Taking the blogosphere by storm, minimalism and the trendy capsule wardrobes rose like as a shining beacon of sanity for people frustrated with the rampant consumerism of a fast fashion world.
It is no surprise that this concept of scarcity resonated with a large audience. Nor is it surprising that the meticulously curated collections touted by bloggers and fashion icons alike captivated the attention of the public. However, the irony of this capsule obsession among social media mavens is that it’s trendiness goes against the fundamental tenets of a successful capsule wardrobe: simplicity, versatility, and resilience.
Coined by London boutique owner Susie Faux in the 1970s, a capsule wardrobe is traditionally recognized as a compact collection. Usually totaling no more than thirty pieces, this wardrobe contains garments in classic silhouettes and color palettes to be used for an entire season, if not year-round. While Faux’s interpretation proposed a flat dozen articles of clothing, the modern understanding has augmented that number to allow for a modicum of flexibility, while still upholding Faux’s basic premise.
For modern-day consumers sick of the cat-and-mouse game of constantly purchasing new clothing, the inherent longevity of a capsule wardrobe can be enticing. Innovation lies at every turn in the 21st century.While the drive and ingenuity of the American public has established our nation as a global powerhouse, our society has ingrained in its values that new and more is better, leading to a toxic sense of dissatisfaction and a bloated value in consumerism.A capsule wardrobe might seem like a small place to start in terms of the greater theme of a culture of excess, but it might be the first step toward a healthier mindset and a carefree life in a complex world.
When creating a capsule wardrobe, the most important concept to keep in mind is quality over quantity. Start by taking a discerning look at your closet, and remove pieces that have not been worn in the last couple months. Analyzing your entire wardrobe at once may help you be more ruthless and honest about eliminating clothing that is dated or ill-fitting. Rescue the standouts — that sundress that makes your legs look a mile long, the versatile shirt that you always find yourself reaching for — and take a good look at these staples. Keep this gold standard for clothing quality in mind when evaluating the rest of your clothing.If an item doesn’t match up, donate or sell it.
Nowhere is cohesion more crucial than within a capsule wardrobe in both silhouette and color scheme. Though your collection can include three or four shirts, pants, or shoes, each article of clothing needs to pair with every other piece to maximize the combinations available. Layerable, simple silhouettes in neutral tones create a scalable closet for every occasion. . Sure, a capsule wardrobe might not feature as many bright, statement pieces, but spending money on fewer, higher quality staples like a pair of Rag & Bone booties or an Allsaints leather jacket keeps trendy, seasonal items from cluttering your closet and masking your style.
Personal style is fickle— temperamental and malleable with the current trends, our wardrobes are living, breathing embodiments of ourselves. When we allow our wardrobes to amass year after year , we lose sight of our personal style and become uninspired and overwhelmed with the common feeling: “I have nothing to wear”.
Although capsule wardrobes emphasize avoiding wasteful shopping habits that feed our obsession with fast fashion, organizing with an intentional frame of mind can reveal sartorial holes in your closet that are tempting to fill. Creating a capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean you can’t shop. Instead, a capsule wardrobe is a lifestyle, one that is meant to save closet space, money, and time. While the idea is for people to eventually stop making purchases and still have a serviceable wardrobe, shopping purposefully with a clear personal style allows you to stay true to the tenets of a capsule wardrobe and round out your closet through trial and error.
The average American buys seventy articles of clothing annually, a sobering example of the consumer-oriented culture that drives people to view possessions as necessary for happiness. Flooded with messages to look a certain way, to buy this Zara jacket or those Steve Madden heels, we also ignore the ethical and environmental trauma that is the true cost of a materialistic society. Altering our consumption habits helps us transcend our own needs to care for the global community that makes fast-fashion possible: systematic exploitation of the young and uneducated in the horrifying work conditions of sweatshops.
With a capsule wardrobe, you move toward a finish line for consumerism, toward an end goal of a streamlined closet filled with pieces you love and wear constantly. No, it’s not inherently harmful to enjoy shopping or owning clothes. In fact, clothing plays a crucial role in reflecting our culture and personality. But honing in on your style through a capsule wardrobe can help you create time and space for what you love and figure out what truly matters to you.
A capsule wardrobe is a small place to start in the grand scheme of life, but finding a more minimalistic lifestyle in your clothing and applying this concept elsewhere can help you find happiness from within. Psychologist Barry Schwartz argues in his book “The Paradox of Choice” that an overload of options is paralyzing and that we have too many choices and too little time to do what is really important. With the right mindset, decluttering your closet doesn’t need to be such a formidable undertaking, and a structured wardrobe can revive purpose to your favorite threads and personal style.
There is confidence and comfort in having plenty, and empty spaces in your closet can be disorienting. But with a capsule wardrobe, you can choose quality over quantity, precision over clutter. Everything in your closet will have a purpose, and you will have a new chance to evaluate your clothing and craft your individual style.
It’s a new year — maybe it’s time for a new stylish you.