Updated: Apr 14, 2019
For all the lovers of the minimalist wardrobe concept who want to discover the latest trends on how to build a capsule wardrobe, this is the article to read. I will review two expert's articles and identify the critical rules to follow to create your minimalist closet successfully.
Let me start with my own wardrobe story first. As I was researching this subject, I became curious about my closet. I think of myself as the one who has a good sense of style and fashion and is a smart mindful shopper. I was sure that I could be an excellent example of a small (not capsule) wardrobe with essential items. This theory could not have been further from the truth. LOL.
My closet in the master bedroom is small. It contains my go-to items and blazers. If I want to wear any of my dresses, skirts, or slacks, I dive into my kids closet. I conquered a corner of their closet to store a "few" items. Smart, right?
As I was going through all the closets and clothing drawers, I got increasingly worried. In the end, the number of items I possessed scared me: I got 29 dresses, 39 t-shirts, 32 tops & blouses, eight skirts, 15 various pants, nine blazers, and six coats/jackets. OMG. I could not believe these numbers. I need to audit my wardrobe - this will be another post.
The upside of this closet review is I got to organize my wardrobe. I gathered related items together and sorted them by color. I did get rid of a few things, but given the numbers, I can donate more.
Now with more energy than ever before, I dove into the posts on capsule wardrobe. The idea is simple: own a set of critical items that are practical, work together, of high quality, and neutral colors. Most suggest having ten things that you can rotate for ten days. Although, that means doing laundry every five to six days; I am not sure I can commit to this.
The actual list of ten items is a somewhat standard that includes one of each: blazer, white t-shirt, white blouse, trench coat, jeans, slacks, midi skirt, LBD, sweater, wrap dress. I would also add a cardigan, a casual blazer, and a few maxi dresses.
Now let's dive into the two articles I selected written by the influencers in the industry. The first article is Everything You Need to Build a Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe by Anna Laplaca on WhoWhatWear website.
Anna Laplaca's article starts with the list of benefits a small wardrobe provides including spending less time looking through your clothes and doing less laundry.
The author then goes on to discuss the problem of having too many choices. She cites psychologist Barry Schwartz (his TED talk) who states that too many choices paralyze us. When we have too many options, we are unable to choose. This problem is present everywhere nowadays from a grocery store to a restaurant menu. So, when we think - I have nothing to wear - most likely we have too many things to wear.
Dr. Schwartz states
"Because the truth of the matter is, if you shatter the fishbowl so that everything is possible, you don't have freedom. You have paralysis." TED talk.
The author continues to discuss what is needed for a minimalist wardrobe and how to achieve one. First of all, consider where you live and what you wear. After this step is done, you can move on to identify what you have and what you need. There is no need to get rid of everything - keep all the basics you can find that still look good; get rid of old items that do not fit, look worn out, or add no value. The unspoken rule of three months -- if you have not touched it in three months, you won't touch it at all.
The essential items to have are LBD, trench coat, wrap dress, jeans, white t-shirt, white blouse, sweater, and midi skirt. The colors have to be neutral so you can mix and match various outfits. To spice up an outfit, use fashion jewelry.
The author goes on to discuss the common problems of over shopping. Most of us are impulse buyers who after buying a fantastic top never to wear it again. And this happens more often than not. So the article suggests avoiding impulse purchases, clothing for just one event, and never get an item or hold on to one if it does not fit.
The article presents an idea of creating a uniform which is directly related to the capsule wardrobe. The suggestion is to have fifteen pieces that are of good quality which will last you a long time. No need to buy endless dresses or pairs of jeans stick to the basic that works for your body time after time.
A capsule wardrobe will save you lots of money in the long run. Even if you need to invest in well-made items now, if you take care of them, they will last you a long time. With the basics in hand, you will not be shopping any time soon.
Relatedly, the author suggests that when you buy something, you need to get rid of an existing item. This week keep your wardrobe under control but also make you think twice before purchasing another dress - you have to love it more than the one you already have.
After reviewing many articles and posts, I noticed three particular rules.
- Quality Is Key: Quality is better than quantity when it comes to your closet. Buy slightly more expensive items than you usually would. One valuable piece will for sure create a more polished and fashion-forward look.
- Neutral Colors Rock: If you want to go minimalistic, you need to stick to neutral and pastel colors that are easy to mix and match.
- Shop Smart: Know what you have and what you need. Do not shop for the sake of shopping. Be smart about your real needs and buy a piece that will be a great addition that is worth space in your closet.
In summary, having a minimalistic capsule wardrobe is not hard, but you have to commit to smart and mindful shopping, avoid impulse purchases, and know what you have/need. The essential items are simple to allow for easy matching and mixing. To start your journey, take a good look at your current closet, get rid of excess, and then begin creating your version of a capsule wardrobe.
If you want to try a minimalist wardrobe concept, do not feel obligated to have only ten to fifteen items in your closet. If you consciously buy less, analyze every new piece before buying it, maximizing the use of what you have - you successfully began your journey.