The term “Capsule wardrobe” is a buzzword that has been thrown around recklessly over the last few years. Strangely though, everyone seems to have their own take on it. So what actually is a capsule wardrobe? Should you have one? If so, how do you go about creating it?
The term “capsule wardrobe” was aptly coined by the designer Susan Faux in the 1970s. You might have heard about it only in recent years, but capsule wardrobes have been around for decades, and their lasting presence in the fashion world is proof of their effectiveness.
Capsule wardrobes have many advantages and, today, we’re going to explore how they can revolutionise your wardrobe.
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a curated wardrobe made of a small collection of clothing items (usually 37) that is timeless in style, high in quality and that complement each other nicely.
Curation is a crucial aspect as the ability to carefully select an item to add to your collection will determine the success of your capsule wardrobe.
The aim is to create as many outfit combinations as possible with as few items as possible. As a result, your capsule wardrobe needs to contain items which are versatile and high in quality. You’ll be wearing these clothes over and over again; so they need to last.
Being restricted to a specific number of clothing items means that you have to put a lot of thought and consideration into your wardrobe. Mindless shopping is no longer an option.
Is a Capsule Wardrobe for you?
These are two main challenges to creating a successful capsule wardrobe:
- Finding the right item to add to your collection
- Restricting yourself to the 37 items
So why should you restrict yourself to a mere 37 pieces when you could buy anything and everything you want?
After all, clothes are such an essential aspect of our lives. Not only do they protect our bodies, but they also help us give a physical form to our sense of identity.
Are 37 pieces enough to achieve that?
Well, I’m here to tell you that a capsule wardrobe can do that and more. Here are a few reasons you need a capsule wardrobe in 2020:
7 Reasons to Get a Capsule Wardrobe
1. Fix the “I have nothing to wear” syndrome
We’ve all had those days. You stand in front of a wardrobe stacked with clothes with a vacant gaze and no inspiration at all. Or worse, you have to be out of the door within ten minutes, and you’re overwhelmed with panic because you can’t think of a single coherent outfit.
A capsule wardrobe means less decision fatigue over your outfits while still looking good before leaving the house.
2. Save your money for what truly matters
According to The Guardian, British consumers have an estimated £30bn worth of clothing that they have not worn for a year in their wardrobes.
£30bn worth. That is not a small amount.
By building yourself the perfect capsule wardrobe, you’ll be saving a lot of money. Fast fashion might come cheap, but in the long run, you end up spending more. Impulsive shopping, low-quality clothes (which fall apart quicker) and trend shopping are things that the fast fashion industry rely on to accumulate profit.
Building a capsule wardrobe means you get to save over time because your purchases involve more consideration. To find the perfect match for your wardrobe, you have to consider whether a clothing item will work for your body shape, undertone and personal style.
Instead of mindlessly spending on trendy, but quick to become obsolete pieces, a capsule wardrobe helps you invest in timeless, classic styles that you could have worn back in the ’90s to something you’ll still be wearing in 2040.
And instead of buying clothes of dubious quality, a capsule wardrobe helps you make quality purchases. However, keep in mind that a higher price tag does not necessarily mean better quality.
3. Save the planet while looking good
Fast fashion is killing the planet. From excessive pesticides on cotton plants to 350,000 tonnes of clothes going to landfill each year, the effects of fast fashion on our planet are tremendous. As consumers who care for Mother Earth, we can reduce the amount we consume. Building a capsule wardrobe is a great way to create a small wardrobe that goes a long way.
4. Protect human lives
1 in 6 of the world’s workers are employed in the fashion industry, and around 80% of those workers are female. Not to mention, fast fashion is rife with child labour. It is estimated 168 million children in the world are forced to work, and because the fashion industry requires low-skilled labour, child labour is particularly common in this industry.
They are paid as little as £1 a day and can work up to 140 hours per week. They can be made to work overtime to meet deadlines without being given any extra pay. Some factories will lock the doors and not let anyone out until the work is finished. Fire hazard anyone?
So, how can a capsule wardrobe help us combat worker exploitation? The fact is fast fashion moves so fast and exploits humans because of the demand for it. If we restrict ourselves to only 37 pieces per season – and are able to make those items last, we won’t be buying as much. The pressure to meet overwhelming demand will no longer fall on the labourer.
You can also go the extra mile by making sure you source your capsule wardrobe from sustainable sources.
5. Surround yourself with items you love
Because I am as original as a Netflix Original, I’m going to have to ask: does it spark joy?? Whether you’ve watched The Konmari Method or not, you’ve probably heard this term to death now – ‘does it spark joy?’ – The idea being that you should only keep things which do spark joy. Well, a capsule wardrobe can help you do that. At the very core of capsule wardrobes lie the idea of curating – and by curating you’ll naturally be surrounding yourself with items that you truly love. So you can say goodbye to those morning tantrums.
6. Cut down on clutter and materialism
If you live in London or a major city where space is a luxury, that should be the only good reason you need to start building a capsule wardrobe. Spare yourself the big massive pain of dining, sleeping, working and lounging on a bed of clothes.
7. Always look put together without putting in the time
You’ve probably already gone through the rite of Youtube productivity videos; all of them telling you how limited your time on this earth is and giving you a bunch of tips to start hacking life right now.
Well, having a capsule wardrobe where you can effortlessly put outfits together means that you can have more time to do other more important things.
I hope this article has convinced you that a capsule wardrobe belongs in your life. Ultimately, the rush of fashion cannot beat the reliability of a capsule wardrobe.
Leena is the sustainable fashion blogger at Drifted Anew. She loves capsule wardrobes and believes that together we can make sustainable fashion the norm. Her goal to achieve the perfect capsule wardrobe is an ongoing journey that she loves to share on her social media and blog.