How to apply minimalist style to your wardrobe

how to create a capsule wardrobe with minimalist style

Question for you? Have you seen this “new” name for a timeless minimalist style wardrobe going around with heaps of hype behind it?

Have you seen it mentioned and have absolutely no idea what they are talking about?

Confession time, when I saw it mentioned in a couple of sewing groups a few months back I did have to ‘google’ what it meant. I wanted to see for myself why everyone was so excited about making their own Capsule Wardrobe.  I tell you; sometimes I feel I live under a rock!

The term Capsule Wardrobe came from Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called Wardrobe in the 1970s (really it has been around that long and I am only just discovering it???).  A capsule wardrobe is a wardrobe of essential items that don’t go out of fashion. A timeless wardrobe if you will. Each piece transforms each other into multiples of different outfits for all sorts of varying occasions. Think classic skirts, trousers, coats, tops, spiced up with accessories and seasonal pieces.

Researching the how, what, where, when into creating a capsule wardrobe pulled up a pile of differing opinions. How much to spend? How long you should have said wardrobe for? Whether you should add to your new wardrobe style quarterly or yearly and so on. After countless hours with my head buried in Google, my final opinion was to go with whatever makes you comfortable as we are all as unique as the clothing we choose to wear. Once you attempt to take on this minimalist, budget and time saving technique, you will wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner!

Here is our helping hand to get that capsule wardrobe started your way!

How many articles of clothing is enough?

Your Capsule Wardrobe will need to consist of between 7-30 pieces of clothing, including accessories and shoes. These can be purchased from a clothing outlet or if you are feeling creative, why not hand-make your own wardrobe master pieces?

Deciding whether you want to replace/add to these items either quarterly or yearly is personal taste and will depend on the budget you set yourself.

Below are examples of what you can include as your staples if you are creating a capsule wardrobe of around 15-20 pieces. You can update these pieces as you need.

  1. Bottoms, Pants, Skirts, Shorts

Select four (4) bottoms for your wardrobe that are timeless, plain in colour and versatile. You are looking for bottoms that can go with multiple variations of tops, jackets and shoes. An added bonus is ensuring they can convert from day to night wear. You will double their purpose thus eliminating the need to include evening wear in your capsule wardrobe. Some great neutral colours to consider are navy, black and denim.

  1. Tops, T-shirts, Blouses

Choose five (5) tops that, like the bottoms, are plain and timeless in their cut and colour.  Also bear in mind that similar or same colours can clash at times (black pants with a black top can look different as they can be different dye lots). Lighter coloured tops work really well with darker bottoms. Great colours to mix and match with are beige, white, cream, black, denim and navy.

  1. Jackets

Source one (1) decent jacket to wear that will work with your existing pieces. Consider where you will wear a jacket through the year and shop accordingly. Does it need to be a nice thick water proof jacket for walking and commuting to work through winter? Or, perhaps you will only need a light cardigan for when it gets a little chilly in the office or at home. A jacket that can combine a couple of these uses is ideal. Remember again, purchasing one in a timeless cut and colour like black, grey or cream will save you having to replace it as often.

  1. Shoes

We are not releasing our inner Imelda when considering how many shoes to include for this style of wardrobe! In all honesty, probably four (4) pairs will be sufficient. Think about the seasons where you live as they can vary greatly!  For example, in Australia our shoes may look something like this: Summer – thongs/sandals; Winter – boots, enclosed shoes; Sneakers –  going out/office/Gym and Heels for evening wear.  That is about all you will need. As much as this makes me cringe when I really think about it, I do only wear a few pairs out of the 25+ I have!

  1. Accessories

Oh I do love my accessories. But, alas, we cannot have a whole drawer full for the sake of this project. So, around three (3) should be enough to allow you to interchange and add a little spice to your outfits. Look for scarf, necklace and belt that can be changed to suit different outfits, time of day, events etc.

How often to add, change or purchase new items?

As mentioned above this will really depend on the budget you set for this project and whether the clothing you purchased stands the test of time!

Personally, I would like to think if I take on this challenge it would be a yearly event for me. Let’s be honest, I currently have a wardrobe full of clothing but rarely wear more than ten of the same items in my wardrobe! (Shhh do NOT tell hubby!).

If you are feeling a little unsure whether you could limit yourself to a yearly change over then why not consider a quarterly wardrobe changeover/ spruce up? This way then you can add seasonal items to your wardrobe and update for the pending seasons and weather. Just remember to eliminate any excess items so we are replacing not adding to your capsule wardrobe.

Can I implement this style of wardrobe for my children?

Of course, you can! Liz from Thread Faction Studios has written a great blog piece about how she has mixed handmade with shop bought items to create a capsule wardrobe for her daughter:. Check it out here, well worth the read (after you’ve check out our site first of course!!)

You will also find a couple of other great children’s capsule wardrobe blog links in her article.

I am considering starting one for my almost teenager who drives me crazy with all of the clothes I continually wash and pick up from the floor in her room.

If you create a capsule wardrobe we would love to hear from you over on our group Facebook page or hashtag us in your pictures #collectivecaboodles #thehandcraftedcollective . We can’t wait to see your inspiring capsule wardrobes!

Happy wardrobe creating.

Katie x

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