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Savvy Secrets for a Capsuled Closet

Words and photos by Olivia Bauso

There's no need to toss out every item in your wardrobe that doesn't fit your current aesthetic, just create a capsule.

Stylist and image consultant Andrea Bonawitz of Parlour Hair Salon and Andrea Bonawitz Image Consulting describes a capsule wardrobe as "a smaller or truncated version of your wardrobe." At it's core, a capsule is just a collection of a few essential items of clothing that can be rotated and exchanged over time. Each item in the capsule should be able to be paired with multiple items in the collection, making getting dressed in the morning a lot easier.

So how can it be done? Andrea is sharing her tips for compiling the perfect capsule...

Begin with a blank slate.

Not to be confused with wardrobe editing, a capsule wardrobe should begin with an empty closet. In Andrea's words, "You are creating something from a blank canvas." She suggests putting your clothes somewhere else and think, "What do I want in my closet?" instead of, "What do I want to keep?"

Once you've emptied your closet, go ahead and do some editing of the pile you're choosing from. If you know you're not going to wear something again, or that it doesn't fit you right, purge it! Put together a pile of clothes to donate or re-sell. Additionally, make a pile of seasonal wear that's out of the question and pack it away. Andrea says, "Do a quick weed. It's one less thing you'll have to worry about when putting your capsule together."

Keep it simple, sweetie.

Choose a number of items that works for you, and stick to it. Fifty items or less is more than enough to get you through a season. Andrea explains, "A nice, round number like fifty is a good place to start. There are a lot of blogs and stylists who will tell you exactly what number of each items to have, but I don't teach that way. I'll give suggestions for what to have more or less of, but you have to find what works for you."

Start with 2-3 neutrals and 2-3 accent shades that compliment each other. The neutral garments should be the core pieces of the wardrobe; usually, bottoms, jackets, sweaters. Andrea says, "Keeping color simple allows your clothing to be highly interchangeable." Remember, if you have too many patterns going on, you're not going to be able to mix and match all your items.

Do what works for you

Use this opportunity to identify which items in your wardrobe are working for your body and coloring. Every person has shades and shapes that work better for them, and when dressing from a capsule its essential to pay attention to this. Andrea explains, "It's about being more in tune with what you wear and not wasteful. It's like every single thing I wear is a slam dunk thing in the morning, and my life is less stressful because of it." (If you need help exploring what's right for you, consider making an appointment with an image consultant or taking a class to dive a little deeper!)

Make sure to include all the items from your pile that you absolutely can't live without. You know, the ones that are always in the wash-- you need them! Once you begin to see what outfits may or may not work together, make a list of specific items you can purchase that will round out the capsule. This is where capsuling can really help out with budgeting.  

If you're not a true minimalist, who may totally toss their leftover clothes, stash your unlucky picks in clear, labeled bins. When you get bored, simply revisit the unchosen ones and begin a new capsule!

Happy capsuling!

Learn more detailed instructions about capsuling from Andrea at her upcoming "How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe" class on 10/18

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