Saturday, 4 February 2012

Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule Wardrobe: a set of clothing which can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits
Clothing Chaos

The concept of a capsule wardrobe is one that has interested me for a while now because of the many benefits that occur from dressing this way. After putting a capsule wardrobe together, the amount spent on clothes is very low, things are replaced when they are worn and only a few special items bought each year. Everything in your wardrobe works together, so no more clothes that never get worn! The benefits for the environment are great, because of purchasing less clothes, but even greater if the items in your capsule wardrobe are also ethical. And by having less good quality items, that fit together to make so many outfit combinations, you are guaranteed to always look stylish!

As I want to lighten my load, live more ethical but also stay stylish, it's become clear that this is the way that I would like to go. I want a wardrobe that works hard, gets me through every season and is timeless, stylish regardless of current trends! However, it has also left me wondering, how will this work for me? And how many items should I have in my capsule wardrobe? I decide to do a little bit of capsule wardrobe research to give me some ideas...

Mary Porta's talks of the three most important items for a woman's wardrobe: a 'wear-anywhere' dress, a beautiful pair of trousers and a great shoe. Great key items for a capsule wardrobe, but you'd obviously need to build on this.

Susie Faux invented the term 'capsule wardrobe' in the 70's. Her blog Confidence Tricks has great ideas for the modern capsule wardrobe. Susie's capsule wardrobe consists of 2 pairs of trousers, a dress or a skirt, a jacket, a coat, a knit, two pairs of shoes and two bags. My stomach turns when I think of this few clothes. I would not cope! So I look for a capsule wardrobe with more clothes...

In a great article for Red Magazine (which actually sparked my interest in the capsule wardrobe), Anna Berkeley wrote of 38 items for your capsule wardrobe which would result in over 400 outfit choices. This consists of: 4 coats, 2 jackets, 6 dresses, 4 tees, 2 knits, 3 tops, 3 shirts, 4 pairs of jeans, 5 pairs of trousers, 3 skirts & 2 shorts. For me this would be a bit bottom heavy, I'd prefer more tops, and I'm not sure if 38 would even be enough clothes for me...

My reading about capsule wardrobes start to get like maths. I read somewhere else that 15 items can make over 50 outfit combinations. And I'm not sure if any of the capsule wardrobes I'm reading about would suit me and my needs. So I go to one of my favourite books for inspiration: Green is the New Black by Tamsin Blanchard. Her idea of the capsule wardrobe is not prescriptive, it just gives ideas of what can be/should be included, so you can work it out yourself (without going too mad on the amount of clothes). In fact, she talks of having 41 dresses in hers (although she doesn't condone this), which makes me far less worried for thinking that 38 items is too few.

This article over at Ethics Girls, has also been a great help to me!!

So I guess I will just have to work out my (ethical) capsule wardrobe myself... More to follow!!

Another wardrobe example. My friend L's three rails of clothes! However, much tidier than mine! 


  1. This is very interesting! I definitely do not have a 'capsule' wardrobe, as I have do have plenty of clothes (but I have never counted them, you gave me an idea!). The thing that I am constantly learning is to be honest with yourself.

    For example a capsule wardrobe can be an inspiration, something to push you towards decluttering your life in general (I found that happened with my year of no new clothes) but then you 'tailor' it to your needs and it may not be nor be called a 'capsule' wardrobe anymore, but the journey has been the learning experience that you were looking for :)

    I know I wouldn't be able to call mine a 'capsule' because, well... it wouldn't fit in a 'capsule' eheh! But I certainly I'm embracing and loving every minute of it, of reducing my 'stuff' drastically and aim to buy ethically made clothes only.

    I look forward to reading your journey! Good luck :D x

  2. My wardrobe is so far from capsule :(

  3. Mine is also far from capsule at the moment, it's complete chaos! I am looking forward to have some organisation and order to it!

  4. I love this! I'm always trying to push myself to rework what I have.

  5. Nice post! I definitely need to go through my wardrobe again and down size! x

  6. Interesting concept! Mine is a mess! haha.. definitely not a capsule!
    Thanks for your comment! :)

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  7. I'm happy to find your blog! I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe but I don't know how I could ever make it work for me. I have so many bright and out there vintage pieces, it would be hard to make them go together. And way too hard to give them up! :) I constantly battle clothing piles too.

  8. hmmm, very interesting ideas here! never thought of doing it this way. thanks for the ideas!

    The House of Shoes

  9. Oh wow! What a great challenge! I hope you are making some headway in creating a neat wardrobe that works for you.

    Accessories may be the key to success, like the (pretty amazing) girl from The Uniform Project (

    You have got me thinking about my own wardrobe now... :)

  10. I wish I had more of a capsule wardrobe!

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  12. I like the concept of a capsule wardrobe because is one that has interested me for a while now because of the many benefits that occur from dressing this way. After putting a capsule wardrobe together, the amount spent on clothes is very low, things are replaced when they are worn and only a few special items bought each more