What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?
The term "capsule wardrobe" was originally coined by wardrobe expert and author Susie Faux in the 1970s. The concept revolves around creating a concise and well-curated collection of timeless, practical, and versatile pieces. It involves mixing and matching clothes that you can wear to work, a night out with friends, a romantic date, or at a cocktail party.
A capsule wardrobe can vary from one person to another, depending on several factors, like lifestyle and personal taste and style. It's the best strategy to streamline your closet with carefully selected pieces that you're most comfortable and confident in wearing.
Beyond the freedom from constantly stressing out about picking what to wear every day, building a capsule wardrobe can also pave the way to help you break free from the vicious high-consumption culture and environmental implications perpetuated by the fast fashion industry.
4 Steps to Building a Capsule Wardrobe
It's critical to understand that building a capsule wardrobe isn't another excuse to go shopping. The ultimate goal should be to minimize your fast fashion consumption by looking at what you already have, making it work, and buying only what you need.
Although there are no hard and fast rules, here are some tips on how to build a capsule wardrobe filled with ethical and sustainable pieces you love.
1. Get to Know Yourself and Your Closet
Take out all your clothes and pile them on your bed or floor. Sort each piece one by one, deciding which ones you should keep or donate. Make this process easier by asking yourself if you've worn it over the last year, if it still fits your lifestyle, and as Marie Kondo would put it, "Does it spark joy?"
Forget about trends and think about your personal style. What type of clothes do you feel most yourself wearing? Take a look at your typical go-to outfits. What's your usual week like? Are you a stay-at-home mom? Do you work in a corporate setting from Monday to Friday? Where do you go on weekends or date nights? Understanding this aspect gives you a better idea of how to build a capsule wardrobe and stick to it effectively.
2. Edit and Curate
Plan ahead by mixing and matching your clothes. Edit out your closet for multiple items of similar colour and style. Consider silhouettes or necklines that you'd love to have in your capsule wardrobe. Some recommend sticking to earth and neutral hues for easier mixing and matching. Others follow a different colour scheme depending on the season. There's no wrong way to do it – we say follow what inspires you, what gives you a sense of community.
3. Invest in Quality Over Quantity
The idea is to wear only the clothes you love every day until they run out. That’s why exceptional quality should be a “non-negotiable” when shopping for your capsule wardrobe. Choose trusted brands that guarantee the quality of their products can last a lifetime.
4. Educate Yourself About Sustainable Materials
Cotton may feel and look good, but its cultivation for the fast fashion industry is actually harming the environment by depleting essential freshwater resources. The United Nations estimates that it takes 3,781 litres of water to make one pair of jeans, from the cotton production, to the delivery of the final product, to the store.
But there are far better and more sustainable alternative materials available. American cotton, for instance, is sustainably grown in North Carolina in working environments that meet equitable labour standards. Other fibres made from plants and recycled landfill-destined materials are also worth checking out.
Our Top Picks for Capsule Wardrobe Essentials
A must-have piece for any capsule wardrobe, the plain white tee can take you places. Pair it with your favourite pair of jeans and jacket for a laid-back, street-style look. Wear it with a skirt, put on your heels, and take it up a notch with gold jewelry for a more glamorous look.
The basic black tee looks flattering on anyone, regardless of their shape, size, or skin tone. It works for every season and occasion. However, this basic black tee is anything but basic – its boxy fit can be tucked in or worn oversized and is made of heavyweight American cotton. Treated and pre-washed for pilling and shrinkage, this shirt can be trusted to stand the test of time.
The crewneck knit is a classic piece that never goes out of style. You can wear it over turtlenecks, collared tops, or dresses. Get it in a solid colour that you can pair with skirts and pants in different playful prints. Experiment with a variety of footwear options, like sneakers, boots, sandals, or pumps.
If you're a serial multitasker, a crossbody bag is a convenient and practical choice. It distributes the bag's weight evenly and keeps your hands free, allowing you to push a shopping cart, your child's stroller, or carry multiple coffees with complete ease. A mix of form and function, it's an all-around accessory that will look good paired with any piece in your capsule wardrobe.
One of the secrets to achieving a put-together look at all times is donning a black coat. The bold black colour and structured silhouette elevates any outfit no matter if you’re running errands or heading to date night. This coat will even protect you from the harsh elements of winter by keeping you warm in -30 C weather!
A Utilitarian Approach to Capsule Wardrobes
Curating a capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be boring. Neutral tones give way for playful touches in how you style your hair and accessorize. Plus, shopping sustainably is edgy in its own right.
BEDI is all about Creating Clean. We aim to provide communities with everlasting fashion choices that not only positively impact the environment but also make you feel (and look) good. Our utilitarian collection celebrates timelessness in a way that will always be in style. Shop our collection to start curating your capsule wardrobe today!