Redefining the Capsule Wardrobe
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
Unless you’ve somehow managed to spend the last few years away from socials or fashion print media, then you’ve probably heard of the term ‘capsule wardrobe’. Capsule wardrobes are the age-old solution somebody might suggest when it comes to never having anything to wear. It usually consists of a carefully curated (or shall we say limited) selection of interchangeable clothing pieces that complement each other- often ‘classics’ that do not go out of style and are primarily composed of neutral base colours.
Capsule wardrobes are all about playing it safe, and playing it safe often means suppressing your true self. We're sick of people thinking sustainable fashion means wearing your grandma's clothes on rotation, so we're redefining the capsule wardrobe, a sustainable concept that's been misunderstood.
How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe
The idea of the capsule wardrobe is simple- narrow down your choices to the most clean-cut, safest options, to make sure that everything fits together harmoniously. Don’t get me wrong, whoever came up with the concept was definitely onto something; it’s absolutely undeniable that less choice (in clothes, for instance) leads to faster, easier decisions (a wise man once said mo’ clothes, mo’ problems… or something along those lines). Not only is it scientifically proven, but it’s also a mindset often adopted by visionaries of our time- such as Steve Jobs, a true outfit repeater whose dedication to the black turtleneck + 501 + New Balance combo rid him of any decision fatigue, allowing him to use the newfound brainpower to revolutionise the world instead, or Karl Lagerfeld whose name is only as recognisable as his iconic personal uniform. That being said, the issue of the capsule wardrobe is in how it’s most commonly portrayed- as a universal checklist of must-haves. A beige trench coat, jeans, suit trousers for work, a button-up shirt, a t-shirt… This is not to say that a minimalist beige outfit is intrinsically boring, but it’s not (and doesn’t have to be) for everyone. A capsule is not the ‘next level’, elevated version of what a wardrobe should be, far from it. Imagine how boring the world would be if we were all walking around in the exact same outfits- like uniforms- never having the excitement of wondering what the craziest piece of clothing in a stranger’s wardrobe is. Different aspects of society have tried to fit people into a mould since the dawn of time, and capsule wardrobes have morphed into one of those moulds- one that it’s time to break out of.
Redefining the Capsule Wardrobe
We spend too much time thinking about how to fit in and dress ‘inoffensively’, only picking things off a list, as if they hold a certificate of being palatable enough for the general mass. Sure, some of us like to blend in and feel like we belong, and that’s fine, but we should spend less time worrying about what’s expected of us and spend more time enjoying the process of getting ready. There are no mistakes when you’re dressing for yourself. The paradigm shift I’m trying to propose here is that a capsule wardrobe is something that can look and feel entirely different from person to person- it’s definitely not universal. Forget the checklist, look within (yourself and your closet). Your base wardrobe- be it capsule or a ‘larger-scale’- needs to, for lack of a better word, encapsulate your true essence, which is then elevated with your personal choice of statement pieces- or maybe the whole wardrobe is made up of statement pieces? This means that not everyone’s base wardrobe will be of neutral colours, and not everyone’s wardrobe may include a trench coat. Kareen’s everyday staples may consist of a satin purple bomber jacket, a lime bedazzled bra top, a turquoise feather skirt and triple platform studded boots, while Jessica’s wardrobe may look more like a minimalist Scandi starter pack.
In its rawest form, a capsule wardrobe is the base of your wardrobe, the pieces you inevitably reach for when you’re at a lack of inspiration, or alternatively the pieces you know will make a good outfit no matter what. The pieces which make you feel the most comfortable and confident regardless of anything else, like feeling too icky or so low you just want to stay back home and mope from the comfort of your bed and screen. That’s your capsule wardrobe. And it may not be what Hailey Bieber (or rather, a team of stylists) picked out for her Vogue video trying to portray her image as a minimalist capsule wardrobe type ‘it’ girl, but at least it’s authentic. Your personal uniform does not have to fit within the comfortable margins of a pre-defined checklist, and it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all.
So whenever you’re venturing into the world of spring cleaning, or facing your next self-induced style identity crisis, please don’t let a single fashion blogger bedroom stylist or old-school style guru get into your head about the ‘perfect’ capsule wardrobe you should sell your soul to. Don’t do it. You and your creativity are worth so much more than three basic t-shirts and a pair of jeans, and I won’t hear otherwise.