What Exactly Is A Capsule Wardrobe?

What Exactly Is A Capsule Wardrobe?

The Basics

First, it's important to note why this post seems necessary. Since beginning this brand and various deep dives into the many facets of sustainable & ethical fashion, there are several terms that get used a lot. Some are used by big brands to greenwash their marketing in order to seem more ethical than they actually are. And other terms are thoughtful and actually useful to the everyday fashion consumer. Terms like slow fashion and living wages have real meaning behind them when referring to the way garments are produced and the treatment of the workers who make them. Another is this concept of having a capsule wardrobe. 

Simply put, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing composed of thoughtfully curated, easily interchangeable items designed to maximize the number of outfits that you can create.  Essentially, this simple, minimalistic way of putting together your wardrobe allows you to create a variety of different looks with a small selection of clothes.

How It Began

The term capsule wardrobe dates back to the 1970s and came from Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called Wardrobe. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe contains a few essential and timeless items, such as skirts and pants, that you can supplement with seasonal pieces. 

The concept took off in 1985 with designer Donna Karan’s first capsule collection called “Seven Easy Pieces.” The collection included a bodysuit, skirt, tailored jacket, dress, something leather, a white shirt, and a cashmere sweater and was designed to take a woman from a day in the office to an evening out.

Today, capsule wardrobes seem to be having something of a revival largely due to an increase in public interest in reducing the fashion industry’s environmental impact and greater demand for brands with sustainable and responsible manufacturing processes.

The Pros + The Cons

Let's start with the benefits...and there are several!

  • Less decision fatigue: Having fewer clothing options ironically makes it significantly easier to decide what to wear. A capsule can help you get more creative with your wardrobe compared to when you have hundreds more items hanging in your closet. Plus you can play up accessories in really fun and interesting ways. 
  • Capsule wardrobes are better for the planet: Purchasing fewer clothes has significantly less impact on the environment. Less clothing means fewer chemicals in our water and oceans, less clothing in landfills, and a smaller carbon footprint. 
  • You can afford nicer pieces: When you stop buying clothes you don’t need, you have more money to invest in timeless, high-quality pieces that will last multiple seasons —or in many cases, years. 
  • You’ll reclaim hours (even days) of your life back. Think of all the time you’ve spent buying clothes over the last few years: shopping, trying on, and making returns or exchanges. Then think about how much time you’ve spent managing the clothes in your closet (tailoring, organizing, and purging) and fretting out what to wear (the worst part!). When you have a minimalist capsule wardrobe, you spend considerably less time on all those things, leaving you more time and energy to focus on other, more important things. 
  • You’ll reduce unnecessary stress and overwhelm: By downsizing your wardrobe, you clear physical clutter from your home, and your closet suddenly becomes a more open and calming environment. Also, getting dressed is stress-free when you have a wardrobe of clothes you love, know how to wear, fit you well, and make you feel confident!
  • You end up looking and feeling more sophisticated: As fashionistas, this may be one of our favorite reasons to have a capsule wardrobe. Think of some of your favorite fashion icons. Something they probably all have in common is a signature, timeless style (think Michael Kors and his signature black tee and black blazer look or Jenna Lyons and her timeless hi-low dressing style.) Chances are they also have sophisticated, effortless pieces they use often to create their chic style. A capsule wardrobe allows you to hone your own style and leave out the excess that isn't working for you. It always feels elevated and effortless.

Okay, so now for the cons. Critics of the capsule wardrobe might argue that it takes the fun out of fashion and removes one's personal style from the equation. Often the formula to create a capsule wardrobe is to use neutral colors and basic pieces.  But if a capsule wardrobe is working correctly for you, there really doesn't need to be any downside. And there doesn't need to be one black and white way to look at it...there are no hard and fast rules here. It's okay and absolutely necessary to find your own style and express who you are through your own capsule wardrobe. Adding color and prints are great ways to personalize yours and keeps it looking like you. You should try to use what you already have and just add in the pieces you might be missing. 

The key really is to keep the number of items in your closet low and to make sure that most, if not all of them can work together to create multiple looks. Try to keep it timeless and use high quality pieces that will last for years. Also, accessories go a long way in styling your everyday looks...so play and have fun with it!

How LT Can Help

This brand was created for just this reason! So you can find quality, effortless pieces that are not only ethically produced, but that you can easily add in to your own capsule wardrobe and make getting dressed simple and uncomplicated. Plus we add a little edge to each piece to help you express your sexy, cool self!

Pieces like our Patti Short Sleeve Tee and our Pima Rib Knit L&L Tank are classic wardrobe essentials you can use to build out your own capsule wardrobe. Our Pima Rib Knit L&L Racerback Dress is another timeless style that can be worn in multiple outfits to created a variety of looks, day or night. It also styles perfectly with our Lana Sweatshirt Tunic, a more fun, edgy piece to add in to your own capsule.

Enjoy and remember to be mindful and stay true to you!

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