Secrets Of A Capsule Wardrobe

By: Sarah Eliza Louderback

Majority of people have closets stuffed with clothes that they don't actually wear. The average person is spending an average of $1100 every year buying 67 distinct pieces of clothing. This book talks about how we can minimize the clothes we buy while maximizing the number of outfits that we can make with them. Minimizing the clothes we own, as Sarah points out has many benefits to both the planet and our personal psychology. Through this book - you can get a guideline about the steps you can take to create a more efficient and sustainable wardrobe.

Summary PDF >

4 Key Takeaways

  1. 3 Reasons to build a Capsule Wardrobe 

    1. Reason 1 - Less stuff on the planet = a better future for our planet 

    2. Reason 2 - Increased confidence in your own skin 

    3. Reason 3 - Eliminating daily task based decision is good for your brain

  2. A minimalist Capsule Wardrobe is a curated collection of clothing you love, that you can mix-and-match almost exclusively.  Nearly all your “tops” should pair effortlessly with nearly all your “bottoms,” allowing you to own LESS clothing while maximizing the number of possible outfits.

  3. "I have zero interest in keeping a museum in my closet, reminding me daily of the past.  While I value my memories and realize that my past helped create Now-Me, I want my focus to continue to be on making the most of the time I have right now"

  4. Three Simple Rules for Successful Capsule Shopping

    1. Rule 1 - “One-in, one-out.” : If in order to bring new things home, you have to get rid of an equal number of old things, you’re guaranteed to keep improving the quality of your wardrobe as you carefully curate your collection of clothing over time.

    2. Rule 2 - Stay strong and stick to your established colours.

    3. Rule 3 - Vary your silhouettes: It can be dangerously easy to accidentally purchase things that are very similar to items of clothing you already own.

Notes

Chapter 1: Minimalist fashion: Why bother

Why create a Capsule Wardrobe?

 

Reason 1 -  Less stuff on the planet = a better future for our planet.

Reason 2 - Increased confidence in your own skin.

  • Think about the clothes you love.  (I’ll wait)  Most likely, a few specific items of clothing came to mind.  Maybe they were outfits you wore in the distant younger and/or skinnier past, and maybe they’re things you’re wearing this very moment, but I’d be very surprised if you visualized fifty different pieces of clothing… or even twenty.

  • That is, fundamentally, the point of fashion — to give you an outlet for self-expression and to help you feel confident and at-ease in your own skin.

Reason 3 -  Eliminating a daily task-based decision is good for your brain.

  • decision-making depletes self-control.  If you spend a lot of thought and effort on “finding” an outfit to wear one morning, you’re going to have less mental capacity left for focus later that day.

  • With a Capsule Wardrobe, you’re going to KNOW what to wear, and you’re going to look amazing

 

Chapter 3: How to find your personal style?

  • A minimalist Capsule Wardrobe is a curated collection of clothing you love, that you can mix-and-match almost exclusively.  Nearly all your “tops” should pair effortlessly with nearly all your “bottoms,” allowing you to own LESS clothing while maximizing the number of possible outfits.

  • Steps to determining your unique style

    • Step 1:  Recognize that you want your own wardrobe, not somebody else’s.

    • Step 2:  Decide what you like to wear.

    • Step 3:  Head to your wardrobe and start sorting!

      • you decide about the rest by asking yourself, “Would I bring this with me if I were suddenly to elope with Prince Harry / George Clooney / Eye-Candy-Of-Choice to Europe?” or “If I only had five minutes before my house was going to be invaded by an army of killer ants, which of these would I grab?”

      • “If I only had a week to live, what outfits would I wear?” or “Which of these would I put on if I knew I was going to run into Usher / Justin Bieber / Eye-Candy-of-Choice on the street today?”

    • Step 4: Identify themes amongst your favourite clothing.

      • Right now, you are determining YOUR personal preferences… the root of what you actually like, laying hidden under all those layers of “but it was on sale,” and “but my mother always told me I shouldn’t wear such-and-such,” and “but everyone in the office wears this kind of thing…”

    • Step 5 — Group your “favourites” TOGETHER in the closet and/or dresser.

    • Step 6 (optional) — Jot down your findings.

 

Chapter 4: The winnowing phase commences 

  • More questions to help you get rid of items : 

    • Does this belong to an “old” me?

    • Would I buy this again if I saw it in the store today?

    • Does this piece DESERVE to be added to my curated collection of clothing?

 

Chapter 5: The drastic and undeniable importance of colour choice in a Capsule Wardrobe

  • If you really are committed to a minimalist Capsule Wardrobe, you're going to need to have to limit what colors you own

  • 2 Steps for choosing colours for your capsule wardrobe: 

    1. Step 1 - Start by picking your “family of neutrals,” specifically the foundational piece… black, OR brown and/or navy.

    2. Step 2:  Pick Your Highlight Colors

  • Wear colours that make you feel cheerful and comfortable.  There are no rules.  If YOU think you look odd in a color, don’t wear it.  But if you do like a colour, take ownership of that and wear it with confidence!

 

 Chapter 6 - Top secret!  Balance those bases!

  • Pants, jeans, skirts, and layer-friendly-dresses are all “bases.”

  • Most people naturally gravitate towards purchasing multiples of what is essentially the same type of base, which leads to the issue of having lots of clothing, but only a few types of “looks.”

  • Ideally, you should have roughly equivalent numbers of dresses, skirts, pants, etc, with different silhouettes and colors within each type.

  • 3 Steps to balancing your bases (Creating more unique items, therefore more options) : 

    • Step 1 - Gather your bases and spread them all out.

    • Step 2 - 

      • Analyze what you see. Are the groupings of certain styles of skirts/jeans / whatever nearly teetering because they’re piled so high?  Your goal is to get rid of the redundancies.  Pick your favourite from among that category, and donate the “just okay” extras.

      • Write down your analysis.  List what bases you have “covered”“covered” already, and where you have gaps in your wardrobe that need balancing.  Jot down ideas for what colours and styles might fill in those gaps, based on the tops and layering pieces you already own.

    • Step 3 — Go shopping.

 

 

Chapter 8 - How many items belong to a Capsule Wardrobe?  (the question we’ve all been avoiding!!)

  • recently made a deliberate decision to no longer “save” stuff for special occasions, or leave it in my closet because I’m afraid it will get stained or torn.  I want to enjoy the things I have, just like I want to make the most of each moment I have.

  • I have zero interest in keeping a museum in my closet, reminding me daily of the past.  While I value my memories and realize that my past helped create Now-Me, I want my focus to continue to be on making the most of the time I have right now.

  • I want to look in my closet, see favourites that make me feel confident and happy in who I am RIGHT NOW and go on with my day energized.

 

Chapter 9 — Minimalism and the rest of your stuff…

  • Shoe Requirements for a Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe:

    • Casual comfy-walk-around shoes (think trips to the Botanical Garden, sightseeing, or running errands — Converse, Toms, Keds, etc) Nicer but still casual shoes (think lunch with a friend or Casual Friday — Toms could still work here depending on your style, or moccasins, loafers, etc) 

    • Good flats/heels (think a dinner date or a party)

    • Seasonal shoes (boots/sandals).  

    • Bonus:  A pair of trendy shoes, or a pair in one of your highlight colours

    • Also tucked away in your “well duh I’m going to need that” section are: 

      • Work shoes, if you have specific style or function requirements for your job

      • Tennis/gym shoes  

      • Flip-flops for the beach or pool 

      •  A pair or two of really dressy shoes for weddings/clubbing/fancy dinners / New Year’s Eve / etc.

  • Purses When it comes to purses, all that is really NECESSARY for a minimalist closet is one casual bag and one nice one, and probably a dressy clutch in your “well duh, I’m going to need that” section.

  • Belts From a minimalist perspective, you probably only NEED one or two belts in your “family of neutrals” — maybe one dark and one light, depending on your colour scheme.  I also suggest having at least one belt in a highlight colour, since a punchy belt can really make an otherwise neutral outfit “pop.”

  • Jewelry:    Jewelry in a minimalist Capsule Wardrobe should follow the two most important rules for clothes and shoes as well:  1)  Only keep favourites and things you wear regularly, and 2) Try to vary the “looks” of any new acquisitions.

  • Scarves are a great addition to a minimalist Capsule Wardrobe because they are both utilitarian AND visually appealing.  Cold-weather scarves keep you cosy, and warm-weather scarves can serve to protect your neck and décolleté from the sun, all while adding a dash of colour to your outfit.

 

Chapter 11 — How to curate your Capsule Wardrobe as you shop

  • Three Simple Rules for Successful Capsule Shopping

    1. Rule 1 - “One-in, one-out.” : If in order to bring new things home, you have to get rid of an equal number of old things, you’re guaranteed to keep improving the quality of your wardrobe as you carefully curate your collection of clothing over time.

    2. Rule 2 - Stay strong and stick to your established colours.

    3. Rule 3 - Vary your silhouettes: It can be dangerously easy to accidentally purchase things that are very similar to items of clothing you already own.

  • Guidelines for General Effective Shopping:

    • Guideline 1 - “If only” = don’t buy it! : If you are standing there muttering “If only this shirt wasn’t a little too big / small / wasn’t missing a button, etc,” then DO NOT BUY IT!

    • Guideline 2 - Go shopping for specific items, or specific categories of things: Have guidelines for yourself before you go into a store This gives you a guiding “mission” for your shopping trip.  You’ll be less overwhelmed, and you’ll be less likely to come home with something you don’t really want.

    • Guideline 3 - Try things on / know your measurements.

    • Guideline 4 - When bargain shopping for VERY specific items, look online using filters and/or the search function to narrow down your options.

  • The bottom line:  going forward, only buy new clothing if it qualifies as a “favourite” OR if it is a neutral or base that will allow you to wear your EXISTING favourites to better advantage.

 

 

Chapter 12 — Common Capsule Wardrobe mistakes that will SABOTAGE your closet!

  • No!  It isn’t that at all.  A Capsule Wardrobe is (say it with me now!) a collection of clothing specifically chosen so that every item can be worn with as many other items as possible, without the wearer getting bored.

  • What a capsule wardrobe is not : 

    • Mistake 1 — Your wardrobe is monochromatic: Pack that wardrobe with variety!  Don’t neglect your highlight colours.

    • Mistake 2 - Your wardrobe is very, incredibly tiny because you have gotten rid of almost everything.

    • Mistake 3 - Your wardrobe includes too many similar silhouettes

 

Chapter 13 — Organizing your Capsule Wardrobe:  the world-transforming bewitchment of hanging “ALL THE THINGS”!

  • 5 Reasons Why I Think You Should Hang “ALL THE THINGS”!

    1. Reason 1 - Hanging your clothing displays your curated style collection, like the “art” it is.

    2. Reason 2 - Hanging your clothing prevents wrinkles.

    3. Reason 3 - Hanging your clothing provides concrete limits to your wardrobe.

    4. Reason 4 - Hanging your clothing enables easy wardrobe organization: all your clothing is literally accessible at a glance.

    5. Reason 5 - Hanging your clothing allows for effortless mix-and-match!

  • For all five of these reasons, I highly recommend buying a set of hangers, hanging ALL of your clothes, and ordering them in your closet by color and type.

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© 2020 Arjan Sahni