As someone who is passionate about sustainable fashion, I knew I wanted to create a Capsule wardrobe. I have essentially had a capsule wardrobe for years but did not “formally” create one for the season until now. I wanted to create a chic and cozy fall capsule wardrobe that I could love wearing all season long. While we are already in October, here in the Pacific Northwest, it is still transitioning to Fall so I felt it was still a good time to build out my Fall wardrobe. In this post, I share all about Capsule Wardrobes and have a link to our Exclusive Fall Capsule Wardrobe Guide.
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing items (capsule) that can be styled in multiple looks. Capsules contain items that can be easily mixed and matched to create multiple looks. The intent of a capsule wardrobe is to be more intentional and making the most of the clothing you have.
What is a sustainable Capsule Wardrobe?
We define sustainability as being able to sustain people and the planet. A sustainable capsule wardrobe is about making the most of what you have which helps to reduce overproduction and overconsumption. The fashion industry, in particular the fast fashion industry, has fast fashion cycles that produce new clothing items at an increasingly fast pace. To keep up with the fast fashion cycle and at a low price, workers’ rights, and wellbeing as well as the environment pay the final cost.
Having a capsule wardrobe helps combat this by reducing the need to buy new items. This doesn’t mean new items are not needed to fill out the capsule or to replace items that have been well worn and loved. Again, it is all about being mindful and intentional of what we wear and buy.
How many pieces does a capsule wardrobe have?
There is not set number for a capsule wardrobe but usually capsules vary between 10-30 pieces of clothing. Some capsules include shoes, outerwear, and accessories in this count while others leave these out of the count.
Another way that capsule wardrobe counts are used is for the number of looks or styles you can create with a wardrobe. You may have seen challenges such as 10 X 10 where you create 10 looks using 10 pieces. This method can help inspire capsule wardrobes or try them out for a shorter period of time compared to a full season. Again, the numbers are more of a guideline to help narrow down the pieces you need to have a wardrobe you love.
If you are new to capsule wardrobes, I recommend not focusing on the number of pieces in a capsule wardrobe. The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to be more intentional on the items we wear and making the most of the clothing you have. If settling on a number of specific pieces is too limiting, try looking at a number of outfits you can make with one clothing item. For example, if your closet has over 50 items, look at the pieces that are the most versatile or that you love to wear. See if you can make five or more outfits using a few items to help create a more intentional wardrobe. Over time, you can see the items that you love to wear and can make multiple items with, helping you form your own capsule.
You may be wondering if a Capsule wardrobe is really worth it and why you should even bother. Not to worry if that is you, life is hectic enough without adding something new. But that is just it. Capsule Wardrobes can save you time and make getting ready in the morning less stressful.
Why should I have a capsule wardrobe?
Capsule wardrobes are great for easily creating looks you love. No more staring at your closet with nothing to wear. Sounds crazy when you have fewer items to work with right? But the best part of a capsule wardrobe is being able to easily mix and match pieces, so you always have looks that fit your style.
Capsule wardrobes are also considered to be more sustainable because it reduces overconsumption and overproduction of clothes. Reducing overconsumption can help reduce textile waste and pollution.
Is a capsule wardrobe worth it?
Capsule wardrobes may not appeal to everyone. However, capsule wardrobes are great for those who are looking to have a more intentional and creative wardrobe, reduce overproduction and consumption by supporting slow fashion cycles, and being able to create looks you love. I find them to be worth it and am looking forward to creating more capsule wardrobes.
If you like the sound of a Capsule Wardrobe, how do you get started?
I am definitely a planner and I decided to plan out my Fall Capsule Wardrobe. It was not very time consuming to plan and it ended up saving me a bunch of time and headache when it came time to create my outfits. Here is how I did it:
It all comes down to planning. The intent of a capsule wardrobe is to be more intentional and making the most of the clothing you have. I used several prompts to help plan out my capsule.
What occasions you need clothing for?
- I see what activities or events are coming up in the season so I can make sure I have outfits for these events. Nothing stops a capsule wardrobe more than staring in your closet and having nothing to wear.
What styles do you love to wear and already have?
- To make the most of what I already have, I like to see which items I can carry over to the Fall season. This is typically the building blocks of my capsule as I can find other items to compliment what I already own.
What styles do I want to try or items that need replaced?
- This is a much smaller list of items that may be needed to fill out the capsule wardrobe. For example, this year my boots were falling apart so I needed a new pair of boots. I also wanted to try a crop top, so I was able to add that to my capsule.
- As the intention is to make the most of what you have, this part is mainly for items you will wear a lot, items that need replaced, or items for special occasions.
Check out our Fall Capsule Wardrobe Guide with all the planning prompts, clothing checklist, and inspiration here.
One of the concerns I had with any type of closet refresh, is how to do it on a budget. A capsule wardrobe does not have to be expensive. In some cases, you may not even need to buy new clothing items. If you find that you need to get new items for Fall or need to replace items in your closet, you can do so on a budget.
I typically budget based on the type of items I need and considering the budget I would usually have at the start of the season. Think of back to school or if you would normally buy new items for Fall and Winter.
Another way to look at the budget is price per wear. This is when you take the cost of an item ($50) and divide by the number of wears (100) and the price per wear would be 50 cents. For example, a pair of pants is $50 but you will wear them 100 times over the next 6 months. This would make the cost per wear 50 cents. If you compare this with buying a shirt at $20 that can only be worn 10 times over the season, the cost per wear is $2.00.
This method can be used when a new item may be a higher price point upfront but over the season it is actually cheaper. Capsule wardrobes allow you to wear the same clothing pieces in a variety of ways making the price per wear lower.
Capsule Wardrobes on a Budget
Where can you find some clothing items for your capsule wardrobe on a budget? Your friends or family’s closet. You read that right. Clothing swaps are a great way to get “new” items on a budget. I love a great clothing swap to get inspired and try on clothes with my friends. Grab a bottle of wine and make it a fun way to get together and support sustainable fashion.
Secondhand stores and online resale are a great way to get items for your capsule on a budget. Having a list of items that you need may help reduce time searching for the perfect piece.
For special occasions or items, you don’t intend to keep, renting is a great option. I have rented dresses for New Year’s, Fall weddings, and other special occasions where I may not need to wear the item all season long.
Capsule Wardrobes do not have to be expensive, and these are some great ways to stick to a budget.
Overall, I am a huge fan of Capsule Wardrobes. My closet is less chaotic, and I can easily put together chic and cozy outfits. A Capsule Wardrobe is all about a more intentional wardrobe and making the most of what you have. Remember it is all about progress and not perfection. Creating your own Capsule wardrobe does not have to be complicated or expensive. Check out our exclusive Fall Capsule Guide to help you plan out a Capsule Wardrobe you love.
Check out our Fall Capsule Wardrobe Guide with all the planning prompts, clothing checklist, and inspiration here. Let us know on Instagram what you think of Capsule Wardrobes and to share photos of the Fall looks you create.