Capsule Wardrobes: A Minimalist Approach to Staying Organized and Fashionable

If you’re like me and are reaching the end of your college career, you may have recently come to terms with the excessive amount of clothing that has built up in your closet. I frequently fall in the trap of retail therapy and have most definitely spent allocated food money on yet another winter scarf. I would describe my fashion style as selecting articles that are unique to current trends but oftentimes overwhelming to other pieces. I struggle to purchase neutrals in fear that the style does not speak to my character. 

Don't worry though, there is hope for all of us. The concept of a capsule wardrobe combines the principles of staying organized, keeping to a budget, and dressing always in fashion. Let’s rid of low quality and never-worn items, and invest in creating a closet that caters to our style and profession.

Capsule wardrobes can be defined as mini wardrobes that are compiled of versatile pieces you are excited to wear and that coordinate well with one another. This idea does not encourage starting from scratch but combines items you love and wear year-round, with quality items you shop for each season. 

In streamlining your closet, you will have more time, money, and energy to invest in other things you are passionate about. Below are the five essential steps to take in starting your own capsule wardrobe:

  1. Condense your closet to 37 items.

  2. Wear these pieces for three months. 

  3. Don’t shop during this period.

  4. During the last two weeks of the season, plan-out and potentially purchase for the next capsule season.

  5. Less is more, but it is up to you how much you choose to buy for the next season.

It is not as scary as it appears. Do not factor in jewelry, accessories, bathing suits, underwear, pajamas/loungewear, or jeans designated for messy activities like painting. These aforementioned belongings are either subjective depending on the outfit, or are not used to represent your image. These 37 items can be divided into shoes (9), bottoms (9), tops (15), and the remaining amount (4) between dresses and jackets or coats. The three-month periods represent the seasons, Winter (January-March), Spring (April-June), Summer (July-September), and Fall (October-December). 

When choosing what clothing you love over others, consider the Marie Kondo question of “Does it spark joy?” Items that don’t make you feel good or comfortable in your own skin are not worth keeping. Think about reality as well, and not “Well if I lose this weight, or make "x" amount of changes, then they will fit and look good.” Each day should be lived out confidently, and without the "I need to change" narrative placed in your head. We cannot foresee the future, or anticipate change until it happens. Enjoy the present moment. 

I hope these strategies will help you transition into a lifestyle that makes figuring out what to wear less stressful, and more enjoyable. Check out these staple items to add to your closet, and begin creating more outfit combinations than you ever imagined:

  • Grey cardigan

  • White tank

  • Brown ankle boots

  • Light-wash jean jacket

  • Plain black lace-up sneakers

  • Grey mesh-trimmed athleisure shorts

  • Black skinny jeans (no holes)