Challenge your style with a capsule wardrobe

Limiting the items in your closet can help you simplify and focus your fashion.

There’s something that feels really good about facing the world in the right outfit, which must be along the lines of some sort of Coco Chanel quote.

The unexpectedly difficult part is actually figuring out what that right outfit is.

One of the best things I’ve done for my style is purging my wardrobe every so often. Reassessing my closet on a regular basis has allowed me to get a better sense of what I actually like to wear and helps minimize those Monday mornings and Friday nights where I find myself wanting to pull the, “I have nothing to wear” line. 

A fashion concept called the “capsule wardrobe” takes this annual spring-cleaning idea to the next level. It involves keeping a condensed closet consisting only of staple pieces and leaving yourself with high-quality, classic clothes that you never have to second-guess.

You probably know what I’m talking about — there’s a big difference between the clothes that are fashionable and fun in theory and the ones that you actually reach for. That green and blue zippered brassiere top I bought from the H&M Beyoncé collection four years ago, for example, has only seen the light of day for a mermaid Halloween costume (which it wasn’t intentionally bought for) and probably won’t be leaving my closet again any time soon.  

Ideally, the capsule wardrobe forces you to be selective in what really represents your personal style and allows you to create a no-fuss fashion solution. 

The main idea is to keep things minimal and mix and matchable. You can switch things in and out when you’re transitioning into the next season, but shopping is also to be kept at a minimum. For a university student, that may not be such a bad idea either.

Fashion blogger Caroline Rector suggests giving yourself 37 items every season or about every three months. Under her take on the capsule wardrobe, maxing your closet’s capacity out at 37 spreads itself into:

• 9 pairs of shoes

• 9 bottoms 

• 15 tops

• 2 dresses (for the women)

• 2 jackets/coats

Some fashion bloggers may suggest restricting accessories like purses and jewelry under your capsule wardrobe list, but you can also choose to exclude them in addition to pajamas, underwear and workout clothes. You may also adjust the item list however you see fit. If you’re not a big shoe person, for example, you may not need nine pairs and you can eithersub in more of something else or reduce total items down from 37.

It’s your closet and you can take the reins in the transformation. The idea is to restrict your habits so you can really make and see a difference.

Whether you choose to just put some items up on the Free and For Sale Facebook page or you decide to try out the full-blown capsule wardrobe, it can be worthwhile to discover which pieces are the ones that feel tried and true and which ones aren’t.

Beneath fashion fads and an overflowing closet, you may find that you discover what you really feel comfortable in, and as Coco Chanel said, “simplicity is the keynote of all true fashion.”

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