Capsule wardrobe

How to create a timeless capsule wardrobe

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Have an overflowing closet of clothes that needs to be tamed? Fashion writer Ellie Hammond explains why capsule wardrobes could be the secret to more mindful dressing

If you are like me, a typical millennial who spends her time building fashion-focused vision boards on Pinterest, you probably ended 2022 with too many impulse buys and a wardrobe full of unworn items. Sound familiar? If so, it’s time to hit pause on the purchasing and shift gears towards a wardrobe re-set. Fortunately, I’ve got just the thing.

The fashion industry is abundant with trends and buzz words, and at present, it seems the term ‘capsule wardrobe’ is doing the rounds. So what exactly is it, and how can it encourage easier dressing and more sustainable spending?

What is a capsule wardrobe?

With a time-stamp dating back to the 70s, the concept behind the capsule wardrobe has stayed the same: to collect stylish and practical pieces that have been designed with your lifestyle in mind. Ultimately, it is about streamlining an edit of items that not only cater to your day-to-day, but that complementing one another, too.

“Everyone is on the hunt for those few perfect pieces that will make every day effortlessly chic,” says fashion stylist Julia Storm. “I like to start with inspiration from Mary-Kate and Ashley of The Row. Find a chic coat, loose tailored trousers and a simple white Tee and you’re halfway there.”

Instead of trying to recreate a wardrobe based off the current trends, build one around those pieces you already love. The best part of building a capsule wardrobe is that it will never look the same for everyone. We don’t all have the same job, lifestyle or budget, so your edit is a catered collection of items you can depend on, much like you do your morning coffee – a trustworthy essential that you can rely on all the time, that will make getting ready a breeze.

How do I create one?

It’s important to remember you don’t need to start from scratch – that isn’t the aim. Instead, it’s about thinking smart, and preparing for the seasons ahead. Curating the perfect capsule edit is about working out what you already like to wear, what fits you well, and identifying anything missing. The key questions I like ask myself before I begin the latter is: can I easily adapt it throughout the year? Is it timeless? Can I pair it with items I already have in my wardrobe?

These are vital in eliminating an overflowing wardrobe that’s gone out of control, while keeping the need to buy new pieces at bay. Remember, the end goal is about committing to the detox, enhancing each items versatility, and re-defining your favourite pieces.

And if you do need to go out and buy the basics, keep it simple. A well-fitted pair of jeans, neutral-toned blazer, basic bodysuits and a comfortable pair of boots or loafers is a good place to start. In time, you’ll start to find yourself creating outfits around these particular pieces, and can then go on to add what you need. For summer, this might include a linen shirt, which is a great option for layering throughout the cooler months. In winter, this might be a black turtleneck or a high-quality pair of boots.

And as a rule of thumb, the core items of any capsule wardrobe are items that might not necessarily be trending right now, but rather pieces that will work in harmony with the rest of your wardrobe and create a never-ending list of outfits that you can wear for any occasion, and throughout the seasons.

Capsule wardrobe

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