Reduce: How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe

Posted by Teghan Acres on

I will forever be in debt to my mother for the countless tantrums I threw throughout middle and highschool shouting the sentence, “I literally have nothing to wear!” As an adult, I nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize for keeping her cool as she dealt with a bratty teenager. But… I still found myself screaming the same statement in my head. That was at least until I discovered the concept of a capsule wardrobe.

A capsule wardrobe is the idea of building a smaller set of clothing pieces that are all able to be worn together. Now banish the image in your head of a closet stocked with beige and brown. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear colour or fun clothing! But it is designed to save you money, time and many headaches. 

We are featuring this concept because it embodies the principle of REDUCE. In our 7 Rs of Zero Waste series, reduce is an essential player. It doesn’t just refer to reducing your consumption, however - it goes along with reducing stress, clutter, and spending! A move away from the enticing claw of fast fashion can also help clear our minds from the pressure to keep up with the Joneses (or at least with what they’re wearing). 

Capsule wardrobes are often made up of high-quality, essential pieces rather than a mish-mosh of trendy items that go out of style faster than you can wear them. So, how do we go about creating our own?

Different capsule practitioners play by different rules. Some say 30 items per season, some say 15! It is really up to you to decide what is best. But your first step has to be…

1. Clean it out! 

A closet cleanout is essential to get started with a capsule wardrobe. We know we all have old pieces hanging around that we don’t wear. In my case, it was time to face the fact that some things I told myself I would wear again after I started socializing post-COVID are just not going to ever make it off the hanger. The good thing is, your offcasts might be another person’s dream piece! Selling clothes on Facebook Marketplace, Depop or Poshmark is a great way to start getting some money back in your pocket while tightening the ship. 

2. Identify your LOVE items 

After you’ve done a bit of closet culling, it is time to rebuild. Pick out the favourite items in your closet - the ones you turn to when you want to feel confident and comfortable. These will be the basis for your capsule. Do you see any styles or colours reappearing? These indicate the items you may want to repurchase over time.

3. Start slow and work your way up

It is a good idea to try out this concept for a week or two and see how it’s working for you. Maybe pick out 3 bottoms, 5 tops and a few outerwear items and put the rest away in a box. Is there anything you’re desperately missing? Or ae you content and ready to keep it going? Take small steps and before you know it you’ll never worry about what to wear or buy again!

I have to be honest - I don’t think I’ve fully mastered the concept yet. From time to time I still have that tantrum in front of my closet as I figure out what to wear. But the simple guidelines give me a better idea of how to build a closet I know I’ll love for years to come. I can reduce waste, reduce my consumption and keep a sane head all at the same time! 

Wondering if it might be possible to apply this to your children’s wardrobes? The answer is yes! Tradle does this with all of our bundles making it easy to get the most use out of each item because they can all be mixed and matched together.

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  • I absolutely love the idea! My closet is full of things and I always end up wearing the same things. I feel like I lost track of what to mix and match.
    I’ll definitely try out the capsule wardrobe!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Sophie Mutlu on

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