Capsule Wardrobe Common Misconceptions

June 30, 2017

wardrobe capsule - clothes on hangers

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

The term ‘capsule wardrobe’ goes way back to 1970s and belongs to the boutique owner Susie Faux. Basically, the term means a minimal wardrobe that consists of a very few high-quality and versatile pieces that are essential, timeless and of coordinating colors, and can be used interchangeably to create many different looks. She suggests the base of the capsule consists of about a dozen of classic pieces, which are dressed up with seasonal and statement pieces. In general, the entire capsule would consist of 30-40 pieces. That includes shoes and accessories that you totally love and feel confident wearing.

Let’s look at common misconceptions now.

1. Capsule Wardrobe Needs To Be Replaced Every Season

I have read a lot about the capsule wardrobe concept in the past few weeks and came across some recommendations that call for shopping for about a third of your capsule wardrobe each time you plan your next wardrobe. Well, that brings you to about 40-45 new pieces a year. In reality, the typical capsule wardrobe, by definition, would be updated with up to 2-3 new pieces a year.

Not to blame anyone; if that works for one, it is fine. Most people buy waaay more than 40 pieces of clothes and accessories per year. If this approach is something that will put them in control of the shopping frenzy and help to make intentional purchases, then it is a definitely a great way to start! Actually, a beginner might need to shop more to start out than an established wardrobe capsule user. The capsule wardrobe might not be as easy as it sounds, but, hey, we are all learning; our personal styles are always evolving and transitioning, and our bodies are changing, so our capsule wardrobes adjust to reflect these changes. There is no guilt in consumption, as long as it is as much as possible, intentional and sustainable.

Is my wardrobe a capsule?

Nope, my wardrobe is not quite capsule yet. It is capsule-ish, but I am still on my journey to a real capsule wardrobe. I have much more than 40 pieces of clothing and accessories. That is just because I had all these clothes already. I am not going shopping, but will try to figure out what is working and what is not, what should be kept and what should be let go. I pull out the pieces to put my capsule together and the rest of them are being stored in a storage container… at least for now. During each capsule, I ‘shop’ in my closet first and every time get rid of unwanted clothes little by little until I come to MY magic number of pieces (which will be different for everyone).  Mistakes are an inevitable part of this process, but sometimes, they are your best teachers – you either work with what you have and make things shine, or get rid of them next time you plan your wardrobe.

2. Capsule Wardrobe is Boring

Another misconception is related to the look – most believe that capsule is boring as it has to consist of neutral, matching colors. Wrong! 🙂 While you should have about 10-12 base pieces, there is still room for statement pieces and bold accessories.
I love how Putting Me Together created these fun-to-wear colorful outfits using just 10 pieces!

3. Capsule Wardrobe is only for Minimalists

You don’t have to be a minimalist to have a capsule wardrobe. I believe it is for everyone. It is for men and women, who want to save money, the planet and energy on everything related to clothes, such as shopping, organizing, wasting time on deciding what to wear and whine about having “nothing to wear”, dry-cleaning, etc. It is for anyone who wants to declutter their space and life, and start loving to dress up in the mornings. But let me tell you, once you try it, you will want to simplify other aspects of your life and your household! This is how great it feels! Maybe a minimalist will be born in your own self! 🙂

4. Capsule Wardrobe Means Wearing The Same Outfit Every Day

Are you self-conscious that someone is going to notice that you are wearing same clothes? No worries. Most people don’t care about what you are dressed in until it is something extraordinary.
A classic capsule wardrobe allows you to create versatile outfits. However, there is no need to cut all your clothes down to that number right away. If you are not sure whether it is for you or not, start with any number of pieces you feel comfortable with, and work your way towards YOUR magic number. Create the outfits you love and put rest of your clothes out of sight. And don’t shop till the next season. If it doesn’t work for you, the capsule wardrobe is not torture; you can always pull the clothes you are missing out of storage.
Here are 10 outfits created with 10 pieces by Lee from Style Bee.

You can even try a progressive capsule experiment like the one initiated by Karen from Sustainable Fashion Chat. Basically, you can keep your closet “as is” and wear anything you like, but for 30 day you track all clothes you wear and at the end of 30 days you will have a clear picture what you wear the most. This might be a great tool to create your capsule wardrobe.

If you have any doubts about capsule wardrobes, I hope you feel more confident now and will give it a try.

Be Happy 🙂

Nadia.