Invest in a cute little notebook or make a document on your computer, where you write down your capsule wardrobe thoughts, journey, shopping lists, end-of-season thoughts and more. It’s also a good idea to think visually: make a visual overview of your wardrobe in apps like Cladwell (great app to come up with new outfits too!) or if you have the skills – in Photoshop.
A capsule wardrobe is a type of basic wardrobe containing a certain amount of products, that “never” go out of style. It is a little “collection” (or capsule as the name refers to) with clothes and shoes, that you adjust from season to season and that you LOVE to wear. During winter you wear more knits and in summertime you wear more shorts and dresses. You store away the items that don’t fit the season you’re in, so you only have products you actually use in your wardrobe. It is very individual how many products you end up with, and the specific amount is not the most important thing; it is more important that you have the right clothes in your wardrobe. Things you love to wear. Most people end up with 35-40 products.
The following does NOT count as capsule wardrobe items: basic tanktops, underwear & socks, bags, accessories (like scarfs and bags), jewelry, workout clothes, practical clothes (what you wear when you are gardening for example). Everything beside that count – jackets, trousers, jeans, shoes, shirts, blouses, dresses, skirts etc.
Here’s our founders capsule wardrobe story:
“for me it all started because I was tired of that feeling of never having anything to wear. Nonsense when I could see my closet overflowing. Impulse buys were what marked my approach to clothing, and therefore there was not much consistency in my wardrobe. I used shopping as a form of therapy, but it ended up backfiring every morning when I had to get dressed. As soon as the news value of a piece of clothing was lost, I was on the hunt again. An evil circle! One day I saw the documentary “The True Cost” and it swept me off my feet. I was shocked that after oil, the production of clothes is a big sinner when it comes to the pollution of our planet. Moreover, the film shows also how the local textile production stops in countries that receive our massive amount of ditched secondhand clothes. Simply because they end up with SO much of our discarded clothes, so that factories just shut down.
A mix of guilt, a desire to make a difference both for myself and for others and a good amount of inspiration from other capsule wardrobe bloggers made me jump into the experiment. I am not an activist, but I’m curious and eager to all the time to develop my knowledge of how to have fun with fashion and style without destroying our planet. As it stands right now I am no eco-freak, but it’s definitely something I would like me to involve myself more in the future. Especially now that more and more brands begin to think about it, and (hopefully) it will become easier for us consumers to navigate around in. But our consumption is also a huge factor in all this, so that’s why I first started here. And boy, has it made my wardrobe well!”
1. Find your style
Take some time to visualize your favorite and/or dreams outfits. Pinterest is really a good tool in this case. You can also use some time to write down some words that describe your style: what designs/fits you prefer, favorite brands, types of fabric, favorite products etc. Here’s a few style examples: casual, feminine, edgy, classic, sporty. You can also learn how to find your style in a more thorough guide right HERE. You’ll also need to have a look at the climate in the country you live in. In Denmark we have four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. The average temperature is around 10-15 degrees and we have a lot of rain during the year. Layering is therefore essential for most people in Denmark! Your favourite items and outfits are therefore going to be very individual, no matter if you are located in a hot, cold or mixed climate.
2. Empty your closet
Everything has to be taken out of your closet. EVERYTHING.
3. Divide you clothes into piles:
- Love it. This pile speaks for itself – it’s all the things that you love and you would wear right now.
- Maybe. Things you haven’t used for a while, but you would like to save. This could very well be things that need to be fixed, maybe something has a missing button or the like. Gather these things in one place, and fix them along the way so you can start using them again as you like.
3: Seasonal/trend. There is no reason to have shorts hanging in the closet if it’s winter. The items you cannot use right now because of the season goes in that pile as well. Here you also throw in your leopard jacket (or other products that you would not describe as basics) if you’re not really hooked on this trend at the moment, but might be another time again.
- Formal. Dresses you wear when you attend a wedding, fine tops, stilettos and other things you only use for special occasions. Make a mini-capsule with your favourite go-to occasion wear an part it from the rest of your wardrobe.
- No. Everything you don’t use. Items that are too worn out to be fixed. Give it to charity or recycle them so that they can be turned into new garments.
All this does NOT count as capsule items and can be put into the closet again: accessories (scarves, bags, gloves, hats, etc.), Jewelry, underwear, socks, sportswear, basic tank tops, practical clothes (what you take care of the garden in). But have a look through these as well as everything else, in order to only keep what you really want.
All this COUNTS: shoes/boots, shirts, blouses, knitwear, jackets, coats, pants, jeans, skirts, dresses, t-shirts etc.
And remember, these steps are just a template. If you like to wear fancy clothes on a daily basis and not only for special occasions, that’s fine! It’s important that you build up your wardrobe to fit your life and preferences.
4. Get your basics sorted
Get an example of a great all year basic wardrobe on our founders blog right HERE. Maybe it can help you get your own basics sorted. When you have your basics sorted, it gets so much easier to maintain good harmony in your closet. Ask yourself what kind of items you always reach for, always repurchase and represents your overall style preference. The items you like to reach for on days where you don’t want to think too much about your outfit, but still look put-together. Do you like cardigans or blazers more, or maybe both? Do you like monochrome colours or do you prefer a more colourful wardrobe? Do you like solid coloured items, prints or stripes? What type of bottoms do you prefer? What do you wear more – trousers or dresses? What fit do you prefer: tight or relaxed fit? What fabrics do you like – textured ones or more fine ones like for example silk? Feel free to come up with more questions of your own!
5. Get your seasonals sorted
Grab your shorts if it is summer, and pull out your leopard jacket if this is the trend you are going for this season. Again, this is just the way I have built my capsule. If you prefer to have all the products in one large capsule (instead of divided into all-year basics and trend/seasonals), then do that. Some people get bored easier so if you’re afraid you’ll be too tired of your all-year basics and that it doesn’t give your wardrobe enough of a “news value” with the few season-based products, then one big capsule might be a better solution for you . My tip here is to maybe build your wardrobe around a theme and color from season to season. And as always, I recommend trying to find preowned products or purchase new items from the sustainable brands when you want to add new things to your closet. You could follow my series “find the trends secondhand” on Youtube. Every season I make sort of a trend forecast of the coming season, and giving you tips on where to find awesome secondhand products that fit that trend.
6. Put your clothes back into the closet and store the rest.
Now you should have a pile of clothing with “love it” written across it. Your favorite basics, the additional products to suit the season and maybe a few trend products that gives your wardrobe a fresh look. This pile is getting straight back into your closet. Everything else gets stored for next season or given away to charity. All in all you want to end up with around 30-37 products but find the number that suits you! The number is not as important, as having the right things in your closet – things you love wearing.
I always end up with about 40 products (plus / minus). I recommend you, if you are just staring out with the capsule wardrobe system, to stick with a number and be pretty strict with the rules the first year or so. After you have learned more about your own style (which you will the first year – more than you know!) you can start playing around with a more fluid system that suits you and your lifestyle a little better. You can read more about how to manage a more fluid way of maintaining your capsule wardrobes HERE. The seasons for your capsules go like this:
- Spring: March/April/May
- Summer: June/July/August
- Fall: Sep/Oct/Nov
- Winter – Dec/Jan/Feb
7. Make a shopping list.
Feel like something is missing? Maybe something among your basics? A trend item you have fallen in love with? Make a list and try to stick with it. Remember that the new products has to fit with the rest of your wardrobe. Try imagining yourself wearing the new product for 20-30 times before buying it. Not so tempting anymore? Then take it off your list. Avoid huge shopping-sessions and impulse buys, and try to keep the number of new things on a minimum. Try to buy more of the trend-based things secondhand, and as far as possible support the eco and fairtrade brands where it makes sense.