Part two in my journey to a capsule wardrobe. Read part one, The Benefits and the Why, here.
Narrowing down your closet means nailing down your personal style. But unless you’re born with that natural instinct for what you like and what looks good together, you’ll have to figure it out as you go. And for me, it can be a frustrating process.
In high school, I just wore jeans and t-shirts everyday. So college was where I started experimenting with fashion more. But figuring out my style was like throwing darts at a target blindfolded. I pulled inspiration from my friends, and often just bought whatever looked cute that also was the cheapest. It made for a crazy collection of clothing.
I’m continuing to figure it out. But it has gotten much more fine-tuned than it used to be. Now I’m at a point where I know myself well enough to know what I’ll reach for most, what I can combine to make multiple outfits, and what I can afford to spend a little more on.
Do you get stressed trying to figure out what’s “you”? Here are some tips for narrowing down your look, so you can start streamlining to a capsule closet.
Figure out what kind of style you’re most drawn to. You can do this a few ways: by finding a friend whose style you most want to copy. Through magazines. Or, my favorite, through Pinterest. My “To Wear” board is where I catalogue all my favorites.
Also, look for celebrities or bloggers who wear clothes you like. Some of my favorites are Kate Middleton, Emma Watson and Joanna Gaines.
And then, gather it. Seriously, collect it all. Save photos on Instagram of style you like, cut out photos from the magazines, pin pin pin. Look for patterns in the things that interest you most.
Choose keywords that you want to describe your style.
Take a look at all the images you’ve compiled. If you could label some of them, what would be some good descriptive words? Here are some ideas:
Timeless Business Casual Bohemian Feminine Preppy Edgy Runway Minimal
Classic Athletic Fancy Eclectic Vintage Colorful Neutral Earthy Bold Elegant
Wild Tailored Cozy Indie Chic Adventurous Runway Street Menswear
Now choose the ones you come across over and over. Fit them together, and see if that’s a style you’d like.
For example, the ones I keep coming across from my Pinterest board: feminine. Classic. Neutral. Timeless. I’d love my style to reflect all of those things.
Maybe consider locations.
Certain places have their own sense of style. Which images do you instantly think of if I give you the following suggestions? France. New York. California. Greece. All completely different vibes. Again, which ones are you drawn to? This is another way to zero in on your favorite styles.
My favorite, for example, is classic French style. I’m a fan of neutrals, stripes, classic wardrobe staples.
Think about what works for you.
What are your trouble spots? The things you have in your closet you don’t reach for, or the ones that you don’t feel like fit you right? What are colors you avoid? Make a note of these, too.
For me, I have trouble with most skirts. They often seem to hit me at an unflattering spot. So I tend to steer clear of them. I also don’t love maxi skirts or dresses, strappy tops, or statement pieces. I know I won’t reach for them if I get them.
Choose a color scheme.
Finally, narrow down colors. This really helped me to hone in on select clothing that I could mix and match, that also fits my style.
I am such a neutrals girl. So I started with a lot of basics: black, white, camel, navy, and gray. If I’m going to buy a jacket, cardigan, or pants, they’re usually one of these colors.
Next, I added some pops of color that I could incorporate in. I opted for blush, olive, chambray, and red. Usually these show up in accessories, tops, and dresses.
Your colors might be completely different. Maybe you focus on lots of bright colors, and only incorporate a few neutrals. Maybe you’re more of a vintage vibe, and you wear a lot of darker colors. But limiting your palette helps to limit your wardrobe, to keep from spending money on things you won’t be able to wear as much.
Narrow down patterns, too.
Some people are mix masters when it comes to patterns. I am not. I stick to one pattern, and all solids. If you can mix, so much the better. I limit my patterns so I can mix them or keep them with neutrals.
I opt for stripes, polka dots, and florals. Consider also: plaids (including gingham and buffalo), tribal, asymmetrical, color block, etc.
Does that help narrow down a bit? Let me know. Also, what else do you look for?
Stay tuned – the next post will include tips on narrowing down your wardrobe – the cuts to make, and what to hang onto.