The minimalism trend is no new thing, but with more and more of a focus on sustainability when it comes to our wardrobes, the less is more approach is slowly taking over the fashion world. Enter, capsule wardrobes. The term coined for a closet containing a few essential and timeless items, such as skirts and pants, that can be supplemented with seasonal pieces. Despite it, at first glance, seeming like a millennial buzzphrase, the term was actually coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called Wardrobe, in the 1970s.
Creating a capsule wardrobe might seem like a daunting task at first - yes, it requires actually clearing out all those items you'll never wear but keep just in case - but once you've perfected the art, you'll have an easier to navigate, smaller (more space!) and timeless collection of clothes. Plus, you'll always feel like you'll have something to wear because every item hanging in your closet is there because it's something wearable. "A capsule wardrobe is a coherent way to dress," My Chameleon founder and buyer Giselle Farhat says. "It's thoughtful yet easy and in some ways almost defines your style over a small number of pieces."
How to plan a capsule wardrobe?
Some sources advise that your capsule should include 37 pieces thanks to Caroline Rector, a Texan fashion lover who documented her wardrobe reduction on her website, Unfancy. Others recommend as many as 50, and some recommend as few as 10. Farhat is of the mindset that it's not a specific number that matters most, it's more about quality over quantity. "Before buying something new, ask yourself these questions: 'What do I enjoy wearing?' 'what is my signature style?' 'will I wear this beyond next year?' and 'can this piece travel with me?'"
Rector has a five-step approach to building your own capsule wardrobe:
1. Get the items in your wardrobe down to 37 items.
2. Wear only those 37 items for three months.
3. Don’t go shopping during the season until…
4. During the last two weeks of the season, plan and shop for your next capsule.
5. The amount you buy for the next capsule is up to you, but less is more.
How do you decide which items to keep?
The only way to actually get rid of all the items you have in your wardrobe but never actually wear is to take everything - yes, everything - out at once and dump it on the bed. From there, Rector suggests sorting your clothing into four categories:
1. The yes pile: You love it and already wear it all the time
2. The maybe pile: You're not sure why you don't wear it, but there's something stopping you
3. The no pile: Easy, sell it and put the money towards new items or donate to charity
4. The seasonal pile: It's a classic piece but you wouldn't wear now due to the weather. Pop it in a suitcase or box under the bed and get it back out when season changes.
What are the essential items to include in a capsule wardrobe?
Farhat says a capsule wardrobe should include, " a black dress, a long dress, a tailored blazer, t-shirts and shirts, a pant tailored at the waist - whether it is wide leg, straight, tapered or cropped in the leg, a relaxed short, a standout sandal in a heel (preferably not black) and a flat refined sandal. For accessories a drop earring or choker necklace."
Whether you're more concerned about having the perfect work wardrobe or transeasonal pieces perfect for travel, we've wrapped up a few of the items every woman should have in her wardrobe, whether you want to build from there or not is up to you.
Below, 10 pieces to start off your capsule wardrobe.
1. A Classic White Tee
Jac + Jack Stones Tee in white, $80, Jacandjack.com
2. The Perfect Pair of Jeans
Re/Done Stove Pipe 27 high waisted straight leg cropped jeans, $402, Farfetch.com
3. A Black Blazer
Georgia Alice Memory Blazer - Black, $999, Theundone.com
4. A pair of Classic Black Pants
Dion Lee, Faille Combo Wool Pant, $550, Mychameleon.com.au
5. A Pair of White Sneakers
Common Projects Original Achilles leather sneakers, $495, Farfetch.com
6. A White Shirt
Bassike Casual Classic Shirt, $320, Bassike.com
7. A LBD
Paris Georgia Blaze Slip Dress, $395, Parisgeorgiastore.com
8. A Pair of Black Pumps
Gianvito Rossi 105 Suede Pumps, $960, Net-A-Porter.com
9. A Midi Skirt
Ganni Floral Wrap Skirt, $281, Farfetch.com
10. A Cashmere Knit
Acne Studios dramatic mohair-blend sweater, $470, Matchesfashion.com