The term ‘capsule wardrobe’ keeps popping up, but do you actually know what it means? Have you ever wondered what the hype is all about? And why building a collection of basic pieces for our closets is beneficial?
As someone who has gone from an overflowing wardrobe, full of clothes I rarely wear, to a carefully edited collection, I can honestly say that the journey has been enlightening.
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
The term Capsule Wardrobe goes back to the 1970s when a boutique owner in London, called Susie Faux, defined the ideal wardrobe as a collection which consisted of a few essential and timeless items of clothing for the relevant seasons.
American designer Donna Karan developed this concept further in the 80s by releasing a collection of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces.
However, somewhere between the 90s and present day, mass consumerism took over and many women moved away from structured, colour coded and organised wardrobes full of investment pieces, to buying fast and cheap pieces that are worn just a few times.This has caused so many issues and resulted in what stylists like Roberta Lee refer to as “wardrobe overwhelm”.
The irony is that most of us already own a capsule wardrobe but it is likely to be buried in a closet crammed so full of clothes, that we cannot see the wood for the trees. It makes us feel like we have ‘no options’. It's a terrible conundrum many women face: a wardrobe full of clothes but feeling as if they have 'nothing to wear'.
The term Capsule Collection found new importance in the last decade due to the growing awareness that the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. At this pace, the fashion industry's greenhouse gas emissions will surge more than 50% by 2030 (World Bank Article).
Moving towards a capsule collection is definitely the way forward! This is why The Morphbag sets are favoured by women who like to keep their wardrobes streamlined and coordinated, capsule collections come in all shapes and sizes, and we have many customers who buy our bags in multiple colourways.
What items go in a capsule wardrobe?
The ultimate capsule wardrobe consists of essential timeless quality items that can be worn and styled in multiple ways. These items are not 'time-defined' by fashion trends of the year they were bought. We asked Roberta Lee, The Sustainable Stylist, what the most basic essentials items look like and here’s what she said...
Capsule wardrobe essentials:
- A white T-shirt
- A white shirt
- A pair of jeans
- A jumper
- A pencil dress
- A blazer
- A denim jacket
- A simple overcoat
- A tote bag
- Across the body bag
- A simple clutch
- A pair of high-heeled court shoes in a neutral colour
- Ankle boots or knee high boots
- White classic pumps
This is why the Morphbag by GSK set is seasonless, trend proof and versatile in use and with coordinated colour options.The entire concept was designed so that the handbags could be long lasting sustainable capsule wardrobe essentials.
What is a minimalist capsule wardrobe?
Fashion designer Misha Nonoo famously curated the ultimate closet with just 8 items, and even collaborated with Meghan Markle on her 2019 Smart Works collection.
Having less doesn’t mean you are restricted, but it does require you to be creative with what you’ve got. If you find the idea of downsizing your wardrobe restrictive, consider working with a stylist who will help you sort through your wardrobe and focus on the key pieces you’ve already got, and how to get creative with the styling. For example, Roberta recommends trying on your clothes and seeing what you can wear back to front, using dresses as skirts, and layering shirts and T-shirts under or over dresses.
Ultimately you’ll end up with endless outfit combinations out of fewer items, which means you can keep your closet focused on clothes and accessories you’ll actually wear
What are the benefits of having a capsule wardrobe?
Roberta has spoken on stage about wardrobe overwhelm, an actual condition affecting many Brits, and joked about matters that can in fact lead to arguments with spouses, refusal to go out, and even being late for work! A messy wardrobe ultimately leads to stress. When you start your day overwhelmed and stressed by your outfit choice, it doesn’t set you up for the best start.
A clear and tidy wardrobe has mental health benefits, the clarity and calm, as well as enjoyment of a simple, strategic wardrobe is an absolute game changer.
A carefully curated closet will also save you lots of money in the long run.
A capsule collection can make it easy to get dressed, depending on the size of your closet, overwhelm can be greatly reduced when you can actually ‘see’ everything you own in one place.
Before creating your own capsule collection…
Before getting started on your capsule wardrobe makeover, there are some things to consider first. It's easy to shop for new things, but the key is to make sure everything you own and shop for in the future is carefully considered and earns its place in your wardrobe (and life).
These 7 steps should help you get started with confidence:
If you can’t remember when you last wore an item, let it go. Come up with a number of years as a guideline and stick with it. Consider using a Cost Per Wear spreadsheet or app to track it all.
Try items on and eliminate anything you do not look great in. Consider the fit, size and colour, and really ask yourself if you love the way you look in it.
If there are items you are unsure of, put them in a box and if over time you remember them and wish to wear them, take them out. If after 1 year you still have not worn them, you can happily give these up.
Build 5 outfits with every item you wish to keep, Roberta recommends the 5 for 5 rule, don’t keep anything that cannot be styled at least 5-ways with your existing items.
Shopping is not banned, the focus is on making sure you have those essential staples to make your wardrobe work harder for you. By doing this, it allows you time to save up for those big ticket investment pieces, which you know you will wear for the next 10 years or can get at least 100 wears from it.
Don’t buy an item just because it looks great on someone you admire. Do not think that your normal dress size is the right one for every garment. Buy the size that fits best and enhances your best bits. Always size up and get it altered to fit if you have the budget for getting the ‘perfect fit.
Once you are done, hold on to the feeling of the detox, and the balance and control it has given you. You will feel joy every time you will open your perfectly organised wardrobe with all items clear in view for you to choose from. No more wondering what to wear.
Need help curating a capsule collection?
If you still feel like you need guidance on your personal style, which includes things like body shape, your colours and figuring out your style personality, consider working with a stylist.
We recommend Roberta Lee, The Sustainable Stylist, who brings together effortless style, confidence and sustainability together. You can enjoy 10% off her fully comprehensive Create Your Own Personal Style online course by adding THEMORPHBAG into the coupon box at the checkout.
Roberta also offers 1:1 style coaching video support to all course members, so you can get extra support and encouragement along the way! For a limited time only, she is giving away extra style coaching so make sure you book onto the course before the offer ends.