It’s only taken me four years, but we are finally here! It’s capsule wardrobe season, baby!
Let me backtrack a bit. Quite a bit… I’ve always been interested in fashion, but I’ve never been fashionable. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, but not in the IT-girl-Alex-Chung way (more in the ‘band tee and ill-fitting jeans’ kind of way). So when I started this blog a few years back, when I was a whipper-snapper of a university student, I took it as a chance to explore the fashion world and the idea of style. If you know me in real life, you are probably going ‘Wait what? Books-and-Folk-Music Rosie is interested in fashion? Are you sure?’ Yes, I sure am; I am a modern, multifaceted woman, thank you very much. I can enjoy a good sea shanty, the newest hardback of a Penguin Classic, and a livestream of the latest action from London Fashion Week.
I clicked follow and subscribed to all the fashion world and street style bloggers and vloggers, and marvelled at their daily, put-together looks (at that point, I was only looking put together if it was a night out at the student union). My favourites were the bloggers who felt real, and never peddled the idea that fashion was for one type of person. Give me those women who say ‘You can dress like this too! This is where I got this! This is how I did this!’ (I’m looking at you Patricia Bright, Helen Anderson, and The Anna Edit – absolute icons). And it was actually via The Anna Edit that I discovered something that would become my blog searching obsession – capsule wardrobes.
“What is a capsule wardrobe?” I hear you ask.
Well, I’ll be honest, I’m not the leading voice on this, considering I’ve only just made my own. At first, I thought it was a physical type of wardrobe, like the ever excellent IKEA PAX. But, no. Who What Wear have an excellent article on capsule wardrobes here, but to put it simply, it’s about having a set number of pieces of clothing in your personal wardrobe that create your everyday looks. A lot of minimalist bloggers like to stick to having thirty or so items in rotation, and others (like me, whoops) like to have more. But the key thing is to set a maximum number of pieces you own, and then stick to it for the season!
“Alright. But why? Why have a capsule wardrobe, when you can just have lots of clothes?” You raise a good question, Quotation-Rosie, but luckily for you, I’ve got the answers.
Firstly, having a capsule wardrobe is all about looking and feeling goooood. In a society that has taught those who identify as female to rein it in to be taken seriously, and mistakes self-love for vanity or vapidity, feeling good in how you look is an act of defiance. For me, there’s nothing better than putting on an outfit that makes me feel good – the idea of a capsule wardrobe centres around only filling your wardrobe with what makes you feel good! It’s not all about appearances either. When I feel good in an outfit, that I-feel-goooood feeling starts showing elsewhere in my life; my actions, my work, my behaviour (and on my Insta, of course).
Secondly, having a capsule wardrobe is a big step towards having a more sustainable wardrobe, and a more sustainable relationship with fashion itself. To have a capsule wardrobe means to own fewer pieces of clothing, and only buying what you need when gaps appear. With this in mind, it makes sense to buy better quality pieces, not pieces which will disintegrate after five wears (I’m looking at you Boohoo). The less fast fashion you buy, the longer lasting your wardrobe will be.
Finally, having a capsule wardrobe means you can really find your style. By only picking items that make you feel and look good, a theme should start appearing. For example, you might notice you own more classic fits and silhouettes, or own a lot of muted colours. This should make it easier when you put together outfits, as you know what you like! It also helps you create a style uniform. That’s what all those fashion IT Girls have; a specific look that springs from their outfit. A capsule wardrobe is how you can emulate that without having a glam team of hundreds and stylists on speedial.
So, now we know what a capsule wardrobe is, and why I’ve decided to introduce it into my life, let’s talk about how on earth I created it.
I created my capsule wardrobe via the very stylish, years practiced technique of throwing things into a black bag. Très cool. Any broken, ill-fitting, or not-me clothing went straight into bags marked ‘charity’ or ‘bin’. If I hadn’t worn a piece of clothing in a year, out it went to the charity shop! The only exception were clothes such as pajamas, fancy-pants cocktail dresses, and seasonal clothes like denim shorts. I chose not to include these in my capsule wardrobe as they don’t make up my everyday wardrobe.
After hours of whittling down, deciding between light blue or powder blue jeans, and wondering whether to get rid of a size 10 dress I hadn’t been able to fit into for six years, there it was – my capsule wardrobe. And I have to say, I am rather proud of myself! I’ve got more space in my bedroom, things are looking so much more tidier, and I can just grab some items from the hanger to make an outfit! Without further ado, I guess it’s time to get into what most of you are here for – what’s in my capsule wardrobe!
Let’s get cracking.
First up, we have tops and tees – I’m a bit of a t-shirt fiend, so I made these into two categories. Every wardrobe needs to have basics, so I have one black and one white plain boxy tee; easy to dress up or dress down with a swift change of shoes or skirt. And those basics are all I need, because my other t-shirts are statement tees that scream ‘LOOK AT MY INTERESTS PLEASE!’ (and no, that’s not a nickname for my boobs). Star Wars, Pop Art, Gorillaz, and the Moon Landing are all accounted for in my t-shirt collection. Make of that what you will.
Tops are where I start to smarten things up. Of course, the basics make a return; what’s a wardrobe without a white shirt, a black turtleneck, and a cropped shirt that gives off big Beetlejuice vibes? Aside from the workwear-meets-Tim-Burton-ready shirts, I have a few date night tops (including one with a gorgeous bardot neckline), and then an odd amount of oversized button up shirts from a vintage shop, complete with random patterns that look like the seat cover on a Stagecoach bus. I love them.
Living in Britain, I cannot rely on wearing just a t-shirt or blouse on top – we need cover ups. And my cover-up collection is very capsule wardrobe, if you ask me! Two pale and fluffy cardigans, two darker cotton cardigans, two blazers in various checks, one thick cream jumper, and a black sweatshirt that simply states Star Wars. Short and sweet, baby.
We’re coming to a section which made me realise something. Something I could have never envisioned a few years ago; I seem to have an obsession with the midi length skirt. Sure, I have some well fitting mom jeans, a pair of black skinnies, and some comfortable culottes. But I seem to have ended up with twelve pairs of midi skirts on my hands! After a lot of time trying to not convince myself I needed them all, I’ve settled with four midi skirts. One pleated teal number, one button down in brilliant yellow, another button down in white with blue stripes, and then a plain black number. But I don’t escape the midi-madness there….
The final category – dresses! As a teenager, I blimmin’ hated dresses and wanted only to wear band tees and skinny jeans. Whilst I am still partial to a racoon eye and swoopy fringe a la Hayley Williams, dresses have really come into my wardrobe in a big way, complete with midi obsessions. Six of my day to day dresses have a midi cut, and range all the way from a silky red slip dress to a button up green dress covered in dinosaurs (that has pockets!).
I’m rather thin on the ground regarding shoes and jackets – in a way, I’ve had a capsule shoe collection for a while. But that shouldn’t stop you putting them into your capsule wardrobe if you think you need to get a better grip on your shoes and jackets!
Do you know what the best thing is about changing my regular wardrobe to a capsule wardrobe? All of my clothes fit me.
I’m a midsize woman with a big booty, boobs, and thighs, and it’s taken me a long time to learn to love this body. I’ve traipsed through life settling for gaping jeans, gappy blouses, and stabbing bras, because most retailers don’t understand that designing clothes for slim size bodies and simply making them bigger as you go up the sizing chart, isn’t how bodies work! (And don’t get me started on how high street retailers approach ‘plus size’ ranges, I can feel the fury building…) So I’ve filled my capsule wardrobe with clothes that fit this heavenly body. None of this ‘I can only wear this shirt with this bra’ or ‘I can’t wear this dress to dinner’. No more breathing in with zips, shrugging down hemlines, safety pins behind buttons. Making a capsule wardrobe has meant I can eradicate all the clothes that don’t serve my purpose of making me feel good. And that’s what it’s all about.
So, that was the breakdown of my midsize capsule wardrobe! Overall, I’ve managed to keep it under forty pieces of clothing, which I am super proud of! I can sense the minimalist capsule wardrobe-ers looking down at me now, but hey; if it works for me, it works for me! Creating this capsule wardrobe has also shown me where the gaps in my wardrobe are. So I’ll be on the lookout for a multi-use little black dress and a pair of smart coloured trousers, amongst some more basic jumpers. But overall, I am so happy with how my capsule wardrobe has turned out, and how good it has made me feel.
Drop me a comment and let me know if you have a capsule wardrobe, or what you think of the idea!