Create a Capsule Wardrobe – Minimal, Sustainable and Totally Fashionable.

The temptation of creating your own capsule wardrobe (a sustainable, minimalist collection of garments) is understandable, it will save money, time and, in addition, it will help environment as well. We all want to buy less and buy better. 

The key idea of capsule wardrobe is to create as many possible outfits from as little items in your wardrobe as possible. In other words, capsule wardrobe is a thoughtfully assembled collection of timeless pieces that seamlessly work together. In this guide we offer you five steps that will guide you on your way to your own capsule wardrobe. It also seems to be commonly practiced among highly successful or influential people.

Here’s to no more cluttered closets and mornings of “I have nothing to wear”.

Evaluate what you already have.

Creating your own capsule wardrobe takes time; it won’t happen overnight. Learn from your past outfits and know what works for your personality and body. First step really is to evaluate what you already have. Pull out all the clothing that you have in your closet, especially pieces that are all the way back and forgotten. Then organise them in three piles – to keep, to pass on, and to mend.

Keep only pieces that fits you well, that you wear regularly. Hence, it might be time to pass on pieces that you haven’t worn for over a year, even if they hold a memory; free up space for new memories and pieces that you will wear more often. Most of us have that one clothing with missing button or ripped pocket, that we are meaning to fix, just never got around to do it, well now it is time to do it. Mend your pieces, iron the ones you have been meaning to iron for ages or finally bring them to dry cleaners or to the tailor to slightly re-adjust. Whatever it might be, it is time to fix it.

“It might be useful to invite a friend over to help you evaluate your wardrobe, someone who would honestly say what looks good on you and what doesn’t.” 

How many outfits can you create?

Now that the pass on pile is gone to friend’s home or charity shop or donated and to mend pile is all cleaned up and fixed, it is time to have a look how many different outfits you can create from the pieces that you have. Play around and challenge your creativity, see what goes with what and whether it suits your style. Count how many everyday styles you have, and special occasion, gym, work and outdoor styles. Ask yourself: do you have enough, is some essential piece missing in your wardrobe or maybe there are still too many pieces in your wardrobe? Be honest with yourself.

Make a list

Compulsive shopping is one of the biggest enemies of capsule wardrobe. Hence, if you need something for your wardrobe – make a list. Honestly evaluate and see what is missing in your wardrobe, and then make a list of things you need to get, even as small things as socks; put it all on the list. Maybe there is that one piece of clothing that you really love, but you don’t have a top/bottom/jacket to wear it with. Write it down and stick to your list next time you head out or online to do some clothes shopping.

Extra tip: also make a list of things that you really don’t need in your wardrobe anymore, and before you head out of that shop, check your basket and see that none of these items are in your basket.

Choose natural fibres and good quality

When shopping for new pieces in your wardrobe be they second-hand or brand new, always try and choose natural fibres over synthetic (yes, including your sportswear) and look for good quality pieces, better for you and better for environment. Also, when adding new essential pieces to your wardrobe don’t be shy of adding some colour and patterns, as well as accessories, they work great when mixed together, and can easily and really quickly bring a new breath to your whole closet.

Extra tip: choose pieces that are easy to clean, so they wouldn’t get stuck at the bottom of the closet, just because you have no idea how to clean them.

Keep re-evaluating your wardrobe and maintain your commitment to the capsule

As already mentioned, creating your capsule wardrobe will take time. So as you venture on this journey, keep re-evaluating what works for you and what doesn’t. Most importantly don’t be afraid to look for inspiration on the streets and in your friends’ closets. Encourage your friends to swap some items around, it will refresh your and their closet, and who knows you might just find that perfect piece that was missing in your wardrobe.

Stick to the capsule wardrobe; check in every couple of months to make sure that your closet once again isn’t overflowing with items. And maybe once or twice a year go through the whole process once again.

Extra tip: if you buy something, pass some other item on.

For extra inspiration on how to create 50 outfits from 15-piece wardrobe, head over to Zero Waste Home or if you are more interested in not only building a capsule wardrobe but also a zero waste wardrobe, head over to Trash is for Tossers.

Baiba Šustere

Baiba Šustere is a writer whose work focuses on mindfulness, health and wellbeing.