Imagine a day when you have a great feeling about yourself. You slept well, had a lovely cup of tea with a satisfying breakfast. Things are really going your way. Next thing coming is to pick the outfit for the day and in my mind this is the critical moment of many days. It can boost you to even better day or it can set your back at least few steps. What is the key on winning this moment? Wisely created capsule wardrobe of course.
Lately we got to know the term Capsule Wardrobe. It was first used by Susie Faux during the 1970’s. You can read more about Mrs. Faux from her homepage.
In a nutshell capsule wardrobe is meant to be well-organized wardrobe with clothes that play well together without the overwhelming amount of clothes. Important aspects are good materials, right fit, classic pieces and a neutral colour scheme. There’s countless tutorials and tips for creating working capsule, just search with the term.
What we are writing about is not the actual pieces but the work you have to do before shopping. Well planned is almost half ready as the saying goes so the most important question you have to ask yourself when starting is:
“What do I need?”
Fashion designers use the tool which we can call for example 24 hours wheel. The idea is to write down what customer does during the day and then figure out what kind of clothes are needed. The wheel tool can also be used to represent a year. Think what you do during your day, what clothes you use when clock is 2 in the morning or 5 in the afternoon. Then think your day four times: spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Analyze your day with 24 hours wheel. Then analyze your day again for every season with a year wheel.
Start writing down things you use or need: warm winter coat for walking outside, light, city savy bleiser for spring and autumn, pyjamas for bed, cocktail dress for business parties, suit for office, jogging pants and shoes, horse riding gear, comfortable sweaters and pants for playing with children… The list goes on according your life style.
”I think the ideal size of your capsule will depend from person to person. There’s no hard and fast rules, here – the principle is that less is more so really what you’re trying to do is to make the most of your budget to create a working wardrobe with high quality clothes that will be sufficient for your lifestyle.” Susie Faux (June 9, 2010)
This might be the most boring part of organizing your wardrobe but we think it’s the most helpful and eye-opening. This is also safe part. You are not buying anything yet neither are you throwing things away. It might feel that nothing is happening but try to view this part as the moment of all possibilities. You can imagine the dream wardrobe and set yourself guides to work towards it.
When you’re ready you should have a list of situations, your needs and what kind of clothes you use in your daily life. Now you can start checking what you already have, what you might want to upgrade and what you need to purchase. If there is something to get throw away then few responsible ways to get rid off your extras are mentioned here.
Write down lists, take photographs, start new Pinterest board, draw… do anything that helps you to see your wardrobe-to-be. Visualizing helps you to see the whole picture, not just a piece here or a piece there. Make those notes easily accessible and make sure you have them with you next time you’re going shopping.
Start with everyday essentials
Think what you use everyday and get those sorted first. When the base is good, it’s easy to move to special occasion clothing. We deserve to feel good everyday not just when there’s a big event like wedding or a gala night. Remember that underwear is needed every damn day. Iida’s best buy in a long time was bunch of everyday t-shirts in black, white and grey with V- and crew-neck. No prints or patterns, just the most basic t-shirts available. With those there is always something to put on with jeans and look classy.
What looks good on you?
We hate all those ‘if you are this shape then you should wear this’ guides most fashion magazines and internet pages are sporting. We admit, if you are completely clueless then those might help you to start creating your perfect wardrobe but blindly going with those kind of limiting rules isn’t only utter bullshit but also body shaming. We believe that you look best in clothes you feel comfortable in and which are the style you like. That is not rocket science. You define your style.
So now that you know what pieces you need to have in your wardrobe then you should make guidelines for your future shopping trips. If, like Iida, you like more masculine style with classic trousers, sharp blouses and simple t-shirts, you should keep in mind what kind of details, fit and style make the look. Where is the waist line? What kind of trousers’ leg you are looking for? What is a good shape for a blouse? All these questions should be considered also if, like Janina, you like 1950’s style ladies’ clothes. Both these styles have very different attributes.
Look for few pictures that represents the style you like, then analyze what are the key elements, what makes the exact style to pop out for you. To help this you can also get few pictures of looks that are almost there but not quite. What is the difference?
So we know what pieces we need and know the guidelines. We think that one of the first things that get noticed on an outfit are the colours. When creating a working capsule wardrobe choose neutral and classic colours which stand time and work well together. From a clothing designer’s point of view black, white, grey, beige, navy blue and bright red are most timeless. So called ‘jewel tones’ which remind the shades from precious rocks like smaragd, amethyst, ruby and sapphire are best bets with bright colours, but in our minds they still work best in smaller doses. The colours which sell much less, are considered often ‘the difficult ones’ and are quicker to go in and out of fashion, are yellow, orange, green and purple. Even thought right now they are very ‘in’, let’s keep in mind that many good quality clothes should be usable also five years forward, so running after the latest trends isn’t the best idea.
A piece of clothing can have an amazing design, great cut and neat colour but there is one thing that can ruin the whole piece. Care to guess? Material. There are several problems which come with poor material choice and they all point to the same conclusion. If the material is not good, you don’t want to wear your otherwise perfect shirt.
Then how can you point out the nasty fabrics?
Always start with reading the labels. The best choice for a material depends on the piece you are getting but mostly you should be looking for natural fibers. That excludes for example polyester, which is getting annoyingly popular on fabrics. For basic clothing and definitely for formal clothing there isn’t any excuse to use it, but for training clothes it usually is a spot on. Why to avoid it? It’s extremely uncomfortable. It doesn’t breath, it makes you sweat yet it’s still cold. (Again things are a bit different with technical training clothes. But they are training clothes.) On top of everything polyester just looks cheap. After all the trouble you’ve put on figuring out a perfect wardrobe you don’t want it to look cheap.
Here comes few tricks we use when shopping for clothes. This might sound mean but we do bad things for the garment. We pick it, we stretch it, we rub it, we try to wrinkle it. All that is to see how the fabric reacts to stress. If we look for a piece that is supposed to last years in use then it can’t get damaged in the store.
Getting your head to the right mode with good materials can be tricky at first but you’ll get better as the time goes on. If you are doubting the material of the garment even slightly then you should let that be the first warning sign. Remember, you are going for perfect pieces, not for something that could be nice.
In a nutshell
Creating a working capsule wardrobe can be quite a task but we are confident end product is worth all the work. You are on the right path when you keep the three key words in mind.
Quality, fit and timeless.
You have analyzed your life style, realized your needs and created the right guidelines. As long as you follow these you shouldn’t go wrong. Don’t get discouraged if you feel like you aren’t moving anywhere, important things take time. Sometimes it is just as important to know when to leave something on a rack as it is to find the perfectly fitting t-shirts. Your wardrobe is one step closer to perfection also when there’s no extra stuff in it. Remember that wardrobe is never ready, it’s a work in progress.
How have you started to create your perfect wardrobe? What are the key elements and pieces for you?
Iida & Janina