Have you ever experienced that frustrating feeling, standing in front of your wardrobe full of clothes, that you actually have nothing to wear?
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by your closet being filled with items that you don't really like wearing?
Would you be happier if you had fewer decisions to make on a daily basis?
Do you want to save time when getting dressed every day or packing when going travelling?
Do you need to reduce the amount of money you spend on clothes?
Do you wish you could live a more sustainable life in terms of the products you use?
If your answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, keep on reading and learn how to make your closet more user- and wallet-friendly by creating your very own 'capsule wardrobe'.
What is a capsule wardrobe anyway?
A capsule wardrobe is a collection of interchangeable clothing items that are timeless and complement each other. You probably already have a few of these kind of ‘capsule’ items in different corners of your closet. The key, though, is to combine them successfully with each other, reflecting your style and needs, and making you feel amazing whenever you wear them together. The goal behind building an effective capsule wardrobe is to create an effortless sense of style for yourself, so that dressing every day becomes easy and stress-free!
People often say that you need to have a specific number of items in your wardrobe, but we don’t share that opinion. We believe it is up to you to decide how many things you need, as it depends on your lifestyle and the roles you have in your life. As long as your clothes serve their purpose and fulfil the characteristics mentioned in the previous paragraph, it is still a capsule wardrobe, even if you have more than 200 pieces! But if you choose to limit what you own, a capsule wardrobe will allow you to create a variety of different outfits for all occasions, even if you only have a small selection of clothes to choose from.
Most importantly, a capsule wardrobe does not only consist of neutral colours. You can, and should, wear colours that complement your personality and appearance.
Ready? Ok, here are some easy steps to follow in order to create a capsule wardrobe for yourself, as well as some do's and don'ts taken from our own experiences.
Track what you like to wear for 30 days
There are many ways to do this, either by writing down what you wear every day in a notebook or excel sheet, taking a picture of the outfit you wear every day, or using any of the online apps that are increasingly available to help you out, for example Outfit Tracker (by Crelk Wireless) or Acloset. Anytime you put together an outfit, remember what caused you trouble or what pieces could make it look better - and start making a wishlist of items you need to buy.
Analyse both your lifestyle and fashion style
Lifestyle: Think about how much time you spend on various activities over the period of 1 standard week, then do the same thing over 1 month and 1 year, focusing in particular on special occasions. Some examples could be:
work (home or office, etc.), formal dress code/ informal dress code
- taking care of the children
- running errands
- taking part in sports
- meeting friends
- family events
Think about what you prefer wearing during those activities.
Fashion style: try to find a common theme running through the pieces that you love to wear. Is it a specific silhouette, colours, materials, or details that make you feel great? This will help you find your own personal style.
Define the colours and body shape that suits you best
A colour palette is an optional but very useful tool when building a capsule wardrobe, because it will be your reference guide during your future shopping expeditions. After the experiment of wearing 30 items for 30 days you will probably know what colours you like to wear the most, so these can become part of your colour palette reference guide. The next time you shop for something you can use this guideline to look for colours that blend in with what you love to wear and already have. In our experience it is best to try and find 2-3 neutral, base colours and 3-4 signature colours that will blend well with the chosen base.
For example, my base colours are navy, white and grey, while my additional colours are petrol, fuchsia for the winter season, and mint and soft pink for the summer season.
If you wish, you can add one or two patterned clothing items. But make sure these patterns are timeless (like stripes, dots or animal prints) and won't go out of fashion in a few months.
If you are not sure about the colours or shapes that suit you, or are afraid to wear multiple colours, we strongly recommend investing in a colour and body shape analysis with a professional stylist who can advise and guide you. It will pay off during each and every shopping trip you make afterwards, as, with the knowledge you now have, you are unlikely to ever make a bad purchase again.
Open your closet, take everything out and ask yourself the following questions about every single item:
Can it still be used? Is it too worn out, discoloured or damaged?
Is it the right size/shape for me?
Is it the right colour for me?
What is it made out of, do I feel comfortable wearing it?
Have I worn it during the last year?
Important aspects when considering why you like some pieces more than others:
- Style: modern, classic, romantic, edgy, sporty, etc.
- Material type (not only due to usability criteria but also visual - drape, holding the form, etc.)
- Fit: loose, fitted
- Neckline type and depth
- Waist height for trousers and skirts
- Practicality criteria: hood, pockets, closing method, etc.
Only put back items that you love to wear and do actually wear, and which are in good condition and fit your current body shape (unless your size changes often over months or has recently changed due to pregnancy or other reasons). This will become the starting point for completing your capsule wardrobe. Reject everything that doesn’t boost your confidence or doesn’t make you feel good, even if it was something you did like or wore in the past. Our bodies evolve and change, and so do we, so it’s OK to let go of these things from the past.
Whatever you leave out of your wardrobe at this point should be discarded, with just a few exceptions. Keep those items that you wear less often, but are meant for specific occasions, such as a formal dress for a wedding or clothing specifically for a sporting activity.
Pro tip: Don't get rid of all of the pieces that you don’t have substitutes for just yet and all at once. Creating a capsule wardrobe is a process which takes time and requires financial resources. So, before you discover you miss something you discarded, try finding a substitute first.
|All the rest you should get rid of, but please try to do it sustainably by selling them or donating them to charity, so the clothing does not end up in a landfill when it could still be used. There are various places around Hungary that accept clothing donations and redistribute them to those in need. Some that operate in Budapest are:
Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta
CEDEK Israelite Charity Service
Budapest Bike Maffia
Oltalom Charity Service
Please note that it is always worth contacting them upfront though.
Once you have finished removing the clothes you don't want in your closet, take a look at all what is left and think:
What things dominate your closet? Do you really need so many of those or would you prefer something else instead? For example: too many basic t -shirts but not enough more elegant shirts or blouses, or too many patterns when you need something more simple.
What are the things that you find are really missing and could help you create many great outfits? For example, maybe you don’t have a pair of white trainers that you could use on many occasions?
What are the things that you did not choose to keep, and why?
Once you have all the clothes you need, do not forget coats, shoes, and accessories! These are equally important and can make or break an outfit.
Write down your thoughts and ideas in a notebook that will remind you what to buy and what to definitely not buy. For example, maybe you have some great clothes but have problems finding shoes, bags or other accessories to finish off an outfit.
After seeing what you have been wearing over the period of 30 days, as well as realising what you would like to wear, review and update your shopping wishlist and slowly try to source the missing pieces, Don’t forget to consider buying second hand or from sustainable brands.
Pro tip: Remember that good-quality items will last you longer and their cost per wear may be much lower than cheaper but poorer-quality items.
Another pro tip: If, like in Hungary, you live in a four-season climate, I recommend keeping only the current season’s clothes in your wardrobe, but don’t forget that there can be some crossover in terms of clothing, as autumns and springs can be mild and even some summer pieces can be used in the winter. The key is layering and clothing versatility. But definitely store out of sight the items that will not be used for a while. It will make your wardrobe feel more spacious and easier to handle, and give you space for creativity. And, when it’s time to switch seasons, your old clothes will refresh your capsule and you won’t feel the need to go shopping again.
Shopping for missing items
Pro tip: Try on something you already have before giving in to the desire to buy again. Every time you have an urge to shop, look at your closet and try to force yourself to rewear something you haven’t worn in a while. Another good exercise is to try to create an outfit you think would look good using slightly different pieces from what you already have, to see whether it matches your vision.
If you still decide to search for a new piece of clothing though, firstly consider one of the following:
1. See if you can swap clothes with friends or family - maybe one of them has something you need and doesn’t wear anymore
2. Check out local second-hand or vintage shops for possible alternatives
3. If you need to buy brand new items try, if possible, to buy from sustainable brands that create clothes from natural and organic fabrics, as well as recycled materials
Good to know before shopping:
Invest in quality over quantity, your clothes should not cost less than a cup of coffee. Sustainable fashion sometimes may be more expensive than traditional fashion, but this is only because sustainable brands commit to paying a fair wage to their workers, and source premium, natural or recycled materials
Find out about fabrics and choose consciously (more about fabrics and their qualities to come in a future blog post)
Trends come and go, so don’t let stores define your style and what you should wear. You have the power to make the decision to take something home or not. But, of course, if the trends suit you then go for it!
Pro tip: Don’t be seduced by sales. Only buy what is on your need list, not what is simply a ‘good bargain’, unless that piece was already on your list :)
Once you already found a piece you like, ask yourself:
1. Does it go with at least 3 other items in my capsule?
2. How many outfits can I create with this item?
3. Does it fit in with my personal style?
4. Does the fit and fabric work for me?
5. Does this work with my lifestyle?
Ok, that’s about it! Once you have gone through this whole process, you should be able to enjoy choosing an outfit quickly, be able to choose from many different stunning outfits to wear, have a tidy closet, and most importantly and love what you wear every single day!
Follow us for regular, timeless outfit inspirations! :)
If you feel you could benefit from some professional input when you decide to re-organize your closet, contact us and we can recommend a stylist who will fit your needs. We will also be able to help you take advantage of some discounts on their service fees! So, why not get in touch!