The 21st century woman’s guide to creating a capsule wardrobe

If your New Year’s resolution involves organizing your closet, you are not alone. Every January, tens of thousands of women find themselves in need of a little spring cleaning–not because we’ve outgrown our clothes, not because we’ve worn them to shreds, but because our fast fashion habits fill our closets to the brim, making them difficult to manage.

The solution? Creating a capsule wardrobe. That is, “a minimal wardrobe composed of 30 to 40 high-quality, versatile items that will meet your needs for a given time amount of time,” usually about 3 months, according to Business Insider.

Breaking your fast fashion habit and revamping your entire wardrobe may seem like a tall order, but it turns out your overstuffed and neglected closet is actually causing you a ton of stress, according to Rachel Jonat, author of Do Less: A Minimalist Guide to a Simplified, Organized, and Happy Life.

Major closet inspo via Amy Kim, aka Homey Oh My [source: homeyohmy.com]
If you think fast fashion rendered a capsule wardrobe a thing of the past, then think again; a capsule wardrobe is exactly what we need in order to combat day-to-day aggravation in this face-paced, constantly connected world. 

Purging your closet and creating a capsule is a relatively painless process–even for the organizationally challenged–that can help you develop your own personal style by ridding your space of the bland or outdated pieces you never wear. Caroline Rector, blogger behind Unfancy, suggests three basic steps to begin your first capsule wardrobe:

  1. Empty your closet, dresser and anywhere else you store clothes completely; failure to do so constitutes as cheating.
  2. Sort each item into one of four piles.
    • Love it: These are the pieces you absolutely love, that you could not live without and that you definitely plan on keeping for your capsule wardrobe.
    • Maybe: Items that you do not wear regularly, such as those that may need some tailoring/alterations, those that have sentimental value and those that you have not worn recently but can definitely–emphasis on definitely–see yourself wearing within the next 6 months or so, are all considered “maybe’s”.
    • Nope: “Nope’s” are clothes that don’t fit properly (and that you don’t plan on taking to the tailor), clothes that you’ve never worn or have only worn once (and that you won’t be wearing within the next 6 months) and bland or outdated clothes that you will never wear again. Consider donating these pieces to a local charity or reselling them on sites like Poshmark.
    • Seasonal: Winter coats, snow boots, swimsuits, etc.
  3. Asses what’s left, i.e., your “love it” pieces, and adjust your new wardrobe accordingly. You should be left with approximately 30-40 pieces. If you are below the 30 mark, consider using the money you earned from your old clothes to invest in some quality pieces; if you are way above the 40 mark, you should definitely add a few more things to your “maybe” or “nope” pile. Then, pack all your “maybe” and “seasonal” pieces away for the time being–Rector suggests storing them in a box in the garage, or under your bed.

Minimal and fashionable [source: un-fancy.com]
For those that prefer writing things down to stay organized, Rector’s blog also features a printable capsule planner, which acts as a foolproof guide to creating a capsule wardrobe. The technologically savvy can utilize the Stylebook App (available on the App store), while visual learners will find tons of inspiration via Rector’s personal capsules on Unfancy’s Capsule Experiment page.

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