Discover the life-changing benefits of a capsule wardrobe
What’s the old saying? Oh yes, spring cleaning! 2020 was a year of living at home, and you probably accumulated quite a bit of extra clothing—some you wore, some you loved, and some you never thought about again, that’s now hidden somewhere in the depths of your closet.
2021 promises at least a partial return to normalcy, which means you’ll be dressing for work and for social occasions again. Life will pick back up, as they say. There’s no better time to clean out your closet and have a fashion style plan. Enter the capsule wardrobe.
Minimizing Your Fashion Style: Less is More
Another nugget of conventional wisdom is appropriate here: the 80/20 rule. Chances are, you only regularly wear 20% of the items in your arsenal. The rest are reserved for specific occasions, recreations, and the like. But ask yourself: what are the handful of pieces you immediately reach for 80% of the time?
TLDR: less is more. You could actually get rid of the majority of what you have and still look great every time you leave the house. How? Read on.
How to Build A Capsule Wardrobe
Though it was originally coined in the 1940s, the concept of a capsule wardrobe has gained traction in the last five to ten years, thanks to a renewed call for sustainability in the fashion industry.
Because clothing has gotten cheaper and easier to buy online, we’ve all become accustomed to buying more, more frequently, and ended up with lots of novelties, but not enough staples. Too many trendy things, not enough classical items that will last. Sidebar: shop sustainable fashion and check out this Q&A with Tess Montgomery, a “slow fashion” expert.
To think about how to build a capsule wardrobe with your own unique spin, think about what you love to wear. Love dresses? They should be an anchor in your closet. Love cashmere knits? Lean into that.
Example: I found a cut of Acne denim that fits me perfectly, and I feel very comfortable in. So I have them in white, medium blue, and inky black. Once you find something that works, build around it.
You’ll also want to think about your practical needs. Do you live in a place that is snowy part of the year? You’ll need to account for seasons. In LA (where we live), it’s rarely very cold, but is often cool, so most people live in hoodies and light jackets, or at least always have one or two handy.
Our Top Picks For Your Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe collection will be pieces that are versatile, can be mixed and matched, and all things you love.
For women, we suggest starting with a few iconic topwear staples to build your capsule wardrobe:
- An ivory or tan (or other neutral tone) winter coat—Max Mara is the best money can buy.
- A white silk blouse—Dolce & Gabbana does them every season, and they’re always gorgeous.
- A cozy hoodie or sweatshirt—Balmain and Balenciaga are the ones to have lately.
- A leather biker jacket—doesn’t have to be a big name; we like this one from DROMe.
- Medium-blue denim jeans—we like pairs with a little twist, like these from Givenchy.
- Black pants—simple is best here, as these can be for work, for date night, or other semi-dressy occasions. Alexander McQueen.
- Fun leggings—add a pop of color with fun leggings (which you can and should have more than one pair of). We love these mixed-print leggings from Versace.
And of course, accessories!
- A medium tote—mainly for work, but sometimes you just want a hold-all for Saturday errands, and Miu Miu‘s matelassé quilted nappa leather is truly iconic.
- A chic crossbody bag—for every time you’d like to be hands-free and minimal. Burberry.
- Black heels—put your own spin on these, but any sort of black high-heeled pump will do. Aquazzura mesh-trimmed suede, or Prada‘s patent loafer-pumps.
- Flat boots—trust us, these will forever be preferable to high-heeled boots if you plan on being on your feet all day, shopping or running errands or chasing children. Stuart Weitzman is the master.
- Pull-on sock sneakers—we’re partial to the ease and comfort of knit sock-style sneakers, and one of the originators of the design were Balenciaga‘s Speed sneakers.
For men, we’ll follow a similar capsule collection roadmap: versatile staples and foundational pieces worth investing in…
- A bomber jacket—whether in leather or wool, pick a good one (Saint Laurent!)
- A graphic hoodie—HERON PRESTON is a rising star in the streetwear world, and we love his classic white logo hoodie.
- A cashmere sweater—the polished extra layer that works in almost any context: Givenchy.
- A blue button-down shirt—style up for a work meeting, or down for a Sunday brunch…Kenzo.
And on the bottom half…
- Jogger pants—arguably the new blue jean, joggers go with nearly everything and are acceptable in most contexts. McQueen, obviously.
- Dark denim—though, jeans are still oxygen too. We like dark denim for men, like these from Dsquared2.
- A pair of shorts—if the sun’s out, your legs should be too. Ami‘s corduroy shorts work year-round.
What about men’s shoes and accessories?
- Boots—some sort of boot is important, but especially something iconic like Saint Laurent‘s camel suede Jodphur ankle boots. Think of them as the grown-up chukka.
- White sneakers—though not everyone loves white sneakers, there is something classic and comforting about white on your feet. Versace just introduced the “Trigreca.”
- Sandals—upgrade your pool slides for these sumptuous nappa leather sandals from Jil Sander.
- A tote—throw it all in a canvas tote that will take you from the coffee shop to the campsite: Thom Browne.
These are all just suggestions to get you started thinking about a capsule wardrobe, which is all about “less is more.” It can be scary to think about clearing the majority of your closet (the 80% you rarely wear), but imagine this, after you find your perfect capsule wardrobe collection: everything in your closet brings you joy instead of I have nothing to wear.
Discover more fashion trends coverage: 3 Ways To Style a Balmain Blazer; 3 Ways To Wear Combat Boots; and 2021’s Pantone Colors of the Year.
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