What exactly is a Capsule Wardrobe?
The term “capsule wardrobe” was first coined by Susie Faux, a boutique owner who lived by a capsule wardrobe, “a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don't go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.”
In the 50 years since Ms. Faux, the usefulness of the capsule wardrobe still holds. Dwindling your closet down to high-quality essentials allows wearers to value their belongings, and make their loved clothes last.
I have a busy schedule, I live bi-coastally and often work 14 hour days. For me, the capsule wardrobe is more of a blessing than a challenge. Five years ago, I did my first capsule wardrobe. I was traveling across Europe and the Middle East for 3 months (which is when I thought up the idea for Faire). I took a weeks worth of clothes for the entire trip. Last month I made the move from Austin to New York City, which was a great time to revisit my old capsule wardrobe.
Choosing the Wardrobe
The first time around, I was super specific to the contents of my wardrobe. Because I was traveling, I couldn't bring much with me—so every single piece was chosen very intentionally. This time, I kept a similar mentality, choosing outfits that would mix and match well, so I wasn't always wearing the same thing. I always bring a dress that I can dress up or down for different occasions. I also found it useful to include some tights and a jacket in the capsule, so I can accommodate my outfits to the weather. Above all else, I choose items that would make me comfortable.
For a one-month capsule, I included 8 dresses, 2 jumpsuits, 9 shirts, 1 hoodie, 2 pairs of pants, and 2 skirts. (Okay, I know this is big, but there was absolutely no cheating. Everything else I owned was packed away in a u-haul.)
You can view different examples of Capsule Wardrobes here.
My biggest challenge this time around was not the versatility of the garments, or the comfort, or occasion. It was laundry.
To be frank, New York City stinks. There is trash everywhere, and by the time I come home, my clothes smell like trash too. So, I, unfortunately, ended up having to do my laundry all the time.
I normally love fashion and styling, but recently, I've been so busy that I'm lucky if I get anything on. Usually, when I'm stressed out, I end up wearing working all the time, and not dressing as well as I should be. But, the capsule wardrobe does the work for me. My outfits are already made, so I always look like a boss, even if I don't look that way.
Capsule wardrobes have taught me just how little I need. Even when the exercise is over, I have changed my shopping habits. I carefully curate a wardrobe of items that are versatile and long-lasting. I still shop—I love clothes. I am just more particular about what I am buying. Our society has taught us that we need lots of clothing to be happy, but the opposite is actually true. A capsule wardrobe makes your value the few items that you really love.
Everyone should try a capsule wardrobe to get a different perspective on what they own, and what they need.