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Sustainable Style Tips

How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe That Lasts

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A wardrobe full of mismatched separates is a big no-no when building a capsule wardrobe

Lessons I learned from the experts, with some tweaks

The minimalist movement has made owning a capsule wardrobe all the rage these days. Here’s some trivia for you: the term ‘capsule wardrobe’ was coined by Susie Faux, who owned a London boutique called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. According to her, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items that don’t go out of fashion. (These are not my words, I got the information from Wikipedia.)

What I’ve learned from reading 6 Steps To A Sustainable Wardrobe and numerous posts from fashion bloggers about capsule wardrobes is that there is no perfect capsule wardrobe. You just have to try your best with the pieces you have and selectively purchase pieces to complete the capsule wardrobe. Don’t sacrifice your personal style for the sake of building a capsule wardrobe that fits someone else’s lifestyle or even climate. Asians tend to have ethnic clothing in their wardrobes, for instance, so don’t go giving those away because they are not ‘classic’ capsule wardrobe pieces.

That said, if you’re like me, an Asian who prefers to save ethnic clothing for special occasions and prefers to wear Western clothes on most days of the week, then the classic capsule wardrobe may be for you. I am still building mine, but ultimately, my classic capsule wardrobe will have the following items:

Bottoms
1 Pair of black trousers
1 Pair of tan/beige trousers
1 Black skirt
1 Tan/beige skirt
1 Floral skirt
2 Pairs of shorts (solid coloured)
1 Pair of dark-wash jeans (work-appropriate)
1 Pair of light-wash jeans (for casual wear)

Tops
2 Pretty blouses (solid coloured)
1 White button-up shirt
1 Long-sleeve tee (any neutral colour)
1 Short-sleeve tee (any neutral colour)
1 Black camisole
1 White camisole

Dresses
1 Little black dress (night)
1 Black dress (day)
1 Dress (any colour, day-to-night)
1 Sun dress
1 Day dress (any colour, for work)
1 Casual dress (for weekends)

Outerwear
1 Fitted black blazer
1 Fitted blazer of any other colour (mine is white)
1 Striped/patterned jacket (casual)
1 Light denim jacket
1 Cardigan (any neutral colour)

Shoes
1 Pair of black pumps
1 Pair of nude heels
1 Pair of wedges (in a fun colour)
1 Pair of semi-formal ballerina flats
1 Pair of fun ballerina flats (for weekends)
1 Pair of sneakers
1 Pair of ‘bling’ heels (for special occasions)

Bags
1 Structured handbag (for work)
1 Crossbody bag (for weekends)
1 Clutch (for weekends)
1 Clutch (for evenings out)

Special Occasion Wear
1 Dress (for weddings)
3 Sarees (for weddings and other occasions)
3 Pairs of salwar khameez (1 for night, 2 for day)

Whew, now that I’ve listed them all, it does seem like I have a lot of clothes, doesn’t it? Well to be honest, this is AFTER I cleared out my closet and gave away or repurposed items of clothing I already own. I only have four items on the list that I really need now (white shirt, cardigan, sneakers and dark-wash jeans) and a few other items (nude heels and denim jacket) which are optional at this point in time.

But I digress. This post is about building a capsule wardrobe that lasts. And I find that to do that, I’ll need to buy items of high quality (which means no more shopping fast fashion brands for the items I need). I also happen to care for my clothes, which involves paying attention to the care instructions on the inside label and I never use the dryer. Instead I air dry my clothes, which helps your clothes last longer. The other thing I do is to hand-wash all clothes that require dry cleaning and air dry them afterwards. As a result, I have dresses that I’ve owned for five years that have held their shape and haven’t faded. For more information on making your wardrobe last, read this detailed post by Money Crashers.

I hope you’ve found this information useful and that you’ll be inspired to build your own capsule wardrobe as a result. I wish you all the best in developing your style and individual fashion taste, and more importantly, fun times!

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