Fabric samples in various colours.

The capsule wardrobe concept

Have you heard about capsule wardrobes and wondered if it's right for you?

Claire Kneller, who works for sustainability charity WRAP, tells us why she loves her capsule wardrobe.

A recent Love Your Clothes blog mentioned the concept of a capsule wardrobe. This caught my attention because I have been using the concept to manage my wardrobe for about a year. I work in sustainability, so it came as no surprise to me that most people have around £4,000 worth of clothing, lots of which never gets worn. I wanted to feel happy when I opened that wardrobe door, not overwhelmed and guilty.

The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is that you only ever wear the same few items from your collection, so why not reduce your wardrobe to a much smaller, more carefully curated collection of pieces? There are lots of different ‘styles’ of capsule wardrobe, I chose to base mine on the model designed by the blogger, Caroline Rector, of Unfancy, but, because I work in a professional setting, I split my wardrobe into work and casual. In practice, this means I only ever have around 40 items in my wardrobe at any time. I rotate them around 3 times a year to account for the weather, if certain pieces are worn out and just to stop myself from getting bored. Clothes that aren't in the rotation get donated or stored; out of season stuff gets stored away.

Here are just two of the many outfits Claire has created from her capsule wardrobe.

Claire in trousers and jumper.Claire in skirt and blouse.

What the capsule wardrobe means for me

  • I never feel stressed when I'm getting ready in the morning because I love everything in my wardrobe and most pieces go with nearly everything else.
  • I'm able to afford better quality clothes because my spending is limited to those pieces that will *really* work in my capsule wardrobe.
  • My clothes actually last longer because I take care of them better and I'm not using them all year round.
  • I shop more thoughtfully, so I often end up buying from brands or shops that are more ethical because I have more time to really research my purchases.

Doing a capsule wardrobe not only makes my life easier (we've all had those days when you snooze your alarm a few too many times!), but it also fits with my ambition to tread a little more lightly on this precious planet. The average European consumes over 55,000 kilos of ‘stuff’ every year (that’s things like food, fuel and household products). If we were to live truly sustainable lifestyles, that figure would be less than 8,000 kilos.