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How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

Did you know that UK shoppers only wear about 74% of the clothing in their wardrobes? The value of all this unworn clothing is staggering, with the average British woman hoarding £504 worth, adding up to nearly £13 billion in unwanted clothing across the country.

One of the best ways to target that 'nothing to wear' feeling that we've all had at some point - staring into drawers stuffed full with clothes that we just don't love anymore - is to build a capsule wardrobe. As well as making your mornings easier by simplifying your outfit decisions, capsule wardrobes can help us reconnect with the value of our clothes and make more conscious fashion choices.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a small, carefully curated selection of good quality clothes, shoes, accessories and outerwear. Most importantly, these are timeless garments that bring you joy, fit you perfectly and complement each other, so there are countless different ways to pair outfits together. This means you don't have to constantly buy more clothes to try and keep up with trends, instead embracing your individual style and experimenting with a more minimalist way of living.

Take a capsule wardrobe challenge

An easy method for getting started with your capsule wardrobe is to take part in a challenge, for example the 10x10 challenge or Project 333.

The premise of the 10x10 challenge is to pick 10 clothing items to wear exclusively for 10 days (or 30 items for 30 days with the 30x30 challenge). With Project 333, you choose 33 items and wear them for 3 months for a longer term experiment. To gather some more inspiration, check out the blog Uncomplicated Spaces for regular capsule wardrobe challenges and stylish edits.

Before you begin - here is an important disclaimer. Dressing more sustainably doesn't mean you should throw out everything you already have and buy a whole new wardrobe of ethical fashion. It can be really beneficial to have a 'wardrobe audit' and clear out some unwanted clothing (making sure to dispose or donate responsibly, not just send to landfill), but remember - the most sustainable item is the one you already own. That's why it can be a good idea to buy a clothing rail for your capsule wardrobe, seperate from the rest of your clothes, or to simply section out part of your existing storage. 

Capsule wardrobe building blocks

All of this is not to say that you shouldn't invest in some basic essentials to fill the gaps in your existing wardrobe and build a solid foundation for a versatile, sustainable capsule. Here, explore some of the key pieces that will take you through every season and every occasion.

The classic white shirt 

A crisp white shirt will work hard for your style all year round. Style it with smart tailored trousers or blue jeans, layer under dungarees or a chunky knit...the possibilities are endless. Quality and versatility are key - opt for a simple, everyday fit with our own classic white shirt, or add a little more flair with our organic cotton wrap top.

The colour pop dress

Capsule wardrobes don't have to be boring! Make sure you inject some fun into your style and express your personality with a bold and colourful piece. Our hot pink jersey dress offers up a fresh pop of colour, while the relaxed fit makes it really comfortable and easy to dress up or down - here are three ways to style it.

The casual jersey

To form the building blocks of your capsule wardrobe, simple, sustainable basics like jersey tops and casual knits are perfect for adding to the majority of your outfits. This long-sleeved pullover top delivers easy, everyday minimalism, while offering subtle hand-crafted details to elevate your look. It even works as a yoga jersey too!

Essential accessories for your capsule wardrobe

You can choose whether to include shoes, jewellery and accessories in you capsule wardrobe count, but if you'd like to minimise and simplify those areas too, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • 1 x pair trainers (white is a great option for versatility)
  • 1 x pair heels (comfortable enough for day or night)
  • 1 x gold pendant necklace
  • 1 x silver stud earrings
  • 1 x colourful statement earrings
  • 1 x everyday watch
  • 1 x silk scarf
  • 1 x small cross-body bag
  • 1 x roomy leather handbag

This should give you plenty to play with against the backdrop of your capsule wardrobe basics.

Download our free Autumn Capsule Wardrobe guide here

For more timeless slow fashion essentials, shop our capsule collection.