How To Create a Capsule Wardrobe

Picture it. Your alarm clock buzzes at daft o’clock in the morning, you jump up out of bed pronto, but you’re already running late for work. The night before was a late one, and you completely forgot to go through the usual motions of planning what you’d wear. So now you’re scurrying around the house pulling your hair out trying to think of the place you left that top you could just throw on, but it’s nowhere to be seen and the time is ticking. You fling open the wardrobe and pull out anything you can get your hands on, which isn’t too creased and doesn’t smell like last week’s washing. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all promised to organise our wardrobes in such a simple way so that the morning from hell never rears its ugly head again, in the wardrobe department at least, and we can catch a few more Zz’s safe in the knowledge that whatever we choose to wear that morning is right there to hand. Well, perhaps the time has come to create your seasonal capsule wardrobe? But what’s one of those…

A seasonal capsule wardrobe is a limited collection of seasonally appropriate garments that you can mix, match and pull together to create a variety of everyday outfits. Usually one would have two capsule wardrobes, one for Spring/ Summer and the other for Autumn/Winter. While one capsule is in use, the other is stored away. Comparatively, it’s the same as having a heavy winter duvet that you switch out for a lighter duvet in summer, except it’s with your entire wardrobe. There are thousands of reasons for why one would create a capsule wardrobe, but the most obvious reason is so you can avoid the scenario above and be faced only with a selection of outfits you know will serve you well during the season you’re in. When you create a capsule wardrobe, essentially you are decluttering and editing your wardrobe – which in turn makes choosing an outfit from it, far, far easier.

So, how do you create a seasonal capsule wardrobe?

You need to categorise the items you already have in your wardrobe. Which season are they more suited to? For Spring/ Summer, you’re going to want to pick lighter fabrics,such as linen, silks etc, brighter colours and bolder patterns, the garments that make you want to be outside and in the sun. But don’t forget to include a couple of jackets, cardigans etc. for those chilly evenings. For the Autumn/ Winter we are currently in you’ll want to bring out the knitwear, add a few roll necks and heavier jackets that you know layer up nicely together. In either case, a staple such as a gilet or a good pair of jeans will undoubtedly suit every season, so don’t be afraid to place items in both categories.

Once you have your edit you need to put away the off-season wardrobe, and it’s essential that the garments you store away are preserved pristenly throughout the season that they are not needed.

Make sure that the clothes are not just chucked in a box and put in the basement or the attic, otherwise what’s the point? They will just get damp and moth ridden. Of course however storage options are dictated by the space and budget for storage that you have to work with but it’s vitally important to inspect all of the garments in the collection you are putting away prior to putting them in storage. For example, if you were putting your Spring/ Summer wardrobe into storage, you’re going to need to make sure that A) the garments are all pristine and clean, and B) that all repairs and stains, if any, are removed and rectified – because you’ll only be giving yourself a headache next year when it’s time to retrieve them. The most common method of storage is to fold, roll up, or vacuum pack all of the garments, place them in a seal-able container that’s not going to allow any dust, dirt or pesky moth to make its way in. Place the container out of direct sunlight to avoid fabric discoloration, but don’t put it someplace that’s damp and cold. Then voila! Your wardrobe will be ready to be freshly hung next year.

Top Tip: Add a lavender pouch or a cedar block to the container as this will not only create a fresh smell, it will also repel any pesky moths who may take a fancy to your stored wardrobe.

So now you’re left with your in-season wardrobe, and to make those mornings even simpler, you can further categorise it down. For example, out of the collection what do you consider to be work-wear, smart-wear, evening-wear, lounge-wear etc. Organise the garments into sections and turn them into modules. Think about how you spend your days and what you need your wardrobe to do in order to help you throughout those days. For example, if your out running errands a lot of the time in Autumn; take 1x outer layer (a jacket, or cardigan), 2 x bottoms (a black jean and legging), and 3 x tops (a roll neck, long sleeve top, a short sleeve Tee and a long sleeve shirt). Hang them together and you create a module combo that will instantly give you 12 outfit options. Just repeat this process throughout all of your categories and voila again; you have a capsule wardrobe that serves you the way you need it to.

Top TIP: help each module coordinate by choosing a similar colour pallet to help you mix and match without a clash.

Each year in the UK, the amount of clothes sent to landfill is estimated to weigh as much as 350,000 tonnes! So whatever doesn’t end up in your brand-spanking-new edited wardrobe, make sure it won’t end up in the ground instead. You needn’t be reminded that there is a plethora of charity shops lining our highstreets, waiting for your bag drop, but perhaps you’re unaware of another option….
Green Garms is a Huddersfield based eco-thrift shop which recycles and recirculates unwanted items of clothing. As a social enterprise, it’s aim is very simple; to reduce textile waste by saving reusable clothing and stopping it from ending up in landfill.

Green Garms Founder, Olivia Cunliffe

“The aim of it is to diminish textile waste and to help stop fast fashion. With Green Garms, I want to try and help change consumer shopping habits and to attract them to shop from my stall instead of going to the fast-fashion giants like New look, Topshop and Primark, where things are just being thrown away so quickly.” says Green Garms founder, Olivia Cunliffe. “I want to help get Huddersfield on the map as being an eco-friendly town because I don’t think it is at the moment,” Olivia says. “I also think that It’s important to support local businesses, and for those of us with the same eco- mindset to support each other and work together.”

Green Garms wants to change consumer consciousness for the better. It aims to educate consumers about the unethical production and malpractices of the textile industry, while reducing Fast Fashion consumption by encouraging consumers to make environmentally conscious shopping choices. Green Garms also informs consumers on how to expand the usability of their existing garments by following the repair, re-wear and recycle motto. After the garment has become of no interest to the consumer Green Garms provides them with an ethical means of disposal, via one of their textile bins, or temporary drop off points.

To listen to the full interview with Olivia Cunliffe search SDO The Podcast on Spotify, Anchor, or Apple Podcasts and click episode 3.

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