The term capsule wardrobe is often talked about in magazines but is rarely explained in depth. In this article, Joanna Gaudoin from Inside Out aims to unlock the mystery and show how it can work for you as a working mother.
I often get asked if a capsule wardrobe is really possible. The answer is definitely yes and it is really worth knowing how to create one. It is a great way to save time in terms of selecting what to wear and shopping, a necessity being a Mum with a career. However, it does require a little prior knowledge and some discipline…
What is a capsule wardrobe?
So first to explain. A capsule wardrobe is one that is built around a specific set of colours so that there are many different combinations of clothing that go together. It means an escape from the 4 different colour tops that each only go with black trousers scenario…
How to get started building your capsule wardrobe?
The starting point is knowing which colour tones best flatter your natural features – hair, skin and eyes. This is important as these are the colour tones that make you look healthy, decrease any signs of ageing and mean you look your best. From the range of colour tones that suit you, you should begin by selecting a neutral colour that you like. Neutrals being black, navy, beige, camel, brown, grey.
You can then select an ‘accent’ colour (I call these ‘exciting’ colours – reds, pinks, yellows, greens) from the range of tones that suit you. Remember select the ‘exciting’ colour with what is in the shops in mind.
Now a capsule wardrobe doesn’t grow overnight, unless you have a sizeable budget. To make the most of what you already have, consider your current wardrobe and if you already have items in a neutral and an ‘exciting’ colour that suit you that you like, then start by building on those.
Beginning with one neutral and one ‘exciting’ colour does mean that for a while you may be in the same colours often, but because you’ll have different combinations of items you can achieve many different looks.
What to buy?
Shop for a range of items in both the neutral and exciting tone that you can put together – plain and patterned. So think of basics such as simple tops, jumpers, skirts, trousers as well as signature pieces such as jackets and coats. Often these items can be appropriate for different occasions depending on what they are worn with and how.
Take a dress for example:
- For daytime, team with coloured tights with a more relaxed costume necklace
- For evening or formal, match with more expensive jewellery and nude tights
Cardigans and jumpers are good items for being worn casually at the weekend with jeans or jeggings, or with a dress or skirt for a smarter occasion.
Importantly, don’t forget accessories! Belts, scarves and jewellery are all great ways to change an outfit without spending a lot of money. If you want to go for fashionable items then these can be bought pretty cheaply. They are unlikely to be the best quality, but for a few weeks wear to differentiate an outfit, they are worth considering.
Think of buying elasticised belts that could adapt to being worn in different places on your body and learn a few basic ways to tie scarves to change the look you can achieve with them.
Key steps recap
So a reminder of the steps to creating a capsule wardrobe:
- Know which colour tones suit you best
- Select a neutral and an ‘exciting’ colour to start to build your wardrobe around – remember to check whether these colours are currently in the shops
- Plan your shopping trip – think about the formality of the items you need and list out key items to buy, having looked at your existing wardrobe
- Go shopping, you’ll find having done the thinking the trip should be more efficient
The great thing is, once you have started your capsule wardrobe, the benefits start:
- Selecting outfits each day will save you time and be a simpler task. Your wardrobe might be smaller, but there will be many item combinations for different outfits
- You’ll save time when you do go shopping as you’ll be more focused
- You’ll save money focusing on appropriate items
Author: Joanna Gaudoin is an image expert with experience of working with women in the corporate and professional services sector. She lives in South West London and works in London and Surrey. Find out more about her company Inside Out and how she can help you know which colour tones, shapes and cuts suit you to build your capsule wardrobe.
Image courtesy of Mel Wilde Photography