The Do’s and Don’ts of a Capsule Wardrobe

Do you ever find yourself wondering what to wear for your next (masked) outing, only to realize that everything you own is either too flashy, too boring, too ‘2020,’ or just not right? Well, a capsule wardrobe might be exactly what you need.

In 1985 American designer Donna Karan popularized the idea of a ‘capsule wardrobe’ by releasing her collection 7 Easy Pieces. The main concept behind this idea was to make working women’s clothing style more minimalistic while still ensuring that they made the best use of what they had Since then, not only designers and fashion influencers but even common people have jumped onto this bandwagon to make their lives easier.

Here are a few Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind if you’re looking to curate your own capsule wardrobe:

1. Don’t purchase ‘one-timers’

While building your capsule wardrobe, an important thing to consider is how likely you are to wear a particular item of clothing. If you own a beautiful blue bodycon dress but you’ve only worn it once in two years, keep that aside. You don’t need to discard it, but you just won’t be incorporating it into your daily capsule wardrobe.

Do focus on the basics

There are some pieces of clothing that you can style in different ways depending on the occasion. The essence of a capsule wardrobe is to keep only those things that can be worn multiple times in different ways.  Make sure to keep classics like white t-shirts and blue jeans in your capsule.

2. Don’t be easily swayed by research

Before you go down the Google rabbit hole, remember that there are no set guidelines of what a capsule wardrobe is supposed to be. What works for one Youtuber may not be what will work for you. If you live somewhere relatively warm, you will probably not need the boots and blazers that most influencers term a ‘must-have.’

Do analyze your closet

Instead of merely concentrating on the usual black, beige, white color scheme, look through your own closet and observe over the course of a week which pieces you wear the most. Maybe you often pair up your green kurta with jeans, palazzos, skirts, and even shorts! In that case, you should definitely retain it. What qualifies as ‘essential’ to you may be different to what it does for others and that’s completely okay.

3. Don’t compromise on quality

Instead of going for the cheaper alternative, purchase something sustainable and will last you longer. Since a capsule wardrobe comprises very few items, each individual piece should be made up of good quality fabric.

Do calculate cost per wear

Before you make a purchase, calculate how much you’re spending each time you wear it. A black top bought at a local market may cost only Rs. 200 but because the quality is bad, you may end up wearing it only twice. On the other hand, a top that costs Rs. 1000 may be worn by you 50 times. So, in the long run, you’re actually spending way less in the second instance. Invest in items that will help you minimize your cost-per-wear.

4. Don't ignore accessories

With all the focus on clothes, you may end up forgetting about what will actually make your wardrobe stand out. Shoes, bags, necklaces, etc. are important aspects of your overall look and will make all the difference when it comes to presenting the same outfit with a new vibe.

Do experiment!

When shopping for accessories, try to look for statement pieces to really elevate your whole look to the next level. Simplicity need not be the mantra here. A layered necklace could make your outfit more beautiful than that ordinary locket.

5. Don't restrict yourself

Before you make a major change in your fashion sense and lifestyle, take some time to understand what does and does not work for you.  Don’t just donate or throw away the rest of your clothes. Try out the capsule wardrobe for a couple of days, switch out pieces of clothing, see how many outfits you can make out of what you have instead of directly taking the plunge.

Do have fun with it!

Although it will save you a lot of time in the morning, having a capsule wardrobe does not mean giving up on fun, trendy fashion.  Keep experimenting and trying out new ways to make the whole process work better for you.

Always remember, a capsule wardrobe should be easy, not restrictive. Instead of limiting yourself to clear-cut definitions, be bold and make your fashion choices in a way that represents your idea of the capsule wardrobe!