Among the many things I've done for money, I spent a long time working as a personal shopper and wardrobe stylist, so today we're going to chat about how a capsule wardrobe can change your life!
People often employ the services of personal stylists when they’re going through a period of change in their lives - a new job, a big move, or a fresh start - and want an opportunity to re-invent themselves, but maybe need help figuring out a style that works for them. People don’t always realise how important style can be to the way people perceive themselves - If you know you look good, you’ll feel good and be more confident, which is so so so important!
Whether you’re starting from new, or just looking to edit your existing closet, a really useful starting point is to curate a capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of essential pieces that leave you open to a whole bunch of different combinations - you can choose shapes you're comfortable wearing in colours and patterns you like, and you can add to it easily enough as you become more confident choosing pieces.
This is the basic formula I follow when building a 'capsule wardrobe' for someone, which can apply to almost any style -
1 x Printed Dress
1 x Plain Coloured Dress
2 x Printed Tops
2 x Plain Coloured Tops
1 x Jeans / Pants
1 x Printed Skirt
1 x Plain Coloured Skirt
1 x Jacket - Blazer / Motorcycle Jacket / Denim Jacket / Lightweight swing coat -
3 x Cardigans / Boleros / Casual Cover-ups
There's no hard and fast rule about accessories, but they can really transform an outfit so it's something I don't tend to skimp on - I try to have necklaces, belts, scarves, bags, and hair accessories in all the colours that show up in my printed pieces.
5 rules for wardrobe essentials
1. Only wear things you like.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but unless something makes you feel happy, there is absolutely no point in owning it. Obviously work uniforms are exempt from this rule, but there are ways to make them less awful – Get your corporate uniform shirts tailored to fit you properly, for example, or find ways within the uniform guidelines to inject a bit of your personal style.
2. Take inspiration from your accessories
Most people start with the dress, or the top, but sometimes you need to shake things up a bit, or you end up just wearing the same combinations all the time! Rather than viewing your accessories as an afterthought, basing outfits around them forces you to think about the clothes you own in a different light. Pick out a necklace and choose a shirt with just the right neckline to show it off, or choose a pair of earrings and then do your hair around them.
3. Find a silhouette that works, and own it
My wardrobe is full of swing skirts, sarong dresses with nipped in waists, and ruffled peasant-style crops. This would still be the case if I had no interest in vintage/pinup styling, because this is a silhouette that works for me and my body shape. Jackie O almost exclusively wore sheath dresses, because that was her silhouette of choice. If it is something you love and will get plenty of wear out of, buy it in every colour, and own your signature silhouette.
4. Keep track of what you have, and what you need
Take note (on your phone, or in your diary) of your favourite wardrobe staples, and the things that you are missing. This way, if you pop into a shop on your lunch break and they have brightly coloured belts, you know which colours you genuinely need, rather than just buying double ups. I also have close-up photos on my phone of the prints in my wardrobe that are tricky to match things to. I can look at them when I’m out, which reduces the chance of buying things that don’t match anything!
5. Break the rules!
There are so many ‘rules’ that just shouldn’t exist – Fat girls shouldn’t wear stripes, no pink over 40, ‘less is more’, short girls can’t wear maxis, etc. The only rule that matters is that you have fun putting your look together!