The Wardrobe Architect Week 9: The capsule wardrobe
The Wardrobe Architect is a popular series that ran in early 2014. It’s currently being expanded (with help and feedback from you) into a comprehensive toolkit. You can read all the posts here. If you want to give feedback and get first access when the toolkit is finished, enter your email:
So far in the Wardrobe Architect series, we’ve talked a lot about examining personal style and context.
- We’ve talked about defining your core style with words and images.
- We talked about shapes that work for us, and combining those shapes into silhouettes that act as templates.
- We talked about color stories, and how to organize colors into useful palettes.
- We discussed solids and prints.
- Finally, we talked about the non-clothing stuff such as hair, makeup, and beauty routines.
This is all great stuff to have pinned down, but how do we make it practical and useful in our daily lives? How can we use it to organize our sewing priorities? Or to decide what’s worth buying?
Putting it into practice
Though I’m sure there are any number of ways you could use this information to streamline your wardrobe and plan your sewing, the method I’ll be focusing on is the capsule wardrobe.
What is a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a small, manageable subset of your wardrobe, and it usually is something you can plan seasonally (twice a year, or perhaps 4 times a year).
A typical capsule wardrobe consists of between 20 and 33 items, depending on who you ask and what kinds of items you’re including. It doesn’t have to include every single thing you might wear for the season, but it is the foundation for the rest of your wardrobe. The idea is that once you have the capsule wardrobe figured out, the rest is gravy.
Personally, I’ve always failed at building capsule wardrobes in the past.
Why? Because I wasn’t excited about them. I’d make a list of items I thought I might need or want, but I was never really 100% sure I’d chosen well.
Because I wasn’t certain and I wasn’t excited, I was easily distracted. I put off buying anything expensive, even if I knew I’d wear it all the time. I bought stuff on sale just because it was on sale. I threw myself into sewing projects I’d rarely wear.
All of that changed when I started thinking more deeply about what I actually love to wear – the mood, the silhouettes, the colors – and methodically building a plan from there.
The idea is simple. And I’d like to give big thanks to the blog into-mind who goes into much greater detail on these topics and really pulls apart these concepts.
- Choose one to six silhouettes for the season.
- Create a color palette.
- Break down your silhouettes and colors into a list of pieces.
- Organize what to make, what to buy, and what you already own.
Today, let’s focus on choosing our silhouettes for Spring/Summer 2014.
Review the silhouettes you came up with a few weeks ago. These should basically be outfit formulas or templates you created based on your own preferences and lifestyle.
Which of these silhouettes would you like to make the basis of your wardrobe this Spring?
You can choose as few as one silhouette, or your could choose perhaps 5 or 6. If you want to keep things extremely simple and easy, choose fewer. If you (like me) prefer a lot of variety in your wardrobe, choose more.
After looking through my own, I chose four of my Spring/Summer silhouettes. I may also decide to tweak one or two of them to add more variations.
Keep in mind, these aren’t the exact outfits I want to buy/make/wear, or the colors I want them in. These are just four templates for future outfits I might plan. After we create a palette for the season, we’ll get into designing the actual pieces we need.
I know that I’ll probably add and subtract as I sew and as I review stuff I already own. I also know I’ll want to make things that aren’t part of my capsule wardrobe.
In addition, our weather here remains cool up until May, so I plan to keep wearing mostly my lighter colored Fall clothing up until then. Most of the year here is sweater weather, so I just go with the flow and define my wardrobe change-over accordingly.
This kind of flexibility is fine! Nothing is written in stone, this is just an organizing device.
Do you prefer a lot of variety in the kinds of outfits you wear? Or do you stick to just a few (or even one) type of outfit?
PS: For even more detail on capsule wardrobes and methodologies, check out the into-mind blog. My method is sort of a simplified and step-by-step approach that uses many of the fantastic methods she recommends, so it’s good extra credit research if you want even more ideas and details.