Capsule Wardrobe Experiments
Holidays are the perfect time to experiment with minimalism (you may have heard me say before), especially when it comes to clothing!
I have been experimenting with minimalist packing for short holidays and I have loved the ease of a holiday capsule. Not really stressing about clothing, whether items ‘go‘ together or freaking out about having packed all the wrong things. It does take a bit of planning but it’s soooo worth it!
And yet I am weary of starting a capsule wardrobe in ‘real’ life. I feel I could get bored. Feel restricted. Lose my love of clothes and just look a bit ‘meh‘. This is juxtaposed by the fact that I wear the same items all the time. Skinny jeans, basic tops. Stripes and animal print. White trainers anyone!!
And so I found myself going to South Africa for three weeks. Perfect, I thought. Three weeks to try this whole capsule wardrobe for a bit longer. What could go wrong?
That is when I checked the weather and realised I would be packing for temperatures ranging from 15 to 29 degrees. EEEEEK! What to do?
Jeans was the answer. Three pairs of them. A light summer blue, a deep blue and a black pair. I then packed six t-shirts ( two white, two black, a red and a stripe) for warmer days. Four jumpers (grey, black, striped and cashmere). A leather jacket and windproof jacket. Two scarves (black and animal print). Three pairs of shoes ( boots, trainers and sandals). Two beautiful rings, also made the cut. A Mascara, Nude lipstick and a perfume completed this ensemble. I was ready!
And here is the thing. I loved it. Three weeks worth of outfits. Three weeks with no stress about what to wear. I could get dressed in the dark and still be happy with my choice of outfit. I had enough choice, to not feel bored with my clothes.
I also put this little capsule through its paces. Drinks on the beach, a house party, brunch with friends and lots of beach walks. Dinners out and days at my parents home (reading in the garden) (bliss). A small town and a big city. I felt comfortable in all these situations. I did day to night. Added a ring here and a bit of lipstick there. Boots to dress up and flip flops to dress down.
Reflecting on my holiday capsule, I realised that before jumping in head first with my ‘perfect capsule’, as I am known to do, a few things need to be considered and weighed up. A whole lot of editing needs to be done! Basics need to be highlighted, colours chosen and accessories start telling their own story! So what did I learn from my three week capsule:
5 Things To Consider Before Creating A Capsule Wardrobe
1 Basics/ Basics/ Basics
A capsule needs foundations. For me, it was: jeans, t-shirts and jumpers. I started every outfit with these items and then went on to add accessories and colour. Without the basics, there is no capsule.
*In my planning stage, I made sure that my basics could be mixed and matched and looked good in all the combinations. This meant that all the items were really useful and were worn on a regular basis.
2 Colours/ Patterns
When you limit yourself to less clothing, the one thing that stands out is that everything needs to work together.
I found choosing complementary colours really added to the versatility of my clothing. I love the minimalist palette of black, white, grey (such a cliche, I know) and this really worked with my jeans. To liven the capsule up, I also added a animal print scarf and some breton stripes.
I used these primary colours in my basics and accessories and this created quite a few, very different outfits. By changing a white t-shirt for a black t-shirt, a look was completely altered. A breton stripe or animal print changed it again. A nude lipstick subtly made another change!
3 Accessories are key
This is where the magic of the capsule lies. Accessories really have the power to elevate basic clothes: Shoes. Jewellery. The humble scarf/pashmina. The perfect bag. Without these items I would have been bored with my outfits. By changing my trainers for boots, I would instantly create a smarter look. Putting on a statement ring, made me feel put together. The t-shirt and flip flops combination had me blending in with the surfers of Jeffreys Bay.
*As a bonus none of these items take up too much space when you are travelling or live in a tiny flat!
4 Comfort above all
And with this I mean both comfortable clothes and clothes you love. By creating a capsule you wear clothes over and over and over and … This means items need to fit (you won’t wear the jeans that are too small/the top that is both frumpy and baggy and the dress that that does not zip up).
The selected items also need to suit your lifestyle. For me this means: Flat shoes. Jeans. T-shirts. Skirts and jumpers. Jackets. I wear these to work, at home, out. Date nights. Holiday. All the time!
Another thing that stood out during this time is the need to like/love your clothes and accessories. The cut and the colours. If you are wearing clothes you don’t like, clothes that don’t fit properly… you won’t stick to a capsule and you will be lured into buying other items.
*This is where it is important Question, Asses and Edit clothing. Which items do you love? What is taking up space? Do you have any gaps in your wardrobe? Which items go together? What do you wear all the time? What never gets worn?
When you wear clothes regularly you need quality clothing. These three weeks made me realise the importance of great quality! My jeans and t-shirts were worn all the time and still looked great by the time I got back to London. A ring I have had for a while but have not really worn, did not do so well. Perfect when I packed it, it had lost most of its colour by the end and is not something I will wear again. This may not mean anything when you are constantly adding to your wardrobe, but when you are contemplating a capsule wardrobe quality items stand out!
*This might mean saving for better items, shopping second hand or waiting for sales to get the perfect item at a better price!
And so as I am back to my day to day in London, I am contemplating my perfect capsule wardrobe. A little bit more complicated but very doable… Let me know what you think about capsules. Are you contemplating it or does it seem like a lot of hard work? Do you have the perfect capsule wardrobe? How did you go about creating it?