“Capsule Wardrobe” Considerations


Although the term “capsule wardrobe” has dominated sustainability discourse lately, the term first appeared in American women’s magazines in the 1940s. Based on the idea of ​​combining your wardrobe around a set of quality staples, modestly complemented with seasonal items and accessories, the capsule wardrobe aims to help everyday wardrobe save money and reduce waste.

“The overall essence of ‘less is more’ is how we should try to approach building a personal wardrobe.”

From the title of this article, it may seem that I absolutely do not condone any more glimpses of the capsule wardrobe. While I think it’s a tired concept that kills the beauty of organic personal style, I’ll concede that the capsule wardrobe’s essential philosophy makes sense. It promotes several sustainable concepts, such as B. the importance of buying clothes with intention and being aware of what we want and what we really need. The general essence of “less is more” is how we should try to approach building a personal wardrobe.

That being said, the institute of the “capsule wardrobe” has now morphed into a Chelsea boot-wearing, Levi 501-clad beast, curbing the fun side of fashion and encouraging, if anything, a pernicious consumerism of seasonal wardrobe “refreshments”. .

An obsession with “timelessness” gives the capsule wardrobe a short shelf life


The first glaring problem with the capsule wardrobe is that it’s extremely restrictive. It turns personal style into a strategy game whose goal is efficiency and economy. Capsule wardrobes are something of fashion’s IKEA – everything fits together seamlessly and probably looks pretty good, but you won’t win any awards for your interior design skills.

“Building a closet you love, full of failed items you can’t wait to wear, is a lifelong process of failed experimentation.”

The cult of the capsule wardrobe’s obsession with minimizing fashion mistakes instills in its followers an irrational fear of a little faux pas, something that will be inevitable as you experiment with clothing. Creating a capsule wardrobe also requires the wearer to define their overall personal style and leaves little room for fluidity. His keen focus on cohesion and outfit perfection allows for no risk, which inevitably encourages us to play it safe and unfortunately follow trends. It will likely see people replacing capsule after capsule as their preferences inevitably change over time.

Low-risk, low-reward styling strategy: How to embrace your new identity as the fashion equivalent of a sensory deprivation tank

Which brings me to my main point of hate: Capsule wardrobes are painfully boring. Flip through a blog post on the subject and you’ll get the same advice — choose a muted color scheme and shop for classic, timeless pieces. Usually, you’ll be directed to a trench coat, blue jeans, black straight-leg pants, and maybe an ecru linen shirt if you’re lucky.


Mountain view

The Paris capsule wardrobe

One minute you’re thinking about changing your fashion philosophy for the good of the environment; Next you’re rocking back and forth in the corner of GAP, sweating and sobbing, trying to decide which color of the shapeless cotton t-shirt goes best with the nine other clothing items you’re allowed to own.

Of course, capsule wardrobes don’t have to be monochromatic and yawning, but I just don’t think they’re the answer to all of our sustainability questions. Unless you are 100% stylish and have been dressing successfully for years, you will look as exciting as a concrete slab. (Better grab your pencil skirt and black cashmere sweater or you’ll be late for your shift as a receptionist at Gherkin’s.) Sure, no one can fault your outfits for looking cheesy, unflattering, or dated — but you’ll end up looking too like a walking Zara mannequin. And no, I don’t mean that well.

So is there an alternative?


Breaking away from the capsule wardrobe cult isn’t as scary as it sounds. Leave the cloakroom anxiety and strict rules behind as you exit. Building a beloved wardrobe full of items you can no longer wear is a lifelong process of failed experimentation – don’t be fooled by the capsule wardrobe cult.

However, take his basic principles with you: shop mindfully and thoughtfully, take the time to understand your personal style, and always strive to distinguish between your fashion desires and your fashion needs.

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