Capsule Collections and Making a Minimalist Wardrobe

What Are Capsule Collections? 

Capsule Collection: a small number of articles that consist of designs that are considered timeless in their purpose and construction.

A capsule collection is a staple in any wardrobe. Capsule collections were originally popularized by Donna Karan in the 1980s, though the name itself is said to be coined by Susie Faux in the 1970s. Think of it like your plain white tees, your basic straight-leg jeans, and your black coats. No matter what time period you look at (besides maybe the Victorian era), you'll be able to find other people wearing similar items.

But just because a capsule collection is basic doesn't mean it's boring. They can also just be a smaller portion of a designer's vision, maybe even a limited edition. That means that these pieces are the essentials. Ask any stylist, and they will tell you that a good outfit will feature only one or two statement pieces (a wild patterned shirt, a fancy bag). The rest of the outfit is made out of well-made, basic articles of clothing.   

The Importance of Capsule Collections

In our ever-changing world of fashion, brands can go through as many as 50 collections a year. Not only is this a threat to our wallets, but also to environmental and human rights. The US alone produces over 11 million pounds of textile waste. And around 250 million children ages 5 to 14 are forced to work in sweatshops in developing countries. A large portion of these sweatshops are textile producers. When you choose to buy less, you are choosing to value the environment and human rights over a new shirt every week.

Capsule collections are also important for designers. Capsule pieces transcend any season or time period, making them easier to create and market without being as concerned about timing.

What Is a Minimalist Wardrobe?

Minimalism a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.

Minimalism is becoming an ever-popular trend with shows like Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and entire blogs and Instagram pages dedicated to showing a more condensed lifestyle. With the environmental element in mind however, this lifestyle has the potential to cut down on the major damage textile waste can produce.

But what is a minimalist wardrobe?

Simply put, a minimalist wardrobe consists of basic, staple pieces. A wardrobe made out of capsule collections. The original minimalist wardrobe created by Susie Faux in the 1970s consisted of two pairs of trousers, a dress or a skirt, a jacket, a coat, a sweater, two pairs of shoes, and two bags.

More recent fashion magazines, like Red Magazine, have suggested a more plentiful: 

  • 4 coats
  • 2 jackets
  • 6 dresses (optional)
  • 4 tees
  • 2 knits
  • 3 tops
  • 3 shirts
  • 4 pairs of jeans
  • 5 pairs of trousers
  • 3 skirts (optional)
  • 2 shorts.

Which would result in over 400 outfit choices with just these 38 pieces.

Some Tips for a Capsule or Minimalist Wardrobe

Pick a Color Scheme

Many capsule wardrobes will be in earth tones or neutral colors such as white, black, navy, and gray. These colors will often be easier to create an entire wardrobe with, as they come in many variations. Choosing one to three colors will let you mix-and-match with ease, an essential part of a capsule wardrobe. When choosing a color, you should consider your complexion. These are the colors you'll be wearing every day, so make sure the colors flatter your hair and skin color.

Stick with Simple Patterns

Simple patterns such as light or small stripes, polka-dots, and floral prints will let you have more variety with your wardrobe. Only a few pieces should have print, with most of your wardrobe consisting of solid-colored articles. Different patterns tend to go in and out of style. Sticking to simple patterns or no patterns will keep your wardrobe timeless.

Choose High-Quality Fabrics

When you pick out your capsule wardrobe, the usual intent is to cut back on unnecessary choices and to reduce your textile waste. For these reasons, it's best to make sure that any piece you purchase, whether from a name-brand store or the thrift store, is made out of quality fabric that will last through many wears and washes. 

Consider Your Climate

Although capsule wardrobes can be worn throughout the year and through many years, it's also important to consider your area's weather. Plan ahead when making your capsule wardrobe, or consider making two capsule wardrobes to be switched out when the weather gets warmer or colder.

 Majority Denim and Staple Clothing

At Majority Denim, we focus on creating high-quality staple clothing that can be added to any capsule or minimalist wardrobe. Check out our spring/summer collection and start your new wardrobe today!

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