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What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

Updated: Apr 9

woman looking in neat closet

Internet culture is always buzzing about the latest and greatest trend. In the world of fashion, where trends are essential, the current hype is all about a radical new concept called the “capsule wardrobe.” A quick social media search will turn up endless content from those in vogue claiming to be gurus on how to adapt this revolutionary concept to your own style, complete with pricy recommendations and chic runway collections of course. Luckily, the capsule system can be applied well beyond the posh headlines of social media influencers to fit any budget, any style, and zhuzh up even the most drab ensemble of outfits!

What comprises a capsule wardrobe? In a consumerist world where minimalism is all the rage, it was only a matter of time before someone took a page out of Marie Kondo’s book and followed the momentum of the tiny house bandwagon to come up with a way for those opting out of the superfluous lifestyle to scale down their closet without compromising their taste for fashion. Enter Susie Faux, owner of the London-based boutique called (aptly enough) “Wardobe,” who coined the term back in the 1970s. According to Susie, a capsule wardrobe consisted of a limited number of wardrobe staples based on each season. Bloggers, fashion writers, and style experts have since rediscovered the term and (as is the way with all fashion) are bringing it back for the modern era.

hanging clothes

The unwritten rule is to not let the rack exceed thirty-seven pieces, although some authorities on the matter are less strict. Basically, a capsule wardrobe is a set of around thirty-seven items (or less) incorporating your favorite looks with fresh additions of a few new pieces every season. The ultimate goal is to limit yourself to the basic essentials. What do you actually wear? What’s practical? What are your statement pieces? What can serve as a closet staple to be mixed and matched with all of your various other pieces to create fresh and invigorating looks all season long? Create a signature aesthetic without coming across as stale and recycled. So, wait. We’re talking about a strict rotation of only thirty-seven articles of clothing…and no shopping until next season? But why?

You’ll have a more easily organized closet and will spend less time shopping. Since the number of items is limited, you will either end up spending less money on your wardrobe or will spend the same amount of money but focus more on quality instead of buying a bunch of things you may never wear. The less obvious benefits are plentiful. Since capsule wardrobes focus on basic mix and match pieces, you can grab just about anything out of your closet and look fabulous! Going back to the basics means you will really hone your style and get pieces that you love and you’ll love wearing every time you put them on and you’ll want to hang on to your pieces longer.

Our next post will get into how you can create your own capsule wardrobe!

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