Renate Engelbrecht
Content producer
4 minute read
1 Jul 2021
12:49 pm

Five steps to creating a capsule wardrobe

Renate Engelbrecht

Struggling to choose an outfit? A capsule wardrobe might just be the answer.

Converting your closet into a capsule wardrobe. Image: iStock

‘Capsule wardrobe’ is a buzzword that has taken the world by storm and with good reason. If picking out an outfit is one of your daily struggles, a capsule wardrobe might just be the answer.

The concept of a capsule wardrobe has actually been around for ages, with Susie Faux’s London-based Wardrobe boutique in the 70s and later Donna Karan’s Seven Easy Pieces line in 1985 serving as inspiration. A capsule wardrobe is a limited selection of interchangeable clothing items that complement each other. These items are normally neutral in colour and classic in style, which means that they won’t be going out of fashion any time soon. A capsule wardrobe allows you to mix and match with a limited selection of clothing items, assisting you to buy more consciously and to tap into the trend of sustainable fashion.

The benefits of a capsule wardrobe

The clothes in your capsules should be items you love and they should work well together and fit your style. Having a capsule wardrobe means having less clothes, evidently making the decision of what to wear much simpler.

Buying clothes for your capsule wardrobe will save you time and money, as you know exactly what to buy. Ultimately you also buy less items because you have basics with which you can mix and match.

The fact that you buy timeless pieces when you embrace a capsule wardrobe also allows you to have a more sustainable approach. Since a capsule wardrobe limits the amount of items you have in your closet, you wear every item and nothing goes to waste. Chances are that, when you convert to a capsule wardrobe, you won’t just buy items that are easy to take care of and easier to pack, but also pieces that will last longer and don’t fall under the wasteful fast fashion industry.

Conscious shopping for a capsule wardrobe

Shopping consciously forms an important part of creating a capsule wardrobe. Image: iStock

Steps to creating a capsule wardrobe

1. Do an audit of your current wardrobe

Madeline Rossouw, curator and owner of Curated Style SA says you need to reconsider every item in your closet when converting to a capsule wardrobe. “My clients and I always start by taking out every item in their closets and going through it all. We decide what stays (Is it your style? Do you like it? Does it fit you well? Is it a good item to work with?) and what goes (warn out, stained or damaged items, items that don’t really fit well or items that aren’t really your style).

2. Throw out and declutter your closet

Declutter. Take out all the clothing items in your closet and throw out the pieces you don’t like or don’t wear anymore. Then, only pack those things you’ll still be using back into your closet. “We look at what is left and what you need to complete the capsules,” says Rossouw. Making a list of the items you need keeps you from buying items similar to those you already have in your closet.


3. Plan your capsule wardrobe

Decide on a colour scheme. We often make the mistake of buying something that doesn’t flatter our skin tone or doesn’t go with anything else in our wardrobes just because it looks pretty on a puppet in the shop. By choosing a colour scheme, you’ll always have items that work together and you’ll never struggle to decide what to wear. Jot down your best colours and styles and build a framework for your capsule wardrobe from there.

4. Make a list of the items you still need

List the items you still need to complete the capsules in your wardrobe and remember to be practical about it. Don’t list items that you know you won’t be wearing most of the time. Some items fit into your lifestyle better than others. If you’re running after toddlers all day, it won’t make sense to buy all your basics in white.

5. Go do some conscious shopping

Focus on items that are neutral (black, white, beige, navy and grey) and versatile – something that could work with just about anything in your closet – from other core pieces to bold, statement items. Style, confidence and fitness expert, Suret Alive says that quality over quantity is the motto she lives by. “If your focus is on quality, you can automatically afford less and you’ll buy fewer items. That means you will then wear everything that is in your closet,” she says.

The process of building a capsule wardrobe is not always easy but once converted, you’ll definitely reap the benefits.