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Let’s be honest, how many times have you looked in your wardrobe bursting with clothes and thought “I have nothing to wear!”? If the answer is “never” then most likely, unknowingly or not, you have a capsule wardrobe. If the answer is “all the time”, then keep reading.

A capsule wardrobe is comprised of key items and go-to styles that interchangeably work together to create the maximum possibility of outfits. My first impression of building a capsule wardrobe was that it had to be minimalistic (and quite frankly, boring), with no room to express my personal style. I studied Fashion Business at university and have always loved styling outfits day-to-day so the idea of rotating a select few pieces every day didn’t spark my creativity. But that’s where I was wrong - everyone can have a capsule wardrobe in line with their aesthetic and style. Here’s how...

Preparation is key

The foundations to an essential capsule wardrobe are most likely already in your closet. Start off by having a clear out and detoxing your wardrobe. If you can’t remember the last time you wore something, it’s probably got to go. Marie Kondo always resonated with me when she said, “if it doesn’t spark joy then it should go”. Anything you no longer want, sell online and use these funds to go towards your new wardrobe or into a savings pot Link opens in a new window. Not only is this sustainable for your spending habits but also kinder to the planet. In 2020, the United Kingdom was named the fourth largest textile waste producer in Europe Link opens in a new window. The rise of fast fashion has created the notion of disposable clothing and this doesn’t come without consequences. Over 206.456 tonnes of clothing a year are classed as textile waste.

Building a capsule wardrobe will slow down fashion consumption but also create shopping habits that your bank account Link opens in a new window will thank you for. When you get into the habit of purchasing items to go with existing styles you own, you become more thoughtful with your purchases. This in turn sees your clothing go much further than a one-time wear. Let’s see our clothing as a long-term relationship rather than a fling.

Normalising outfit repeating

You may be reading this and wondering who am I to share my opinions on capsule wardrobes, fashion consumption and spending habits. Last year I launched slow fashion womenswear brand dula. Link opens in a new window with the tagline “normalising outfit repeating”. At the core of our brand is the messaging that it’s fine to re-wear outfits – actually it’s quite cool! I wanted to encapsulate that feeling of putting on your favourite item of clothing and feeling so good in it you wear it time and time again. According to a 2017 report, the average piece of clothing is worn 36% less times now than it was 15 years ago Link opens in a new window. The notion of disposable clothing and increased consumerism has resulted in buying into micro-trends and poor-quality pieces that don’t last after one or two wears. A lot of love, creativity and time goes into every dula. design and I want that to translate through to how our customers feel wearing our clothing.

How to create your dream capsule wardrobe

Experts say 30 well curated items create a capsule wardrobe, but I personally rather not be too constricted by numbers – it takes the fun out of it! A good place to start is imagining your ideal style aesthetic and staying as close to that as possible. Now that you’ve done your wardrobe detox and sold what you don’t wear online, set aside a budget for clothes. Building your capsule wardrobe is a gradual process so don’t be overwhelmed and think you need to spend loads all at once. Taking your time and finding your true style will result in you mindfully purchasing items.

There’s no question that building a capsule wardrobe isn’t a necessity whilst we live through a cost of living crisis. There are much more important outgoings that will take precedence. So, if purchasing new clothing isn’t an option then there are a few ways to give your wardrobe a new lease of life and add simplicity to your everyday outfit building. Pull out the items in your wardrobe that you feel best in. It could be your most flattering pair of jeans or structured blazer. Play around with mixing styles that you tend to compartmentalise into casual, workwear or going out. For example, your work trousers could be styled with a casual sweater and tee with trainers to transform the vibe. Or that mini dress you wore to a work do can be dressed down with layering a t-shirt underneath. When I’m feeling uninspired with my wardrobe, I search for inspo on Pinterest or Instagram. Recreating your favourite style icon’s outfits with pieces you already have hanging in your closet will help you fall in love with them again.

So, whether you’re ready to invest in building your capsule wardrobe or just need some inspo to spice up what you already own, here are some of my must haves to help you create a capsule wardrobe.

Building a capsule wardrobe

1. A quality Leather Jacket Link opens in a new window

I may be biased but this is the best leather jacket I own. I truly wear this with everything and anything and it elevates any outfit.

black leather jacket
Image credit: Dula.

2. A pair of Blue Jeans Link opens in a new window

Be sure to purchase a pair that is suited to your body shape. I tend to size up in jeans and get them altered for that perfect fit. Also, going for a medium wash jean will see you through all the seasons.

A pair of blue jeans
Image credit: ASOS and Topshop

3. A White Shirt Link opens in a new window

A key piece for layering and can be styled both smart and casual.

A white shirt
Image credit: H&M

4. A classic piece of Knitwear Link opens in a new window

Not just for the colder months, knitwear can be styled with a slip dress over the shoulders for a cute look.

Stripey knitwear jumper
Image credit: Mango

5. A pair of Tailored Trousers Link opens in a new window

Double points if you match your tailored trousers to your blazer to create a suit for the days you need to look extra put together.

Pale blue tailored trousers
Image credit: Weekday

6. The Mighty White tee Link opens in a new window

It doesn’t have to be white but sticking with a neutral based colour will give more styling options.

White t-shirt
Image credit: Weekday

7. A Staple Blazer Link opens in a new window

Almost as important as a leather jacket is the interchangeable, unbound by seasons blazer. I have this grey H&M one and wear it with everything from floral dresses to jeans - make sure you pick a colour that will go with the majority of your outfits. If the boxy, oversized look isn’t for you then a dula. blazer Link opens in a new window is a great alternative.

A grey blazer
Image credit: H&M

8. A go-to Occassionwear Dress Link opens in a new window

A going out option that you feel great in every time you wear it is a must-have wardrobe option. This dula blazer dress will see you through everything from wedding season to night’s outs.

Pale blue and white blazer dress with floral detail
Image credit: dula.

9. A Blue Stripe Shirt Link opens in a new window

Another key piece for layering. This dula shirt can also be styled multiple ways with the addition of the removeable wrap belt.

A blue stripe shirt
Image credit: dula.

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