Many of us have tried (and failed) to condense the size or our closets. Somehow we always seem to gravitate back to that fuzzy sweater we haven’t worn since high school or that shirt that never seems to look right off the hanger. This makes getting ready in the morning a challenge, and it makes our closets a disorganized mess.
This is where the capsule wardrobe comes in.
You’ve probably seen the term pop up in your Pinterest home feed. No matter if you are daunted by the idea (or even know about the idea), capsule wardrobes are a great way to become more in touch with your personal style, and make the best use of your tiny closet. Whatever the reason, the capsule wardrobe is the perfect choice for the collegiate—here’s why.
What is it?
A capsule wardrobe, according to the expert du jour, Caroline Rector of Unfancy, is “a mini wardrobe made up of versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.” Typically, capsule wardrobes are made up of 30-50 pieces, where every piece is picked with mindfulness. In the capsule wardrobe, there is no room for clothes you feel “meh” about; it’s all versatile, high quality pieces that you love.
As humans, though we may dream about Kylie Jenner’s handbag collection or lust after closets like celebrities’ we are not made to own several options of every material possession. If you always gravitate towards your favorite pair of skinny jeans when getting dressed, why would you need four or five pairs?
Having a smaller closet makes it easier to get ready as well. Once you switch to the capsule wardrobe, there is no more standing in front of your closet for twenty minutes debating what to wear. The smaller wardrobe pairs down your options and maximizes versatility, saving you time and energy in the morning.
Additionally, though it’s fun to pick up a cheap crop top or some new sunglasses every time you go shopping, don’t we all have those big purchase pieces we keep in the back of our minds for “when we have the money?” With a capsule wardrobe, instead of blowing $150 on a bunch of trendy pieces you felt like buying “at the moment,” you can finally have enough cash to splurge on those Hunter wellies you’ve been coveting.
The Un-fancy blog talks about budgeting as much as $500 to start your capsule wardrobe.
Obviously, this might be a reasonable budget for an adult woman, but for a woman in college, this isn’t a feasible amount of money.
So how do you make the capsule wardrobe possible?
Start by—wait for it—cleaning out your closet. Be ruthless about this. That one dress you kind of thought you’d wear but never got around to it? Donate it. Those jeans you only seem to wear every three months? Toss them. Even if you wind up just taking this pieces back to your parents’ house, get them out of your closet.
Next, look at what you really love about your wardrobe. Pick out the pieces you wouldn’t mind wearing every day if you had to—your favorite pair of jeans, those sneakers you can’t live without, your coziest cardigan. Now think about what you’re missing. Do you always wish you had the perfect flannel t-shirt to throw over your tank top? Maybe you’ve been lusting over a pair of ankle booties to pair with your boyfriend jeans. Whatever your current must-haves are, write them down. Prioritize—you can’t have three pairs of ankle booties, two new handbags, and fifteen different tops all in one season with a capsule wardrobe.
Now, think about what would be the best addition to your wardrobe right now. Look for things that pair well with the items you are keeping in your closet after the clean-out. Again, this is about priorities, so don’t make a list of fifteen items to buy.
Since you are buying fewer items, you can afford to buy higher-quality pieces. It’s okay if you have to save for a while before you start shopping; this isn’t a race, and it’s important to keep your budget in mind. The following staple pieces are high-quality items to consider in your search:
An absolute staple. I am still saving for this classic from Madewell.
Why buy three cheap watches that become damaged within a year when you can get a high quality watch that will last years and years wtihout breaking the bank? Fossil is an amazing source for reasonable watches such as this one that can be purchased for under $100.
An open-front cardigan sweater can be thrown over almost any outfit for extra warmth or extra style. My favorite cardigans have been thrifted, but this sweater from Urban Outiftters is under $60, and would layer well over just about any outfit.
Now that you know how to create a capsule wardrobe, the rest is up to you. Hopefully these tips inspire you to clean out the clutter and start buildling your capsule wardrobe!