Sustainable, clever and cost effective - Creating a capsule wardrobe

Hello and Happy New Year!

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely festive break and new year. I'd like to focus a lot of our blogs this year on sustainability, clever choices and saving money!

So this month I thought I'd talk about capsule wardrobes. If getting dressed feels more chaotic than you would like it to be right now, try using this tool for an easier and more relaxed dressing experience.

Capsule wardrobes have become more and more popular recently and once you get to grips with it its really easy. Now I'd like to start by saying that this isn't for everyone, and that's absolutely fine. But if like me you are fed up of never having anything to wear, despite a bursting wardrobe, then here are some tips to help!

Although similar, capsule wardrobes and minimal wardrobes are not quite the same. However, the two compliment each other nicely and there can be a crossover of both, especially with a minimal approach.  

A brief explanation

In short, a 'minimalist' is a person who buys intentionally. This means they will take the time to think about the items they buy to bring into their homes and whether it will improve their lives or not. These actions can save them time, energy and money. This is also reflected in a minimalist wardrobe where a person can have choice pieces that can be worn at any time. A minimal wardrobe will usually have all the garments a person may need to take them right through the year.

A minimal wardrobe is predominantly about clearing as much of the 'clutter' from your wardrobe as possible and just keeping the bare minimum and essentials. This could create a tidy, clutter free wardrobe. Making it less overwhelming, easier to maintain (think washing, folding and hanging) and easier to decide what to wear. Although there is no magic number of clothing items that can be called minimalist, the general idea is to have as little as possible that works with your lifestyle.

The basics of a capsule wardrobe are the same. The aim is still to de-clutter your wardrobe and eliminate items you don't wear, again making it less overwhelming, easier to maintain and easier to decide what to wear. But instead of just focusing on the minimum garments you need, it focuses more on just choosing items which are interchangeable with anything else from your wardrobe. Giving you to ability to create multiple outfits with your chosen items to suit all occasions. Basically it is a group of complimentary pieces of clothing that work together. 

Where to begin?

Its hard to define the order in which to begin your journey but I will give you mine as an example.

1. Think about your style

The first thing I did when I started this journey was to figure out the style I wanted my wardrobe to be. I thought about what I normally do day to day and how my wardrobe needed to reflect that. I mainly spend my time at home, or at work and rarely go on nights out. As a result I chose comfortable clothes that I could interchange between the two, I work in an environment (here at rainbow nation) in which I do not need formal wear but this may be different for you. In which case you may need to create a work wardrobe too. 

I love wearing dresses, but being practical I also knew leggings would be one of my wardrobe staples. (more about that later). Its important to note that your style is what suits you, makes you happy and that you are comfortable wearing.

2. Choose a colour pallet

I love nature and floral designs so I focused on those designs and colours, mixed with black to base my colour choices. There is certainly no need to wear all neutral colours and you need to choose something that makes you feel good and reflects you as a person. Think about the colours you prefer to wear now, and why do you wear them, is it because it truly speaks of who you are or do you choose clothes to hide behind?  The clothes you choose need to make you feel good. Boost your confidence by always having clothing that makes you feel great about you and not having oddments that make you feel self-conscious or silly.



3. Declutter

Once I had chosen the colours and style of clothing I wanted to wear I used this to start unpacking my wardrobe and getting rid of all the items that were cluttering my space.

Here is a handy checklist of questions to ask yourself on this process:    

1. Does it fit?

2. Do I wear it? / Have I worn it in the last year?

3. Does it reflect me as a person?

4. Does it fit the style I am trying to create for myself?

This was a difficult process for me, there were plenty of items that I found difficult to let go of even though the the answer was no to all of the above. It took several days to get rid of things, however, the more I did, the easier it became to let go.

For the things you really aren't sure about, try packing them away somewhere, that way they are not in you line of sight for a while, you may find it easier to decide whether or not to let go when you realise you did or didn't miss it. 

Here it is important to note that the goal of this exercise is not to get rid of all of your clothes, but to really think about what you have and already wear and then to streamline and evict those that are getting you down! Picking the items you wear and love the most, building a style and adding pieces to the collection you already have is the goal. 


So what next?

At this point you should have established which items you wish to keep and which you are going to sell, donate or recycle. Now the next step would be to split the clothing into seasons. For example if it is summer you will be unlikely to need thick jumpers. Decide what is your summer wardrobe and pack the rest away. This will make it even easier to see what you have that is suitable when you are choosing what to wear. 


So Here is my example:

For me, my favourite clothing items are black leggings, (which go with almost everything) I own full length, mid length and short ones! I also wear black vests as these can be worn alone on hot days and under other items on the colder ones. 

Next, the top half! I love dresses, I wear mostly long sleeve as these can be worn in nearly all weather (here in drizzly wet Devon there's not many hot days). Although I also own a couple of short sleeve ones for when its really hot.

And finally, cardigans! These are also for me a year round item.

So a day for me would most likely be: leggings (length depending on weather.) followed by a dress with or without a vest. And a cardigan again depending on temperature. For my shoes I own a pair of black boots, and two pairs of lace up shoes. Its a really simple outfit. It has made it incredibly easy to choose what to wear and I never feel frustrated as I always have something to wear.

My wardrobe is quite minimal and yours will likely look completely different to mine so please take this as an example only.

So how much do you need? 

Well that's entirely up to you. You will need to take a few things into consideration, firstly, how often you wash your clothes. If you only do laundry once a week you are going to need more then one pair of trousers! 

What will fit into your lifestyle. My wardrobe is fairly limited as that suits my current lifestyle but everyone lives differently so its definitely not one size fits all. Note also that most people do not include underwear, workout clothing or clothes worn for things like gardening or cleaning etc.  

Need to buy extras?

You may find you need to top up your wardrobe from time to time. Make sure you take the time when choosing which items will join your wardrobe effortlessly. Consider items made more sustainably and ethically, look to buy better quality clothing which should last you longer. Look out for the GOTS and Fair Trade labels. Click here to go to one of our previous blogs about us and some more information about ethical and sustainable clothing. 

So what's left?

Well now we get to the best part. Now you have streamlined your wardrobe and made your dressing routine easier. You can relax and enjoy more of your own time.

This process can easily be tweaked to suit children too! A little different to adults since they generally outgrow clothing every year or so. Many of the brands we sell use collections which make choosing colour co ordinating really easy. If your child needs a whole new wardrobe size, try looking out for these colour collections to make your shopping experience much easier. 


Thanks for reading, I hope you can take some inspiration from this to make your mornings a little easier. 

With Love,
Rainbow Nation Clothing.
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