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How to create a capsule wardrobe for 2021

Raise your hand if you’re excited for 2021! (Woot woot!)

A new year means a fresh start — and what better way to start things off than by performing a little edit of the items in your closet?

Chances are, you’ve heard of the popular “capsule wardrobe” movement sweeping the nation. But what is it? And is it right for you?

Well, we’re about to break it down for you. (And as a spoiler, we’re pretty sure you’re going to want to give it a try by the time you’re done reading this.)

What exactly is a capsule wardrobe?

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Let’s see if the following scenario strikes a chord: You open your closet doors, survey the dozens (maybe hundreds — we don’t judge!) of options before your eyes, and then sigh because you have “nothing to wear.” A capsule wardrobe helps fix this problem.

Instead of an overflowing closet full of pieces that come in and out of style, a capsule wardrobe simplifies things down to basic, timeless articles of clothing that are both fashionable and functional. 

For the history buffs out there, the term was coined by wardrobe consultant Susie Faux in the 1970s after she became frustrated about the lack of well-made clothes. In her words, “The basic idea is simple: by building a capsule wardrobe you will buy fewer clothes of a higher quality that you will wear more often. You will look and feel confident and successful because the quality will show and because you know that the overall look works.” 

(Hmmm … does that sound familiar?)

But the idea didn’t really catch on until designer Donna Karan came out with her “7 Easy Pieces” collection in 1985. 

These days, as consumers aim to be more intentional with their purchases and minimalism grows in popularity, the capsule wardrobe seems like a no-brainer for women who want a wardrobe that truly “sparks joy.” (Thanks, Marie Kondo!)

What should be included in a capsule wardrobe?

Brigitte Brianna Non See-Through White Blouse Tee

Okay, if you Google “what to include in a capsule wardrobe,” you’ll find that everyone has their own view of what it should include. Some say you need a specific amount of pieces. (37! No… 20. Wait… 7!) Others suggest specific staple items. (Donna Karan loved the black bodysuit. Should that be the next addition to the Brigitte Brianna collection?)

While it’s tempting to make this a one-size-fits-all approach, it would be defeating the purpose of the capsule wardrobe, which is to fit the needs of the individual. 

Your friend’s capsule wardrobe will probably look a little different from yours. Maybe she loves running around in leggings, but you feel more comfortable in loose-fitting clothes. She may opt for a pencil skirt while you prefer something with a little more flare. 

Listen very carefully because we’re only going to say this once: there are no hard and fast rules for creating a capsule wardrobe.

You simply have to find what works best for you.

But if you could use a few guidelines to get started, fashion designer Misha Nonoo told InStyle magazine that “the best pieces are the kind that can be worn at work, during cocktail hour, and dressed down on the weekend.”

She suggested every woman should find the perfect white button-down shirt, then add skirts and trousers that “fit and flatter.”

“Stick with neutral colors such as black, white, and navy. They’re professional and are always in style,” she said. “For casual looks, find the perfect tee and buy it in a few colors to pair with your favorite denim."

How often should you update your capsule wardrobe?

Brigitte Brianna Venice Dress in Olive

Here’s another one where you’ll find some differing opinions. Some choose to make their capsule wardrobes seasonal while others stick to the same 7, 12, 37 (or whatever the number is) pieces year-round. 

But if you’re really trying to save time, closet space, and money, a good rule-of-thumb is to invest in long-lasting, quality clothing rather than running out and buying items on a whim. If there are certain pieces you wear frequently (like your favorite white tee), don’t be afraid to stock up on a few of them to cut down on wear and tear. 

How often you choose to update or rotate your wardrobe is up to you. Just remember that the purpose of a capsule wardrobe is to simplify your life by maintaining a smaller collection of items you absolutely love and can wear frequently. 

Is a capsule wardrobe right for you?

If you like the idea of having to make fewer decisions, simplifying your life, and having a closet full of only things you love, then YES — a capsule wardrobe is absolutely for you!

It may take a little extra work upfront, but it will ultimately make life easier for you in the long run. Of course, the best way to determine whether or not it’s the right thing for you is to give it a try.

And if you’re looking for a good place to start, we may have a few suggestions...

Get started with the new M&M collection from SexyModest Boutique

Need a little inspiration for curating your own capsule wardrobe? The new SexyModest Mix & Match collection has everything you need to get started. With timeless pieces designed for busy, on-the-go women, you’ll find something for every lifestyle — whether it’s for the boardroom, the classroom, or your living room.


SexyModest Boutique Mix and Match collection


Additional tips for your capsule wardrobe:

  • Choose items you can dress up or down. When it comes to the perfect capsule wardrobe, versatility really is the name of the game. A simple dress can be either a cocktail party outfit or a throw-on-and-go option with the right accessories. (For outfit inspiration, be sure to download the SexyModest app and watch for our weekly live streams.)
  • If your life changes, your wardrobe should, too. Maybe you quit your 9 to  5 job and you’re working from home. Or maybe you just had a baby and need a little more comfort. Whatever changes you’re going through, your wardrobe should match to fit your needs. Life’s too short to hang on to clothes that don’t work for you.
  • Don’t be afraid to let go. If you have several items in your closet that have been collecting dust for years, it may be time to cut that cord. Sure, you could keep hanging on to that one skirt you’re *hoping* to fit back into someday, but we think that space would be better used by something cute and flattering you can enjoy right now. Also, if you wouldn’t buy the same item of clothing today, it’s probably a sign that it’s time to get rid of it.
  • You do you. Don’t feel like you have to fit a mold when it comes to style. Pick clothing pieces that flatter your body type as well as your personality. As our favorite modest clothing designer likes to say, “Be stunning, be comfy, be you!”
  • Find a balance. The idea of a capsule wardrobe is to simplify your life — not make it more difficult. If you go into crazy clothes-Nazi mode, you’re missing the point. Sure, keep it simple and functional, but don’t forget to have fun. If you make a whimsical purchase now and then, don’t beat yourself up.

  • Brigitte Brianna Ruffle Lace Top

    Be modest. Be stunning. Be comfy. Be you.

    At SexyModest, we’re here to make your life a little easier. Whether you’re a college student, a stay-at-home mom, a school teacher, or a CEO, every piece of clothing is designed with YOU in mind.

    Download the free SexyModest app or shop the Brigitte Brianna collection to find the style that best fits you.

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