The Capsule Wardrobe Experiment: An Update

Forever chasing the perfect capsule…


A capsule wardrobe update is long overdue. It’s been yonks. I see the question of whether or not I’m still riding the capsuling train pop up in comments here and there and for all intents and purposes the short answer is – yes. I can’t ever see myself with an expansive and overstuffed closet; I don’t like to hoard excessive amounts of things across the board in my life. However, over recent months my thought process regarding a highly edited (and let’s face it, somewhat restrictive) wardrobe have shifted slightly and I haven’t stuck as rigidly to the no-buy rule. Let me explain…

When I first got into the idea of capsule wardrobes, I subscribed to the Caroline Joy method (which she has since moved on from herself), of building a functioning closet with just 37 pieces – see my video on that here. Now I’d still recommend this if you’re new to capsule wardrobes, need to cut a lot of crap out of your current stock or just want a chance to get real creative. For me, it kinda worked although with hindsight I rushed filling it up, so purchased things that a couple of months later I wasn’t that keen on and I stuck with pieces that didn’t fit or sit right just because I felt like I didn’t have time to search around for a better cut product.


I learnt from this and over the next couple of seasons I took time to research and collate new items. Things went pretty well through last year, but towards the end I got a little restless. The no-buy between seasonal upgrades rule went out the window, the ’37’ item count started to rise and capsule wardrobing got a little sloppy. I think the main reason for this was that after a year of the experiment I’d really started to cement what my style actually looked like. I’d got a uniform down and had a vision of what I wanted my wardrobe to be full of and I wanted it to be a reality, like, yesterday. With the discovery of some of my now favourite fashion blogs at the beginning of the year – Shot From The Street, Ropes of Holland The Frugality – things were set in stone in a way that they never had been before. I invested in new denim, quality shirts, basic boots and statement boots, semi-fitted jumpers to tuck into belted jeans, a new pair of loafers – it’s like everything clicked into place. EUREKA! 

I almost feel like I’ve started this whole capsuling thang again from scratch and this time I couldn’t be happier with what’s hanging in my wardrobe. There’s actually still only 35 items in my current selection (that’s not counting the extra warm weather bits that I keep up under my bed and mix in to my everyday grabs when the time is right), but I’m not so obsessed with numbers – things will fluctuate between seasons and that’s cool. One thing that I am going to retake up though is the no-buy between seasons rule because I have been getting a little spendy and it’s such an easy way of cutting unnecessary purchases down, so until summer rolls around I’m set. Side note to keep myself accountable: I will be heading to L.A and New York in April (I’M SO EXCITED!), so I’ll allow myself some spring/summer-appropriate purchases whilst I’m there, but aside from that – step away from ASOS.


This recent style pin-down, combined with my latest read, Anuschka Rees’ ‘The Curated Closet: Discover Your Personal Style and Build Your Dream Wardrobe’ have got me back on track. You might have seen that I read this in record time on my IG Stories and if you’re unhappy with your current wardrobe in any way then this book will be the remedy. If you’re a complete closet clear-out newbie then you’ll learn new titbits from cover to cover, however if you’ve dipped your toe into the world of capsule wardrobes before and have your style mission statement set out then it’s the final two thirds of the book that will really grab your attention. Here’s what I learnt from my read…

The basics/key pieces/statement pieces approach. This is a great way to categorise your wardrobe and work out what you need more or less off. Basics are exactly that – the foundations of your wardrobe that tend to be the most casual items and create a neutral backdrop. For me that’s denim, plain t-shirts and shirts. Key pieces signify the essence of your style so in my wardrobe that’s monochrome patterned shirts, knitted jumpers and trench coats. Finally there are statement pieces that add variety to your looks and tend to be the dressiest pieces. HELLO LEOPARD PRINT! 


Styling is what turns a good outfit into a great one. There’s a whole chapter on how to elevate an outfit with a simple styling tweak and seeing as most of my wardrobe pieces are pretty boring on their own it’s the front tuck of a shirt here, the pairing a bland outfit with a red lip there – that really spices things up. It’s the key to having a slimline closet without it ever getting boring. This chapter also made me want to try on all my clothes and have a little catwalk party. One evening I’m definitely going to do this (much to Mark’s amusement I’m sure).

A beginner’s guide to assessing garment quality. This might not be the sexiest chapter in the book, but it’s certainly one of the most practical and worth the price of the book alone. High-end doesn’t necessarily mean high-quality and the points here arm you with the knowledge you need to work out whether a piece is worth the splurge or not. From fabric composition to types of seams – oh yeah, everything is covered here. This will be a chapter that I refer back to often before I make a purchase.

PHEW. That was a meaty post. I think this got to dissertation-like lengths because it’s a subject that I’m really feeling right now. Can you tell? Expect to see plenty of style content coming your way in the next couple of months. In fact – would you like to see my current spring capsule wardrobe situation? Holler and I’ll make it happen.

Photos by Lauren Shipley