Capsule Wardrobe 101

The concept of the capsule wardrobe has been around for a while now.

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of essential clothing pieces that are interchangeable, and can be varied to create different looks.  The concept of a capsule wardrobe is rooted in the minimalist idea of finding luxury in simplicity, and it reinforces the old adage of “less is more.”  A properly curated capsule should cover everything from business meetings to dinner dates and everything in between.


Committing to living with a capsule wardrobe means that you will spend LESS time shopping for what you don’t need, less time washing and caring for more pieces than you should have, and less time in your over cluttered closet deciding what you are going to wear.  In turn, you will spend MORE time doing whatever it is you want to do.  You will help others by donating all of the perfectly wonderful clothing you own that you don’t wear or really even plan to wear.  You will find your style by realizing what you really like, and not overdoing it on extras that you “kinda” liked because they were on sale, or they were the trend of the moment.  And, perhaps most importantly, you will wear what fits, what is age-appropriate, and what makes you feel good about yourself.

The magic number when it comes to capsule wardrobes is 33.  Don’t ask me why this number wasn’t rounded up or (thank God!) down.  Capsules are meant to be seasonal, so you are not committed to them for the rest of your life.   You should, however, pull classic, season-less pieces and rotate them from capsule to capsule.  Ideally, you should create a winter capsule and a summer capsule, and modify and add to them for the two “bonus,” transitional seasons of spring and fall.  Selecting timeless, non-trendy pieces to transition will pay big dividends, as will items that can be dressed up or dressed down.  Keeping the number right around 33 is the key.  Too many items and you are back to the gluttonous square one.


In my opinion, the poster child of the capsule wardrobe concept is Gwyneth Paltrow.   In fact, a couple of years ago she launched goop Label, which features Gwyneth’s most iconic looks from other designers such as Chloe and Burberry, which she has re-branded under her own label.  While not specifically designated to be capsule pieces, each very limited edition goop Label piece is very minimalist and checks off many of the boxes which represent what a capsule wardrobe is. 

If you love trends, bright colors, and busy patterns, the capsule will be tricky to master – but doable!  What do you think?


images via today, pinterest, goop, bazaar





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