The origins of the capsule wardrobe do seem to trace back to boutique owner Susie Faux in the 1970s with some credit Donna Karan's “Seven Easy Pieces” collection in the 1980's as well. Both of these theories center around the idea of a streamlined wardrobe of high-quality pieces that could be worn often and interchangeably. Saving decisions, time, and money.
A capsule wardrobe is a concise, curated selection of clothing. It can vary from person to person based on our differing lifestyles, but the best pieces are the kind that can be mixed and matched and worn for any occasion. Streamline your wardrobe to streamline your life. A capsule wardrobe is alluring because you know you only own pieces that can be paired easily and always look good.
However for far too long, in my opinion, a capsule wardrobe was an excuse for every blogger and fashion editorial writer to find another way to dictate what we SHOULD be wearing. Somehow the focus on 'key pieces" or "classic" always included the next thing that need to be purchased. The tightly curated graphics and stylings only surmised to focus on how what we already own didn't live up to the perfect standard.
The truth is you can start a capsule right now with what you currently own. There is room and flexibility, based on your goals, lifestyle and values. I also feel there is a lot to learn from the process of creating, or attempting to create a personal capsule - if even for a short amount of time.
You can use the opportunity of building a capsule to gain better understanding of you current - and hopefully shift the drive to consume MORE into one of curiosity for what you already own.
Something I recommend for everyone who wants to get smarter about your wardrobe, and make future purchases with more knowledge, and make buying (and not buying) easier is doing a Wardrobe Inventory. A wardrobe inventory may seem like a daunting task, but knowing what you own is necessary in getting curious about your style and wardrobe. The exercise of actually accounting for what you own is about more than knowing what's in your closet and drawers. It's about objectively seeing the cycles of what you purchase.
This is more than a step to creating a personalized capsule. I've even created worksheets on Buy Me a Coffee to walk you through and document your inventory.
There can be a lot of emotion involved in this, and right now just think about this as data collection. Pure, raw data - what is in your closet, drawers, on the floor, just inventory it. Remember its time to be really honest, this is the "data collection" that's going to help you understand and progress.
This is a time to objectively look at your purchases and what you own. This is the best time to reconnect with what you own.
An inventory will give you the foundation for building a capsule. As your go through your wardrobe recognize what pieces your drawn to. What do already find ease wearing and styling? What are the things you put on and then immediately take off? What do you feel confident in? What do you reach for over and over? Think about what you want your wardrobe to do for you? Do you need to feel polished and professional? Is comfort of the utmost importance to you? How do the pieces you own fit into those priorities?
Think of those pieces that fit your goals, lifestyle and values as the foundation of your capsule. These are the pieces you build around to create a well thought out system of creating outfits.
I recently shared how I do this in 10 piece increments on Instagram.
I also shared how simply starting with an outfit you love is a great place to start.
A capsule doesn't have to feel limiting and restrictive, and little preparation can make the process not just a learning experience but also bring an enjoyable sense of freedom to getting dressed. Starting by shopping your closet before anything else, will you the chance to learn how the things you already can have serve you and work together.
Of course there are so many other benefits to a Capsule wardrobe too!
Fewer decisions on a daily basis allow you to focus time and energy on that parts of life that are most important to you. Gaining a better understanding of what works for you in your wardrobe will also make you less tempted by passing fashion fancies, you'll be setting a standard for pieces coming into your wardrobe and know better how to utilize new pieces you add.
I hope this gives you a little more insight into why I enjoy capsuling for myself. As a matter of fact for the Summer season I'll be working with a 30 piece capsule for 90 days (30x90) - I can't wait to share more about that with you!