Capsule Wardrobe: Minimalist Tips for a Clean Closet

Photo: © Geneva Vanderzeil

The capsule wardrobe will help you sort out your wardrobe and develop your own personal style. But here’s the catch: You’re only allowed to keep 37 clothing items.

The hype around minimalist living has grown in recent times. For example, Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” made quite the splash this past decade. The “Capsule Wardrobe” method has the potential to inspire you just as much.

Today, we have everything we could ever need. Ironically, owning just enough has become a luxury in and of itself.

Utopia’s tip: Minimalist Wardrobe: Closet Clearing Tips and Tricks

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

Capsule wardrobe minimalist closet organization(Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - chuttersnap)
Capsules wardrobes are a great way to simplify your outfit search.

The so-called “Capsule Wardrobe” is a simple and practical way to integrate minimalism in your household. The method is the brainchild of Susie Faux, a London fashion boutique owner who came up with the concept in the 1970s. The principle behind capsule wardrobes boils down to this: Less is more.

The concept is simple: You limit the total number of items in your closet each season to the most important pieces – clothes that are easily combinable in theme, color and style. Everything else you store away for the season. In other words: No more than 37 items every season. This includes shoes, accessories such as bags, jewelry and scarves.

Shopping is also off limits throughout the capsule wardrobe season. Every three months, you get the chance to “reboot” your capsule wardrobe. Come the new season, you can get back out and shop again – mindfully, responsibly and sustainably. Pack up your winter wear come summer and vise versa.

By making things simpler, capsule wardrobes help to reduce stress. The method also takes a stand against fast fashion shopping and overflowing closets.

Utopia’s tip: Becoming Minimalist: 3 Methods for Beginners

The Capsule Wardrobe Blog: Lo from LA

Capsule wardrobe what is a capsule wardrobe minimalist organization(Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Sarah Dorweiler)
Capsules wardrobes allow you to focus on developing your own personal style and look.

Blogger Lo from Los Angeles decided enough was enough and adopted a capsule wardrobe approach to managing her closet, numerous styles and shopping habit. She goes for pieces she can mix and match easily and aims to have under 40 pieces in her closet at any time – including workout clothes and accessories. Practicality is key when it comes to a capsule wardrobe. “It’s like smart packing, except for life,” writes Lo.

Lo’s approach to her capsule wardrobe involved taking stock of every item in her closet. She decided to make a visual list of what she owns in order to decide what keep and what to let go of. Her current capsule wardrobe hangs in the closet, off-season clothes are stored separately in a wooden chest in her room.

The blog “Capsule Closet” provides an insightful first-hand look at the challenges and rewards of adopting a capsule wardrobe and rethinking how you shop. Lo’s honest about the difficulties she’s faced along the way, such as practicing restraint. “While I haven’t been bringing home “hauls” of fast fashion since I started capsule-ing, the few items I’ve purchased each season have really added up,” she admits. A year into the capsule wardrobe, Lo noticed the majority of the 26 things she added to her closet didn’t survive the year.

Check this out: How to Clean Your Room: Tidy Up Quickly with These Simple Tips

Lo Takes a Retail Recess

Capsule Wardrobe blogger take a retail recess(Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Denys Nevozhai)
The goal behind the capsule wardrobe: Do more with less. Ask yourself: Do I really need to go shopping?

When you design a capsule wardrobe, you’re also redesigning your own personal style. This can involve a bit of trial and error. However, instead of focusing all her energy on fine-tuning her seasonal outfits, Lo concentrates on a number of mindful minimalist practices that will keep her capsule wardrobe on point:

  • Lo mends, cleans and maintains her closet in order to extend the life of those items she already owns.
  • She makes inspiration boards to explore her interests in style, color and vibe.
  • Lo takes inventory of the clothes she has by creating a visual list of her entire wardrobe. Her “Total Capsule” layout helps her put into perspective how much she owns.
  • Lastly, Lo sells and donates the items that don’t make the cut and gives them a chance at a second life.

By taking a retail recess, Lo hopes to exercise her styling skills, cultivate a sense of contentment and better assess which clothes she really needs.

Save Time, Save Money

What is a capsule wardrobe? Develop your own personal style(Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Sarah Brown)
Sort through your clothes in your capsule wardrobe, come up with some style categories and see which work best together.

Deciding for yourself what items you particularly like, what you want to wear and when are personal decisions and shouldn’t be made under pressure. Nonetheless, creating a capsule wardrobe can provide a bit of orientation. And it can save you time and money down the road.

Capsule wardrobes help to simplify your seasonal outfit selection. As the pieces are easily combinable, you’ll find an outfit to wear in no time. No more closet clearing searches in the morning.

But there are many benefits beyond that: Less clothes also means less laundry.  When you are no longer browsing seasonal sale items on shopping sprees – online or brick-and-mortar, you will also have a lot of free time on your hands. Spend it on more meaningful activities like reading, meditation or hanging out with your friends. Finally, you’ll also have more money in your pocket to invest, donate or spend (mindfully).

Utopia’s tip: 10 Everyday Green Living Ideas: Sustainability on a Shoestring Budget

Develop Your Own Personal Style

Capsule wardrobes let you develop your own personal style(Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Andriyko Podilnyk)
Capsule wardrobes are a great way to explore different styles and try out new looks.

Capsule wardrobe blogger Lo initially felt the capsule wardrobe state of her closet would restrict a particular personal style rather than complement it. Lo writes: “each time I’ve previously examined at what I love to wear, I found it’s a little…all over the place.” After sorting her belongings, she now thinks differently: “I’m now in a place where I can really appreciate the messiness of articulating my style, because it means my pieces are versatile and allow me to embrace many different sartorial moods,” Lo writes. Instead of caving to the urge to shop, she asks herself: “What do you already have that offers the same vibe you’re drawn to, if not exact look?” In other words, she effectively applies the core minimalist principle of doing less with more.

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This article was translated by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Capsule Wardrobe: Minimalismus mit 37 Teilen pro Kleiderschrank und Quartal.

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