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SB Note: Ellen wrote this article for us just as we needed to pivot our entire editorial calendar in mid-March. In one day, we pulled 10 weeks of content, much of it already written or assigned to our writing team. And now, as we look around, the desire for a capsule wardrobe rings truer than ever before. Let’s make sure we have the clothes that make us feel good, and build from there, and have less. Let’s spend less time worrying about what to wear. A capsule wardrobe helps dramatically. Yesterday, we published an article on the tie-dye trend. Sure, buy a piece, but if you have a capsule wardrobe, you’ll be buying the color that works with the rest of your wardrobe. You’ll realize you only need to think about adding one item to what you already have. You’ll figure out you can buy less and have more room in your head and more energy to focus on all those other things that matter. Fashion matters, because of how it makes us feel, but have a wardrove that works FOR you.

You’ve seen the movies — the ones where the women have rooms full of clothes and closets full of shoes. Sure, living like you’re Carrie Bradshaw seems like fun, but have we ever stopped to think about how many hours we waste deciding what to wear every day? Or — realistically speaking — how many hours stylists put into making fashion look so effortless? In this day in age, especially in light of everything changing so rapidly, it’s best to quit over-purchasing the things we don’t need and invest in quality pieces, creating a capsule wardrobe.

If you haven’t heard that term before, it’s not as utilitarian as it sounds. Capsule wardrobes are essentially a collection of quality pieces that are timeless and versatile, and they usually revolve around the concept of “less is more.” This allows you to effortlessly pick out what you’re wearing each day, and actually love each piece you’re putting on your body. The term was technically coined by Caroline Joy on her minimalistic blog Un-Fancy, out of her desire to find her style and overcome her mindless shopping habit. With a closet full of cheap clothes, she would constantly find herself thinking, “I have nothing to wear!” — something we’ve all experienced. On Caroline’s blog, she writes how her capsule wardrobe consisted of just 37 pieces when she started her minimalism journey. Below are five tips to adopt when creating your own capsule wardrobe.

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5 Tips to the Perfect Capsule Wardrobe

#1 Hoarding Isn’t Helping — Give It Away

Step one of building a capsule wardrobe: Give away or sell the items in your closet that don’t reflect the values of a capsule wardrobe (quality, timeless, versatile). How many years has that lace, floral-print dress with the cutout shoulders been hanging in your closet untouched, but you hold onto it “just in case”? Give it to Goodwill, purge the old, and allow space for the new (it is spring, after all). Say goodbye to the polyester and make some room for organic fabrics including oh-so-comfy cotton.

a crowded closet

Maybe it’s not just organization that your closet needs … maybe you simply need less stuff a plan on what to keep.

#2 Quality Over Quantity

It probably goes without saying, but if we are going to narrow down our wardrobes, then we need to make sure we are implementing quality items. This can be swapping out several H&M tees for one or two of your favorite Imogene + Willie tees you may not typically invest in. They last longer and feel better on the body, so you’ll actually want to wear them when you’re trying on outfits for the day ahead (yes, trying on your outfit for the day ahead helps save time, too!).

heart tee by Imogene + Willie

An example of Imogene + Willie t-shirts. There are solids as well. Check all the t-shirts out here.

#3 Keep it Neutral

A little pop of color never hurt anybody, but when it comes to capsule wardrobes, it’s best to make sure everything fits in the same color scheme as much as possible. While you’ll certainly bring in new pieces here and there as trends and seasons change, a majority of your wardrobe will last a while if you implement the rule above. Think neutral or earthy tones, such as white, black, beige, navy, forest green, and grey. If a majority of your wardrobe are these easy-to-match tones, then you won’t spend two hours trying to match your blouse with your pants.

Summer color palette for a capsule wardrobe

Here’s an example of Caroline Joy’s summer color palette with neutral tones to give you inspiration for the upcoming season. Image: Caroline Joy/Un-fancy

#4 Denim is Forever

Two fashion pieces have yet to ever go out of style: men’s suits and denim. Invest in a great pair of jeans that fit you perfectly. We’re a big advocate for the Parisian look of “jeans and a tee.” Invest in a few different pairs to aid in creating versatile looks. Our favorite right now are these straight leg Everlane jeans, as they seem to flatter just about every body type. Mix it up with a black pair of skinny jeans, or a reliable pair of high-waisted mom jeans (also universally flattering), and you’re good to go!

Blue jeans

These Everlane jeans reflect the values of a capsule wardrobe — quality, timeless, and versatile. Image: Everlane

#5 Quick Dos and Don’ts of Building a Capsule Wardrobe

DO be yourself! Caroline Joy herself says that building a capsule wardrobe is meant to be fun and invigorating! Don’t try to change your style — stay true to what makes you feel the most beautiful.

DON’T count undergarments. You’re allowed to have a plethora of underwear if you so choose.

DO experiment with it! Narrowing down your wardrobe to key favorite pieces allows you to really see what your personal style is.

DON’T be so hard on yourself. It’s okay to have more than 37 items, and it’s okay if you can’t get yourself to give away every worn down item in your closet. Give yourself grace, and keep the concert tee.


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