The concept of a capsule wardrobe was popularized in 1985 by designer Donna Karan.
She launched a collection of 7 interchangeable clothing pieces aimed at helping working women assemble different outfits for various occasions effortlessly. This idea of having a few articles of clothing may have tapered slightly because of the rise of fast fashion in recent years. However, the concept of a capsule wardrobe is experiencing a revival as more and more people realize how buying tons of poorly-made clothes results in significant clothing waste that is hurting the planet.
Perhaps you are one of the many who started building a capsule wardrobe to help the environment. If so, you probably understand by now that it makes good sense to buy tights, jeans, a little black dress, a white button-down shirt, and a few other staple pieces that you can readily mix and match. Besides saving precious time and energy picking out clothes in the morning, having a small but highly functional collection allows you to get the most out of your purchases.
Building a capsule wardrobe truly has its perks, but it also takes a bit of know-how and effort to create impressive and fun outfits. If you are looking for ideas on how you can make your mini wardrobe more appealing, read on. This piece will offer practical tips on how you can add variety and flair to your capsule closet so you can keep your looks fresh and resist the urge to buy more clothes than you actually need.
Play with Colors
Contrary to a common misconception, capsule wardrobes do not have to be solely composed of clothing articles in neutral hues. Although it is easier to combine pieces in timeless colors like black, gray, beige, and white, you are free to incorporate bright colors into your closet to add spice and style to your outfits.
It is worth pointing out that the whole point of a minimalist and sustainable wardrobe is to have a collection of clothes that you love—pieces that make you feel and look good. So, if wearing varied and vibrant hues boosts your mood, do not hesitate to incorporate colors into your capsule wardrobe. However, you may need to be strategic in your approach. Ultimately, you want your colorful items to go well with the rest of your clothing pieces.
Don’t know where to start? Keep colors in one category. Instead of having both tops and bottoms in vibrant hues, why not keep colors in one category and stick with neutral shades for the others. For example, if you choose colorful tops, keep your bottoms in muted shades. That way, you can readily create attractive outfits without worrying about matching your separates. After all, you can never go wrong with pairing a colorful top or bottom with a neutral-colored piece.
Expand Your Options
The primary purpose of a capsule wardrobe is to have a collection of essential pieces that you can wear interchangeably to create a variety of outfits. Although you will naturally trim your closet by picking out necessary items, no rule says you have to downsize your wardrobe to a specific number of pieces. Whether you maintain 37 or more staple garments is up to you, for as long as you can maximize the use of every single item in your closet for a long time.
That said, you may want to expand your options to add variety to your capsule wardrobe. For instance, rather than maintaining one neutral t-shirt, you can have three shirts with different vibes—plain, vibrant, and a cross between the two.
Try applying the same formula to the other items in your closet. You can have three types of jeans, shorts, button-up shirts, sweaters, ballet flats, heels, etc. Ensure that each piece is unique, not only in color but in overall look. With this simple trick and a bit of creativity, you can put together multiple fashionable outfits that suit every mood, occasion, and season effortlessly.
Consider Textures and Prints
Aside from adding colors to your capsule closet, you can also incorporate different textures and prints to make your wardrobe more diverse. An ensemble composed of a black cotton hoodie paired with a black cotton skirt is perfectly serviceable but lacks variety and visual interest. This same outfit becomes more edgy and fashionable when you choose a skirt with a different fabric or texture, such as leather, denim, or chiffon.
So, why don’t you try maintaining tops and bottoms with different fabric finishes, such as heavy, flowy, smooth, shiny, or matte? Go monochromatic, but use contrasting textures to add depth and elevate your outfits. As for prints, you can never go wrong opting for tops with classic designs, like stripes, plaid, floral, and polka dots. Such prints go well with practically all types of bottoms in muted colors, from dress pants and tights to skirts and shorts.
Experiment with Accessories
Perhaps you are satisfied with whatever items you have in the closet, but you still hope to expand your outfit options. Or maybe you want to put together more fashionable ensembles, but you lack the budget or space to accommodate additional clothing pieces. Whatever situation you are in, there is one effective strategy to help you create tons of fabulous outfits with a limited wardrobe—make use of the power of accessories.
With the right jewelry, shoes, scarf, or other accessories, you can put together a variety of looks even while wearing the same outfit over and over. Let’s say you have on a little black dress and you want to transform it into something appropriate for the office. You can dress it up using a statement scarf, black or charcoal gray pumps, and a matching leather bag. For date nights, try wearing an eye-catching necklace with chunky stones in bold colors or sparkly earrings to add a touch of glam to your ensemble. A pair of sexy red stilettos can also do the trick. If you want something more relaxed for casual Fridays or coffee with friends, you can pair your LBD with a denim jacket and lace-up sneakers.
If you are new to accessorizing, you may want to start investing in a few classic pieces that never go out of style. Here are some of them:
- Scarves in various lengths, colors, and designs
- Stud and statement earrings
- A bold necklace
- A leather or metal watch
Update When Necessary
Sure, a capsule wardrobe can serve you for many years. But sometimes, your needs and preferences change. So much so that sometimes your clothes no longer spark joy in your life. Maybe you changed careers or now lead a different lifestyle, so your clothing requirements will change as well. Regardless of the reason, it’s a good idea to regularly assess your collection to see whether you need to revamp your wardrobe.
Updating your capsule wardrobe is an important strategy to ensure you can use every clothing piece in your closet to the fullest. Imagine if you only have 40 items in your capsule wardrobe but you have outgrown over half of them for one reason or another. How can you create multiple styles with such limited options? Whether you like it or not, you may need to accept that shopping for new pieces is unavoidable to keep your capsule closet functional.
Hopefully, this piece made you realize that having a capsule wardrobe does not mean wearing uninteresting or unexciting outfits. Although you are making a conscious effort to limit your clothing purchases to help the environment, you do not have to sacrifice fashion in the process. With the right strategy, creativity, and imagination, you can build a minimalist closet with enough variety to keep you excited and stylish every day.