I often mention wardrobe capsules. Recently I wrote about how to build a professional capsule for less, and how to create a work wear capsule for Spring. But I haven’t talked about the basics for some time, so here’s a quick rundown of what I mean by “wardrobe capsule” and how using the concept can help you to maximize the wearability of items, eliminate wardrobe holes, and ensure that you always have multiple outfits “ready to go”.
My definition of a wardrobe capsule is broad and simple. It is ANY collection of clothing, footwear and accessories that helps you to satisfy your dressing needs in one or more areas of your life.
Your wardrobe capsules should serve your dressing needs and priorities. For example, if you are very focused on your professional life, build a series of capsules for work, and create a single capsule for the weekend. Then focus additional capsules on other areas of your life. Build a date-night capsule, a theatre capsule, a rainy-weather capsule, a Saturday ball game capsule, a sight-seeing in the city capsule, a work out capsule, a coat capsule, a beach capsule, and a cocktail dress capsule.
Mix and Match Capsules
Often a wardrobe capsule is a group of items that can be mixed and matched with each other. Mix and match possibilities can make for a far more efficient and versatile wardrobe. To illustrate the power of this, consider a simplistic wardrobe with 10 tops and 10 bottoms. If each top only works with one bottom, then this wardrobe supports 10 good outfits. If every top works with every bottom, it will support 100 good outfits. Now, having every top work with every bottom is obviously un unrealistic goal, but having forethought and paying attention to mix and match possibilities will get you closer.
I find that many women don’t even aim for mix and match versatility because at some point it gets too hard to think about how a new item fits into the context of their existing wardrobe. That’s where capsules come in. Instead of having to keep your entire wardrobe in your head, you can think about one capsule at a time.
Generally mix and match capsules are dedicated to a particular aspect of your life, like your work or your hobby. But there are also other capsules that are not about mixing matching at all. In this case the capsule helps you to identify and meet a particular need. A good example is a coat capsule. Here you need to make sure you have a small number of coats that meet your weather requirements, so it is useful to think about them independently of other items. Since many people can’t afford to have a coat of each type for every mix and match capsule, they need to ensure that each of their coats is versatile enough to serve many other capsules.
One item can be used across multiple capsules. For example, a business casual red blazer that works well for work with a pair of dressy trousers and pencil skirt, might work as well over the weekend with a pair of faded jeans and heels. Pop the blazer into both capsules and it’s become even more of a wardrobe workhorse.
Keep the wardrobe capsules in your head as you edit your closet, prep a shopping list, and add items to your wardrobe. Before you make a purchase, take a moment to think about whether the item fits into an existing capsule, multiple capsules, or whether it represents a new capsule that you are starting from scratch.
Capsules are the foundation of an organized wardrobe approach that will help you to make more informed purchasing decisions and will eleviate a lot of dressing stress. You’ll never have a closet full of items and nothing to wear. It is an extra effort in the beginning, but this investment will soon begin to pay off.