The Capsule Wardrobe


Capsule Wardrobe /noun/
A collection of 30 to 40 items including clothing, jewellery, shoes and accessories that one dresses from (and only from) for a 3-month seasonal period.

image via pinterest

It’s payday and you’re dying to get to the shops. Toe tapping and impatient, you sneak a quick look at the latest ASOS deals in your lunch break. Do I need this? Ohhh that’s cute. The deals are so good you’re practically making money, right? A few minutes later and you’ve spent your entire pay cheque, even adding express shipping because… why not? Note to self: it’s baked beans on toast this week. Your massive delivery finally arrives and you eagerly try everything on. Uh oh… only a few things fit. You could return them but who has the time? So you hang them in your wardrobe because maybe you’ll wear them one day. But the reality is, they’ll never see the light of day.

Introducing The Capsule Wardrobe. If you’re reading this you’re most likely a serial hoarder, full-time shopaholic or just a sucker for a good sale. Trust me, I used to be all of the above. That is, until I started my capsule wardrobe. What is a capsule wardrobe you ask? The Capsule Wardrobe was a term coined in the 70s by London boutique owner, Susie Faux. It’s a single wardrobe that allows you to mix-and-match, creating outfits from a small, seasonally appropriate selection of garments. It contains only items considered essential, and from it you can create a wide range of outfits for every occasion.

Caroline Rector, author of fashion blog ‘Unfancy’, documented her style journey to dress with only 37 pieces of clothing for a period of three months. After each season she swaps out a few items for something more seasonally appropriate. Yes, we’re talking no shopping for an entire three months. You could say it’s a retail addict’s worst nightmare. But with the birth of this new fashion challenge, many bloggers have been quick to spread the word.

I know what you’re thinking: 30-something items for a whole season? How? Before we jump into the how, let’s start with the why. For starters, the ability to completely declutter, refresh, save money, space and time. With the rising ‘cool-factor’ on the minimalist aesthetic and the growing emphasis on quality over quantity in fashion, it’s no wonder the concept is quickly becoming a hot topic.


The idea of minimalism has existed in various cultures for some time, but minimalism in fashion and lifestyle has been on the rise in recent years. Looks like practicality is the new black! With rising unemployment, dormant wages and global financial uncertainty, people are forced to identify the difference between essential and non-essential purchases. Combine this with higher levels of social awareness, a dash of environmental concern and a shift in modern tastes, and we have the modern minimalist. Minimalist blogs, e-books, podcasts and social media accounts now have their own special place on the internet and have paved the way for a new way of thinking: less is more.


Minimalism is in the eye of the beholder. Put simply, the idea of the capsule wardrobe is to get you thinking about your purchases. Suddenly it’s not a calculation of what you can live without, it’s what you can live with. Some have found their magic number to be 37, 30 or even less. Yes, there are ‘rules’ but rules are made to be broken. Find what works for you and your closet is sure to reap the benefits.


In 2011 Marie Kondo, a Japanese organising consultant, released her book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing’ and it took the world by storm. In her book, Kondo outlines her philosophy to an organised life. Her approach to tidying is simple: get all your junk together and look at each individual item. Ask yourself if it sparks joy and if not; chuck it straight out. Repeat with everything you own and what you’ll have left is a curated collection of items that all have a purpose. Organise them in a manner where everything is easy to see, reach, use and return. The result? You’ll never have to clean again. Kondo’s methods may not be for everyone but whether it’s learning her signature way of folding clothes, tackling your belongings by categories and not location, or just a little inspiration for a belated spring clean, many people have taken a thing or two away from her teachings.


image via pinterest

How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe

If you’re looking to channel your inner ‘Marie Kondo’ and take on a lighter and more organised wardrobe, not to mention saving a few of your hard earned pennies, listen up…

Let’s begin

• Write a list of your 30-something essential items. Include shoes and accessories.

• Make sure they can be mixed and matched.

• Select items that will last. Quality over quantity.

• After the three month season, swap some items out for more seasonally appropriate additions.

• Now for the hard part, get rid of everything else. Have a yard sale, give it to friends, family or charity. Then, begin mixing, matching and having fun with what you’ve got!

A capsule wardrobe is for you if:

• Your wardrobe is overflowing but you still only reach for those same five pieces.

• You’re constantly justifying your unnecessary purchases to friends when they notice you’re wearing something new.

• You’re always buying new things but never clearing anything out.

• You find pieces of clothing in the depths of your closet with tags still on them.

• You take forever to get dressed in the morning, trying on outfit after outfit.

• You’re hypnotised by a big sale sticker, constantly buying items simply because they’re reduced.

The capsule perks

• You’ll be surprised at how many outfits you can piece together.

• Dressing yourself in the morning will be ten times quicker and easier.

• Rediscover your style and learn what works for you, what you will actually wear and feel great in.

• Having less in your wardrobe means treating your clothes better, they will last longer and be in better condition.

• You’ll have a more sustainable outlook on new purchases, knowing that they’ll be in your closet for the long haul.

• Time to save money! Laugh at that person who called you an outfit-repeater while you sit back and count your cash.

• Having a smaller wardrobe means you know exactly what you have and everything is in plain sight.

• What you learn with your closet will apply to the rest of your life. Shed the bad stuff, keep the good in. Focus on meaningful, quality elements and treat them well.


Megan VooBy Megan Voo