One of the biggest concerns I often hear about building a capsule wardrobe, is how do you keep it exciting?
Its a valid concern. If your wardrobe has a relatively small number of items, then it can feel like you are wearing the same clothes again and again. However, if you are clever, you can utilise the following tips to ensure that you remain excited to get dressed everyday. After all, isn't that what its really about?
1. Seasonal shopping window
Creating a capsule wardrobe doesn't mean you are on a life-long shopping ban. If nothing else, items will wear out eventually, so there will always need to be some replacements. On top of this, there can be changes in our circumstances or style preferences, that mean you need to bring in new items. A capsule wardrobe should be flexible enough to evolve with you.
An effective method to streamline your style is to have seasonal shopping windows. This allows you to bring in new items, if required, but only during discreate time periods. I have found this added constraint really useful in keeping a handle on my shopping and ensures I am buying items with intention.
As I live in the UK, where we have 4 seasons, this means that I will have 4 shopping windows a year. A few weeks before the turn of the season, I will assess my current wardrobe and identify any gaps. This means I can make a specific list of anything I may need and am fully prepared for when the weather changes. Adapt this to suit your circumstances/seasons and it will ensure that you feel fabulous all year round.
2. Test-drive by thrifting
Buying second hand is always an excellent low-cost and a sustainable way to update your wardrobe. I find this particularly useful for 'testing' new items that you aren't yet sure about. Perhaps you would like to add a new style component to your wardrobe, but are unsure whether this would suit you or your lifestyle. Bringing in thrifted items on a trial basis is a fantastic, low commitment option, that allows you to monitor how often you actually wear something.
I regularly have a 'charity-shop list' on my phone. This has a few select items that I want to keep an eye our for if I'm ever nosing around these shops. As an idea, I'm currently on the hunt for a grey, long-shelved turtleneck and a blue, cotton, knee-length pinafore. These are both within my style parameters, but slightly different, so worth testing before investing in a high-cost sustainable option. Remember to be as specific as possible with all your shopping lists, as its much easier to filter this way.
With both these tips, it is important to stay on top of your decluttering. You can adopt a one in one out rule, or be more fluid with this, and regularly assess what you are wearing and what you can let go of. I assess all my items as part of my seasonal reviews. Remember, the idea of a capsule wardrobe is that EVERY ITEM gets worn on a regular basis.
3. Clever styling and versatile clothing
I have a year-round capsule wardrobe. This means that every item in my wardrobe can be worn in multiple seasons. You can have a capsule for each season, which I have trialled, but found it doesn't work that well with the UK's unpredictable climate! I'm often reaching for a warm knit in the middle of July, so it makes more sense to have everything close to hand.
The key to versatile clothing is layering. For every item I bring in, I want to be able to style it in such a way to create multiple seasonal outfits. I wear dresses in the winter by layering over long-sleeve tops. I can wear shorts and skirts by layering over leggings. I can wear long-sleeve tops in warmer weather by rolling up the sleeves and style jackets by wrapping them around my waist or layering them over lighter t-shirts.
Being creative with your wardrobe is far more enjoyable and sustainable than having items for every different occasion. Versatile clothing means that you can alter outfits to suit different dress codes. Pop on different jewellery or glam up your make-up/hair to instantly transform an outfit. Make sure to check out how my latest reel on how I style a jumpsuit to create 3 different outfits on my Instragram.
4. Borrow or rent clothing
Borrowing is a lost art. In this consumerist culture, our instant reaction when we see a gap in our lives is to purchase something new to fill it as quickly as possible. This is not only expensive, but can come at a real cost to the planet, as the demand for new items grows.
Borrowing clothing from friends and family can be so much fun. It gives you instant access to far more choices, without burdening your capsule wardrobe. Even if you aren't the exact same size, you can always stick to borrowing accessories like handbags and jewellery. I decluttered my 'fancy handbag' long ago, with the realization that I would, at most, use this once a year. If an occasion does arise, then I have plenty of kind and stylish friends that could help me out. Its just about thinking outside the box.
Another option is to rent clothes. I think this is a fantastic idea, especially for those more dressy occasions. I've not done this myself, primarily due to the lack of 'fancy' events in my life recently, but this is an innovative idea that is really gaining in popularity. A far more affordable way to style some more pricy clothing. Just make sure not to spill any drinks on you!
5. Mix up your colour palette
Capsule wardrobes are traditionally made up of a more limited colour palette. This ensures that the majority of your clothing is complementary and offers the option to create multiple outfits. I've recently finished reading 'The Curated Closet', which helpfully splits colours into -
Main colours - the colours you wear a lot and should be picked for your key pieces
Neutral colours - colours that can be used for your basics and complement your main colours
Accent colours - an extra colour in your wardrobe, which work best as accessories or single items, that aren't the foundation to your wardrobe
With this in mind, if you want to change up your wardrobe, you could start by introducing a new colour. This works especially well for accent colours. I've started doing this in my own wardrobe, as I am adding to my 'autumnal accents' by including burnt orange with my existing burgundy reds and mustard yellows. Adding a pleasing freshness to my wardrobe.
I have been working with a capsule wardrobe for about a year now and I am yet to get bored of it. I have found so much more creativity and satisfaction in getting dressed.
Make sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter, where I feature an 'outfit of the month' from my capsule wardrobe and share my styling techniques. What are the key pieces in your wardrobe that you cannot live without? Comment below!