We hope you’re down for a quick fashion history lesson. Did you know that the capsule wardrobe has been around since the 1970s? It’s such a modern concept that it’s hard to imagine that people have been practicing it for decades. Created by Susie Faux, owner of the London boutique Wardrobe, the capsule wardrobe has taken on many different versions and contexts over the years, but at its heart it still embodies Faux’s original definition: the refinement of a wardrobe to include only a few essential items that don’t go out of fashion.
On the heels of our closet audit focus, we thought it would be helpful to discuss the capsule wardrobe. With it still being January, a lot of people are still in that refreshing their lifestyles and modifying their shopping habits mode. While founded on classic, less-is-more ingenuity, somehow the capsule wardrobe has become trendy with a side of extra. The irony: everyone’s talking about, when it’s not for everyone. And it’s not the same for everyone. Effortless Style owner and stylist Katie Rushton weighs in on the capsule wardrobe and when it’s a good idea (or maybe not) for you.
1. WHY DOESN’T A CAPSULE WARDROBE WORK FOR EVERYONE?
A capsule wardrobe doesn’t work for everyone for a few reasons, I think. Primarily, not everyone is on board with the minimalist look and/or movement (which is essentially what the capsule wardrobe is–a minimal wardrobe/closet). A lot of our clients love clothes and like having many options, and that’s okay. Some of our clients are also very attached to their clothes. Getting rid of so much and moving to a 40-piece wardrobe would send them into a panic attack. *ha*
2. WHY WOULD A CAPSULE WARDROBE BE EASIER FOR SOME THAN OTHERS?
Putting together a capsule wardrobe for clients who work in a professional environment and wear business attire everyday is easier from a stylist perspective. We usually start with the basics. We pick out the client’s favorite two to three pairs of slacks, two to three skirts, two jackets (a classic blazer and another fun option), and two to three pairs of shoes (black or nude heels, black or nude flats, and a fun option). From there, we sprinkle in tops and accessories that coordinate with all of those options. The client can mix and match the pieces in a multitude of combinations for a different look every day of the week.
3. WHAT KINDS OF PEOPLE/LIFESTYLES ARE MOST CONDUCIVE TO A CAPSULE WARDROBE?
Just because professionals are a great fit for the capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean that it’s not easy for others, too. For example, we could easily curate a casual capsule wardrobe for a client who was a nurse and wore a similar outfit to work every day. Since her wardrobe wouldn’t have much overlap between casual and business attire, we would replicate our process from question #2, just with casual pieces instead. All that to say, I think a capsule wardrobe is most effectively achieved for clients who don’t need the overlap of professional by day and casual by night/weekend, or who don’t alternate between casual and business attire during the work week.
4. WHY SHOULD SOMEONE CONSIDER A CAPSULE WARDROBE?
This may sound too basic, but, honestly, I’d say to make life simpler–to make getting dressed every day a joy, not a hair-pulling, stressful thing that starts off your morning on the wrong note. Fashion blogger Caroline Rector writes about her capsule experiment on Unfancy, describing her joyful reemergence into the world after simplifying. Her twist on the minimalist movement is fun! She shops for a new capsule every three months, at the change of every season.
A capsule wardrobe, however, is not the only way to simplify and doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. A lot of our services, such as the wardrobe consult or closet audit, help to simplify and uncomplicate dressing yourself without the drastic measures of a capsule wardrobe. At the end of the day, we emphasize quality over quantity for the more low-maintenance lifestyle we’re seeking.
5. HOW DOES A CAPSULE WARDROBE DIFFER FROM A CLOSET AUDIT?
For a closet audit, we work with clients to clean out and get rid of all the items that shouldn’t be in their closets, because the items don’t fit, are in poor shape, or are out of style, etcetera. If we were working with a client to achieve a capsule wardrobe, we would start with a closet audit. However, it would have to be a much more in-depth closet audit in order to pare down to just 37 to 40 pieces.