Capsule Wardrobes: What, Why and How

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Standing in front of a closet full of clothes, stuffed from bottom to the very top, I still couldn’t decide what to wear. This was almost an everyday ritual before leaving for college. This “decision fatigue”, the dilemma of not having anything to wear even after having a literal overload of clothes, is what got me interested in the concept of Capsule Wardrobes.

What are Capsule Wardrobes?

Capsule Wardrobes, in the most basic definition, means that we try to find clothes that we actually need, only buy clothing pieces we enjoy wearing and buy good quality & sustainable clothing. It is a smaller collection of useful clothing. This means downsizing your wardrobe to only your favourite pieces that you can wear more often, which also fit into your current lifestyle and body. You do not have to constantly buy new items just because of a change in trends or style, only your own favourite clothing.

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Capsule Wardrobes: What, Why and How

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Typically, you buy a limited number of clothing pieces, which controls your shopping, and also saves your money. A capsule wardrobe is usually worn for 3-4 months, and at the end, you can replace pieces that are worn out and update your wardrobe for the next season.

Why should we build a Capsule Wardrobe?

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The fast fashion industry has tricked us into believing that we must buy everything. We impulsively buy anything that is trending, getting influenced by bloggers and fashion influencers. Sometimes we buy clothes just because they were on sale, even if they’re ill-fitting or uncomfortable for us.

This means that we have a closet full of clothes that we don’t really like. They were impulsively bought, and hence that is why they do not appeal to us when we are looking for something to wear in the morning.

Building a capsule wardrobe makes it easier for us to dress up in the morning since its easier to go through everything because of lesser clothes and each piece in your closet is something that you love and fits you perfectly. It saves you time and energy.

The fashion industry is one of the highest polluters in the world. It’s not just harmful to our personal life, its actually harming our planet because of our toxic cycle of overproduction and overconsumption. We buy anything and everything that is trendy, even if we don’t need it, and throw it away after wearing it just once or a few times.

Capsule Wardrobe supports the idea of sustainable fashion that also keeps in mind the health of our environment.

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe? 

The idea of building a whole new wardrobe can seem daunting, but taking small steps can make it easier and palatable for you.

  1. The first step you should take is to reduce your current wardrobe. Take everything out of your closet and separate clothing pieces that you are absolutely sure you wouldn’t wear. An easy way to do this is by sorting out clothing you haven’t worn in the last 6 months.
  2. You should have a base wardrobe that doesn’t need to change throughout the year. This includes items like workout clothes, lounge clothes that you wear at home, nightwear and stuff like that.
  3. Your base wardrobe does not include your everyday clothing. It only includes clothes you need to do other things like sleep and workout.Capsule Wardrobes: What, Why and How
  4. In your main Capsule Wardrobe, you should try to buy clothing pieces that have a neutral colour so that they can be mixed together to create multiple outfits. When you are shopping for your capsule, or selecting pieces to keep from your current wardrobe, you should check things like—does it fit you perfectly? Even if it is just a little bit tight for you, you shouldn’t buy it because you wouldn’t be comfortable in it, making you dislike those clothing after a while. You should also ask yourself how many times it is possible for you to wear it. For example, you see a very cute, shiny pink top, but it is not something that you can regularly wear to your office or college. It is something that you will only wear maybe once a month. This top is not very useful to you, so try to avoid such clothing items.
  5. Try to buy essential items first. Essentials could be a white button-up shirt, grey short sleeve tee, beige sweater, white long sleeve tee, black skirt, etc.
  6. You could use a formula like 9 tops, 5 pants and 5 shoes to fix the number of items you want to buy so that you don’t over shop. These numbers don’t have to be completely fixed, but something to work around. In the end, the Capsule Wardrobe should always have your own personal style in it, so that you 100% enjoy these clothes every day. The key is to remember that less is more. Repeating clothes is not bad. The focus should be trying to less but better quality clothes.Capsule Wardrobes can simplify our lives to a great extent. They can save our mental space so that we have more time and energy for other things we enjoy like food, books, travelling, and our hobbies.

    Also, you’re contributing to a sustainable lifestyle, so yay!

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Chelsy Singhal
Currently pursuing English Honors from Hansraj College, University of Delhi. Spends most of the time playing her guitar and listening to music.

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