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A Guide to Building a Capsule Wardrobe

The capsule wardrobe initially started as a trend as early as the 1940s. That being said, it has proven to be a timeless strategy for fashionistas in search of more for less. In fact, capsule wardrobes are currently en vogue, affording many an easy and convenient way of deciding what to wear on any given day.

Having said that, a typical capsule wardrobe for women will include several essentials consisting of various tops, bottoms, footwear, and accessories. But with so many different types and designs of clothing available for purchase, the challenge is deciding exactly what pieces deserve a spot in said wardrobe.

Are you a complete beginner at building capsule wardrobes and don’t know where to start? Before you shop tights, blouses, belts, hats, and accessories, read on for a comprehensive guide on how to go about putting such a wardrobe together, from start to finish.

The Planning Stage

While a capsule wardrobe will include only several pieces of clothing and a few pairs of shoes, building one nonetheless requires careful planning. Here are some things that should be considered during this stage:

Determine How Many Pieces to Include

If you want to make a capsule wardrobe, you’ll first have to answer this important question: how many items do you want it to have?

Being the beginner that you are, aim for a smaller number to start with. You can always think about adding more in the future, once you’ve figured out if the current number of items works for you or not.

A good start for most beginners is an under-20-item capsule wardrobe that consists of two pairs of jeans, a white and colored T-shirt, a dress, a black blazer, a pair each of high-heeled and casual shoes, a cardigan, a pair of sunglasses, and a couple of hosieries.

Decide on an Overall Color Palette

A defining characteristic of a capsule wardrobe is the interchangeability of its parts, and this is largely possible because everything almost always revolves around a base color. This makes mixing and matching easy by eliminating odd color combinations, to begin with.

So, ask yourself what base color you want for your capsule wardrobe. To make this easier, aim for an easy-to-work-with palette, which can be made up of black, navy blue, or any shade of brown. From there, you can add a few more colors to your wardrobe, ideally neutral ones that can better complement these base hues. The colors black, white, gray, and cream, for instance, go well with black, navy blue, or brown.

Pick Your Layering Pieces

Layering—wearing a blazer over a white shirt, for example, or putting a scarf on top of your dress—is one of the easiest ways to level up your style. Garments that are usually used for layering include coats, blazers, sweaters, jackets, and scarves, so make sure you include at least two of each of these items in your capsule wardrobe. Just make sure that the colors of these garments match your chosen color palette and that you have variations of these pieces to account for cold or hot weather.

The Organization Stage

Now that you’ve planned the items you’ll include in your capsule wardrobe, it’s time to get organized. Here are some tips on how you can best do this:

Prepare Your Decluttering Area

At this stage, you’ll be decluttering to rid your closet of unnecessary items. You can start by making space, whether on the floor, on your bed, or on a table, to spread out all your clothes. Next, prepare four boxes—Keep, Toss, Donate, and For Consideration—where you can place your items per category.

Divide Your Clothes into Categories

Keep garments that match the criteria you set in the planning stage. Then, toss away damaged ones, and donate old clothes or those that don’t match said criteria. Put any items you’re undecided about in the For Consideration box. You can then look at the contents of this box again after a few months. If you find that you never had to fish anything out of it, though, that’s a sign that you don’t really want or need what’s inside it.

Return Everything You Chose to Keep to Your Closet

Once you’ve sorted out your wardrobe, it’s time to put back whatever items you’ve decided to keep.  Then, you can organize them in whatever way you deem is best, although doing so by color or clothing type is highly recommended.

What do you do with the clothes in the other boxes? You can store your For Consideration back inside that same closet or in a different cabinet, in the garage, or in the attic. Also, you can confidently throw out the Toss box. As for the Donate box, bring it to a charity or nonprofit of your choice, or consider giving it to a friend or family member who would love to receive your old clothes.

The Shopping Stage

Armed with a plan and a freed-up closet, all that’s left is to shop! The tips below should help you out in this regard:

Determine What Items You’re Missing

Before going shopping, review your initial plan to remind yourself what you’re including in your capsule wardrobe. Then, cross off whatever you already own based on the sorting you did in the organization stage. This way, you’ll know for certain what items you need to buy to complete your list. You’ll also have a better idea as to which clothes you need more of, like more dress pants if you report to the office often or more T-shirts if you’re a casual shirt-and-jeans type of person.

Do Your Research Online

With the rise of eCommerce, you no longer need to go to brick-and-mortar stores to check out the stuff you want to buy. All you have to do is go online and search for the clothing items you need. With just a few clicks, you’ll have all the information you need, from available sizes to prices and availability. You can even look up reviews to check whether a particular item is worth your hard-earned money.

Go Shopping

Last but certainly not the least, go ahead and buy what you need to complete your capsule wardrobe. Of course, remember not to go overboard, as the whole point of pruning your closet and starting a capsule wardrobe was to have a more manageable amount of clothing in the first place.

Capsule wardrobes will continue to be popular and relevant in the years to come. They’re a more convenient way of rocking one’s style and a more sustainable way to celebrate one’s love for fashion. Suffice to say, building a capsule wardrobe is something you should seriously consider if you’re up to the challenge or want to simplify your life. With the tips above, you’ll be able to put one together in no time.

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