5 Steps to Updating Your Capsule Wardrobe

Since starting this blog last year, I have moved away from a rigid capsule system to more of a relaxed, streamlined approach to my wardrobe. I think the initial capsule rules were necessary to get me started (and might be necessary if you’re an impulse buyer!), but once I got into the right mindset, the capsule just happened naturally without meticulous planning. I haven’t had any unthought-out splurges or excessive amounts of clothing in the last year. My wardrobe is still carefully curated – but it needs a refresh, and what better time to do this than in January?

I have more or less stuck to the same pieces for the past 12 months, adding or taking away a piece here or there, so I’m looking forward to a bigger update to my collection. If you’re also refreshing your capsule, here are the steps I follow to make sure I’m happy with the end result. If you are just starting out with your first capsule though, make sure you read this post on planning a capsule wardrobe.

1. Identify your favourite pieces

These are the pieces you will be wanting to keep in your wardrobe and supplement with any new additions. Whether it’s a statement bag or a trusty pair of jeans that you always gravitate towards, your favourite pieces form the core of your capsule. Make sure to keep them in mind when you’re making new purchases – you are much more likely to get a lot of wear out of something that goes with your favourites. I will be doing a separate post on my 2016 wardrobe heroes, so keep an eye out for that!

2. Identify your lifestyle needs

Pieces that complement your lifestyle will, logically, get the most use. For example, I know that I:

  • walk to/from work – so I need a pair of trainers that can withstand London weather;
  • have a job that requires formal wear (i.e. suits) – so I like clothes that can be dressed up all the way to formal and down all the way to casual so that I can get maximum wear out of them; and
  • hate ironing (and I’m also useless at it) – so I need formal wear that comes out of the wash with as few creases as possible.
Everyone’s lifestyle needs will be different and you should always think how an item will fit in with your lifestyle before you go out and spend money on it.

3. You’ve named your heroes – now identify your zeroes

Knowing which pieces didn’t work for you in your last capsule is just as important as knowing the ones that did. Take note of why you haven’t worn them as much as you thought you would (too uncomfortable? didn’t fit in with your lifestyle? didn’t match the rest of your capsule?). If it’s simply because they were out of season, store them away for a sunnier / rainier day. But if you are realistically never going to wear them, they need to come out of your wardrobe and find a better home.

4. Identify the gaps

You now know what pieces you’re keeping, which ones you’re getting rid of and why they didn’t work for you. What’re you left with and what do you need to complete your capsule so that it accommodates your lifestyle? Maybe some of your favourite pieces need replacing too – my favourite winter jacket, which I’ve been wearing and loving for the past five or six years, has finally been rubbed threadbare at the elbows. Make a list of the gaps that need filling (and check it twice).

5. Fill the gaps

Finally, the fun bit! Now that you know what you’re missing, it’s time to do some shopping. When picking new pieces, the most important question for me is always how much wear I’ll get out of them. I start with the pieces that I absolutely need – like that winter jacket – and slowly work my way up to like-to-haves. I tend to do my selection process all at once and keep the pieces I’m interested in in my basket/favourites for a couple of days to give myself some time to think if I’m really going to love them and use them – and to work out if they all fit within my budget! I don’t buy clothes unless I’m persuaded that I will love them.

Have I missed anything out? Let me know if you have any tips for updating your capsule in the comments below.

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