanger in the opposite direction each time you wear the item on it.
After a while, you’ll notice the items you don’t wear much because their hangers will still face their original direction—those are the ones to do away with.
And don’t be too hard on yourself. If you can’t let go of a particular piece of clothing, keep it. With time, you’ll learn to let go of what you don’t need.
As for the remaining pieces, arrange them in your wardrobe by these categories:
- T-shirts and tank tops
- Dresses and jumpsuits
- Jackets and coats
- Bags and belts
As for the items you don’t need, you can donate them to charity organizations such as the Salvation Army. You can also drop them off at recycling points in your area or list them for sale at online thrift stores.
Inspiration: Create a mood board with your favorite fashion icons and outfits. Use this as a guide when building your capsule wardrobe and choose items that align with your personal style and fashion goals.
Step 2 - Get the Basics Right Before Adding Items
Now comes the tricky part—how to select your new clothes and accessories.
If you’ve used no particular formula to select clothes for your former wardrobe, this time, choose with careful consideration.
Expert Tip: Choose classic over trendy. A true capsule wardrobe is centered on a timeless, versatile style that doesn’t try to keep up with “what’s cool.” It aims at outlasting other short-lived fashion trends.
Consider these factors to help you pick statement pieces:
The activities you engage in will determine what clothes you want to add to your capsule wardrobe.
For work, the Co-Work Capsule is the perfect starting point. It features mix-and-match monochrome styles that are your perfect companions in the conference room, yet versatile enough for a coffee date.
An example of an item in this capsule is the It’s A Swirl Wrap Skirt, which hits at mid-length and is cool enough to make you feel like you’re on vacation.
“Like everything in my wardrobe, this skirt is seasonless. I plan to wear it with tights in our cold weather.” — Rebecca N.
If you can’t get enough traveling, simplify your life with Aday's Carry-On Capsule. It’s the perfect travel capsule wardrobe with five light weight and wrinkle-free styles.
Versatility of the Items
Each piece in your capsule wardrobe should be easily interchangeable to maximize the number of outfits you can create.
You want each item to pair easily with at least two or three others in your wardrobe. For example, you can rock a beige t-shirt with a navy blazer and heels for work, then dress the t-shirt down with dark-wash jeans and sneakers for a casual look.
At Aday, we believe the future is flexible, so we make capsule wardrobes using a few versatile pieces that you can use to create more outfits. Have a look:
Base and Accent Colors
Base colors are the core of each capsule wardrobe outfit, meaning each outfit you create will have any of the below colors as their starting point:
The interesting thing about base colors is that you can either wear them on their own and look fabulous, or pair them with bold colors.
Picture yourself in brown pants, a cream top, and black pumps—all of which are base colors. You’d look sharp in that outfit!
Now change the outfit to a navy skirt and blazer, with a red tank top underneath. The contrast between the two colors definitely adds visual interest.
Also, the red in our imaginary outfit is an accent color, whose purpose is just as the name implies—to accentuate or make your outfit more interesting.
Other accent colors include:
- Bright blue and green shades
- Vibrant yellow and orange
- Pastel colors such as mint and pink
Since you’re trying to decongest your wardrobe of too much color, stick to four or less of these accent colors.
Quality of the Fabric
Quality fabric lasts for years, and since you want timeless pieces for your capsule wardrobe, that means you want materials that will stand the test of time.
You can get such quality from sustainable brands, such as Aday, where we uphold our mission to make sustainable wear by using quality fabric, such as our Cool Weave, Stretch Linen, and Technical Silk.
Quality fabric is:
- Comfortable to wear because it doesn’t irritate the skin like synthetic fabrics, such as acrylic and polyester
- Breathable because it absorbs moisture from the body, keeping you cool and comfortable
- Flexible, adapting to the body’s shape to allow movement without making you feel constricted
And if you adore jumpsuits, the Destination Jumpsuit in the Stretch Classics Capsule is perfect for all-day wear, yet stunning enough for a formal look.
“It’s lovely for around the office, or it can be dressed down while going out to dinner with the girls.” — Morgan H.
Patterns and Prints
Adding a few prints and patterns that don’t go out of style is a great way to create variety in your wardrobe without going overboard with too much color.
Opt for patterns that don’t go out of style, such as:
- Polka dots
- Camo print
- Snake print
- Leopard or cheetah print
By pairing a few of these patterns with base colors, you’ll create timeless outfits that you can wear repeatedly.
Step 3 - Start Building Your Capsule Wardrobe
The easiest way to start building your capsule wardrobe is to only add items you need for the current season. This way, you won’t get overwhelmed trying to simultaneously create a capsule for each season.
As for the number of items to pick for each bottom, top, or jacket, a good number to start with would be one, two, or three for each category; then adjust the numbers as you learn what works for you. You don’t want to limit yourself too much, yet you don’t want to clutter your wardrobe again.
Here is a list of items that are the most necessary. We’ve included items for all seasons, but you can adjust them to suit your preferences.
Blouses And Shirts
T-shirts, Tank Tops, And Camisoles
Dresses And Jumpsuits
A-line or pencil skirt
Graphic tank top
Midline A-length dress
Maxi dress for spring and fall
Sweater dress for fall and winter
Bags And Belts
Everyday light weight sweater
Remember, the bottoms should be neutral (black, white, navy, gray, and brown) so that they accommodate as many outfits as possible.
Step 4 - Come Up With Everyday Outfit Ideas
Your once cluttered wardrobe is now spacious, and the statement pieces you’ve brought in are helping it take on a new shape. The only thing you may still be struggling with at this point is putting together outfits.
How can you effortlessly come up with a business-looking outfit that can still be dressed down for a date?
Pinterest and Instagram
If you’ve never taken an interest in Pinterest, do so now, for therein lie ideas upon ideas on how you can pair items in your capsule wardrobe.
The only thing you need to do is search keywords connected to minimalist clothing and capsule wardrobes. Try searching for “capsule wardrobe” or “minimalist outfits.”
Instagram is another widely used platform to find outfit ideas. In this case, you’ll make your searches using hashtags.
Be sure to include minimalist or capsule in your search. Some good examples are #minimalistoutfits or #capsuleoutfits.
Aday’s Instagram page is here for you.
You can’t go wrong with style blogs when looking for outfit inspiration. After all, that’s what they’re there for.
At Aday, our blog is dedicated to all the nitty-gritty of minimalist fashion.
We recommend our Everyday Capsule consisting of five classic wrinkle-free outfits that are ready for any adventure.
The All-Day Suiting Capsule is another favorite with our customers. Its stretch fabric lets you move with ease as you go about socializing or parenting.
Your Own Inspiration
Here is where your creativity pays off. Try putting on different items and see which ones bring out the best combinations.
For each pair of pants, skirt, or dress, experiment with different tops, jackets, shoes, and accessories. That’s how you’ll know what works for you.
Patterns such as stripes, polka dots, and animal prints add visual interest to your wardrobe. Put on items with neutral colors and add one patterned item to see how they complement each other.
Any time you come up with an outfit that pleases you, take a photo of yourself wearing it and store the photos for reference. It can be disheartening to spend time trying item after item, coming up with superb outfits, then forgetting what the combinations even were.
Step 5: Wear on Repeat
Now that you know how to build a capsule wardrobe, you have a closet full of timeless, stylish outfits that you feel reflect your personal style and the needs of your lifestyle. You can feel confident rocking your capsule wardrobe on repeat for months.
We do suggest you do an audit every 3-4 months to make sure that all your clothes are still serving your lifestyle, that nothing is tattered or torn, and to make sure that you're still receiving more space, time, energy and joy from your capsule wardrobe. If not? Well, you already know how to build a capsule wardrobe, so you have everything you need to get back to basics.
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