After KonMari-ing my closet I’m left with a selection of clothes that I love but my ultimate goal is to have a wardrobe of clothes with some sort of overriding signature style that mix and match together to create outfits that will work for every occasion, eliminating “I have nothing to wear!!!” meltdowns. A capsule wardrobe of sorts. A quick Google revealed five different approaches.
The Five Piece French Wardrobe
Five pieces? Sounds amazing/impossible right? But hold on, this isn’t about having just five items in your wardrobe, it’s about starting with a list of quality basics, then adding five non basic items per season (once in Spring/Summer and again in Autumn/Winter). The list of basics is quite lengthy: 3 tees (black, white, grey); 3 tanks (black, white, grey); a silk blouse; a white button up; a black dress; a blazer; a cashmere sweater; a leather jacket; a trench coat; a black suit; a seasonal coat; a pair of black trousers; a pair of skinny jeans; a pair of trouser jeans; a pair of leather trousers; a black skirt; a pair of black shorts; a pair of black stilettos; mid-heel ankle boots; a pair of flats; a pair of summer sandals; a pair of sneakers; a gold watch; a leather bag; a clutch; an everyday ring; a pair of diamond earrings and a silk scarf. Read more here.
I was introduced to Project 333 by RMS reader Siobhan last week. How it works is that every three months you choose 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewellery, outerwear and shoes. Jewellery you never take off (such as your wedding ring), underwear, sleepwear, lounge wear and workout clothing don’t count. You box up everything else and put it out of sight. As a bonus you can put three additional items in your wardrobe and rotate them in during the next three months.
The Unfancy Capsule Wardrobe
Lauren was an early adopter of Caroline’s Unfancy 37 piece capsule wardrobe (read her posts about it here, here, here, here and here). You start by paring down your clothes to 37 pieces including tops, bottoms, dresses, outwear and shoes. Workout clothes, jewellery, accessories, bags, swimsuits, pajamas and underwear don’t have to be included in your 37 pieces. For Caroline this meant 9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms, 15 tops, 2 dresses and 2 jackets/coats. The 37 pieces are all you wear for a three month season, and then you switch it up. Caroline explains that the 37 pieces is what worked for her and says that if 37 doesn’t feel right for you, find your own number.
Berliner Anuschka’s Into Mind blog on personal style, minimalism and the perfect wardrobe was one of the inspirations behind Caroline’s Unfancy Capsule Wardrobe (along with Project 333). There is so much advice on the blog for building a hardworking wardrobe and signature style, I feel like I need to read the entire thing. For Anushka a capsule wardrobe is a selection of 20 to 30 key pieces that express your personal style and work for your lifestyle, so you can quickly pull together an outfit for every occasion.
Matilda Kahl wears the exact same thing to work every day. Yes, the exact same thing (before you’re all like ‘ew’ she has multiple versions). After experiencing wardrobe paralysis and arriving late to an important meeting feeling inappropriately dressed, the New York based art director decided the solution was to start wearing a uniform to work. She invested in 15 white silk shirts, several pairs of trousers, added a personal touch with a leather bow around her neck and in winter throws on a black blazer. Although her uniform meant a considerable initial outlay in the long run she reckons it’s saved her both money and time. Read more here.
Make Up My Mind Time…
I like the idea of a uniform but wearing the same thing every single day feels way too restrictive. The French wardrobe makes sense but there’s something about it that feels a little bit joyless. Plus there are items within it that are just not me – the silk shirt, white button down, leather trousers, trench coat and silk scarf for starters, although obviously it would be perfectly possible to pick more me alternatives. However sticking to a colour palette of mostly black, white, grey and blue denim appeals. And having somewhere between 20 and 30 items with a couple of seasonal additions feels doable. So basically I plan to pick and mix between all five approaches to build my capsule wardrobe. For work a selection of dresses is my take on the uniform approach (plus it’s easy – you don’t have to think about putting two or more items together, you just throw on a dress, tights in Autumn/Winter and a pair of shoes or boots and you’re out the door). And for the rest of the time a mixture of tees in black, white and grey, jumpers in black, navy and grey, plaid shirts, a blazer, a couple of skirts, jeans in blue and black or grey and a couple of pairs of shoes and boots should do it. What this whole exercise has made me feel is that weirdly, having less stuff, as long as it’s the right stuff, actually makes you feel as if you have more. and that it’s worth taking your time to think about purchases and perhaps even spending a little bit more on quality items, such as a great blazer or the perfect pair of trousers. With that in mind, below is everything I would very much like to add to my capsule wardrobe right now (although one or two is more realistic tbh!).
Are you working the capsule wardrobe approach? Do you have a work uniform? Or a weekend uniform? And what great purchases have you made lately? Do share below!