The Glam Capsule Wardrobe Challenge with SwapSociety
By Sonia Kessler
Hi and welcome back to a new Native Styling post!
This week is special as we will dive into something that fascinates the sustainable fashion world: how to create a capsule wardrobe.
I was approached by Nicole from SwapSociety, a company that we LOVE partnering with, to participate in a super fun challenge: a Glam Capsule Wardrobe. For the past 2 weeks, I have been revealing outfits from this capsule on Instagram, showing you guys the very last outfit on Friday. It is now time to share with you the entire process of creating this whole capsule wardrobe! If you feel like your closet is too crazy to do this at the moment, read this blog post first on how to purge your closet to get some clarity.
If you are not yet familiar with capsule wardrobes, let’s do a little throwback and share a small history lesson. The term was created by Susie Faux in the 70’s. It was later made popular by Donna Karan in 85, who released a capsule collection when she launched her own label. It essentially consists of a small wardrobe where items get worn in multiple ways, in multiple outfits. The idea is to stay minimalist and not own or wear 250,000 items. I mean, let’s be real, they might be in our closets but they never get worn. The term is also now wildly known and bloggers, like StyleBee, created their own challenges to push people into making their own capsule wardrobes.
Glam it up:
The challenge we got inspired from here is the 10×10 capsule: 10 items for 10 outfits. Usually, the 10 items also include shoes. However, this is the Glam version of this challenge, that was started by Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed. As she did not include shoes in her 10 items, neither did we. Capsule wardrobes tend to be more renown for their minimalistic and simple looks, with sturdy, long-lasting fabrics and items, which are great for everyday wear. We just wanted to make it fun too, and show you that they can also look really stylish and fun!
Now that you have gotten more acquainted with the idea of a capsule wardrobe, let’s dive into the process used.
2- Preparation & items chosen:
You may think that I chose every piece on impulse, not really knowing what would go together but just picking items that I think looked cool. You would be 50% correct. If I create something that has to have the meanings “stylish”, “fun” and “glamorous”, I will for sure pic items that my heart falls in love with. Stylist tip: Always trust your gut instinct and do not be afraid to try new things, you can usually make them work.
However, I also tend to get carried away as I love clothes so much and pick 5,000 items I “love”. So here are some ground rules into going from an ok selection to THE selection:
- Do not pick items with hard-to-work-with fabrics: anything that wrinkles too fast, won’t tuck into clothes, will get stained easily… UNLESS you don’t think you can make your capsule wardrobe function without it.
- Pick at least one or two pieces that have simple, straight cuts like with dresses for example. You will be able to use them in many different ways.
- Mix and match prints and plain colored items. You can’t make one or the other work alone, they go hand in hand.
- Know beforehand how many items of which categories you will want. For example, 3 dresses, 3 pairs of pants, 3 tops, 1 jacket. Or 4 dresses, 2 pairs of pants, 2 tops, 2 jackets. Whatever you choose, do it BEFORE shopping or swapping!
- Always keep accessories in mind when choosing your items: if you know you want to use a special belt or shoes, and you can totally picture that one item paired with them, go for it!
Now, here is my personal selection of 10 items and why I decided to pick them. All items here come from SwapSociety, an online swapping company that lets you swap anytime and gives you equal value for your clothes. As we all know, there is no better sustainable option than wearing clothes that have already been created and swapping is an amazing and inexpensive alternative to doing so. So without further ado!:
I also wanted these outfits to scream “Fall” and have a specific feel. That’s why I decided to stick with a color palette that I knew would easily do the trick:
Not included in the SwapSociety selection are all accessories below. I tried sticking to as little as possible, while still making sure I was creating the most glamorous capsule. I stuck with 3 pairs of shoes, 2 hats, 2 bags and a handful of jewelry items:
Before selecting those 10 winner outfits, I actually created as many as humanly possible in order to pick the very best ones in the end. Kind of like musicians write 50 songs, to come out with a 12-song album. I had about 25 total instead of 10, some were also very repetitive. Here are my 10 best looks on paper, and notes on how I decided to pair or style each of them.
Now, as I said above, all of the 25 looks I had originally created were “on paper”. This is how I proceed with clients as well, when they want to have different looks from their current closets. I usually overdeliver and repeat items a lot because I KNOW that some will look so much better when on. So I tried all 25 items on and decided on 10 that looked best on me, that I was the most comfortable in and that, I felt, completed the challenge really well.
I wanted to reuse as much as possible, so here is a summary of how many times each item was used:
4- Final looks:
After all of the preparation and outfit selection, it was time to step outside and live in those outfits! Once again, these have been posted on Instagram over the past 2 weeks, but here is how they look all put together and accessorized.
I paired this A-line brown/orange dress with the long, grey cardigan. The belt you see is actually the leopard miniskirt from above, only rolled up, not even pinned in the back. I then added the gold arrow necklace and heeled sandals.
I paired the super cute floral shift dress with the off-the-shoulders ruffly denim top. Yes, I threw it on TOP of the dress. The quality of this top is absolutely unreal by the way, what a steal. I also added a thin choker, black booties and put my hair into a low ponytail.
Here, I am wearing the paisley patterned dress, with the black cropped sweater on top. I made sure to pop the collar even though my hair is hiding it. Then, I added the most fun Jeffrey Campbell boots from above. I threw on the leopard backpack, yellow pom earrings and put my hair into half bun.
This is where things start getting fun. You can really see the repurposing component that makes us love a good capsule wardrobe so much. I used the floral dress from Day 2, I paired it with the denim jeans from above and the cardigan you saw on Day 1. Then, I added the booties also worn during Day 2 and fun marble sunnies. I also attached this cute layered necklace that I decided to place backwards for this look. It’s because of the gold outline on the stone that I loved so much!
I am wearing the dress I wore for Day 1, paired with the best gingham cropped pants I’ve ever tried.
Fun fact: they were missing a button and no one was swapping them. But I saw so much potential in them, so I just went to the store and sew a button on myself.
Stylist Tip: Sometimes you have to go the extra mile for amazing pieces! I then belted the dress with a thick pleather belt I thrifted and those killer boots from Day 3.
One of my favorites. Remember the cute paisley dress from Day 3? Also, remember the crazy cool jeans from Day 4? I decided to turn the dress into a top that I twisted at the waist. Also, I rolled the bottom of the jeans again to make them look more fun and casual.
Stylist Tip: This would make a great date night look at a fun new bar or restaurant. I added a cute striped clutch, a brown felt hat and the same heeled sandals I wore on Day 1.
Probably THE favorite. Funny how they are back to back and I am wearing hats in both. This is the skirt I used as a belt on Day 1. I absolutely love wearing it with this sweater from Day 3, the booties from Days 2 & 4. Of course, pairing all of that with the arrow necklace from Day 1.
I also added a grey hat and fun blue pom earrings to give it a pop of color.
First outfit with this new item you haven’t seen so far: this cute light pink sleeveless blouse.
I paired it with the TOP from Day 2. Given the thickness of the fabric, I decided to transform it into a belted skirt. So I tied the arms together around my waist, which forms a peplum shape. I also added the boots from Day 3 and 5, the backpack from Day 3 and the necklace from Day 4, facing forward this time. Then I tied a scarf around my wrist and decided to put my hair into a half pony.
Following the leopard addiction, I am once again wearing the leopard skirt, as a top this time. I zipped it up (but not all the way!) tucked it in to those amazing Grlfrnd jeans that I DIDN’T roll at the bottom. I then added the shoes from Days 1 & 6, the clutch from Day 6, the cardigan from Days 1 & 4 and a white watch. But what I love the most about this look is that I took the top from yesterday’s Day 8 look and tied it around my neck like a scarf.
This is the final look. Here I am wearing the top from the past 2 days, the dress from Day 2 & 6 that I am now using as a cardigan/jacket. I then added the pants from Day 5 (and you can see the button now). Of course, I paired all of that with the boots from Days 2, 4 & 7, the watch from yesterday and tied my hair back a little. Stylist Tip: This would make for a great office outfit.
5- Takeaways and how you can create your own:
Creating a capsule wardrobe is a combination of 3 things: 1. good, solid items, 2. accessories and 3. creativity.
If there is one thing you have to learn, it is to push your boundaries. You shouldn’t be afraid to pair things differently from what you would normally do. You can definitely create mini capsules all year round, to challenge your creativity and avoid being overwhelmed with your closet. But you can also keep them for special occasions and vacations for example. Now, here are a few tips in order to create one at home:
- You can pick your items with a theme in mind at first, because it will make it easier for you to stay within certain limits and not get carried away. I chose Fall this time, it doesn’t have to be a season for you though, it could be anything.
- Dresses are the easiest to mix and match. Capsules are all about repurposing. A dress can be a standalone item, a top AND a skirt without you making too much of an effort.
- When you think you can’t do something, you can. Don’t see an item as what it is.See it for its shape, its color or its fabric. Just like I decided to turn the denim top into a skirt for example. It’s just a matter of trying things out.
- Much like I did above, create a color palette for yourself and stick with it. It will help with not getting too carried away and only picking items that fit well together.
- Accessorizing really is your best bet. You could have very plain items, and make them look completely different. Here is a short list of what you could include. Ex: Fun shoes, comfortable shoes, different size hats, thick and thin belts. Also, statement and thin jewelry, statement bags, scarves, knee high socks.
I really hope that this post was helpful and full of tips to help you guys create your own capsule wardrobe.
I would love for you to tell me in the comments below: What exactly helped you? Do you feel confident creating your own capsule now? Which one was your favorite look from mine?
Also, if you decide to recreate this challenge, I would love to see pictures of your outfits!
In case you don’t feel like you can do this one your own, or don’t want to, or need specific help (event, vacation packing…) reach out to me directly with your questions and service requests.
See you next time on Native Styling 🙂