What is a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe consists of a set of clothes and accessories – blouses, tops, shirts, dresses, skirts, outerwear, shoes, bags; etc. The idea is to mindfully entertain a selection of items that can be easily mixed and matched together resulting in outfits that are available for dressing up, dressing down and also for entertaining a contemporary style.
What are the benefits of a capsule wardrobe?
This encourages the wardrobe owners to focus on quality versus quantity. Some people average between 25-50 pieces in their capsule while others may host a slightly greater average of 30-60 items. When implementing my first capsule wardrobe, I managed to work with 45-50 pieces (excluding undergarments) that provided enough options to maintain the wardrobe for nine months. It’s been over six years since I've been practicing this lifestyle & dressing strategy which has transformed over time due to my evolving style preferences and needs. A capsule wardrobe can last for a season(s), a year or any specified period of time. For beginners, I would recommend committing to at least 60-90 days to experience the broader benefits of it before making any judgments. Take the lessons learned then apply them into administering a future capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe is a blessing in disguise if individuals struggle with time management when crafting and choosing outfits from their closets. The capsule collection provides an avenue to run a permutation of choices through mixing and matching pieces. Reflect upon the time invested in choosing your day to day style. The time saved can be easily invested in another activity of interest. Limited options (by choice) make it easier to focus on what is in front of you without enabling distractions and confusion in the dressing process. Choose your outfit from the selection in front of you then proceed to focus on things that matter.
This dressing strategy can be budget friendly because people are not shopping throughout the year, or at least for a set period of time. If people are encouraged to focus on quality versus quantity, these limited items may cost more when addressing durability and sustainability. This goes beyond environmentally friendly. No one wants to incur holes in their clothes, constantly fixing broken zippers and poor quality stitching after very few laundry cycles. The point is to reduce stress when dressing ourselves.
What are the cons to a capsule wardrobe?
The pieces chosen for the capsule wardrobe will need to be worn throughout a set period of time. If people are too engaged in following ‘trends’, they’ll need to remain patient by exercising discipline to integrate new pieces (clothing and accessories) until they build their next capsule for another season or time period. Instead of following trends and collecting fleeting wardrobes, individuals can aspire to develop a capsule wardrobe that hosts timeless pieces. This grants the capsule owner an opportunity to repeat a variation of the capsule later in time. Reuse the items or release them when the opportunity permits.
What pieces should be included in a capsule wardrobe?
Example: blouses, basic solids (long sleeve, tanks; etc.), pants, jeans, dresses, skirts, cardigans, jackets, shoes, socks, seasonal wear; accessories (belt, jewelry, bags; etc.). Some people wonder if undergarments should be included in the capsule wardrobe count - this is debatable because undergarments have a high turnover in wear and wash. Whether it’s included or not, people average 15-20 pieces of undergarments to their capsule. Results may vary depending on the individual's lifestyle & grooming habits and the duration of their capsule wardrobe.
What did I learn from implementing a capsule wardrobe in my life?
I’ve become a wiser consumer. I invest in what I need. I understand the benefits of delayed gratification better. I’m optimizing my wardrobe by wearing everything in it because it was intentionally selected. There are no impulse purchases nor dormant pieces laying around waiting to be worn when the ‘right moment’ comes along. The right moment is right now.
Quality items endure the test of time. This is derived from taking good care of the items that I mindfully purchased. Quality is not necessarily dictated by a name brand or price, we also need to learn how to properly take care of items. At least 70% of the items that I've owned at one point in time remained in very good condition which were eventually donated to charity.
I got my time back! Instead of wasting a significant amount of time deliberating over what to wear, my mornings and evenings are stress-free. Each minute counts when we’re putting it towards something that will nurture us instead of creating channels to welcome unnecessary stress.
More creativity is exercised when constructing pieces that can morph into formal, business casual and contemporary wear. Upgrade or downgrade an outfit with the right accessories to reflect the mood of the occasion.
While navigating the capsule wardrobe sphere, I learned a capsule wardrobe is also a more environmentally friendly option. Per True Cost the movie, the world consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing each year. This is 400% more than the amount consumed twenty years ago. Due to the rise of fast fashion, people discard their clothes at an alarming rate translating to an average American generating 82 pounds of textile waste every year. The environmental impact* comprises 85% of clothes ending up in a landfill or being burned. (*Credit: Calpirg.org)
Meet Our Contributing Author — Sasha Laghonh
Sasha is a Founder and Entrepreneur of an educational and entertainment platform that integrates self & professional development into nurturing meaningful outcomes. As a speaker, mentor and author, she partners alongside different clients, from individuals to organizations, to capitalize upon their talent. To learn more, please visit Sasha Talks.