How Building A Capsule Wardrobe Helps Me Get More Done

by: Rosie Dalton | 2 years ago | Features

Image: Rosie wears a slip dress by Kuwaii and the Energy Slide in Black Gloss

Everyone is talking about the capsule wardrobe at the moment, but what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? At its simplest, this describes a personal uniform, consisting of essential items that are timeless, rather than trend-driven. Imagine a fast fashion closet – bursting with garments that have never been worn and don’t really fit, flatter or function as part of a cohesive whole. Now imagine the very antithesis to this and you have got the capsule wardrobe. It is a seasonal (but still timeless) and, most importantly, it saves time.

Think of some of the most successful and efficient people in history and chances are you can also picture their capsule wardrobe. Steve Jobs had his black turtlenecks and blue jeans; Audrey Hepburn had her white shirts and little black dresses; while Barack Obama will always have his grey suits. And when you know the basic structure of what you will wear on any given day, it ultimately makes your mornings far more seamless and your days more productive.

It is commonly said that we only wear 20% of our wardrobes 90% of the time. So why not lean into this fact and cut out the unnecessary (and therefore inherently unsustainable) 80%? Of course it is thrilling to treat yourself to something more trend-based from time to time, but by focussing on old faithfuls above all else, I personally find that a capsule wardrobe helps me get more done in a day.

I think part of this comes down to the time saving factor. After all, early morning indecisiveness can be a serious timewaster. But a capsule wardrobe also helps me to feel more comfortable and confident in what I am wearing, which helps me to tackle the day headfirst. This comfort comes from knowing that my clothing fits well, breathes well and also serves an important function that is well suited to my personal and professional lifestyle.

Although the concept of a capsule wardrobe may seem like a fairly new one – a reaction, perhaps, to our culture of overconsumption – it actually dates back to the 1970s. Following on from the 1960s women liberation movement, it was developed during a time when many more women were entering the workforce. And I feel that the invention of the capsule wardrobe was very much a practical reaction to this societal shift as well.

If developing a personal uniform is a practical solution for modern working women, then it also stands to reason that it is an approach grounded in productivity. Beyond this, though, a capsule wardrobe can also make us more sustainable shoppers in the long run as well.

When you think about that 20% wardrobe minority and how low your cost per wear must be in this domain, it becomes clear that not wearing 80% of our wardrobes is ultimately playing into a culture of excess. If we were all to turn our focus to that oft-worn 20% instead, though – and thereby cut out the crap – we would be able to extend the lifecycle of all our garments and minimise their potential impact on the planet. Not to mention the fact that we would be getting better value out of each individual garment as well.

It is for all of these reasons and more that the capsule wardrobe has changed my life. It makes me think about my purchases more carefully (focussing on longevity and versatility above all else); it makes me feel equipped to face each day headfirst; and it saves me time of a morning. In short, the capsule wardrobes allows me to get more done with less. And that is, after all, the very definition of efficiency.


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