One year ago I opened my closet door, thumbed through a hodgepodge of florals, ruffles, peplums, and plaids…
and realized that I didn’t love anything.
My closet was packed, but I still found nothing to wear.
I labored over each piece, attempting to create cohesion in a haphazard wardrobe that was built on fast fashion and end-of-the-year sales. With no knowledge of capsule wardrobes, I searched YouTube for “effortless fashion” and stumbled on Signe Hansen’s YouTube channel, “Useless.” Her methods were entirely revolutionary to me.
Was it really possible to be stylish and love my wardrobe without having an overflowing closet and a surplus of money?
Consumerism’s grip on my wallet (and mind) told me no, but Signe’s videos told me otherwise. So I began the process of reinventing my wardrobe.
One year later and I’ve sold almost everything I reluctantly wore and have funded my new capsule wardrobe almost entirely from those sales. Now I dress myself in no time, everything matches, and believe it or not, this smaller wardrobe has made me more creative and given me way more outfit options.
The past year has totally flipped my fashion philosophy on its head. Creating a capsule wardrobe has honestly changed my life. It sounds dramatic, I know, but not only do I spend less money on clothes, I also understand the implications of everything I purchase.
So, what is a capsule wardrobe?
In short, my capsule wardrobe has three components: an all-year basics component, a seasonal component, and an all-year color scheme. I only keep/buy what I love so my closet is lean, and I like it that way. My basics stay in my closet all year, and I supplement them with two seasonal wardrobes–spring/summer and fall/winter.
The basic and seasonal wardrobes, once put together, can create endless outfits. Because I follow a color scheme that I love, everything matches everything else. If you’re curious about creating your own capsule wardrobe, Signe Hansen has an entire video on how to start.
My Fashion Philosophy: CFEE
I never even had a fashion philosophy before I started capsuling, but being intentional about how I shop forced me to create a fashion philosophy. I summarize my fashion philosophy in four words: classic, feminine, easy, and a touch of edge. And ultimately all of these words must nod to the ethical and sustainable.
The concept of classic elegance is something I value so much. Why? Because it’s timeless while at the same time being eternally interesting. Some of the greatest style icons of the Western world dressed in beautifully tailored yet effortlessly simple pieces (think of Audrey Hepburn, Jane Birkin, Grace Kelly, and Princess Diana—I could go on). Today, I’m heavily inspired by the quintessential French woman, and whether or not she actually exists, the concept of having well-constructed pieces that transcend time is one that inspires my closet.
Jeans, a button-down shirt, and a good pair of shoes will never ever get old.
Much of today’s fashion is androgynous, which I honestly love on other people. It’s cool and Scandinavian. However, I find myself maintaining an air of femininity in my closet. This manifests in the form of flowing silk blouses, pearls, the occasional ruffle or floral print, and of course, pink—I’ll never stop wearing a beautiful pale pink.
Fashion blogger and YouTuber Audrey Coyne does a fabulous job of constructing feminine and timeless outfits. She’s shaped my closet so much. And who can ignore Jeanne Damas? She’s the epitome of French girl fashion.
Ease is essential in any wardrobe created with the intention to last. Whether or not I’m intentionally avoiding the piece, I find that if wearing it makes my life harder, I just won’t reach for it. The paradox is that a truly easy piece probably wasn’t easy to find (in that I couldn’t just walk into the mall and purchase whatever I saw). Ease and wearability post-purchase require research and intentionality pre-purchase.
Edge adds an element of interest in a wardrobe that is mostly built out of classic and feminine pieces. Edge keeps me modern. Simple things like wearing a pointy-toe boot, having jeans with a frayed hem and layering jewelry create a subtle coolness that complements the altogether softness of my wardrobe. Signe Hansen and Anine Bing are my edgy inspo.
A Quick Note About Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion
This capsule wardrobe journey has shown me the importance of caring about where my clothes come from. The documentary The True Cost reveals that the textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world; it could easily be the least ethical industry as well. Caring about quality, the earth and people is something that I can accomplish based on where I shop. I’ve purchased 90 percent of my capsule wardrobe secondhand, and when I shop for new items, I always shop ethical brands first. I’m no expert in this, but every small decision makes a difference.
Building a wardrobe is an ongoing process, even a capsule wardrobe. However, capsuling has made getting dressed in the morning exponentially easier. I highly recommend checking out Signe Hansen’s YouTube channel. Now, I love putting outfits together, and I love talking about how transformative this process has been for me. Fashion doesn’t have to be hard.