Over the past few months, I read some books on building a capsule wardrobe. I wanted to minimize the number of clothes I owned and wanted to keep only those clothes that I wanted to wear. There were too many clothes which I did not like to wear so they were just occupying space in my closet. Since my ancestors (for that matter, even my mother) did not wear western clothes, I had no idea how to dress myself in western clothes and there were way too many ugly outfits. Most of my clothes had prints and were visually distracting when I wore them.
Here are the links to my other posts on minimalism:
I read some of these books on how to build a capsule wardrobe and over the past few months, I donated most of my ill-fitting ugly clothes and ended up building a wardrobe with clothes that I love to wear. My wardrobe is not really capsule per se, as I still have a lot of clothes but I am okay with that. I love to wear colorful clothes and cannot have 10 pieces of blue and black so my wardrobe is different, but way more functional than it was before.
I am also photographing my outfits everyday and I am maintaining statistics by tracking what I wore when using an app on my phone. I am still figuring out what patterns and colors work best for my skin color. I am now more aware of my taste as well. I have a fair idea of what kind of clothes I like to wear so when I am out shopping, I know what to pick. I also have a journal which tracks all my clothing purchases and wardrobe pieces.
Coming to the books –
The first book that I read on this topic was “The Little Black Book of Style”. If you are planning on having a capsule wardrobe, this book is a good starting point. The author talks about the classic essential pieces of clothing that one should have in their wardrobe. The second half of the book was not that useful to me as she talks about Hollywood actresses and movies, but it was still a great introduction for someone like me. I searched some of the outfits she mentioned on pinterest and got inspired to pick my own clothes.
After that, I read “Cheap Chic” which again talks about essentials and classic pieces of clothing. This book goes into some tips on reducing your expenses while shopping for clothes. This book is quite dated but it did give me some ideas. I realized that I was not well-equipped in the essentials like I did not own a denim shirt, white tee shirt etc.
I cleaned out my closet and threw all the clothes that I was no longer fitting into or did not want to wear. I picked up “Curated Closet” hoping that it will help me rebuild my wardrobe. But it was not that helpful for someone who is just starting out and has no idea what kind of wardrobe they want to have. The author talks about some complex steps which are sadly not practical for someone who leads a busy life. I was looking for something much simpler and easier to implement, so I was quite disappointed with it.
I then read “Lessons from Madame Chic” which has some lessons that the author learnt while in Paris. This book was very influential and made me realize why I need to have a minimalist wardrobe. Buying cheap clothes and then throwing them after using them for a year wasn’t what chic people did. What sophisticated people did was own quality costly pieces and wore them enough times to ensure that the cost per wear was less. If you are not convinced that minimalistic wardrobe is a great idea, read this. This should be the first book that I should have read and I feel if there is only one book from this list that you should be reading, this should be the one.
“The One Hundred” was also a good book, again dated perhaps but still a great resource for anyone trying to build a wardrobe of their own. The book is out of print too so I got myself an used copy. The author lists 100 items that she thinks every one should have in their wardrobe. I had not even heard of many things mentioned in this book before, so it was helpful to me.
I also bought a book called “Fashionpedia” just to learn more about fashion. It is like an encyclopedia of everything – different styles of sleeves, different styles of shirts etc. It is also a good coffee table book to browse when you are out of ideas. My long term plan is to buy a sewing machine and to stitch my own clothes or to alter the ones that I buy from the market.
Other than that, I used Pinterest a lot for inspiration and ideas. I couldn’t have built my wardrobe without ideas that I found online. There are many blogs and youtube channels that talk about capsule wardrobe too.
I am quite satisfied with my current wardrobe but I am sure it will take me a few years to develop my own personal style. I currently have 149 pieces of western clothing in my wardrobe (excluding very thick jackets, scarves, belts etc). My next goal is to bring it down to less than 100.
Do you have a capsule or otherwise curated wardrobe?