I said in my last post that I would still write a lot about capsule wardrobes on this blog. I want to start by telling you a little bit about my history with capsule wardrobe dressing, and explain my current approach to the capsule wardrobe.
I started getting interested in capsule wardrobes a few years ago, after realising that my wardrobe was completely out of control. I had a lot of clothes, but almost everything was of poor quality and there was very little overall cohesion. Although I loved fashion, the idea of getting dressed in the mornings stressed me out. I almost never felt stylish or put together.
Numerous minimalist wardrobe trends have appeared over the last few years, and I’ve welcomed each of them. It’s been interesting to learn about different frameworks and methods, and great to have these sources of inspiration and support. They’ve been valuable resources to me throughout the evolution of my capsule wardrobe.
Regardless of what stage you’re at with your wardrobe, I think you’ll get some value from reading (or re-reading!) about the following:
- Project 333
- the Konmari method
- the 10 item wardrobe
- the 10 x 10 challenge
- the five-piece French wardrobe
- uniform dressing
I started by culling my clothing (a la Marie Kondo) and only keeping things I actually liked wearing. I ventured into Project 333, which helped me create a small, well-curated selection of items that worked together as a collective.
Throughout the process, I was living in a tiny flat with almost no storage space, and working at a very low-paid job. Although that situation was a source of frustration for me at the time, it did provide some useful boundaries when it came to purchasing new items. I rationed myself to 12 new things a year, which helped me grow my new wardrobe slowly and mindfully.
After a few years of experimenting with capsule wardrobes that involved changing my ‘line-up’ every few months, I realised that most of my clothing actually stays the same all year round. This is mainly because the weather where I live (in Northern England) is very temperate. It’s common for me to wear the exact same outfit in November, and then again in March, and again in August. I also tend to stick to a neutral colour palette (blues and greys) and I don’t mind wearing the same thing every day.
So these days, I don’t switch out very many items in my wardrobe from season to season. I just have a slightly larger wardrobe (I’m not sure how big, but I’ll come back to it in a later post!) with items I wear all year round and a few seasonal pieces. I guess it’s most similar to the five-piece French wardrobe or the 10 item wardrobe.
Here’s an example using an outfit I wear all the time; slim dark jeans and a navy crew-neck t-shirt.
In warmer weather
In warmer weather, I’ll probably add sandals, sunglasses, a basket bag and a light jacket. I might also take a cardigan (like the one below) if I’m planning to stay out all day or the weather is changeable.
I like jackets and coats that are unlined – I find them more comfortable and easier to layer up. This one (from an IDLF x Uniqlo collab a few years ago) is super light and thin. As well as being a great outer-layer for summer, it works well under coats in the winter. It’s also a good travelling companion, because it can be rolled/crumpled up and still look smart.
In cooler weather
In cooler weather, I’ll add boots and a leather cross-body bag. I’ll layer up with a woollen coat (again, unlined), a big scarf and possibly a cardigan. If it’s really cold, I’ll add a down vest from Uniqlo underneath the coat.
These Blundstone boots (I got mine from Scorpio Shoes) are a brilliant year-round item. Because they’re roomy and unlined, I can wear them in both cooler and warmer weather, with different socks and insoles if needs be. They’re incredibly comfortable and hardy, and appropriate for both work and leisure.
This approach has been working really well for me. I enjoy the simplicity of not having to change my wardrobe over, and the flexibility that comes from having access to everything I own.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a well-paid job for the last year, allowing me to purchase a few higher-quality items which have served me very well. I’m still getting my head around the idea that I don’t need to buy new things at the start of every new season, though – maybe I’ll write more about that on another occasion.
My top tips for creating a year-round capsule wardrobe are:
- choose unlined coats and jackets – they’re better for layering
- invest in a light down layering piece that can be packed away
- stick to a colour palette
- find a style that works for both work and leisure
- choose quality items that will last, and that you’re happy to wear day after day
- care for your stuff – don’t be afraid of taking things to be professionally cleaned or mended
I know this recipe won’t work for everyone, but maybe you can take some of the ingredients and create your own. I think that’s the beauty of sharing these experiences.
The feature image is a screencap from the film Certain Women.