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How I created a capsule wardrobe
For years and years, my wardrobe was bulging. It seemed that for every occasion I was invited to, I didn't seem to have quite the right outfit, which prompted a shopping spree for a whole new outfit. However once purchased the items I'd chosen then never seemed to quite go with anything else I owned. So if one item from that new outfit was in the wash, or damaged or borrowed by a friend, I couldn't in fact wear any of it. The result was that my wardrobe was bulging and my wallet was shrinking. Throw in having a baby and giving up having a 'proper' job, and the result was that my wardrobe just wasn't working for me. I was feeling overwhelmed, I was facing too many decisions about what to wear and feeling stressed that I couldn't pull together an outfit despite having so many items. It was time to call in the professionals....
I'd recently attended a style evening at a local village hall, the evening consisted of styling various women of all ages, shapes and sizes, giving hair and make up tips and then transforming these ladies images in an instant. They all looked amazing and effortlessly pulled together for each of the occasions they represented. Their looks we're dressed up and dressed down, keeping the basic clothes as a foundation and I was hooked.
From that evening I took away 5 important yet very simple rules for how to create my own capsule wardrobe at home. Here they are.
1. Limit your colours
This may seem counter intuitive, but actually the less colours you have competing in the wardrobe the more compatible your clothes become. More of this in rule 2. First chose two colours you love to wear or that look fabulous on you. For example mine are blue and pink. Now strictly speaking I don't just stick to one type of blue, I have also included a bluey tourquise, and my pink also includes some shades of red, orange and coral. The main point being that I don't have any yellows, greens or purples. And I'm very very strict about this.
Next choose your neutrals. You can have three of these. Mine are beige, grey and white.
Then chose between black and navy. I have chose navy rather than black as this is more flattering for my particular skin tone. I have one exception which is a little black dress and pair of black heels for those times when only a LBD will do.
2. Everything has to have a friend
By this I mean that you need to try and match up some colours. So for example, if you are wearing a pair of blue jeans, try to incorporate some blue in your outfit elsewhere, this could be in a pair of earrings, a scarf or a bag. Even a pair of blue eyes will work. The blues don't necessarily need to be the same shade, just be able to work together. The point is that even the smallest amount of extra blue added will make sense of the blue jeans. So for every colour or neutral that you wear, give it a friend, bring in the colour somewhere else. This will help you feel and look pulled together.
3. Can you build at lest three outfits from it?
When shopping for clothes or decluttering your wardrobe, make sure you ask yourself if the item in question can help you build at least three different outfits from the pieces in your existing wardrobe. If the answer is no, then the item isn't going to help you create the capsule wardrobe you so desire. Of course if you are starting out from scratch then you may need to invest in a few new pieces but keep this rule in mind when doing so. No single one item should be reliant on only one other item for its use as this reduces its flexibility and usefulness when that one item is in the wash! For example a plain navy blue top could be paired with a pair of blue jeans and pumps for the school run, a cream coloured skirt and heels for work and a pair of smart trousers and jewellery for an evening out.
4. The 80/20 rule
80% of your wardrobe should be made up of classic investment pieces and 20% made up of frivolous fun or high fashion pieces. If you are a keen follower of fashion, the challenge you face is keeping up with it and the continual turn over of trends means countless hours shopping and planning your outfit. Or maybe the thought of following fashion strikes you with fear and you struggle to find a style that you like in the shops. The answer here is the 80/20 rule. If you spend 80% of your budget or allow 80% of your wardrobe to focus on classic investment pieces (such as smart trousers, blazers, quality neutral shade heels) then you'll have a brilliant foundation. You can then dress up these classics with the remaining 20% and you can go as wild with these as you feel comfortable.The result is that you'll only need to choose a couple of new pieces each year to keep up with the trend. Meanwhile if you've chosen your classic investment pieces well, they could last you years before they get worn out or go out of date. This mean more versatility, less spending and less waste.
5. Invest in accessories
In some respects the clothes that we wear can be seen as a foundation, you don't always really notice them but they do provide a very important backdrop for what you choose to wear on top. And we call these accessories. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to encourage you to go out and buy more, I am a declutterer and minimalist after all, but I do believe that a few well chosen accessories will give your wardrobe a huge lift as they can completely change your look.
Shopping is easier as I'm only looking for certain colours and styles that fit my lifestyle
Dressing is easier as I have less decisions to make in the mornings
Looking good is easier as everything goes together
I feel better about how I look
I'm saving money and feel the need to go shopping
My clothes last longer
I can still take part in fashion but on my own terms
So give it a go and let me know how you get on