Capsule Wardrobe Essentials: How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe in 7 Simple Steps

Capsule Wardrobe Essentials: How to create a capsule wardrobe

We’ll get to capsule wardrobe essentials in a moment, but first we need to talk about the serious problem we have on our hands. We’re not wearing the clothes we own.

Our wardrobes are full of beautiful items gathering dust for years, only to be donated or sold for a fraction of what they cost us.

I thought it was just me, but according to Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner in her new book, You Are What You Wear, the majority of people wear 20% of their closet 80% of the time.

If I’m being honest, I’m probably wearing 10%. And that’s AFTER the great Marie Kondo style clean-out of 2017 that had me fill 30 (yes, with a 0) garbage bags of hardly worn clothes. Ouch.

Now there are a ton of reasons you have a full closet and nothing to wear – but today I want to talk about one specifically.

It’s our inability to “integrate” new pieces into our wardrobes. In other words, our struggle to create multiple (or any) outfits from the pieces we own, and therefore grabbing the easiest/closest option every time we open that closet door.

I truly believe that if we knew the potential sitting in our wardrobes right this minute, we could get excited about shopping our closets next time we craved a new outfit… instead of pulling out the credit card.

Enter: The Capsule Wardrobe.

Don’t worry, I won’t go explaining what it is. Read the Capsule Wardrobe Definition post instead if you’re a little foggy.

This simple concept is the key to unlocking all of your closet’s potential. Without spending a cent. Seriously — don’t. Put your credit card in the freezer until you’ve completed your first capsule wardrobe attempt. I’m watching you!

Back to my point. To get creative and wear the pieces we’ve been neglecting, we need to essentially “force” ourselves to wear them. But you know, in a fun way. 😉

We’re going to do this by creating a capsule wardrobe. You ready? Let’s do this.

How to create a capsule wardrobe step-by-step

Step 1: Choose a number

First thing’s first: you need to decide how many pieces you’ll include. There’s no actual rule here, but a popular challenge is Project 333 (from a book written by Courtney Carver) which states that “not only can you survive with just 33 items in your closet for 3 months, but you’ll thrive just like the thousands of people who have taken on the challenge and never looked back”. Well if it worked for them! 🤷🏼‍♀️

Step 2: Choose a colour palette

To make sure your pieces are as “mix and matchable” as possible, you’ll need a cohesive colour palette. This typically means a couple of neutrals, a couple of base colours and some highlights to make it pop. See your base colours as your foundations — start with them then work your way up finishing with the highlights aka the cherries on top.

Here’s an example of how you can create a colour palette (for free!) inside The ‘drobe app.

Step 3: Set some guidelines

As a starting point, you might find it easier to break up the 33 by category. For instance, accessories, shoes, jewellery and clothing. Then with your clothing, you’ll need a mix of tops and bottoms, dresses and outerwear.

Here’s a formula to get you started then you can adjust once you’re pulling pieces in:

ACCESSORIES = 4

SHOES = 3

JEWELLERY = 5

TOPS = 7

PANTS = 5

DRESSES OR JUMPSUITS = 5

OUTERWEAR = 3

Step 4: Select your pieces

Now it’s time to pull the pieces out that you’ll need to build your capsule wardrobe. Start with your favourites and then try counting how many other items each piece will match to. If it only suits 1 or 2, it’s not going to work hard enough for you and it’s best to replace it with something else.

Be sure to cover the right ratio of outfit categories for yourself. For instance, if you spend 60% of your time at work, 10% of your time at the gym, 10% of your time going out and 20% chilling at home, you’ll want a similar ratio of items that suitable for each.

HOT TIP: We suggest pulling out The ‘drobe app, adding each of the items as you go so that step 4 is waaay quicker and easier.

Step 5: Build your potential outfits

So the slow way to do this is to try each potential outfit on and take a photo of yourself as reference. I’ve tried this and it didn’t go very well because it was difficult to get a full-length selfie plus I found that I never referenced the photos again.

Instead, use The ‘drobe app’s outfit builder to create visual references (here’s how to make them look gorgeous like the old Polyvore site) that you can swipe through each day when you’re trying to decide what to wear. If you don’t end up with enough options, it may be that you need to swap a couple of items out for alternatives that are more versatile.

Step 6: Put your capsule wardrobe items away

Not just anywhere, mind you! Ideally, having a separate hanging rack would be brilliant (you know those portable ones you see at Target?) but if that’s not an option due to space or budget, at least rearrange your wardrobe to place all of your capsule items at one end and in their own pile. If you need to clear some space, just pop some of your non-capsule items in a box or under the bed.

Trust me when I say that having easy access to these and not having them smothered by your other items is important. Do the work now and the next 3 months will be a breeze.

Step 7: Mark the calendar – it’s time to start!

Whether you’re going to try it for 30, 60 or 90 days, be sure to pop the start and end date in your calendar so you can celebrate when you’re done. I also recommend keeping a daily journal (just a sentence or two and it could even be added straight to your calendar) to take note of the experience. Are you finding it challenging? Empowering? Exhilarating? Boring? We can learn a lot from this!

Whatever you do, don’t forget to log in to The ‘drobe app when you’re struggling to think of what to wear that day as you’re probably just forgetting about one of the MANY combinations you created during your prep!

Happy capsuling, friend. Can’t wait to hear how it goes! (Tag us over on Instagram to keep us posted!)

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