Over the past year or so, you’ve probably read about the pared-down wardrobe concept called the capsule wardrobe. This term has been blogged about, discussed on every social media platform from Facebook to Pinterest and even monetized with various box subscription services promising a curated capsule wardrobe.
The concept of the capsule wardrobe stems from our desire to pare down, simplify, streamline and ultimately get dressed with ease daily. And let’s be real, who doesn’t want that?! Popular books such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō make it clear that all the “stuff” we have in our homes and, in particular, our closets is a frustrating issue that plagues many. In comes the capsule wardrobe to remind us to pare down our clothes, accessories and shoes to the basics. The limited items that we do hold on to should be complementary garments that mix and match to create numerous outfits without a lot of time or thought.
As a Style Coach, I help my beautiful clients create their dream wardrobes daily. And I love nothing more than helping them do exactly what the capsule wardrobe promises, which is to get dressed with ease and to focus on quality over quantity! While the general concept of the capsule wardrobe is smart and often much needed, there are many components that need tweaking to ensure you don’t lose the most important element of your wardrobe: YOU.
Paring back your wardrobe to 10 to 15 basic items that all mix and match together, in theory, sounds fantastic. But when you limit yourself to so few garments, not to mention solely basics, you begin to lose the personality and authenticity of your overall look and image. Don’t get me wrong — the importance of these foundational basics, such as black pants, dark wash jeans, a white v-neck tee, a black blazer and black flats, is crucial for a well-rounded wardrobe. But when that is all you are left with, you have a uniform that lacks any glimpse of you.
We are visual people, and we use a person’s overall look to signal to us who they are, what they stand for and what we can expect from them. Good or bad, this is human nature, and many scientific studies have backed this theory up. I always tell clients, “At the end of the day, it is up to you to maintain control of your image, and then others can do what they like with what you project.” The goal is not to worry about what others may think of you and your appearance, but to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward and projecting the most authentic version of yourself through your clothing choices.
And here is where my edited version of this closet curation process comes in! Think of this as the next step in your capsule wardrobe journey. After you purchase those basic, foundational items that make up your typical capsule wardrobe, then it’s time to add a personality punch into the mix.
First, get crystal clear on the image you desire to project in this stage of life. Do you work in a corporate setting and desire to showcase professionalism, dependability and intelligence? Then perhaps you infuse tailored, clean-line blazers in classic prints, sleek kitten heel pumps in fun colors and interesting gold chain link bracelets and pearl drop earrings. Or perhaps you are retired and enjoy volunteering at your favorite nonprofits where you want to project kindness, compassion and approachability. Then, you would want to select friendly-colored garments, well draped and never stiff materials and maybe a fun casual earring or necklace. These more interesting pieces provide that next layer of style to your capsule wardrobe. They easily mix and match with your basics, but they allow the real you to shine through.
The key to maintaining this overall simplified wardrobe concept is to not add too many personality pieces or basic pieces into your closet. It is all about a nice balance of these two categories to keep you making outfits for all occasions with ease.
To kick-start your authentic capsule wardrobe, you must first pare down. I’ve created a guide listing the top 10 outdated items that are hiding in your closet, so that you can start cleansing your closet and making room for your beautiful balance of updated basics and personality pieces.