If you have read our blog article about sustainable fashion, you have already heard of the term but in any cases we want to answer here what a capsule wardrobe is. This term became in a short time a much used word. But it is important to understand what it means, where it comes from and how you can create your capsule wardrobe.

The history: how it started

The term was used the first time in the 1970s by Susie Faux who owned a store in London which was called “wardrobe”. The concept of her store was to propose basic pieces which do not go out of fashion, like pants or skirts which can be combined with seasonal pieces or accessories. Donna Karen, an American Designer did popularise the concept when she launched in 1985 a collection of 7 work-wear pieces which are interchangeable and easy to match. The collection was named “7 Easy Pieces”. Following Donna Karen a woman can accomplish anything with the right pieces to wear- if this does not sound like an amazing spirit!

So what is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is the opposite of fast fashion. It means reducing the number of clothes you own. And it means to focus on what you really need. The idea is to have pieces which can be mixed and matched, which do not go out of fashion and which are easy to wear at any occasion. Clothes made to last.

A capsule wardrobe is a way of organising your clothes. You choose must-have pieces which are high quality and can be combined easily with each other. For example black pants should be part of every capsule wardrobe. You can match with a more formal business outfit as well as a coloured shirt to go out with friends. The black pants can be matched and there is no need for several pants for different occasions. The idea to minimize to pieces which are really needed is part of the capsule wardrobe.

It is all about being minimalistic – Create yours

To choose well what you buy and wear is also part of sustainable fashion. To create your capsule wardrobe the first step is to tidy up and to actually realize what is in your wardrobe. First of all take out everything (yes everything) of your wardrobe and put it on your bed. This will make you realize the number of clothes you own, and we guess you will be shocked how much it is. Now start to separate between pieces you did not wear for the last 12 months and put them on one side of the bed and the other on the opposite side. Start now with the pieces you did not wear for 12 months. Use the following table to decide what to do with them.

Step by step questionnaire to help to tidy up towards a capsule wardrobe

Now take the new pile of pieces you want to keep and assure that this pile is not too high. You should only keep pieces which really have a sentimental value and limit in number, try to be strict with yourself and go through the pile a second time.

If you want to analyse your style a bit further check as well the pieces you did select not to keep. Is there a cut, a colour or a print which shows up several times? Make a short list and you might see what you should better avoid in the future. Maybe the colour red or maybe a certain tight cut- this can help you not to buy again similar pieces.

Re-select the pieces to be kept

Now to the pile of pieces to be kept which you did wear the last 12 months. Pick the 10 pieces you did wear the most often, the pieces you love and which are your favourite. Check them for colour, cut and style and define what your style is. Maybe you already know this or maybe it will make you discover something new about yourself.

Sort the clothes by activity and check if it fits with your lifestyle. For example you are a business woman and work from Monday to Friday; you spend a lot of time in the office. You go once per week to do sports. Now you see that you have most clothes for sport and less for office- this is something to note. Stop buying sport clothes and check this pile again and define your style for the office.

Once all this done you can put back the pieces to be kept in your wardrobe. Take care of the pieces to be repaired or tailored and donate the clothes which you do not want to keep but which are in good shape or switch at a clothes swap party.

Create your capsule wardrobe

Keep in mind that less is more. Select carefully pieces which you keep and compare with our checklist if there is everything you need as basis. This is of course not the full list of a wardrobe but can help to assure that you have all basics. If something is missing, buy it in high quality and from a fair fashion brand to assure that it will last long.

Following these basic pieces see what you have further. Check what you can combine, and what might be the next piece to buy. Whenever buying new pieces keep in mind what you have learned from tidying up based on colour and cuts which suit you better than others.

The business capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is perfect for work outfits. No matter of clothes for daily work in the office or for business travel. The concept of a capsule wardrobe just suits the routine of a business woman.

If you have your pieces from the basics list before, you can easily work around. A pencil skirt might be something you need as well as this piece is just perfect to be combined. You might need 2 or 3 blouses and a blazer. Maybe a second pair of black shoes and that is mostly it. Keep in mind to combine. For a casual work outfit you can use the jeans as for a dinner with friends you can use the pencil skirt as well. Getting dressing in the morning never has been so easy!

The capsule wardrobe in the press

The international press and journals wrote widely about capsule wardrobes the last years. We would like to highlight some great articles which allow you to find more information.

The independent shared this article about the capsule wardrobe. What we love is that it explains the basic way to create one. And we love the way the conclude: “Don’t be afraid to introduce new pieces to your capsule but make sure that they work with what you already have and can be worn in a variety of ways.”

Good on you, the application which allows you to know if fashion brands are sustainable, writes as well about it. The guideline is close to ours- start to see what you have and tidy up. Following pick your basics and work around these. We absolutely agree!

Brands which are specialists here

Last but not least we would like to present you two brands that did specialise in collections which perfectly serve as basics to create your outfits.

One is Atode, a French brand, which helps you with a lot of guidelines. Further they also offer masterclasses and tests to find your style. Their clothes are sustainable and made to last, manufactured in France. But their goal is as well to really help customers to be informed before buying and we think this is awesome. Check them out and let us know what you think!

The second brand is Jan’n June, a German brand who focusses on a minimalistic style. They even published a book about a minimalistic wardrobe. You can find clothes for men and women, all made sustainable and in transparent conditions. Especially if something from the basics list is missing or needs to be replaced you can find it here.

We hope you learned something and you are fully motivated now to tidy up your wardrobe- let’s go for it!

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