5 Tips For Starting A Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe
If you’ve ever felt like you have too many clothes, many of which you have only worn once or twice, a minimalist wardrobe could be the solution. A minimalist wardrobe centers around creating what is called a capsule wardrobe filled with essential, stylish pieces that can be worn year-round.
Many people think that minimalism is an all-or-nothing pursuit, where you eliminate all but the most essential possessions in your life. I have always taken a less extreme view. For me, minimalism means introducing more simplicity into my life. I strive only to keep the things that I love and need.
Owning fewer clothes means wearing the clothes you like more often and eliminating the items that you “might wear” at some point.
It also means choosing quality over quantity. Fast fashion is notorious for its trendy, one-season styles, and also for its poor quality. A truly effective capsule wardrobe should contain quality pieces that last way longer than a season.
The advantages of a minimalist wardrobe are surprisingly varied. You save money, spend less time deciding what to wear every day, cultivate a sense of style, and develop a genuine understanding of what looks good on your body. This process gives you a chance to be more mindful in choosing which clothes are essential and which you can do without.
Here is a list of things to consider as you start building your own minimalist capsule wardrobe.
1. Choose clothing that looks good on your body.
At one point or another, we have all tried trending clothing styles and found that no matter how many crop tops, bell bottoms, puff sleeves, or backless dresses we try on, they just do not flatter our bodies. The number one trick to creating a truly successful capsule wardrobe is choosing clothes that you want to wear all the time.
If you love the way empire waist dresses look on your body, make sure to include one in your capsule wardrobe! If you feel self-conscious every time you wear a crop top, there shouldn’t be any in your closet.
You know which looks suit your body and your style. These are the clothes that should be featured in your capsule wardrobe.
2. Choose basics over statement pieces.
Basics will probably vary a little person to person, but you get the idea. You need clothes that will suit every occasion and the easiest way to do this is by buying simple, timeless clothes. A capsule wardrobe should go beyond trends.
Think simple. Avoid one-outfit-only “statement” pieces that you will wear once and then stuff in the back of your closet. I like to refer to style icons like Audrey Hepburn, or Jennifer Anniston. In a capsule wardrobe, less is more and you need to make every item count!
3. Stick with the same color palette.
Styling a capsule wardrobe becomes infinitely easier when everything matches. This doesn’t mean that everything you own has to be shades of black, white, and grey. As long as the colors look good on you and look good together, any colors will work. I would recommend a few white, black, and jean pieces for easier mix-and-match but that’s entirely up to you. Check out some of my favorite color palettes below if you need some inspiration!
An easy way to introduce pops of color into your wardrobe is to find a few simple pieces of jewelry. Jewelry can add flair to any outfit and help make simple outfits more unique and stylish.
4. Choose high-quality clothing when possible.
Can we all agree that there is nothing worse than finding the perfect t-shirt only to have a hole rip in the seam after one wash? Building a capsule wardrobe is an investment that should last a long time. When you spend extra time and care to pick out your wardrobe, you want to be able to benefit from it for as long as possible. That is why we recommend choosing quality brands over fast fashion brands.
A quality t-shirt will dress up nicely with a pencil skirt and is easily dressed down with jeans and sneakers. Quality items are simpler and more versatile: both essential points for building a minimalist wardrobe.
5. Pay attention to fabrics.
Notice which clothing items you love wearing: what are they made out of? I personally own a lot of cotton, wool, and bamboo. But if you love that way you feel in jeans, make sure you have a great pair to style with at all times.
If you are like me and always reach for the softest thing on the clothing rack, be sure to buy things that are soft and comfortable. Notice if you are the kind of person who doesn’t mind handwashing or getting clothes dry-cleaned. Some fabrics need more care than others and if this isn’t something that you want to spend time doing, I would recommend purging your closet of these high-maintenance clothing items.
Building a minimalist wardrobe doesn’t mean sacrificing style. Quite the opposite. I’ve found that the one thing I often admire about a person’s style is when their clothes accurately represent who they are as a person. You can only do this by ditching the clothes you think you should be wearing and focusing on the clothes that you love.
One bonus of a minimalist wardrobe is you are also one step closer to a sustainable closet. By wearing each item of clothing more often, you are saving valuable resources that would otherwise go into making more fast-fashion clothing items.
If you don’t know where to begin, check out our minimalist clothing challenge for this month.
First, flip all of the hangers in your closet to face the “wrong” direction. Then, as you wear your clothes and hang them back up, face them the other way round. This is an easy way to see what clothes you are wearing and which ones are just taking up space. At the end of a month or two, see which clothes are getting used the most and which ones are just taking up space.
At the end of the month, sit with each clothing item that you have not had a chance to wear and decide if that item of clothing still brings you joy. If not, it's time to put together a donation box.