6 Things I’ve Learned Building My Capsule Wardrobe

*Contains gifted items

girl building a capsule wardrobe

Please don’t laugh at this title. I am genuinely, sincerely, and all other adverbs that imply my completely pure intentions for the task at hand, trying to build myself a capsule wardrobe.

This is partly because I’m going to moving house in a few months, and want to make this as easy as possible. It’s also partly because I’m trying in general to consume less (though I still haven’t got the knack of this in relation to Doritos and Prosecco yet). And partly because now I’m in my late-20s, I feel like it’s just time I got my shit together.

So, over the last few months I’ve been slowly – and I mean s l o w l y – trying to whittle my wardrobe down. I haven’t been on a shopping ban by any means (my bank balance bloody WISHES), but I’m trying to be much more considered with my purchases. Here are the things I’ve learned along the way that have made it a bit easier:

1. Picking a colour palette – and sticking to it – makes life MUCH easier.
I’ve always felt my best in black, white and nude, and so at the minute I try to stay within this palette when buying something new (of course the fact that most animal prints fall within these hues is a very happy coincidence). Firstly it makes the whole process quicker once you can go to ASOS and do a simple filter by colour, and secondly everything matches and coordinates better *chefs kiss*

2. Having a never-ending shopping list is actually a good thing. 
I now have a spreadsheet – yes, SPREADSHEET – of things I think I want to buy. You think that’s nerdy? Hold onto your retainers. I also categorise the items on my list by how much wear I will get out of them, which helps me to prioritise. This has proven useful in stopping my impulse buys – items I like get added to the list, and the list is revisited when I have money to spend. With a fresh brain I can re-asses whether I still want the item and whether it’s going to get used enough to make it a priority. If not – leopard print blazer dress, I’m afraid I’m looking at you – then it’s struck off the list. T’ra.

3. It really is about quality over quantity.
Once you start to pick up items that are a little bit nicer – i.e. fit well, keep their shape, don’t seem likely to fall apart after one use – you actually don’t feel the need to replace them with a new thing quite as quickly. I was recently gifted this gorgeous silver necklace from Daisy London* (who have an amazing range of women’s necklaces) and I’ve been wearing it non-stop since. I used to be awful for grabbing a £3 necklace each time I popped into Primark, whereas now I don’t feel the need because I know this one fits the bill. Adding a few more timeless pieces to my wardrobe (after they’ve sat in the spreadsheet for a while, obv) is something I definitely want to do this year.

girl wearing silver jewellery

nude backpack and silver watch

4. Donating is just as good as selling.
I do donate a lot of things when having a wardrobe clear out, but it’s always tempting to try to sell things that were a bit more expensive or are still new with tags. However this means I’ve been guilty of holding onto bags of clothes for months at time while I pretend I’m going to get around to putting them on Depop. Now, I’m getting much better at biting the bullet and taking any unsold pieces to charity instead.

5. If you didn’t wear it last summer, you won’t wear it this summer. 
There are a lot of tips around building a capsule wardrobe that suggest throwing things out if they haven’t been worn for 3 months, but of course the seasons make this difficult. After all, there’s no point throwing your bikinis out just because they’ve gone unworn throughout January and February. However, I’m guilty of holding onto out-of-season things for my (imaginary) future holidays or heatwaves, despite the fact that I didn’t wear them last time I went away. Having a clear out at the end of a season is the best idea as you can get rid of the unworn pieces from the last few months, as well as ones you know you won’t wear in the coming season.

silver necklace from Daisy London

6. It’s fine to replace things.
I’ve always been rubbish at replacing items that are worn out, bizarrely feeling like it was a waste to buy a duplicate (even if the original item was never worn anymore). Now I’m recognising that a capsule wardrobe only works if you’re regularly wearing all of the pieces in it. Black jeans, white trainers, a chunky nude knit – all key items, all fine to keep replacing, all a much better use of money than a pair of fluorescent pink trousers (which I do still want, but y’know)

Despite my confident title, my capsule wardrobe is still very much a work in progress. I’m hoping by the time I move house in the early summer I’ll have reduced my clothing collection right down, and no longer be in the position where I’m trying to work out which bedroom I can put a third wardrobe in if needed.

What’s your approach to shopping, and would you ever consider a capsule wardrobe? Let me know your tips if so in the comments!


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