May 26, 2022

What is a capsule wardrobe?

By Raisa Reyes
What is a capsule wardrobe?

My husband James has a classic capsule wardrobe. It’s white, navy blue and black. Everything in his wardrobe looks good on him. His wardrobe has quirks, such as the fact that he doesn’t own pajamas. He doesn’t have a lot of clothing (his wardrobe could fit in a medium-sized suitcase). And everything he does own has the same style to it; James’s flavor is simple, classic and french-Scandinavian.

So what is a capsule wardrobe? It’s whatever you want it to be, as long as it meets a few criteria:

It should be fairly small: A capsule wardrobe is a relatively small collection of clothing that meets all your needs. From going to the office to being a guest at your friend’s wedding,you own the clothing that dresses you for each season and occasion relevant to you. This doesn’t mean you can’t own fun stuff! A stodgy work suit and a pair of pink cowboy boots can both be in the same capsule wardrobe.

It should all feel like you: One general rule of capsule wardrobes is that everything you own should go with everything else. I don’t abide by this rule. Does my favorite snuggly fleece go with my silk slip wedding dress? Absolutely not. But most things in my wardrobe do go together. Why? Because I picked them out. They’re all my style and they all feel like me. So of course they go together because I, as a person, am pretty coherent and consistent. Therefore, the things I like are pretty coherent and consistent. Did James plan for most of his wardrobe to be white, navy blue and black? Absolutely not. He just bought what he liked and his wardrobe worked out that way. You may want a super colorful wardrobe. If that’s you, then do YOU. But do be discerning in this way: if a piece of clothing doesn’t make you feel good, then get rid of it. It’s not worth living this one wild and precious life in clothing that doesn’t reflect who we are.

It should be maintained: Regularly decluttering your wardrobe is a necessary part of capsule wardrobe life. To maintain a capsule wardrobe, you have to frequently assess who you are and what elements of your wardrobe reflect that back to you in clothing form. If it doesn’t make you feel 100%, it has gotta go.

It should be aspirational: People spend time curating capsule wardrobes because they want to create themselves. Your capsule wardrobe should feel like what your ideal self would wear. What’s your dream wardrobe? Make it. Then wear it. Then be your ideal self. Walk like her, talk like her, be her. It’s that simple.

Adding new items to your capsule wardrobe should be done almost cautiously. Before you buy anything new, ask yourself, would my ideal self wear this? If yes, then it deserves a coveted spot in your wardrobe. If not, then let it go with faith. I’m not saying don’t have fun. Take risks and surprise yourself when you feel like it. But don’t be thoughtless, buy something just because it’s cheap or buy fast fashion. Respect yourself (and the planet) more than that. Your ideal self would.

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