At Lola Tong, we often refer to ourselves as a fashion brand that creates fashion to build your own capsule wardrobe. Therefore, we thought, we might explain what a capsule wardrobe is, why you need one and how to build your very own capsule wardrobe.
What is a capsule wardrobe?
We are not going into the history of the capsule wardrobe. If you want to read about it, we recommend to read this article from Bust https://bust.com/style/198114-vogue-french-style-capsule-wardrobes-history.html
So basically, a capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing items that you can mix and match in order to make your outfit ready for any occasion. This means, a capsule wardrobe consists of a set of basic items, usually in more or less neutral colors. It also consists of timeless items. It doesn’t follow a trend. But we want to emphasize that a capsule wardrobe still follows style. If you want to read a bit more about the killer-combo: stylish and fashionable, see this great article on “the difference between trendy, stylish and fashionable”: https://xohdnair.com/blogs/style-and-trends/the-difference-between-trendy-fashionable-and-stylish
Also important to know is what counts and what does not. Most agree that basic items such as underwear, socks, sports clothes, pajamas, special items such as your favorite Halloween dress or accessories and jewelry do not count as inventory in your capsule wardrobe.
That leaves you with your shirts, pants, jackets, shoes, skirts, or dresses. But in the end, it is up to you. Just remember, your capsule wardrobe should consist of fashion pieces that you love!
Why do I need a capsule wardrobe?
Because it’s built to last and with things you love. All too often we buy clothes out of an impulse and it’s hurting our budget, the environment and our well organized closet.
So, with a capsule wardrobe you can still have a wardrobe that suits all your needs and it protects the environment and your wallet.
In average, people in Germany for example spend around 120 Euros (roughly USD 135) per month and per household (https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/961118/umfrage/monatliche-haushaltsausgaben-fuer-bekleidung-nach-alter-in-deutschland/).
Furthermore, the fast fashion industry uses a lot of water and emits more CO2 than aviation and shipping combined. 20% of wastewater comes from textile dyeing (https://earth.org/data_visualization/the-9-biggest-fast-fashion-statistics/). In addition, Chile’s Atacama desert is famous for being the oldest and driest desert on earth. But it is also famous for its dunes – not of sand – but of fast fashion clothing discarded in the Atacama desert. Unpurchased clothes from all over the world lands here only to rot there for hundreds of years before it biodegrades, it at all (https://www.ecowatch.com/chile-desert-fast-fashion-2655551898.html). Estimations suggest that roughly 39,000 tons of unsold and unworn clothing end up in the Atacama desert each year (https://www.insider.com/discarded-fast-fashion-clothes-chile-desert-2021-11).
To answer the question, why do I need a capsule wardrobe? Seems like it makes a lot of sense for the environment and it saves you a lot of money each year.
How do I build my own capsule wardrobe?
First step, Marie Kondo the heck out of your closet. Meaning, you have to go through each and every clothing item and decide whether to keep it or not. And we need to be honest here, you need to make some tough choices. If you haven’t worn it the last, let’s say, 3 or 4 months, you don’t like it that much anymore or it just does not fit, you have to dump it. It might hurt a bit but it will also feel good eventually.
Now, you will have a huge pile of clothes that you do not wear. Donate or resell them. Will make you feel good again.
Secondly, you will have to assess your wardrobe. Basically, what is missing. Maybe you have enough t-shirts but not enough pullovers or jeans. Or maybe only one pink pair of jeans that is not matching well with the rest of your capsule wardrobe. For all missing items, you might want to get out and shop for those items. But have in mind, this is about minimizing your wardrobe and not going on a shopping spree only to end up with even more clothes.
Maybe you will also have too many of one particular item, such as t-shirts. You will have to decide which ones mix well with your other clothing items and fit your personality most. Everything else, you guessed it, resell or donate it. Feel good again.
One difficult question to answer is how many items you need in total. This is rather a fluid number. There is no right or wrong and it has to make you happy in the end. You could try to use a formula such as seven t-shirts, five pairs of pants, three pairs of shoes and so on. Or you can just aim for 30 to 45 pieces, which might be a good indicator for your capsule wardrobe. The minimalists among you will definitely go below, but 30-45 seems like a good place to start.
One last remark, you might want to create smaller seasonal capsule wardrobes. Because it might be difficult to find clothes that you wear all year round. Especially if you live in Switzerland like we do. So, it might be a good idea to have some clothing items for winter, spring summer and fall. As well as some items that you wear the whole year.
Now, we also tried to put together some starter capsule wardrobes for you. Please follow the link to our Pinterest boards to find your inspiration.