Minimalist Fashion: How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe
I used to have a closet full of trendy clothes that I rarely wore, and it left me feeling overwhelmed and unfulfilled. But after stumbling upon minimalist fashion, I knew I had to simplify my wardrobe and create a collection of essential clothing items that I could mix and match to create multiple outfits.
Minimalist fashion is becoming increasingly popular among fashion enthusiasts who want to simplify their wardrobes, save money, and reduce their environmental impact. Huge brands are tapping into this industry by creating sustainable fashion brands. COS – part of the H&M Group, offers minimalist designs with a focus on sustainability and has a bold goal of halving greenhouse gas (GHG, CO2e) emissions by 56% by 2030.
One way to minimalism in personal fashion is by creating a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a carefully curated collection of essential clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits.
“Minimalism is not a lack of something. It’s simply the perfect amount of something,” says Nicholas Burroughs, a prominent visual designer. The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to have a smaller collection of versatile and high-quality pieces that can be worn for different occasions and seasons, rather than a larger collection of clothes that may be worn only once or twice.
The Individuality of a Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe varies from person to person and can consist of different things. Someone’s “flamboyant” pieces could be another person’s basics! Not everyone wears flats and certainly not heels (at least not me!), “Basic” sneakers could be white Keds for one person and bright Jordans for another. This is why personal style is a major factor in successfully creating a capsule wardrobe.
While there are general guidelines for creating a capsule wardrobe, such as choosing items that can be worn in different ways and that are of high quality, the actual items chosen will depend on the individual’s personal style, lifestyle, and body type.
Someone who works in a corporate environment may choose to include more formal items in their capsule wardrobe, while someone who works from home may choose more casual and comfortable pieces. Also, someone who lives in a colder climate may choose to include more warm and cozy items, while someone who lives in a warmer climate may choose to include more lightweight and breathable items.
The key to creating an individualized capsule wardrobe is to choose items that are versatile, high-quality, and that reflect your personal style and preferences. By doing so, you can create a wardrobe that is both practical and unique to you.
Steps to Build Your Own Capsule Wardrobe
Creating a capsule wardrobe is not about depriving yourself of clothing, but rather about simplifying your wardrobe and focusing on quality over quantity. By choosing versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched, you can create a variety of outfits without sacrificing your personal style. Here are some steps to get started:
1. Identify Your Personal Style
To create a capsule wardrobe, the first step you should take is to identify your personal style and what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Think about the pieces you love to wear and what makes you “you.” Whether it’s a t-shirt, a “French girl” striped blouse, or a pair of high-waisted jeans, these items will form the foundation of your capsule wardrobe.
2. Build Around Staples
Once you have identified your basics, it’s time to build around them with staples and statement pieces. Staples are essential items that can be worn in multiple outfits, such as a black blazer or a pair of denim trousers. Statement pieces are more unique and eye-catching, such as a bold patterned dress or a statement necklace.
3. Choose Quality over Quantity
When choosing items for your capsule wardrobe, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity. Invest in high-quality, durable items that will last for years, rather than trendy pieces that will only be worn for one season. This will not only save you money in the long run but also reduce your environmental impact by reducing the amount of clothing waste you generate.
4. Create a Neutral Color Pallete
Another key aspect of minimalist fashion is choosing a neutral color palette. Neutral colors like black, white, grey, and beige are versatile and can be mixed and matched with ease. This will allow you to create a variety of outfits with just a few pieces, giving you more options and flexibility in your wardrobe.
5. Choose Versatile Accessories
When it comes to accessories, choose items that are versatile and can be worn with multiple outfits. A simple pair of studs or hoops can add some sparkle to any outfit, while a classic leather handbag can complement any look. Scarves, hats, and belts are also great accessories that can be used to add some variety to your outfits.
6. Pick Multi-Purpose Footwear
Think about the activities you do on a regular basis and the environments you are in. Assuming you walk a lot, you may want to consider comfortable and supportive shoes. If you attend formal events, you may want to invest in a pair of dress shoes.
Neutral shoe colors such as black, white, gray, and brown can be paired with a wide range of outfits and are therefore good choices for a capsule wardrobe. You can also consider adding a pop of color with a statement shoe.
Resist the Temptation to Store Leftover Clothing Items
I failed horribly the first time I tried creating a capsule wardrobe because I had a secondary wardrobe of my usual clothing items. Didn’t take long for my capsule wardrobe to become my usual mega wardrobe once again. This is why it’s very important to declutter while building a capsule wardrobe!
By disposing of unwanted clothing items, you are eliminating the temptation to fall back into old habits, such as buying cheap, trendy items that are not made to last. This can help you resist the pull of fast fashion and impulse shopping, which can be difficult habits to break.
What to Do with Leftover Clothing Items After Building a Capsule Wardrobe
Here are some options for what to do with these items:
- Donate: One of the best ways to get rid of clothing items is to donate them to a charity or a thrift store. This ensures that they will be given a new life and will not end up in landfills. Make sure to donate clothes that are in good condition and are still wearable.
- Sell: If you have high-quality or designer items, you may be able to sell them online or through consignment shops. This is a great way to recoup some of the money you spent on these items and give them a new home.
- Repurpose: Get creative with your unwanted clothing items by repurposing them into something new. For example, you could turn an old t-shirt into a tote bag or use fabric scraps to create a patchwork quilt.
- Swap: Consider organizing a clothing swap with friends or in your community. This is a great way to exchange unwanted items and find new pieces for your wardrobe without spending any money.
- Recycle: If your clothing items are too worn out or damaged to be donated or repurposed, look for textile recycling programs in your area. Many organizations will collect old clothing and turn it into new products such as insulation or carpet padding.
By choosing to responsibly dispose of your unwanted clothing items, you can reduce waste and contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry.
The Earth Will Thank You for Choosing Sustainable Fashion
According to data compiled by earth.org, the fashion industry has seen a significant increase in clothing sales, with the number of units sold per year doubling from 100 to 200 billion. However, the average number of times each item is worn has decreased by 36% overall, highlighting the issue of fast fashion and its impact on sustainability. These statistics shed light on the urgent need for sustainable fashion practices, such as the adoption of capsule wardrobes, to mitigate the environmental damage caused by the fashion industry.
Here are some ways in which a capsule wardrobe promotes sustainable fashion:
- Reduced Waste: A capsule wardrobe is built on the principle of buying fewer, high-quality items that can be worn in a variety of ways. This means that you are less likely to throw away clothes that you no longer wear, reducing the amount of textile waste that ends up in landfills.
- Less Consumption: By investing in a capsule wardrobe, you are less likely to fall into the trap of fast fashion and the constant need to buy new clothes. This means that you are using fewer resources and reducing your carbon footprint.
- Conscious Choices: Creating a capsule wardrobe encourages you to think more intentionally about the items you purchase. You are more likely to choose sustainable and ethical options, such as clothes made from organic cotton or recycled materials, and to support companies that have a commitment to sustainable fashion.
- Timeless Style: A capsule wardrobe is built on classic, timeless pieces that can be worn year after year. This means that you are less likely to be influenced by passing fashion trends, which are often designed to be worn for just one season and then discarded.
Minimalist fashion is all about creating a wardrobe that is functional, versatile, and reflects your personal style. A capsule wardrobe is a great way to achieve this, by focusing on quality over quantity and choosing essential items that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. Remember, a capsule wardrobe varies from person to person, so focus on what makes you feel comfortable and confident and build your wardrobe around that.