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Posted 14 September 2023

Capsule Wardrobes: Maximize Your Cost-Per-Wear Budget

For many people, clothing is a way to allow our inner selves to shine. However, many people have a closet full of items they rarely wear but somehow cannot let go. The goal of this article is to help you curate your own capsule wardrobe and use cost-per-wear budgeting to help maximize your dollars. 

Capsule Wardrobe History 

The capsule wardrobe was first launched in the 1970s in a London boutique by Susie Faux. She sought to increase women’s confidence by encouraging them to invest in a small number of essential pieces that could be mixed and matched with seasonal options. Since then, a version of the capsule wardrobe has been promoted every decade by popular clothing brands such as Donna Karen in the 1980s and today with Stitch Fix. 

Before Getting Started 

Let me start by saying YOU DO NOT need to get rid of everything and “start fresh” to build the best capsule wardrobe! Following a few simple steps will help you reap the maximum benefits of wardrobe curation and help you see what great capsule candidates are already in your wardrobe. 

Curating Your Capsule  

Step 1: Gather clothing you wear on repeat. If you can’t go less than one month without wearing an item, then it’s a capsule wardrobe staple. Remember your capsule wardrobe is about YOU. So, if you are consistently wearing that Taylor Swift concert T-shirt, then you have a key piece to your capsule wardrobe! The goal for this shirt is to not only wear it with jeans, but to learn how to pair it with other styles in ways that are uniquely you. Try rocking that T with a blazer, trouser pant, and a dressed up flat for work! 

Step 2: Group the rest of your clothing based on seasons. Start with the current season, so you know what you will be wearing for the next few months. One of the main goals of capsule wardrobes is the ability to pair seasonal options together and let your style shine. If it’s a cool summer day, pair that winter sweater with a pair of shorts and Converse for a savvy way to dress for an ice cream date. 

Step 3: Remove any items that no longer fit, are no longer worn, and are not timeless classics. Many people have been in the place of holding onto a pair of jeans or shirt that has gone out of style only to hope it will make a comeback. This is a great reason to donate those items. Give yourself the grace to appreciate the awesome photos you took in the pieces, then donate them to someone who may love them just as much. Doing this can give your closet — and your mind — space to reshape what and how you wear your clothing. Remember, capsule wardrobes are about the ability to mix and match every clothing item with others. 

Step 4: Identify any missing staples you’ll need to shop for. Once you have completed the curating process for your capsule wardrobe, you may notice you’re missing a staple or two to finalize your closet. Maybe you realized you have plenty of blazers and jackets but very few shirts to go under them. This is when cost-per-wear budgeting comes into play. Determine what needs to be added then calculate the cost per wear when you’re purchasing a piece that meets the criteria. 

Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe 

After implementing these four simple steps, you will have a curated capsule wardrobe that fits you and your style while giving unexpected benefits. A capsule wardrobe allows you to wear your favorite items numerous times by creating various outfits, increasing the cost per wear of each item. Additionally, a capsule wardrobe saves money overall when you build it with quality garments that last longer, relying less on the impulse to buy numerous cheap items.  

Another benefit of a capsule wardrobe is sustainability. Buying fewer overall items and higher quality pieces means fewer items being discarded and —reasons for manufacturers to create cheap clothing with higher environmental impact. Capsule wardrobes also help you break in high-quality items like leather or denim items which only get better with wear and age. Lastly, the capsule wardrobe can save you time in the long run, because you won’t be staring at a full closet trying to decide what to wear or how to pair items.  

As you can see, capsule wardrobes and cost-per-wear budgeting are great financial tools on their own, but they can create magic when paired together.