Capsule wardrobes have been a hot topic in sustainable fashion for a number of years, and for a good reason! A limited closet means that each piece gets more wear, putting together an outfit is quicker and less overwhelming, and it gives you the space to invest in high quality pieces. Changing your capsule wardrobe seasonally is not only necessary in Canada, but it keeps your wardrobe interesting and fun. Today we are going to look at the essential pieces to build a fall capsule wardrobe.
While there are no real “rules”, it is important to remember that the goal of building a capsule wardrobe is to encourage minimalism and reduce the turnover of clothing (the antidote to the fast-fashion industry). Therefore it is recommended that your capsule wardrobe includes anywhere from 25-50 pieces. This includes clothing, outerwear, shoes and accessories.
The first step to building a capsule wardrobe is taking inventory of your current closet. Of the items you already have, what makes you feel amazing? What do you wear often? What have you not worn in months? What still has tags on it from over a year ago? Find our closet-cleaning technique here.
The pieces you gravitate towards the most are the ones you’re going to want to use as the base of your wardrobe. There’s a reason you gravitate towards these pieces, and we’re willing to bet it’s because of how they fit, and/or how they make you feel.
Now the fun part - what should you have in your capsule wardrobe? Build it off your lifestyle and what you need and remember the goal: reduce the quantity of clothing hanging in your closet. The best way to do that is to get the most wear out of each piece.
Go for the basics: have a few basic t-shirts and tanks (long sleeve, short sleeve, tank-tops, all in whatever fit you like) that can be worn as a base layer. Choose colours that complement the rest of your wardrobe and be easily mixed-and-matched. White and black are obvious choices, but maybe you like oatmeal, blush, olive green, or a cozy grey.
Button up shirts and blouses are a great way to add polish to your outfit. Depending on your lifestyle and job, you may choose to have a few on hand and can have both over-sized and fitted shirts. Oversized can be a bit more versatile as you could wear it tucked in, or as an oversized shirt over jeans or leggings.
A blazer is another piece that we would recommend to round out your capsule wardrobe. A blazer can dress up a pair of jeans and is the perfect item for a business casual look but can also be dressed up for more formal events.
Everyone loves sweater weather! In our capsule wardrobe every piece has to have a purpose. For most items you will see that 2-3 of each item is a safe number and this is true for sweaters as well. You can mix and match styles and colours (think: cardigan, turtleneck, and crew neck) to maximize the variations of pieces in your closet.
Jeans. You are going to want 1-2 pairs of jeans. Most likely a denim blue and a black pair. Jeans are so versatile and can be dressed up or dressed down.
Leggings. This is another item that is so versatile, especially in the fall. A great option for mixing it up is leather leggings or stirrup leggings. Leather leggings have a bit more edge and would be a great look with an oversized button down, a long cardigan, or an oversized sweater. Depending on your lifestyle, another good piece to have on hand would be a pair of slacks or trousers.
Take your pick but we’d recommend 2-3 dresses or skirts. Dresses alone are a complete outfit and make you look put together without too much effort. Skirts make a great layering piece, and we have been loving a silk slip skirt for this exact reason.
A great jacket can really tie together your outfit, especially in the fall. We gravitate towards the classics: a great trench coat, a denim jacket, a leather jacket, and a lightweight wool coat is timeless and adds polish to your ensemble. More recently, we have noticed the shacket trend is on the rise. While this is on the trendier-side, the classic fit of these sturdy collared shirts makes them a great addition to a capsule wardrobe.
Your choice of footwear will greatly depend on your lifestyle. Some professions require dress shoes and heels, while others have you on your feet all day, making sneakers a better option. Choose footwear that satisfies each segment of your life: work, casual, and play.
Check out our guide to buying and consigning used footwear.
If your goal is to reduce waste and have a more sustainable closet, building a seasonal capsule wardrobe is a great place to start. Shopping second hand at consignment stores like Trove, buying quality pieces that will stand the test of time, and being intentional with your purchases are the best ways to shop sustainably.
What are your wardrobe essentials? What are you getting the most wear out of this fall?