Capsule Wardrobe 101

Written by: Carla De Guzman/Wednesday, Jul 11, 2018 04:39 AM

We’ve seen it posted all over Instagram the blogs of the glitterati—carefully curated closets, where single piece seems to go perfectly with everything else. Pair that with a sense of dread every time you look at your closet, and you have every motivation you need to try to create your own capsule wardrobe. Contrary to popular belief, the perfect closet doesn’t mean getting rid of everything and buying completely new things. It means looking at what you have, and making sure every piece of clothing in that closet is working for you. We’ve got everything you need to know to start building a closet that feels like yours. 

Step One: The Cull

Remember that scene in Gilmore Girls where Emily is in a shirt and jeans (gasp!), looking at everything and asking herself if they bring her joy? Do the same for your closet. Lay everything out on a space (your bed is the best option), and try each and every item on and separate your clothes into four categories; Keep, Repair, Store, Toss. The Keep category is for the clothes you find yourself reaching for easily, almost every time. Those clothes that when you see in your closet, you put on immediately. Repair is for clothes that need a little TLC. Maybe it’s a pair of jeans that fit you well, but need new buttons, a dress that needs re-hemming. It could also be a shirt that just needs a little nip or tuck before it fits you perfectly. 

The Store category is for clothes that you’re currently not using, but will need later on. This usually include winter clothes in the summer months, bathing suits and sarongs. Make sure you fit these as well, just to make sure they fit by the time you need them. 

Toss is anything and everything that doesn’t match your style, or doesn’t fit you. Tell yourself that any item that you haven’t worn in three months needs to go in this pile, because you’re never going to wear it again. Consider either passing these on to someone else, selling them or donating. 

Step Two: The Uniform

Now for the interesting bit. At this point, all you will have on your bed are the clothes that you wear on a rotational basis, ones that make you feel comfortable and make you feel good. Now that you know what you usually end up wearing, try to figure out what your ‘uniform’ is. Regardless if it’s a comfortable shirt, jeans and kicks or a particular dress shape with heels, these are the kinds of clothes you need to have. The strictest of the capsule wardrobe gurus tell you that you need to limit your closet items to 30, and if you can do that, then great, but it’s not required. The fewer you have, the better. 

Step Three: The Test

For the next three months, limit yourself to the clothes in your closet. No shopping. Resist temptation by walking past your usual fast fashion haunts, and slowly note which items in your current work, which don’t, and what you will need. We recommend making a list. 

Step Four: The Shop

Once the three months are up, you should have a list of the things you need to fill the gaps in your closet. You’re shopping, but you’re shopping smarter, getting things that you need. The general rule of thumb is that for every item you purchase, it needs to mix/match with at least three outfits in your head. The more the better. This is where knowing your ‘uniform’ comes in handy. 

About Carla De Guzman
Carla de Guzman is the author of self-published books Cities, Marry Me Charlotte B! and We Go Together. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family by day. By night, she’s writer and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk. Follow her on Instagram (@somemidnights) for more!
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