A Capsule Wardrobe: Part 1

What’s a “capsule wardrobe,” you ask? 

The term Capsule Wardrobe was coined by Susie Faux, owner of the West End WARDROBE Boutique, in London, England in the 1970s. It refers to a collection of essential items of clothing that will never go out of fashion and could be worn multiple seasons. The aim was to update this collection with seasonal pieces to provide something to wear at any occasion without buying multiple items of clothing. The original Collection included: 2 pairs of pants, 1 dress/skirt, 1 jacket, 1 coat, 1 knit, 2 pairs of shoes and 2 bags.

This concept was popularized in the U.S. by designer Donna Karan. In 1985 she released her “7 Easy Pieces” collection. At the collection debut, she featured 8 models dressed in only body suits and black tights. The models then began to add items of clothing (wrap-skirts, pants, tops, and dresses) to demonstrate this interchangeable style of dressing.

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A Capsule Wardrobe:

… is associated with minimalism, streamlining, organization, resourcefulness, mindfulness and simplifying.

… is an interchangeable wardrobe with a finite number of clothes that you love to wear.

… is a small collection of useful clothing that you love.

… is a small, but perfectly curated set of clothes that makes getting dressed super straight forward.

… defines and embodies your personal style.

… gives you freedom from your closet.

… provides focus when you shop.

…changes with each season.

… has NO RULES.

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A paradox is a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that, when investigated or explained, may prove to be well founded or true. A Capsule Wardrobe is a paradox: Few Items = Lots of Options.

How many times have you said, “I have nothing to wear!”, yet your closet is packed with clothes? Do you have a closet full of clothes, but only a few favorites? Do you find clothes in the back of your closet with the tags still on? Have you purchased something JUST because it was on CLEARANCE? You are not alone! A recent survey of 2,000 women shows that we have adopted a “wear it once” culture for clothes: dresses and special events outfits. Most fashion purchases are worn an average of just 7 times. The average woman spends $70.00 a month on clothes – most of which remain unworn. In 1930 the average woman owned 36 items of clothing. Now, the average woman owns over 120 items of clothing.

“There is an important distinction between “discarding” and “not keeping”.  Often, we keep clothes NOT because the ‘keeping’ is desirable, but because the discarding is UNdesirable. We do not need these clothes, but we fear NOT having them. We fear the possibility of never having the money, time or ability to find a replacement garment that would be liked as well. If we really must clear out the wardrobe, and throw away that beautiful dress that is a little too tight, we must first remove meaning from the garment, and only then might we learn to live without the reassurance of its presence.” (Elizabeth Bye and Ellen Kinney)

Why do we accumulate so much clothing? Many reasons! We love a deal. Impulse shopping. It’s a classic. Peer Pressure. It was a gift. It was expensive. Our weight fluctuates. It has sentimental value. We might need it “someday”. Always looking for the “perfect” piece. We can’t just let it go.

So, what are the benefits of having a Capsule Wardrobe?

  • Less Laundry. A Capsule Wardrobe typically requires 50% less laundry time. HOW?? Doing more frequent smaller loads!
  • More Fun. The “fun” aspect of clothing becomes mixing things up, not just acquiring more. Get creative with the clothes you already own!
  • More Confidence. You are more confident because you feel great in and LOVE everything you wear!   You can consistently maintain your BEST style!   “Simplicity is the key note of true elegance.” – Coco Chanel You are more confident because you feel great in and LOVE everything you wear!   You can consistently maintain your BEST style!
  • Less Stress. REDUCE mental, emotional and physical clutter! Everything in your closet will magically go together to create lovely outfits.
  • Less Time Shopping. ONLY shop to fill your Capsule Wardrobe.  This will help you avoid spending money on mistakes or things that don’t work well.

If you don’t have the time, energy or money to spend on a large wardrobe and you really just want to look and feel great and spend time doing, thinking, creating, loving, laughing and LIVING, then a Capsule Wardrobe is perfect for YOU! It is not about removing the things you love – it is about making room for the things you DO love! We all want more freedom, more time, and more money. But few of us are really willing to make the change.

“Buy Less. Choose well. Make it last. Quality, not quantity. Everybody’s buying far too many clothes.” -Vivienne Westwood

Only you can decide if what you are holding on to is really holding on to YOU.

* A Capsule Wardrobe Part 2 will show you how to start YOUR own Capsule Wardrobe and help you define your own personal style!

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