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How To Create The Perfect Capsule Wardrobe

Sian Bunney finds out what it takes to declutter

How To Create The Perfect Capsule Wardrobe

We’re always looking for ways to make our lives more eco-friendly for the good of the planet, and one way we are trying to achieve this is through creating our own capsule wardrobes. But what does it involve, and how difficult is it? Sian Bunney investigates…

If you’re anything like us, then a beautifully streamlined, effortlessly stylish selection of clothes is at the top of your wishlist. It’s certainly a hot topic, with plenty of people trying to emulate 21st Century success stories such as Mark Zuckerberg (endless grey T-shirts) and Steve Jobs (jeans and a black turtleneck), or taking notice of trends such as minimalism or ‘dressing like an architect’ (think monochrome, sleek lines, and geometric accessories). There’s something a little bit joyless about these ideas, but crafting a wardrobe you love with only a handful of pieces needn’t be soulless – it can inspire a passion for your clothes, and will help the planet, too.

People in my office may not have realised that, for a week or so, I was recycling some key pieces from my existing wardrobe – let me tell you about a couple. First up, the ‘all-black-everything’ power look: a blazer with metal fringing à la Elvis Presley, T-shirt, leggings, and ankle boots. Très chic, I assure you: just go and search #allblack on Instagram – 3.1 million posts as I type (and some New Zealand rugby pics that don’t go amiss…). My second look was a casual affair: black jeans, cream knitted jumper, corduroy jacket and black trainers, elevated slightly by some enormous gold hoops that Pat Butcher would be proud of. Eighties earrings are back, people, rejoice!

So, how did I go about choosing things for my mini capsule wardrobe? Firstly, I paid attention to the latest style tips on fashion newsletters I subscribe to, and chose items I already owned that fit the bill; in my case: chunky gold accessories, all black dressing, knitwear, and corduroy. This meant that I didn’t succumb to fast fashion ethics of overhauling my closet with brand new ‘in season’ items – trends come and go, as I’ve found out recently to my peril. Animal print is back in fashion in a major way, and only recently I sold my vintage faux fur leopard coat online for fear of looking like Kat Slater (sorry, Eastenders fans). I still want to cry at the thought! I implore you to hang onto your most treasured pieces, especially the ones you wear time and again, offsetting the production costs of your clothes.

During the overhaul process, I also sifted out anything that could be given to charity or friends, removed anything summery that could hibernate under my bed, and only chucked out things with defects as a last resort. Doing this helped me rediscover all of the stylish gems I already owned, and made me realise where the gaps were in my collection that I could fill with sustainable brands.

It’s a great way to sort through your clobber, but while a lot of advice suggests ignoring the trends, I prefer to make my key pieces work with the trends.

Fancy creating your own capsule wardrobe? Share your story with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!