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Your Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe Shopping Guide by Georgia Murray
A capsule wardrobe is nothing new. The term was coined back in the 1980s by Susie Faux, the West End boutique owner who introduced her clients to minimalist brands like Jil Sander, while Donna Karan popularised the idea in the USA in ‘85 with her Seven Easy Pieces. In 2014, Unfancy founder Caroline Rector reinvigorated buzz for the concept when she posed the idea of a 37-piece capsule, just as Marie Kondo’s decluttering method was shaking up wardrobes the world over. The notion of a refined and utilitarian collection of clothing, of creating the maximum number of outfits from as few items as possible, is a familiar one.Now, though, its appeal is greater than ever. The pandemic has forced many of us to recalibrate our relationship with fashion. Giving us time to step off the fast-moving carousel of disposable trends, we’ve had hours in lockdown to sit with the clothes we own and admit which were bought to secure a quick and dirty serotonin hit in the shadow of Instagram’s comparison culture, fuelled by the ease of same-day delivery. For others, waking each morning to a global pandemic has left little room for the effort and energy required to pull together a playful outfit. With heavier burdens weighing on our minds, functionality is often the biggest draw when choosing what to wear each day. “People are starting to rethink their relationship with clothing and with nowhere to go, more time is being spent organizing and decluttering as well as learning how to create a streamlined wardrobe,” says personal stylist Eunice Abe of the surge in search for capsule wardrobes during lockdown. Donating, selling or gifting items which no longer fit into your life is a great way to save them from landfill but the aim isn’t to mindlessly purge your wardrobe and start anew. It’s about whittling it down to a selection of thought-out pieces which will help you to resist the pull of passing trends. “Building a capsule wardrobe made up of core items not only helps me shop less and rewear my pieces over and over again,” Eunice says, “but also to not shop impulsively for the ‘next best thing’ to wear.” I feel the same way. Pre-pandemic, I felt an involuntary urge to shop whenever I saw a new look on Instagram but since rotating a steady collection of around 15 pieces, from crew-neck knitwear and plain, long-sleeved tees to straight-leg jeans and my trusty Birkenstocks, I’ve found it easier to put some distance between what I tell myself I want and what I really need.At the core of a capsule wardrobe is the idea that its contents transcend passing trends but of course it will mean different things to different people. If monochrome and minimalism isn’t your flavor, a capsule wardrobe bursting with print and color is just as valuable – so long as each piece can be worn in multiple ways. Fine-tune your wardrobe so that you’re wearing what you own as much as possible, so that each piece stands the test of time and serves a functional but joyful purpose in your life. What it looks like is up to you. Below, we’ve found the best pieces for a traditional capsule wardrobe, from summer-ready sandals to Breton striped tees.
The Breton Tee
The Brittany-born striped top has been synonymous with French style ever since Coco Chanel turned the fisherman’s staple into a fashion favorite. Our preferred marinière tees are by Kule or Comme des Garçons Play, but there are heaps to choose from. Tuck into tailored trousers or denim and top off with black lace-up shoes or white kicks.