I have, for many, many years, struggled with fashion. Despite being quite a creative person, the way that you combine colours, textures and shapes onto the human body to create a certain look has always been a little bit beyond me.
And, to be honest, learning about fashion has always been low on my list of priorities. I love creating things, so spending hours getting dressed is, simply, time I could use to be inventing stuff.
Steve Jobs was famous for wearing jeans and a black skivvy everywhere. The logic, apparently, was to cut down on ‘decision fatigue’. Or, that the less energy you spend thinking about little day-to-day things, the more time you can spend on big ideas. And I like the sound of that.
But, the reality is that the way we dress impacts how people perceive us. Putting a bit more effort into our appearance can make us seem trustworthy and reliable to others – and make us feel more confident. And if we want to get anything done in this world, it often relies on working with other people. So having a base-level understanding of fashion is important.
But I really didn’t want to have to think about it every day. And whenever I read about these successful people who have these streamlined black-skivvy laden wardrobes, it’s always men. What options do women have?
Then I discovered the concept of ‘capsule wardrobes’. And it looked like what I’ve been waiting for my whole life.
What is a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a small set of clothes in the same colour scheme, where any top can be matched to any bottom, and these all have the flexibility to be dressed up or down for different occasions.
A capsule wardrobe can be as simple or complex as you need for your life, but in the end, it’s about thinking about what you need your clothes for.
For example, a rundown of the clothes I need are:
- Some casual clothes for coffee with friends on the weekend
- Some nice clothes for when I go to the office
- Nice clothes for dinner, out or as a guest at a wedding
- Clothes to get muddy in or to go to the beach
How I got started with my capsule wardrobe
I had come to a stage in my life where I had worn out of a bunch of clothes, and it was a good time to buy a new set. Surprise, surprise – I put off shopping for new clothes as long as possible!
So, I chose a colour scheme that I know works for me, and I bought the foundation for my capsule wardrobe.
- three casual t-shirts in the colour scheme I like (navy, black, white)
- three bottoms (a navy skirt, jeans and tan shorts).
- two more formal shirts, for when I have meetings (in black).
- sneakers (in tan).
I’ve already got:
- some black heels for work
- a navy jacket for work
- old clothes I can get muddy in (really – just the rest of my old wardrobe!)
- a nice dress for a fancy dinner (also in navy)
The objective is that I can wear all of these on a weekend casually, or for work, and not have to think about the combinations very hard, and it will generally look okay because all the colours already work.
If I have an occasion where I need to dress up a little, throwing on a jacket, heels and earrings will jazz up these into a more corporate look, or for a night out.
So on any given day, I will have all the clothes I need for either a casual coffee, or a work meeting, or a night out – all from the same ten pieces of clothing.
Why I love the capsule wardrobe
There are heaps of benefits to a capsule wardrobe. Here are a few:
- They take up less space. You just don’t need a huge wardrobe for your clothes
- It makes moving house way easier because all your clothes fit in a single suitcase
- You can pick high-quality clothes because you only need a few pieces
- You feel confident in your clothes because you know you’ve got great clothes for every occasion
- Less stressing about what you’re going to wear each day because it just matches
- Spending less money on ‘one-off’ clothes because you’ve got clothes for every occasion already
- And because you’ve got fewer pieces, you use every piece and you’re not sending the excess to the op shop (or landfill!)
For me, a capsule wardrobe has been really transformative. It’s alleviated the stress of working out what I’m going to wear each day. I feel more confident because it all matches. I haven’t wasted money on clothes I don’t need. I’m not damaging the environment by buying loads of clothes for a specific occasion, wearing once, then sending it to the thrift shop.
And yes, for those of you wondering, it does give me back time to invent things. Because I’m not spending my time stressing about what I’m going to wear. I just grab some clothes and go and change the world.
Imagine a single shirt and jeans. Imagine how could you switch out things like jackets and shoes for these to work for different occasions? For work? For dinner with friends? A day at the beach? You might find only a simple change, like shoes, can totally change a look.