The concept of capsule wardrobes has been around since the 1970s, but with more and more of us trying to live sustainably, with the added desire of trying to simplify our busy lives, it seems the idea is more popular now than ever before.
If you often find yourself complaining of having nothing to wear, or if you want to spend less time and money on clothes in the long run, then a capsule wardrobe could be for you.
What is a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a set number of clothes, shoes and accessories that you can mix and match to create a variety of different outfits. The items of clothing within your capsule wardrobe should coordinate well in terms of colour and style to make putting an outfit together that much easier.
How many items are there in a capsule wardrobe?
There's no hard and fast rule for how many items your capsule wardrobe should contain. Some people new to the concept swear by the 333 rule, which involves creating a capsule wardrobe of 33 items for 3 months as a trial run. Your capsule wardrobe could have as few as 10 items or as many as 50 items - the number really depends on you and your lifestyle.
This number doesn’t include underwear, loungewear or sportswear, but every item within these categories should serve a purpose and be worn frequently to maintain its spot in your wardrobe.
Your capsule wardrobe can be updated every three months with a change in seasons. Simply pack away clothes that are unsuitable for the upcoming season and replace these with the same number of season-appropriate items.
How to create a capsule wardrobe
1. Start by clearing out your current wardrobe
Take every single item of clothing out of your wardrobe and think about the last time you wore it. If it’s been more than six months, take it to the charity shop, as your capsule wardrobe should only include items that you love and that you’ll be happy to wear frequently.
2. Pick your base colour
Black and navy are the most common base colours in a capsule wardrobe as they go with so many other colours. If you aren’t a fan of black or navy then you could choose a shade of brown as your base colour as an alternative.
3. Choose neutral-coloured essentials
For your essential tops and bottoms, choose neutral tones like white, beige, grey. All these colours will coordinate well together and with your base colour so you can mix and match them effortlessly.
4. Decide on an accent colour
To keep your capsule wardrobe simple and streamlined, choose one, two or three accent colours and add a few tops or bottoms in each of these colours.
5. Add some pattern
Add a couple of patterned pieces, like a striped top (a classic essential) or an item in floral, gingham or polka dot. Make sure that the colours in these patterned items go with your base colours and accent colours.
6. Add outerwear
Choose season-appropriate blazers, jackets and coats to add to your capsule wardrobe.
Turn your attention to your all-important accessories. Add one or two neutral handbags and a couple of scarves in keeping with your chosen colour scheme.
8. Choose your shoes
Last but by no means least, it’s time to choose your shoes. You'll want different shoes in your capsule wardrobe at different times of year, and the number of shoes you decide to add depends on your lifestyle. At the very minimum you’ll want one or two pairs in your base colour, a neutral-coloured pair of flats, a pair of boots, a pair of sandals and a casual pair of trainers.
Summer capsule shoe wardrobe
The first pair of shoes in your summer capsule wardrobe should be a pair of versatile flat sandals in your base colour or a neutral colour.
A comfortable and supportive pair of flips flops are handy to take on holiday, wear to the beach or even just wear out in the garden.
A practical pair of trainers is a must-have in your capsule wardrobe. They’re ideal for everyday wear - choose a pair in a neutral colour so that you can throw them on with any outfit.
Smart work shoes
A pair of heeled sandals is a great addition to your summer capsule wardrobe. If you know that your evening wardrobe would go with one particular accent colour, this could be your chance to inject a splash of colour into your shoe wardrobe.
Winter capsule shoe wardrobe
Ankle boots are a winter staple as well as being the perfect transitional shoe. Choose your favourite style in your base colour or a neutral colour and wear them day in, day out.
A trusted pair of trainers are a year-round staple, so let your summer pair transition into your winter wardrobe or choose a darker pair for this season.
Smart work shoes
In winter you may prefer work shoes that provide more coverage. Try a smart brogue or a pair of loafers that can be worn with tights.
A pair of knee-high boots is a smart and elegant addition to your winter capsule wardrobe and can be worn from day to night.
Whether you prefer court shoes or heeled boots, it’s nice to have a pair of heels in your winter wardrobe that you can wear out in the evening when you feel like getting dressed up.
Ready to start your capsule wardrobe? Explore our Holiday Shop to find the perfect shoes for your summer edit.