Having a capsule or minimalist wardrobe can be a great way to save time and money. Especially, if you don’t find a lot of value in pawing through a closet full of clothes to get dressed in the morning.
If choosing what to wear is the highlight of your day, you can still benefit from being intentional about what’s hanging in your closet. Such benefits are cutting down on the indecision time, budget waste, feeling confident in what you are wearing, and maybe even less time spent spinning on the hamster wheel.
Why A Capsule Wardrobe?
The benefits of a minimalist wardrobe are apparent for everyone. From the blissful fashionista to the person who wishes they could live in their pajamas; each can benefit from choosing clothing that is versatile and feels great. With less time spent shopping, organizing, cleaning, and moving things you own–you have more time to focus on other activities. And an added benefit is to enjoy what you do have in your possession without always wishing for something more.
There is a high price to pay for fast fashion, in terms of labor law violations abroad, ecologic impact, and of course–the price we pay when we get to the checkout. Beyond those literal costs, it can be argued that having too much stuff actually lessens our quality of life instead of adding to it. We spend hours and dollars maintaining our stuff while never actually being satisfied, or feeling confident in what we do wear.
In the pursuit of financial independence and a fully funded lifestyle change, it’s important to explore what’s in our lives; and that includes what we put on our bodies. Doing so not only helps us save money, but it helps us take a step back from the constant influence of a multi-billion dollar fast fashion industry clamoring for our participation.
How To Get Started With A Capsule Wardrobe?
The idea of a minimalist or capsule wardrobe is that you have a baseline of neutral, versatile pieces that can be used interchangeably with each other. These items can be layered on to fit the weather, or even dressed up or down for the occasion. All the pieces serve a multi-use purpose and visually work well together.
For a minimalist wardrobe, you’ll want to start with some experimentation and selective purging. The first step will be obvious–get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the last year and donate, trash, or give to a friend.
If you’re not really sure what you’ve been using–try turning your hangers around to face the wrong way. Each time you use an item, you’ll return the hanger to the right direction when it’s ready to be rehung. After a month, you’ll see what’s been used. Anything you haven’t used, should go on the chopping block. (With exception to special occasion items that are expensive to replace or can’t be borrowed.)
When you get your wardrobe down a few hangers, you’ll start to do some soul searching.
Decide What Style Speaks To You
While many capsule and minimalist wardrobes are layers of neutral colored clothing that can be dressed up or down for the occasion, or layered for cooler weather–you don’t have to limit yourself to a certain style or color palate.
Criteria For Keeping Or Adding Clothing
- Do I love this item, do I look and feel my best when I wear it?
- Does it work with other pieces in my collection?
- Could it have more than one use?
- Could it be used for more than one season?
- Is it still in good shape? If it’s not in good shape, is it because it is used frequently and should it be replaced to become a cornerstone of my capsule?
How To Deal With Wild Card Items
Yes, there will be items in your wardrobe that break the rules. The pair of dress shoes that you don’t wear often, but they’re your go-to for weddings, or the sequined top that doesn’t fit the vibe of your new capsule, but it can fit the bill of being perfect for date night.
Your goal here will not to be eliminate those ‘sometimes used but awesome’ pieces from your minimalist wardrobe entirely. Instead, limit how many wild cards you have in your rotation to begin with. Generally, you really only need to have 2-3 of these rule breakers.
If infrequently used winter gear is taking up space in your closet, could you rent or borrow these items when needed instead? Often, we hold onto bulky seasonal items that we don’t use even when the next season rolls around–see what you can do without.
Guidelines When Building Your Capsule
- Focus on timeless pieces, in neutral colors or a few brights that you love. Use accessories to experiment with color, formality, and trend.
- Avoid trendy pieces at fast fashion stores that wear out fast and can look dated quickly. The goal of these fast fashion stores is to have you coming back as often as possible to make the most money from you on cheap pieces.
- Invest in quality items that are ethically produced if you can. Research well made garments that are worth paying a bit extra for. If you prefer cheaper or generally more casual items, that’s okay too–but look for things that will hold up.
- Focus on comfort. You’ll have limited but strategic options to wear, so make sure they fit right and you feel great wearing them.
- Focus on the middle ground between formal/casual. Build your capsule with items that are good for meeting with friends, dressed up for date night, or could work for a party just by changing a few accessories.
- Build layers. If you have staples that can be versatile, you don’t need chunky sweaters in fall colors or airy summer clothes in neons. Adding layers or removing layers gives you flexibility to wear what you have on hand.
Look And Feel Great
One of the best things about having a minimalist or capsule wardrobe is the relative ease you’ll experience getting ready. Instead of fretting away for 35 minutes or more trying to make an outfit work–everything in reach will work together. You can even make some of those “wild card” pieces the star of your ensemble occasionally.
Building a minimalist wardrobe can be a fun and challenging endeavor. Once you take some time to unlearn all the things you “should” be wearing and focus on what you love to wear, you’ll not only have a functional wardrobe that reflects your personal style, you’ll do it for far less cash!