The ultimate way to refine your style: a capsule wardrobe
& THE ONLY 3 RESOURCES YOU NEED TO CREATE YOUR OWN
Almost overnight (it seems) we are all rediscovering an old truth: less can be so much more. And with rising trends such as scandinavian minimalism and finding hygge, the philosophy is also reaching a matter very close to our heart: our closet. But contrary to so many other trends that have come and gone, the idea of a capsule wardrobe isn’t just another fad, it is a mindset shift towards a simpler life, a more defined personal style and even a happier you.
“Credit for coining the term “capsule wardrobe” goes to London boutique owner Susie Faux in the 1970s, although it really caught on in America in the 1980s thanks to designer Donna Karan and her “Seven Easy Pieces” collection. At the time, a capsule wardrobe was defined as a compact wardrobe made up of staple pieces in coordinating colours–usually in the realm of 30 items or fewer, including shoes and sometimes even accessories. One might update the wardrobe with a couple of new trendy or seasonal items two or three times a year, but that was it. The goal was to have a streamlined wardrobe of high-quality pieces that could be worn often and interchangeably, thereby saving money, closet space, and time.” Source: fashionmagazine.com
So far so good… But where to start and how to go about it?
In this article you will find the 3 resources that I’ve genuinely found to be the most inspiring and educational in embarking on this journey. Because A) why should you have to go at in on your own and B) let’s not make the path to a simpler life more complex by hours of googling or weeks of falling down the Pinterest rabbit hole. (Which let’s face it, will most likely just end up in either cute puppy pictures or some funny cat gifs. Though arguably there is nothing wrong with that!)
But let’s dive in… here are the 3 resources that will take you from closet overwhelm to stylish serene capsule bliss:
The blog unfancy.com by the amazing Caroline Joy Rector
Generally regarded as the authority on the capsule wardrobe movement, Texas based blogger Caroline Joy Rector created her beautiful blog Unfancy in 2014, when she wanted to find her true style and curb her shopping habit. Back then, she had that issue we all face at some point (or let’s be honest at many many points) in our life: a full closet and nothing to wear.
So she decided to try a capsule wardrobe and live with a small & intentional closet of 37 pieces. Her blog was her journal and a place to share her journey and (lucky for us) her super stylish outfits.
“TODAY, UNFANCY REMAINS TRUE TO IT’S “MIX + MATCH + REPEAT” ROOTS WITH SIMPLE OUTFIT IDEAS, CLOSET-CURATING TIPS, AND A FOCUS ON PERSONAL STYLE OVER TRENDS.”
After a year of living with a capsule, she found herself more content, more confident, and more joyful than ever. And isn’t that what we are all looking for in this fast paced crazy little life of ours?!
Her style is clean and simple but never in that overdone runway style. It always looks effortless, comfortable & fun. And I love her use of pastels and stripes (my favorite pattern of all time). My secret favorite feature though has to be her travel section with perfectly curated outfits that make packing not just a breeze but actually something I can look forward to rather than procrastinate until the Uber is on it’s way.
But her inspiration doesn’t stop there, she also has a passion for books, music & interior design and gives us a house tour of the 1930’s fixer upper she and her husband have been renovating and let me tell you I am still looking for the application form to move in! It’s a gorgeous mix of eclectic bohemian and minimalist mid-mod. It’s fabulous!
So if you are looking to make your own wardrobe not just more intentional but also more inspired by your lifestyle and interests, head over to unfancy.com and let Caroline take you on her journey with her. Because even though she doesn’t keep a super structured capsule anymore, her path will inspire you to more intentional purchases, less shopping, and a lot more joy.
The 10x10 challenge by the incredible Stylebee aka Lee Vosburgh
If you are looking for a way to kick-start your capsule wardrobe into high gear, look no further. Lee Vosburgh’s 10×10 challenge will not only introduce you to a step by step guide on how to create a true capsule wardrobe it acts pretty much as a 10 day fashion detox which will ignite your own creativity and have you say “What overspilling closet?” in no time.
The concept is essentially a micro capsule closet that you work with for 10 days, trying new looks and styling your clothes in ways you might not otherwise try. And the guidelines are pretty simple:
- PICK ANY 10 ITEMS FROM YOUR CURRENT CLOSET
- STYLE THOSE ITEMS INTO 10 DIFFERENT LOOKS
- USE 10 DAYS TO DO IT
- HAVE FUN AND DON’T TAKE IT TOO SERIOUSLY!
The Ontario based blogger calls them ‘guidelines’ instead of ‘rules’ because this challenge is meant to be a fun and helpful exercise, not a daunting or rigid task. If you prefer to try this on work days only (this is what Lee did in her first challenge) and skip the weekend, then do it. Or if the 10 days just seem to much, try it for 6 days with 6 items or go the other direction: more items and a longer challenge: 20×20, 30×30 – you get the idea!
“Do whatever makes it feel manageable but still be sure to challenge yourself!”
And the best part about this resource? There are recaps of older challenges that show you that you can do this at any time of the year, now matter the season. In fact her most recent 10×10 winter challenge must be my favorite current capsule wardrobe. I take all those pieces please, thank you!
But Lee’s Stylebee cleverness isn’t limited to this inspiring little challenge, her website is packed with insights, tips and workbooks to hone in on anyone’s wardrobe & style. From ‘Defining Your Color Palette, to ‘Recognize Your Shopping Triggers’, to a ‘5 Step Closet Edit’ this gorgeous website is a true fountain of wisdom when it comes to simplifying your fashion life.
So if you are looking for an uncompromising and incredibly effective way to refine your style and create a capsule wardrobe Stylebee will take you on a truly educational journey of determination, knowledge and vision. And you can start without even having to buy anything new, because her 10×10 challenge allows (or better said) challenges you to work with what’s in your closet right this minute and without noticing editing it already down to your absolute favorites.
The book ‘The Curated Closet’ by the fabulous Anuschka Rees
While technically not a book on capsule wardrobes per se, Anuschka Rees’ book compliments and completes this list of resources perfectly. In fact it does so, because it goes deeper and covers so much more. But just like our two wonderful resources before, it allows you to find your style through the art of letting go…
To let go of any old believes about you and your style, to let go of things in your wardrobe that just don’t serve you anymore (or never have) and to let go of old shopping mistakes. It is the most comprehensive resource on this list and besides that, it’s such a beautifully designed and laid-out book, once you finished it, you will want to keep it around on your coffee table (aka woo your Instagram followers with a fabulous flatlay).
So what is the curated closet? To use the London based author’s own intro: The curated closet is a wardrobe that’s perfectly tailored to your unique personal style and your life. It contains everything you need to feel confident and inspired everyday. It is not based on trends, style typologies, or a cookie-cutter list of ‘wardrobe essentials’.
What I particularly liked about this book is the emphasis on authenticity. And no, not in that overused cheesy way of marketing for hipsters, but the kind that means: you will be you! Anuschka urges you to forget conventional style stereotypes like “classic” or “bohemian” and rather to create our own look, outside the fashion boxes.
“Think of your closet as an exclusive, members-only club. Only pieces that you love and are truly excited to wear get an invite.”
And the book not only guides you to find that style, nope that would be only half the journey, but how to implement it taking into account: your specific lifestyle, your budget, your body, your favorite fabrics, and even your typical laundry routine.
Because of that Anuschka’s book is very unique. It takes you onto your very own journey to discover who you really are and how that translates into YOUR look. And this may or may not end up in a capsule wardrobe or even a minimalist one but it sure will leave you with a closet filled with pieces that bring you joy and inspiration every day!
So if you are ready to learn more about yourself let ‘The Curated Closet’ show you the way. But don’t expect a “this-is-it” wardrobe plan that you can replicate. On no page of this book will Anuschka tell you what to wear, which pieces to include in your wardrobe, or what kind of top to match with which kind of bottom. What she will do is show you how you can figure all these things out for yourself, how to discover your unique likes and dislikes, and how to combine everything into a functional personal style that’s authentic because it’s truly you.
I hope you found this article helpful and if you have questions or suggestions please leave a comment below – I would love to hear from you!
PS: My name is Judith and this is my little slice of the internet. I hope you’ll enjoy hanging out with me from time to time while I ramble on about design, art and of course, lots of romantic minimalism.