Let’s talk about capsule wardrobes!
Audrey’s Deep Autumn Capsule
Ready for a little history lesson?! Don’t worry, it’s a fun one! We are here to talk about capsule wardrobes. The concept is not uncommon, in fact, there are hundreds of articles on the subject. However, many of us hesitate to put it into practice because it seems unattainable, unrealistic, or simply impossible. We want to start the conversation by introducing the concept, where it came from, and why it is a great way to shape your wardrobe.
First, let’s talk about what a capsule wardrobe is exactly. It is essentially a foundational, curated collection of around 25 to 50 pieces that are timeless, cohesive, and versatile. Capsules allow you to “do more with less”, creating many different outfits with the same items. Each piece receives thoughtful consideration as to how it will play with the other items in the collection. Capsule wardrobes are an investment in ourselves, a commitment to sustainability, and are thoughtfully intentional.
Where did this idea come from?
Roaring 20s Fashion
Okay, so where did the idea of a capsule wardrobe come from you ask? Let’s rewind about a hundred years or so to set the stage. We all know that the Roaring 20s were wild and over the top. Fashion was flashy, fun, and sexy. Many women had outfits that rotated throughout the day as activities changed. From breakfast to afternoon tea, to dinner and cocktails, there were different requirements in costume. For those with ample funds to dispose of, these fashions were extremely elevated and costly. But even for the average woman, appearance was a worthwhile and expected investment.
But wait! Let’s also consider what happened when we hit the Great Depression in the 1930s. Suddenly, the whims and styles of the lavish elite were gone – or minimized at best. The focus was no longer on extravagant lifestyles, but on practical needs. Women had to get creative, transforming cheaper fabrics and materials into clothing that could be worn all day. Clothing production became streamlined, and outfits were designed to be more transitional. Additionally, the glamour of Hollywood was translated into practical, ready-to-wear outfits for the everyday woman. It was during this time that women became more active in society and required clothing that reflected this change.
Why is all of this important?
Donna Karan – 7 Easy Pieces – 1985
So, what is the point of all of this? Basically, the capsule wardrobe emerged in the 1940s as a response to all of the above. Curated capsules allowed women to have pieces that worked in a variety of ways, for different activities and times of the day, which ultimately allowed them to spend less money over time. This new woman demanded versatility and affordability, combining the lessons learned over the last 20 years.
Women were also taking new roles in society and becoming active in realms traditionally exclusive to men. As life changed, so did fashion. When building a capsule wardrobe, particular focus was given to items that would seemingly never go out of style. The idea is that investing in a piece of clothing that didn’t necessarily adhere to current trends would hold value over a longer period of time.
The practice of having a capsule wardrobe has waxed and waned in popularity over the last several decades, with designers such as Donna Karan creating specific capsule pieces in the 80s, and publications offering guidance on how to build your own capsule. As fashion has evolved to encompass a variety of styles and budgets, creating a capsule gives you the tools to hone in on your personal brand. It is a focus-driven way of presenting yourself to the world, that both saves you money and breaks away from the destructive cycle of fast fashion we find ourselves in today. Taking this kind of approach to your closet is a great way to contribute to sustainable practices, making smarter choices that benefit you in the long term, not just through immediate satisfaction.
Benefits of building a capsule
Example of a Universal Capsule, by Flourish
This is an example of a capsule wardrobe we created as a baseline representative of key items you could include in your own closet. Each item can be paired with others in a multitude of ways, allowing you to have more with less! We opted for colors like white, cream, and navy; colors that tend to be universally flattering on everyone regardless of your season. We also chose items that were fairly basic – no consideration for style archetypes here.
We are advocates for capsule wardrobes for two big reasons. First and foremost, we support making sustainable choices. When Audrey does her closet clean-outs, nothing gets wasted. Special items get a chance at a second life at Found, and other items get recycled. Second, we are passionate about pinpointing your specific style archetype and what that means for your wardrobe needs. We believe that fashion should be purposeful and intentional, and should ultimately be a reflection of who you are.
If you are interested in learning more about what a capsule wardrobe might look like for you, let us know! Found offers Style Box subscriptions, which are a great way to start building a capsule slowly, over time. The best part is, we get to know you and make extremely personalized choices for you and your closet.