How to build a colourful capsule wardrobe

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The term “capsule wardrobe” – which is fast growing in popularity – brings to mind a closet full of neutrals, in which everything can be seamlessly mixed and matched. In my burgeoning pursuit of minimalism, I am working towards paring down my closet to a well curated collection of flattering, fitted items. A huge closet is stressful and burdensome for anyone, and I dream of having a small selection to choose from in the morning. However, the thought of owning nothing but neutrals bores me to tears – and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. Many other people have surely been dissuaded from building a capsule wardrobe because they, like me, can’t stand the thought of giving up their purples and plaids. As a result, they end up holding onto an absurdly large amount of items that’ll continue to weigh them down. However, this can be avoided! While it’s a common string of thought that colourful, printed clothing and minimalism don’t mesh, this absolutely isn’t true. With the following tips anyone can dramatically reduce their amount of clothing without having to resort to wearing all black, all the time. 

1. Think of a uniform. Or uniforms. If there was a movie about your life, what would the actor or actress playing you wear? This is a good way to think of what your “uniforms” are – the types of clothing that you like best, wear a lot, and that look good on you. My uniform includes floral dresses, black tights and leggings, flowy tops, ballet flats, cardigans, flannel button up shirts, and high waisted jeans and trousers. Look into your closet and evaluate anything that isn’t a uniform item. When I did this I ended up getting rid of a lot of things that I never wore and that frankly didn’t flatter me. Why bother owning five cheap cocktail dresses when you don’t feel comfortable in them, and when you rarely ever go out to a place that merits that kind of dress? Why own a pair of heels when they hurt your feet? Why hold on to those tops that were trendy two years ago, in a style that never worked with your body shape? People hold on to so many unnecessary clothing items because they feel they have to. If you want a small wardrobe, you have to be brutal about this. Donate, consign, or throw away anything that doesn’t get a lot of wear and that you hang on to for no other reason than “I might need this someday.”

2. Put together a colour palette. Into Mind has a really great post all about colour palettes, and how to put together one that works for your wardrobe HERE. My own colour palette consists of black, brown, and white as my neutrals, and red, pink, plum, yellow, green, and navy as my colours. I also lumped prints into my palette. Instead of having each clothing item in a different print, I try to stick to florals, stripes, and plaid. These look good on me, and when carefully put together, can look really good mixed as well. By sticking to these prints and colours I can have an eyecatching wardrobe that can be easily mixed and matched.

3. Neutrals are still a necessity. Unless you are a wizard at mixing and matching prints, I highly suggest you hold on to some neutral coloured staples. Think black leggings, a cream cardigan, and a good pair of brown boots. These will complement everything in your closet – instead of only one or two items like, say, a mustard yellow tights would – and will keep your wardrobe more balanced.

4. Simplify or forego accessories. To the surprise of many, I really don’t like jewelry or accessories. I only ever have one purse, one winter scarf, and one autumn scarf at any given time. My ears aren’t pierced and I can count the collective amount of rings, bracelets and necklaces I own on two hands. When the clothes you own have punches of colour or interesting prints, you don’t need to rely on accessories to spice up your outfit. As a result, you don’t need to buy or own as many accessories. If unlike myself you’re a sucker for accessories, I’d recommend passing on the statement necklaces and looking for simple, timeless pieces instead, that’ll match anything you own now or in the future.

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