Be honest – how much money do you spend on new clothes? Now, be even more honest – how much money do you waste on clothes? We all have bad habits, and a lot of people out there spend small fortunes on new dresses, coats, shoes and other items of clothing, and never get around to wearing any of it. If this sounds familiar, perhaps it’s time to try a new approach.
The idea of a minimal, evergreen wardrobe clothing is appealing for many different reasons. And make no mistake about it, they are becoming very popular. Also known as capsule wardrobes, the idea behind them is to spend more on key pieces, ensuring they are of the highest quality possible and streamline your clothing completely. You might decide to keep 50 items – you might need 100.
The point behind the capsule wardrobe is that you can dip in and out at any time, and use those few pieces to create a unique look wherever you like. It’s not easy – and will take some time to work out. But once you get started, you’ll instantly notice the benefits it brings. You’ll be a lot more choosy, for a start, and all the money you save from buying clothes you never wear can be put towards all those expensive pieces you always dreamt of.
Let’s take a look at how you can achieve a more minimal, evergreen wardrobe that will supply you with clothes through the seasons – and the years.
The Golden Rules
OK, so if you’re going to get serious about not wasting money on clothes, let’s get a few of the golden rules out of the way. First of all, and I can’t be clearer on this, you have to get to grips with your body shape. All those clothes you buy and never feel comfortable enough in to wear? It’s all because they don’t fit you well. There are plenty of body shape guides online out there, and I urge you to check them out. The simple truth is that some clothes suit your shape, and there are others that don’t. At the end of the day, when you pick clothes that flatter your figure, you’ll get more wear out of them.
It’s not just body shape you need to consider, either – it’s also your complexion. Again, there will be certain colours that, even if you love them, just look wrong when next to your skin tone. As a rule, wear cool colours if you have super cool or dark skin, and if you have a golden tone, use warmer colours. Again, there are plenty of guides online about matching hues and tones with your complexion, and you should give them a read before you spend a penny.
Finally, it’s time to start making some big decisions. First of all, you need to think about choosing one or two base colours that will go with everything else in your wardrobe – and don’t forget to take your complexion into consideration. The colours you choose should be your focus for buying your standard wardrobe staples – trousers, handbags, and coats. Once you have these colours in mind, you can start thinking about accents hues and tones – making sure they are brighter and more flamboyant than the base, but also in complete coordination. And there’s one final point to make about any item of clothing you buy. If you want your capsule wardrobe to last, you have to forget about the latest trends. Always go for classic cuts and shapes, or you’ll find you are missing the point of an evergreen wardrobe entirely.
Now you have had a good think about the sort of clothes you can wear, it’s time to get some inspiration. I find Pinterest to be a great place to keep everything in one place. Yes, it’s a bit of a time-suck, but this wardrobe creation is a big job, right? Take a look around at online style magazines, find dresses here and there in fashion stores, and read as many clothes blogs as you can. Once you start pinning your favourite outfits, you’ll quickly find the type of clothes you want to be wearing.
At this point, you will have several outfits that catch your eye the most, and then it’s a simple case of breaking everything down into individual items. It’s these key pieces that are going to form the basis of your capsule wardrobe, so take your time to do it properly. You’ll find there are jeans, skirts, leggings, and many of the other staples you should aim to have in your possession. We’ll go into those staples a little more in a moment.
However, bear in mind that the fit and colour of each outfit you like may not be for you. In this inspiration phase, all you are doing is getting a rough idea of the overall looks you like – not necessarily the clothes you will end up buying.
There are a few things you will need in your capsule wardrobe to ensure you can mix and match to your leisure, and still look awesome every time you get dressed. The first step is to grab at least a couple of pairs of good jeans. Again, be careful to choose fits that flatter your shape – you might look better in high-rise, or get away with low slung, for example. Think about the leg cut, too. Some women can pull off flared, some look best with straight legs, and you might look best in skinnies. Take your time to make your choice – but once you know, you’ll have a go-to cut for life.
While we’re on the subject of bottoms, it’s always worth getting some tailored trousers. Find a pair you like in high-quality, long-lasting fabrics like wool or linen, and head to your local tailor to ensure you get the perfect fit. In fact, developing a friendly relationship with your local tailor will open up a whole new world for you – and is thoroughly recommended.
Casual skirts are a must, too, and some basic tee-shirts are critical for almost every time of year. However, make sure you go for plain tees for your evergreen wardrobe. Logos and crazy patterns might look great for a short-time, but it is likely you will grow out of them in the not-too-distant future. It’s worth stocking up on jumpers, too – think knitwear for autumn and winter, light wool knits for the spring and summer, and maybe a sweater or two for casual days.
Finally, don’t forget about smart clothing. Whether you wear it for work or extravagant nights out is up to you, but you will need a couple of formal shirts and blouses. Go for classic colours with all of these – again, bright colours won’t last you more than a season or two, as you won’t want to be known for always wearing the same thing. With the classics – such as whites, blacks, navies, and creams – you can wear them again and again with a range of clothes and no one will know any different. You should also invest in a couple of simple – but stunning – sundresses. These can be worn on hot days, classy nights out, and almost everything in between.
Now you have everything you need to mix and match to your heart’s content – but what about accessories? These are key to changing your look dramatically, and you should invest in some high-quality items that can last the distance. Starting from the ground up, 2-3 pairs of good, everyday shoes like trainers or moccasins will be your best friend. Perfect for casual wear, choose shoes that reflect your style, but be careful not to go overboard with colour and patterns. Every girl needs at least one pair of classic, timeless heels, too, for those special nights out, and make sure you invest in some great boots. You can wear boots with almost everything, but again, go for a classic cut.
The other accessories to focus on include a clutch, and a tote bag – both should match the base colour you chose at the beginning of the process. With scarves, however, you can afford to add a little more colour, contrasting the base instead.
OK – that just about wraps up the first items in your capsule wardrobe. Of course, there will be a few things you notice are missing, but those are all the pieces you can add at a later stage. The idea here is to invest in high-quality, perfectly made garments that form the basis of your wardrobe. The classic styles and cuts will be the perfect foundation for any style or trend that comes along, and which you can jump on and off as you please.
Also, don’t forget that a capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be boring, dull, or plain. Yes, you should focus on basic colours and complementary and contrasting items to set them off. But with every season comes the opportunity to recharge and refresh your collection, focusing on high quality yet again, and be smart with what you are spending your hard earned money on. Enjoy your new wardrobe!