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If you’ve been considering starting up a capsule wardrobe, you might be wondering what challenges are in store for you up next. Is it difficult to pare down the number of clothing items you have? How do you make sure your capsule wardrobe actually makes you happy? And what if a capsule wardrobe doesn’t work with your particular lifestyle?
In the case any of these questions sound like something you’re worried about, you certainly aren’t alone. But I may be able to assist you with a handful of tips, as well as some advice from a few industry experts with their own stories. If you think we might be able to help, feel free to continue reading! We’re about to break down everything you need to know about setting up a capsule wardrobe and simplifying your style.
Figure Out Your Personal Lifestyle
Figuring out your lifestyle and personal needs is absolutely essential before you start getting rid of clothing in your closet. If you’re unable to do this, you put yourself at risk of not being able to live comfortably with your capsule wardrobe and purchasing items you already previously owned.
“Whatever your wardrobe and whatever your lifestyle, the two have to be able to work with each other,” begins Eric Elggren, the Co-Founder of Andar. “If you’re an athlete without any athletic clothes, you can see where that might become a problem. If you walk everywhere and you don’t have good walking shoes, you might also regret that down the line. While fashion is meant to be stylish, no one is asking you to be uncomfortable just so you can look good.”
According to Zach Goldstein, the CEO of Public Rec, it might also be helpful to analyze exactly what you wear for a month or so in order to get an unbiased idea of what your lifestyle needs. “Try seeing what you actually wear for a little while before doing a big closet purge,” Zach Goldstein explains. “It makes it so much easier to keep the clothes you need instead of just the pieces you think you want.”
By evaluating your personal needs, you avoid spending unnecessary cash on items with a utilitarian purpose, especially in the case that you already had the items you needed. Allow yourself to live comfortably and make an assessment after you know exactly what items you must keep out of necessity.
Purge Your Closet
Up next comes the act of cleaning out your closet, which can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. Sumeer Kaur, the CEO of Lashkaraa, explains that “You should start by looking through your closet and seeing what you actually love. Clothes that are comfortable and look great on you, for example, are items you might immediately decide to keep. Anything that doesn’t immediately bring you that joy should be sorted through individually.”
Why might you want to keep items that don’t immediately make you happy? They might serve another purpose. According to Stacy London, a stylist, fashion consultant, and author, “Any item in your wardrobe should satisfy one of two criteria: utility and joy.” If you use an item frequently, or it fulfills some sort of utility-related need, keeping it in your closet would likely be wise.
You may also want to consider organizing your closet based on the seasons or the weather you might wear them in, as suggested by Haim Medine, the Creative Director of Mark Henry. Haim Medine explains, “If you live in a place that gets really warm and really cold, for example, you’re going to need clothes for each of these situations. You can definitely have a capsule wardrobe for each predominant weather type where you live, there’s no shame in that.”
However, if there are items you aren’t wearing for a particular season of the year, you might want to consider putting those items away and out of your closet. “Decrease clutter anywhere you can,” begins Cesar Cruz, the Co-Founder of Sebastian Cruz Couture. “There’s no reason for you to have your winter coat at the center of attention in the middle of a blistering summer. Put away anything you aren’t using, and it will make selecting outfits on a daily basis far easier for you.”
Purging your closet is the essential step that turns your typical closet into a capsule wardrobe, so don’t take this step too lightly. Keep what you need, wear what brings you joy, and make it significantly easier for you to get dressed on a daily basis.
Figure Out Your Primary Colors
Many capsule wardrobe aficionados will recommend having very limited colors to maximize your ability to match up each piece with as many other articles of clothing as possible. However, this doesn’t mean wearing non-neutral colors is completely out of the question. “If you love color, there are zero reasons to leave it out of your wardrobe,” explains Karim Hachem, the VP of eCommerce at Maxine of Hollywood. “What colors do you love to wear? Feel free to embrace them, especially if you can match them up with many other pieces.”
Or, if you aren’t sure where to start with your primary colors, you can try to take a more objective approach. Tom Ford, a fashion designer and filmmaker, asks, “What works with your skin and eyes? Use that to zero in on your wardrobe.”
There are many guides you can use online to figure out what generally looks best on your skin tone, but you are also welcome to try figuring this out on your own.
Often, guides will suggest those with paler skin avoid bright and warm colors and instead opt for cooler tones, especially those reminiscent of rich jewel hues. Those with darker skin and eyes, however, might be thought to have more flexibility when it comes to clothing colors. In actuality, as long as you feel good and confident in your clothes selection, you can wear whatever you please, especially because skin tones are frequently more nuanced than this simplification.
Get Creative With the Wardrobe You Have
Now that you’ve pared down your wardrobe, you might be wondering what to do next. Well, it’s necessary to maintain the size of your capsule wardrobe in order for it to continue being as effective as possible. So how do you do that? “Get creative with the wardrobe you have now,” dictates Gigi Ji, the Head of Brand and Business Development of Kokolu, “Fight the urge to buy new things if at all possible. Make yourself wear things you haven’t worn in a while, and if you hate them at the end of the day you can donate them or give them away.”
However, once you make a little extra space in your closet, you might be able to put together a list of items to purchase that would fill any gaps. This is according to Francis Pollara, the Co-Founder and the Head of Product and Growth for TheFutureParty, who says, “If you notice a hole in your wardrobe, you’re absolutely allowed to buy something new to fill that gap. Put together a wishlist, adding to the list every time you notice you need something else. The key is making sure your new purchases are properly justified.”
By only buying items that will have a long-term place in your wardrobe, you decrease the amount of money you’re spending on new clothing, significantly. This is also a fantastic way to simplify your life, as you’ll need to set aside less time for shopping and browsing. You’re also pretty likely to reduce the amount of time spent on selecting outfits to wear on a daily basis, which is also a significant factor in many people’s lives.
Quality Over Quantity
When you’re making new purchases, which will inevitably happen as things wear down or stop fitting, it may be helpful to make sure the items you’re buying are of high quality. “Try to buy high-quality clothes as much as possible,” states Breanne Millette, the CEO of Bisoulovely, “Over time, this will reduce the amount of money you’re spending on clothes and you’ll get much more out of these items.”
In addition to this, it’s also necessary to be intentional with your shopping. Many people decide to have capsule wardrobes because of sustainability-focused reasons. “Be intentional with your shopping,” says Dan Potter, the Head of Digital of CRAFTD London. “You can do this by electing to thrift instead of buying new, or head to shops with sustainability-focused missions. You might also try learning to repair clothes with small holes, in order to reduce your overall carbon footprint.”
While not everyone with a capsule wardrobe chooses to do so for sustainability reasons, this is a very popular reason. Because of this, opting to shop at thrift stores and like-minded shops will allow you to uphold these standards, especially if that’s your aim. Maintaining your capsule wardrobe may also inspire you to learn how to sew in order to make minor repairs on your pieces, increase the longevity of the items you love and keep more money in your pocket.
Creating a capsule wardrobe may sound overwhelming or limiting, especially if you generally have a difficult time reducing the number of clothing items in your closet. However, it’s my hope that this guide helped you understand that having a capsule wardrobe is not meant to impact your lifestyle, especially if you select the correct items to hold on to and maintain a sense of utility in your closet.
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