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How to create a minimalist capsule wardrobe

We're ready to pair down all the "extra" in our lives right now - including our wardrobe! #newdaynw

SEATTLE — A Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe is a collection of about 15 items—pants, tops, sweaters, jackets, accessories—that mix and match together to make about a dozen outfits. The idea is that you own fewer items but you still have a variety of different combinations. 

Everyone’s capsule wardrobe will be a little different, but an example would be: 1 pair of jeans, 2 pairs of pants, 1 skirt, 3 tops, 1 sweater, 1 dress, 1 blazer, 1 jacket, a pair of shoes and a pair of boots.

If you're not ready to put in the work of putting your own wardrobe together,  I would completely understand! It’s not a simple thing to do (the final product is hopefully simple, but the process of getting there takes effort). 

Luckily, I found a service called Swap Society. You can fill out a style quiz online, and a stylist in LA will build you a 10 piece capsule wardrobe of PRE-OWNED items in excellent condition. 

Tips for creating a Minimalist Capsule wardrobe

1: Pick your neutrals. A minimalist wardrobe is generally based on neutral colors, because neutral colors mix and match easily. There are eight neutrals (according to me!): Black, Grey, Brown, Blue, White, Ivory, Camel and Olive Green. Pick your favorite 3-4 neutrals, and only shop within that color palette. This eliminates decision fatigue and helps you hone in on key pieces.  

2: Start with the basics. Essentials like flattering t-shirts are the cornerstone of a minimalist wardrobe. It’s important to have foundation pieces that fit well and you like enough to wear over and over. Featured: A.Lynn T-shirts

3. Look for Hero Hybrids. In styling, we call our favorite, most versatile items Hero Pieces. They are the items that we use over and over because they’re always just right. My hero pieces are always hybrids, things that transform or do more than one thing. Featured: The Jardigan (Jacket + Cardigan) by MM LaFleur

4. Prioritize Comfort and Care. You’re selecting items you will wear A LOT. If they aren’t comfortable to you, you aren’t going to enjoy wearing them day in and day out. Read the care instructions and commit to taking steps to keep your clothing looking nice. Featured: Elevated loungewear by Encircled; Woolite Dark available at drugstores.

5. Choose a disrupter (or two!). Yes, you have your neutral color palette, but I always recommend choosing one item in a bright color or fun pattern to add personality to the entire collection and keep everything from being too boring and tonal. A single piece can infuse the whole capsule. Featured: Merry People yellow waterproof boots. Available at Clementine’s in Seattle and online at us.merrypeople.com.

6. Be ok with less. This seems obvious, but most of the time when I work with some to build a minimalist wardrobe, they look at the finished product and go “that’s it?” It doesn’t look like much (it’s kinda like living out of a suitcase!), especially if you’re used to having a really overflowing closet and lots of options. A helpful mantra is: The Opposite of More is Enough. 

Shopping resources

Darcy Camden is Founder and Chief Stylist of Styled Seattle: Your Personal Wardrobe Stylist. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.  

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