In principle, capsule wardrobes seem simple; adopting the concept and knowing where to begin, however, less so. The summer capsule wardrobe presents its own set of challenges thanks to the demands on us from work, travel and weather. Let BuyMeOnce be your guide to the sartorial challenge of how to create a summer capsule wardrobe.
Why go with the capsule approach?
Our wardrobes can start to resemble caves of doom that stress us out leaving us exclaiming, “Why do I have so many clothes but nothing to wear!” It’s too easy to shop every time we have a slight urge, an event invite comes in or even when the weather changes. As the items steadily build up, our visibility of what we actually own fades away. Embracing the capsule wardrobe approach will help:
Save time – freeing up brain space previously spent on figuring out what to wear for other things in your life
Save effort – when you have less, you can see what you have and put looks together with ease making getting ready simple and easy
Save stress – when you’re confident that everything in your wardrobe serves you for the life you lead, you can wave goodbye to frantic mornings trying on outfits before eventually running out the door feeling less than happy.
The Guiding Principles
For a capsule wardrobe to really work, quality matters. You’ll be wearing your pieces multiple times in different ways, so shoddy products will not suffice. Root out or invest in well-made pieces that can take the strain. Versatility is key. Pieces should be interchangeable for you to make the most of your capsule. An item that only works with or for something specific has no place in a capsule.
We suggest aiming for between 30-40 pieces (including shoes and accessories) but use this as a guide, not a harsh rule. The important thing is to make your wardrobe work for your lifestyle and that space isn’t taken up by things you don’t wear or use, not sticking to an arbitrary number.
5 Steps to Take
Before you start to create your summer capsule wardrobe, consider the following:
1. Check your diary. What do you have planned this summer? Travels? Weddings? Adventuring? Work?
2. Location, location, location. Consider where your plans will be taking you and try to be firm with yourself. Ask (answer truthfully), “when and where will I wear this”? If you can’t give yourself an answer, put the garment to one side.
3. Start with your heroes. Pick out the go-to pieces that you already wear a lot. They’ve already proven their worth and their place in your wardrobe.
4. Create looks. Try things on in different combinations thinking again about your diary and what you’ll be needing from your summer capsule wardrobe. If you’re pleased with your outfits, snap them on your phone to help you remember what works well
5. Create space. If, like me, you don’t have a ton of space in your wardrobe, consider storing your autumn/winter wardrobe away. Before you carefully pack it all up, make sure to wash or clean what you can so it’s ready for you when you need it again.
The Basic Building Blocks
I wanted to share my summer capsule wardrobe pieces that could work as a starting point to get you thinking about yours. I’m not suggesting that your capsule should consist of just fifteen pieces (but if you can manage it, please share your wisdom!) – this isn’t my full capsule, it’s a list of the basic building blocks that I need for the months ahead. I’ve based my summer capsule wardrobe around a premise of living and working in London, a city with unpredictable weather and punishing commutes on the Underground. I’ve also considered holidays in Europe, weddings and running around after a toddler in the playground.
- Summer dress: floral belted dress for London day to day and holiday
- Long-lasting, durable sunglasses: Sungod Sierras
- Go-with-everything sandals: Birkenstocks, Arizona sandals that are comfortable as well as sturdy
- Summer jacket: vintage white, lightweight leather
- Flattering, robust swimwear: Seraphine, black halter neck; originally a maternity swimsuit that also works bumpless
- Lightweight trousers: Whistles slouchy printed trousers for work and play
- Denim skirt: vintage Levis black denim – perfect for my toddler days
- Work and travel appropriate bag: Fjallraven backpack, lightweight and the perfect size for laptop or travel essentials
- Oversized shirt: vintage oversized men’s shirt, great with skinny trousers in London or as a holiday cover-up
- Silky jumpsuit: Whistles Tiger print jumpsuit – layered with a t-shirt for work or worn on its own for weddings and holidays
- White t-shirt: White T-Shirt Co scoop neck, which I wear with everything
- Comfortable heels: nude block heels for weddings, summer events or work
- Printed jumpsuit: Lowie Tiger print jumpsuit – layered with a white t-shirt for the city or worn on its own on holiday
- White sneakers: Veja sneakers which go with everything from skirts to jumpsuits
- Proper shoes: silver, backless mules that work for the office and any summer event
Lily Courtauld is the Content Director at BuyMeOnce. After ten years in the luxury fashion industry, Lily now dedicates her time to finding innovative, long-lasting brands for the site and brings her penchant for neoprene capes, jazzy prints and peanut butter into BuyMeOnce HQ.