CAPSULE WARDROBES - Do They Work?
And, more importantly, do you actually need one?
What Is A Capsule Wardrobe?
In 1985, Donna Karan debuted her Seven Easy Pieces line: a bodysuit, wrap skirt, tailored jacket, dress, something leather, a white shirt, and a cashmere sweater. The pieces were designed to combine with one another in endless combinations, to make getting dressed easier for the everyday woman. While the term “capsule” had been used to refer to wardrobes as early as far back as the 40s, this particular iteration catapulted the capsule to mainstream consciousness, serving as the basis for hundreds of brands, articles, and even TV shows over the past three decades.
A capsule, in its purest form, is a limited number of timeless (to you) classics (in your opinion) that can all be mixed and matched to create every look you need for your daily life.
Today, guides to creating capsules tend to end with something fairly similar to those Seven Easy Pieces from 1985: basic tops, basic bottoms, all in one or two neutral colors. The actual number of items they require can vary from 7 to roughly 30; and the capsuler (not a word) is always encouraged to follow those darned arbitrary fashion rules (that I hate) dictating everything from fit to the undertones of the gray that most flatter their complexion.
While I find the idea of paring down your wardrobe to the most useful, versatile items and curbing your shopping habits to be one that is very aligned with my own sustainable, more thoughtful approach to fashion, the way most fashion outlets approach “simplicity” can come off as a bit bland, without much room for creativity, making it easy to “streamline” your closet right into a rut.
All that said, when done correctly, the capsule wardrobe can be exactly what you need, and I personally love to create them for my clients. But, as I always stress, you should be cautious of any super-generalized fashion advice that lacks nuance relevant to your life. It’s important to question why you want to make such drastic changes to what you wear and consider whether said changes are actually useful for not just your lifestyle, but also for your self-expression and personal style.