Building A Capsule Wardrobe

By Ria Malik

Incredibly stylish women have one thing in common – they own their style. Do you also wonder how to own your look? Building a capsule wardrobe is one of the best ways to discover your unique style whilst ensuring you waste less time wondering “What should I wear?” or making mindless fashion purchases.

If there is anything the last few months has taught us is to focus on the “good things” in life. While we are all adjusting to a new normal as we slowly step out from hibernation – style and comfort have become synonymous. Are you staring at an overflowing closet of “last-season” buys like that beautiful skirt you bought online but couldn’t pair with anything or a collection of questionable impulse purchases, while asking yourself “What should I wear”?

Let me share a few golden lessons I learnt from the era that witnessed the advent of ‘casual-chic’ in fashion – the super stylish 70’s.

Love Thy Buy

Women of the 70’s, an incredibly fashionable period in history, swore by building a capsule wardrobe. They would invest in a few limited pieces which could be mixed and matched, styled in multiple ways and offered a complete “look”. More like bell bottom pants you can pair with a shirt in the day and also with an evening blouse for a more formal look! Or chic monotone dresses you can accessorize for an evening out or wear plain for a day at the office. The idea is to possess only a few pieces of versatile, timeless clothing that can be dressed up or dressed down for any occasion.

Having a simple, interchangeable wardrobe made up of things you purchased with love and intent will help you do a Mary Kondo on that overflowing wardrobe to declutter and create more space for pieces that look and feel good. Added bonus? You’ll be minimizing the impact on the environment resulting from overconsumption and waste.

Be Your Own Pocket Stylist

So, how should you go about building a capsule wardrobe? All you need is a good eye, and a few cardboard boxes for all the excess clothes. Divide your pieces into three categories - Basics, Impulse Purchase, Old/Worn and Classics. Once you have done that - you’ll have a fairly good idea of which one’s you want to keep and the ones that you no longer need. If you have old tattered clothes, you can send them to a fabric recycler and those few ones in ‘great condition’, you can sell as a pre-loved or at a thrift store.


This is a simple styling formula that almost always works! Keep neutral basic shades such as Black, White, Brown, Grey and Navy as base colours of your outfit i.e, pants/ blouses/ shoes/ skirts/ dresses or jumpsuit. Monotone is absolutely timeless - you can never go wrong. You may accentuate these basics with statement colours like Red, Yellow, Pink, Green from the items you want to keep from your ‘Impulse’ purchases box, to add a pop of colour to any outfit. Throw on that red jacket or the paisley printed scarf to amp your basic look and go from Day-To-Night in a jiffy!

Made to Last

Before you decide to purchase or keep an item, zoom in on the fabric tag to be assured of the fabric quality of the article. Comfort and quality are key to lasting pieces. Pick outfits from designers that are focused on ensuring the longevity and sustainability of the product. Keep things that are made to last!

Amp Up!

Accessories are like the cherry on the cake to elevate the look and feel of almost any garment. Add a hint of your personal style with a sun hat, an interwoven raffia belt, a vintage brooch or a tennis bracelet to elevate the most basic. Decide the accessories that you prefer with certain looks and play dress up!

A capsule wardrobe is such a practical, 70’s DIY trend which is rapidly making a comeback for it’s less time consuming to decipher ‘What Should I Wear’ and for the ecological benefits of purchasing less things you want and more of what you may need.