Right off the bat, the concept of a ‘capsule wardrobe’ might appear strange. But, upon closer look, you might realise that most of the time, it is nothing but a cleaning measure for your collection. A chaotic closet is something that can turn a ten-second decision into five minutes of confusion, meaning that it could be hard for you to choose what to wear when all you see in your closet are some potential outfits. In a way, making a capsule closet can prove to be an effective way of tackling this obstacle.
The decision of what to wear is difficult to answer, and most of it is linked to how you keep your closet. Don’t believe us? Let’s take a situation for the matter. You have somewhere to go. However, when you open your closet, there are only five sets of outfits that you can choose from.
How, wouldn’t it be easier for you to choose one outfit from a set of five instead of digging through your entire closet for it?
Well, this is where the concept of a capsule wardrobe comes into play. It means exactly what it sounds like. ‘Capsule’ is a metaphor for small, and hence ‘capsule wardrobe’, in simple words, would be called a ‘small collection of outfits for your everyday need.’
The History of Capsule Wardrobe
Though it may seem that the term such as ‘capsule wardrobe’ has a modern origin, in reality, the term’s origin goes back to somewhere around the early-1940’s. Fashion had been a prominent part of the American culture since the beginning of the 20th century, and in the 1940s, various American publications popularized the term ‘capsule wardrobe,’ which they defined as a small collection of clothes that can be worn together.
Further down the line, as the living standards increased, it was also clear that people won’t be satisfied with just some plain simple clothes, and that is when a new trend of ‘fast fashion’ began to grow. Then again in the 1970s, Susie Faux, who is the owner of a boutique and lifestyle brand ‘Wardrobe’, was credited with reviving the term.
According to her, the term was used to refer to a set of outfits that might never go out of fashion, thus making them eligible to be worn even during different seasons.
For her, a capsule wardrobe aimed to provide the wearer something to wear for almost any occasion without having to buy any extra outfit.
Donna Karan, with the release of her collection ‘7 easy pieces’ in 1945, also played a major part in shaping the culture around capsule wardrobes. According to her, with the right base of the wardrobe, people could accomplish anything. In her collection’s showcase, the beginning was set by models who were dressed only in bodysuits and tights. Later, they began to dress and create outfits from the available items, namely a pair of loose trousers, a skirt, a tailored jacket, a sweater, and a white shirt.
In today’s world, the term such as ‘capsule wardrobe’ can be used in many different ways. However, all of them have one thing in common, and that is reducing the number of clothes that one has.
Unbeknownst to many people, a concept such as this can have some positive environmental impact as well, which is what we’ll talk about after telling you about the steps that you need to take to build a capsule wardrobe of your own.
A step-by-step guide for a capsule wardrobe
You might just call it the de-cluttering of your wardrobe or getting rid of the unwanted articles of clothing, there are some steps involved. You want to end with a set of spectacular and fashionable outfits nonetheless. Here are a few steps that’ll guide you in your capsuling journey:
Step 1: Know your Base
There is no doubt that a strong structure is built on an even stranger foundation. The base outfit for your capsule wardrobe is just that. It is a strong and sturdy combination of clothes according to which you make up the rest of your outfits.
For your base, there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind. For one, the colour scheme for your outfits should remain plain and simple. Apparels that have simple colours like blue or white would work great. Second, it should be a complete set.
It should include a short, a pair of shorts, skirts or pants, a jacket, and a sweater. Very much like the ones illustrated in Donna Karen’s ‘7 easy pieces’.
Knowing your base wardrobe can also make it easier for you to derive at other potential outfits in no time. So naturally, this could be the most time-consuming step involved in the process.
Step 2: Know What You Don’t Need
One of the key aspects of building a capsule wardrobe is the fact that you’d need to get rid of a selected few items. Once you’ve got the idea of what your ideal base outfit looks like and what colours you prefer, doing this would be an easy task.
The first sets of clothes that you should do away with are the ones that you never wear. It is hard to admit it, but almost all of us are guilty of having few shirts or a pair of pants that are as good as new.
After that, the second pair of clothes is those that don’t fit you anymore but are still in your closet.
They might be loose or tight, but all they ever make you do is think about whether you should wear them instead of choosing something that suits your style.
Get rid of the clothes that you hardly wear. Yes, you might have worn those or twice after buying them, but they are still an extra set of clothes that are consuming useful space in your wardrobe.
Note: Before we continue, you need to note that by ‘getting rid of the clothes’ we mean to say that you should go ahead and donate them. Throwing them away is not an ideal solution, since it takes a lot of resources and effort to produce a garment, donating it is not only the ideal but also the best and moral solution as well.
Step 3: Differentiate them Based on Categories
Honestly, if you think that your work is down, then you are wrong. You might have discarded all that you do not wear, but perhaps you are still left with a lot of pieces. And if these pieces are what you love to wear, then you might just find this step the hardest one yet.
Now, by categories, we mean the type of outfit that you’d want to wear. There are several types of outfits that a capsule closet should have, and some of them are formal, informal gym wear, and nightwear.
As you know all of these involve different types of apparels, you probably have a chance to get rid of only a few of the items that you love.
Now, since you need to keep in mind that your wardrobe should factor in all the seasons, some of these categories might include somewhere around then items.
For example, the clothes in which you work out during the summers are quite different from what you put on during the winters. So, before you start by picking up the clothes for your capsule closet, make sure that you’ve got your seasonal wear category in check.
Step 4: Build the Wardrobe
Finally, we are at the stage where you get to go do some work and have fun while doing it. Now that you’ve got your base outfit ready along with a colour scheme in mind, it is safe to assume that you won’t have to put in much effort when it comes to building a capsule closet.
With only a selected few items in your closet (since you have discarded the ones that you hardly wear), it won’t take much time for you to get your eyes on the right piece. Now, all you need to do is decide on a primary outfit that suits your lifestyle. What jeans you find comfortable and what kind of shirts or dresses you wear when you go out.
In the previous steps, you looked back at what you didn’t wear, but in this one, you need to look forward and know what you would wear.
Some of the factors that you can look up while finalising the clothes for your wardrobe are whether they fit you perfectly or not, how easy it would be to make an outfit out of it, and how they would fit in any outfit category. A blazer, for example, can come under the formal category as well as a casual category.
In the end, it is up to how you would wish to wear it. And once you are done with it, your capsule closet is complete.
Capsule wardrobe and eco-conscious fashion
We cannot deny the fact that over the past few decades, the textile industry has been named as the major source of water contamination. Though we can say for certain that many of the industry insiders have come forward and are currently trying to adopt a more sustainable and environmental friendly change, there is still a major gap between what is expected and what the result shows.
One major reason for this has been the rapid growth of fast fashion. As it became a highly profitable business, the fast fashion industry deals in the mass-production of clothing items, which as it happens is the result of a high demand from the customers. So indirectly, whether one likes to accept it or not, this ‘high-demand factor also plays a major role in how the textile industry operates.
Capsule wardrobe, in plain and simple words, is a way of tackling this high demand and puts some restrictions on the mass-production of apparels once and for all. Its whole concept revolves around the principle of minimalism. The composition of your wardrobe, making it easier for you to choose an outfit, will not only help you but will also help the environment one way or the other.
We can certainly say that the idea of a capsule wardrobe has slowly evolved into a practice that promotes slow fashion. Due to the emergence of fast fashion, the trend is always shifting. Opting for a capsule closet, on the other hand, can remove the distraction caused by the fast-moving trends.
Apart from that, in the long run, you might find that building a capsule closet can also provide you with some financial assistance. As one could easier gather, the cost per wear can significantly decrease when we are talking about capsule closet. Thus, multiple points make it a smarter move. It has benefits that are both personal and environmental. If you fancy saving some time and money, then this is the solution that you’ve been looking forward to.
Why should you start building it today?
Procrastination is not something that you should take lightly. If you are interested in building a capsule closet of your own, then there is probably no excuse for not starting from today. Having a capsule wardrobe can contribute to a life of consciousness. For one, it will result in you owning less stuff, thus making it easier for you to decide which item you would wear for a particular task.
Other than that, having a capsule closet would also result in lowering your demand for new clothes. Believe it or not, this demand is indirectly connected to various environmental factors.
There are less clutter and less storage space required when it comes to maintaining a capsule closet.
But, most importantly, owning a capsule closet of your own would give you a sense of your style. There is nothing that would explain your lifestyle more than your clothes, and the work of a capsule closet is to exactly reflect your way of living.
On that note, let’s finish our chapter of capsule closet right here. But, you should still note that the learning part is not over yet. As we can see in the case of a capsule closet, the term found new definitions in every era. What started with a minimalist move did not become an environmental movement.
So, we cannot say for sure where the movement is currently headed, but we know for a fact that it would be helpful in the coming years. For now, let’s get our capsule closets ready.
Originally published on Soulful Living blog and newsletter by GIBIE.