Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobeis a collection of a few essential items of clothing that will not go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. This idea was popularized by American designer Donna Karan, who, in 1985, released an influential capsule collection of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces.
The term is widely used in the British and American fashion media, and has been the subject of several popular television series. The term has come to refer to a collection of clothing which is designed using only interchangeable items, in order to maximize the number of outfits which can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colors.
For help matching your wardrobe, click here for a cheat sheet.
Once you have completed your list, this will show you where you might need to add some things into your capsule wardrobe. Try to get good quality pieces as the backbone of your wardrobe. Taking this list with you when you shop at Goodwill will help you to do a few things:
- Shop intentionally – only search for those things on your shopping list
- Choose pieces you can wear numerous times – as you will see by the chart, all of the pieces work together. All of the tops match all of the bottoms, and all of the jackets can coordinate with any of the tops, bottoms and dresses.
- Add pieces you know will look good on you! By the time you have made your list, you will have a good understanding of your color palate and what cuts of clothing look good on you.
Here is a chart to help you get started. With this chart, you will have 20 pieces of clothing, giving you about 35-40 outfits. If you want to get technical, I counted 64 different combinations using these 20 pieces!
The final step is to take some pictures of your outfit combinations. This will make it much easier to choose what to wear in the morning. There are numerous apps for your smart phone that will help you store and organize these pictures. My favorite is called Stylebook. It allows you to mark an outfit so you remember that you wore it recently. If you are a fashionista at heart, you NEED an app like this!
Here are some screen shots from my capsule wardrobe (of course, all of the pieces you see here came from Goodwill!).