How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

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How amazing would you feel if you were able to wear your favourite outfit every day? If getting dressed in the morning was so simple, you could erase wardrobe crisis from your vocabulary. That’s the idea behind the capsule wardrobe. Carefully select a few pieces from your wardrobe and store the rest until next season. Why? To make your life easier and make you more aware of your consumption.

1. An economical, eco-friendly choice

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How many times have you purchased something on sale, just so it could sit at the back of your closet with the tags still on? In addition to simplifying the process of deciding what to wear, having a capsule wardrobe allows you to save money, and adopt a more eco-friendly outlook.

Having fewer items on your roster, and replacing them only once you can’t reuse or repair them will help you define your personal style, and prevent you from making the regrettable impulse purchase. Knowing that every year 12 million tons of clothing ends up in North American landfills should be enough to make you want to do your part.

2. What is a capsule wardrobe?

Clothing rack
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Every season, after cleaning out your closet, choose the items you want to wear for the next three months. The most common method is to start by selecting 33 items, and then, go from there. In other words, decide whether that number includes shoes and accessories. This figure can vary from person to person, and can be adapted to your reality. Keep in mind that pyjamas, loungewear and athletic clothing don’t factor into the equation.

3. Own your style

Clothing flatlay
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Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessary to stick to neutrals when you’re putting together a capsule wardrobe. If your style is more eclectic and colourful, just make sure you can mix & match your selections. For example, if you opt for a printed top, pull some colours from the pattern to coordinate your looks. Versatility is key, but neutrals are not necessary. To bring simple ensembles to life, pair them with vibrant accessories, or add dimension with textures and fabrics. That way, you won’t feel like you’re wearing the same thing every single day.

4. Essential basics

Basic clothes
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One thing is certain, having basics that fit your lifestyle on hand is crucial. If, for example, your workplace has a business casual dress code, your basics should include a black blazer and a white blouse. However, if you work from home, leggings and comfortable t-shirts may suit you best.

At the end of the season, take inventory of the outfits you wore most often, and the ones you pushed aside. Keeping the weather in mind, make adjustments for the upcoming months. You might need more tops, or want to remove a dress or two. The goal may be to buy better—and fewer—pieces, but it’s okay to splurge from time to time, perhaps on a new statement piece, or if you need to refresh your basics.

5. Get inspired

Young woman in her outfit of the day
Credit: @shopsuunday / Instagram

Need a fashion guru to help you get started? Turn toward social media: Instagram, YouTube or Pinterest. Search “capsule wardrobe” to see what other fashionistas are doing. You are bound to find checklists with a few helpful hints.

If you prefer to be your own style icon, document your looks, either publicly or privately, by taking photos of yourself daily. On days where inspiration is scarce, you will be able to refer to your very own photo album to curate your looks.

Ready to take on the challenge? Let us know how things go.

Adapted from French by Jonelle Larouche

Written by Ariane Gagnon

Ariane holds a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, and has worked for the past few years to establish herself as a web writer. Her favourite topics to cover include literature, beauty & fashion. She refers to herself as a Mini-Wheat: part wholesome writer, part delightfully sweet fashionista. Publishing her first poetry collection, a dream she has focused on since her teenage years, has recently come true. During her free time, she likes strolling from secondhand bookstore to vintage clothing shop, coffee in hand.

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