How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

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Over the past few weeks, I have cleared out my closet of pieces I no longer use or no longer fit. While I do this annually, this particular clear-out was an emotionally charged one. I had a few of my designer bags stolen late last year and every time I look at the empty space in my closet where they should be, I’m reminded of that painful experience.

My leather moto jacket – a HUGE favourite. I will NEVER get rid of it.
My leather moto jacket – a HUGE favourite. I will NEVER get rid of it.

While the experience frankly sucked, it jolted me into letting go of all the stuff I no longer need or use. The jerk who stole my things also did me a bit of a favour. He took some bags that I no longer used and paved the way for me to start fresh. Like a phoenix rising out of the ashes of ugly, old clothing and tired, boring, designer logo bags, the biggest closet cleanse of my life was born.

It was clearly time to let go of the leopard print mullet dress I bought for Vegas (what the hell was I thinking) and giraffe print capris (J.Crew – you should be ashamed of yourself). I also got rid of the bright red Club Monaco dress that I adored for years despite the red wine stain on the front. I took a big garbage bag and filled it with a bunch of clothing, accessories, shoes and bags that were taking up precious real estate in my closet. Once the clean-up was finished, and my two sisters had sufficiently picked through everything AND I sold items that had some value, I packed the leftovers carefully and will be dropping them off to the Youville Centre, an organization I am proud to support which assists young mothers in getting educated and attaining employment, in turn providing better lives for themselves and their families.

A white blazer – a perennial fave and part of my capsule wardrobe
A white blazer – a perennial fave and part of my capsule wardrobe

In addition to this major clear out, I decided to create a “capsule wardrobe” of my favourite pieces. What exactly is a capsule wardrobe, you ask? Well, it’s a collection of your favourite items of clothing which are classic, neutral-coloured pieces that never go out of style. You can reach for them safely season after season, and freshen them up with trendy pieces and accessories.

Capsule wardrobes are particularly great because if you pull together several of your favourite pieces that are high-quality and fit perfectly, you can mix and match them creating a pretty much endless array of looks. Also, it will save you money in the long run as you won’t feel the pressure to run out and buy something new as you’ll always have your favourites to pull from. Just add some great accessories and voilà! Fresh look. It also saves time as you’ll no longer be rifling through your closet while wailing: “I have nothing to weaaarrrrr!” while your husband mutters about your shopping addiction under his breath.

A good quality black wool coat is a seasonal gem that will last the test of time
A good quality black wool coat is a seasonal gem that will last the test of time

I took the liberty of creating a video highlighting what exactly is a capsule wardrobe, essential pieces that comprise one and how to spot high quality pieces while you’re out shopping. Now remember, while a capsule wardrobe is best composed of neutral coloured clothing, you don’t have to stick to that. If you have a pair of purple pants with green polka dots that you adore and wear frequently, add it to your capsule collection!

My cashmere sweater that I wear on repeat
My cashmere sweater that I wear on repeat

NOTE: you shouldn’t have to run out and buy a bunch of classics to create your collection. Build upon what you already have and stop when your gut instinct tells you too. This is not an exercise in spending a ton of cash, it’s an exercise in freshening up your existing wardrobe.

Do you abide by the capsule collection way of dressing? What are some of your essential pieces that you reach for over and over again? Let me know in the comments!

 

  • Jocelyn

    And here I was getting set to shop!
    As I pack up my clothes for yet another move, I am once again confronted with way to many boxes of clothes and thoughts that I should weed things out! You have inspired me…but I will wait to do so in the new house!
    Items in my capsule: a colourful, pick-me-up Desigual scarf, a beautiful green/white SuperDry dress shirt (I love the weight of it), a few pairs of quality black pants, a beautiful black & white dress I brought back from England, and a leather corset (I bought over ten years ago and still LOVE it!)
    Now…to wrap my mind around downsizing! Thanks for the motivation:)

    • Hi Jocelyn!

      I’m so thrilled that I motivated you to continue building your capsule wardrobe! While I feature quite a few pieces of fast fashion merchandise, the success of a capsule wardrobe is based on classic, high-quality pieces such as your Desigual scarf (love that brand), the SuperDry dress shirt and that leather corset. Good for you!

      I too would wait until you are in the new house to continue building your capsule. You want to reserve your cash for all the fun decor you’ll no doubt splurge on!

      I can’t thank you enough for reading/watching. Have a great day!

      Dominique

  • I always loved the idea and concept of the capsule wardrobe. Being a Minimalist my wardrobe is different than your. My capsule wardrobe consist of gray and black workmen type clothing that lack style (don’t know how that happened) the work men’s but Crack showing. LOL

    • Omg! Well, whatever works and I’m sure you look great. ;o) Take care, Tony and I thank you for reading/watching!