How the capsule wardrobe approach saved my sanity


I have a confession to make… my closet is a nightmare… It is full of clothes I don’t wear, I don’t like, too big, too small. A typical situation for me is

  • Staring at a closet full of cloth and thinking everything s*cks… I have nothing to wear
  • Why oh why did I buy that sweater last month and wore it to death and already am bored with it.
  • I always pick the same handful of clothing to wear out that humongous pile of clothing.
  • Wait I have 6 navy sweaters? And they all are sh*t? Dang it
  • Oh yeah… that rhinestone Tee is a winner :S

Luckily the above was about a year ago (besides some good cleaning in the closet). Until a year ago I would say I would be able to pick and buy great outfits, but besides the outfit combo there wasn’t any logic behind it. The result for me was a closet full of clothing that didn’t mix or match, too many statement pieces, quality went from really good to pore and at the end of the day to much choice in mediocrity.

Less is more

Too remedy the exploding closet I started to read up on the majestic Capsule Wardrobe approach. For those that aren’t familiar with what a Capsule Wardrobe is:

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as sweaters,  trousers and coats, which can then be expanded with seasonal pieces.

The core idea is to build an extremely flexible wardrobe consisting out of staple pieces that are interchangeable so that you can create a fitting outfit for any occasion with out having an endless collection of clothing.

The Capsule wardrobe is something that is extremely popular with minimalists as it helps reduce the amount of unnecessary clothes. General rules of thumb for a Capsule wardrobe are:

  • Neutral colours: A neutral wardrobe will ensure that you are able to mix and match with ease. Stick to colours like black, navy, white, and khaki.
  • Flexible pieces. The reason I say no logos, patterns or graphics is because you want your pieces to be used in more than one outfit. Think two or three times!
  • Quality not quantity! It will pay off to invest in quality instead of quantity. Typically, you will see that quality will outlast your fast fashion Tee’s and kicks. So, invest because on the long run it will save you money!
  • Simple aesthetics and patterns: Don’t use graphic, logos or patterned items as a base!

Ensure you pick pieces that have a look that won’t go out of fashion as it will last you! Nobody can say my Asket Navy knit crewneck is outdated in 2019. But that stunning rhinestone tee sure is…  Don’t jump on the hypetrain if you want to save money and closet space.

My take on the Capsule wardrobe

The capsule wardrobe is famous amongst minimalist and on the web as an effective approach to reduce your wardrobe. Some people go as far as reducing their wardrobe to 14 pieces. Well that isn’t the route that I took as my personal goal was twofold.

  1. Define my own personal style once and for all
  2. Reduce clutter in my closet

And i feel it has worked out pretty fine for me

To achieve this, I took the following approach

  • Defined my colour palette. My base colour palette is Navy, Denim, Grey, White.
  • Defined how I would like to spice my outfits up. I do this in two ways:
    1. Accessories: Inexpensive accessories can change your look completely from pocket squares up to bracelets
    2. Per staple pieces I allow myself one item that could be considered a statement piece. For example, I have one pair of Navy trousers that has light grey stripes instead of solid Navy.
  • Made sure that my capsule suits my needs for a casual and smart business look. I’m lucky enough that I can wear sneakers to work and don’t always have to go in suit. Next to that my personal style is smart casual. So, with a few sweaters added I have a casual and smart look.
  • Drafted a list of all the pieces I wanted and how much
  • Than started building my capsule by going through my existing wardrobe with the list. Making a note along the way of missing pieces or pieces I needed to replace.
  • Started replacing / buying new pieces based on the season it was.
  • Before I buy a piece, I check my list first, then sleep a night and recheck if I really needed it. This has saved me a lot of money from impulse buys which I used to do.

The benefits of using a wardrobe system

If you recognize just a tiny bit of yourself in what I described and want to change it, be sure to give the above approach or other wardrobe systems a try. For me adapting to this wardrobe system has been a smart move with some great results:

  • I don’t make impulse acquisitions anymore
  • By researching what I need, from which brand it also helps me hunt for bargains in sale or on Depop
  • I wouldn’t say I saved money but I definitely increased the overall quality of my clothing with pieces of Common Projects, AMI, APC without going bankrupt
  • Everything I have bought since I use this system has a purpose!
  • I can combine like crazy without having to break my brain over what I am going to wear.

Having said that I want to thank you for reading. And in the near future I will make a separate post on my clothing list to give you an example. If you like the blog or have any questions don’t forget to drop a comment, email or DM on Instagram.

Cheers K!