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Less is more: The Capsule Wardrobe


“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” – Coco Chanel. 

Imagine opening your cupboard and knowing exactly what you want to wear. Imagine only needing five minutes to pack a travel bag. Imagine feeling good every single day because you only wear outfits that you love. Intrigued?

Nowhere does the expression ‘less is more’ ring more true than with the capsule wardrobe. Defined as “a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces”, the capsule wardrobe is a key aspect of the minimalist movement.

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The goal is not simply to have less in your wardrobe. The fact is that the capsule wardrobe boasts several benefits: more time, energy and money to spend on the things that really matter, more positive feelings when getting dressed every day, fewer decisions, an uncluttered environment, more opportunity to be creative with clothing, less stress, less laundry and less focus on materialism.

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“Minimalism doesn’t mean having less or having to turn your entire wardrobe a winning shade of monochrome, it means only having items that you LOVE together with those that really serve a purpose,” says Joburg style consultant Pippa Leenstra. “If you only have items that you love, when you open your wardrobe to get dressed in the morning, the process will be easy, pleasurable even because you don’t waste negative energy sifting through all those items that you really don’t enjoy wearing.”

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Decluttering your wardrobe will inevitably declutter your mind and who wouldn’t want that? There is no right or wrong way to create a capsule wardrobe but if you’re unsure of where to begin, follow Pippa’s steps below to edit your wardrobe.

1: Remove ALL the clothes from your wardrobe. Yes, everything. If that’s too daunting, do it in sections (tops, pants, shoes, etc) then follow the steps below for each section.

2: Put back the items you LOVE. That skirt that makes your legs look fantastic, that reliable leather jacket or those jeans that make your butt look great.

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3: Put back the ‘workhorses’. These are the items that you need to make the rest of your wardrobe work, the essentials (like a long sleeve black top in winter for layering or the classic white shirt).

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4: Sort the remainder of the clothing into a pile. Those that you definitely dislike can be donated or thrown away if they’re too bad to donate.

5: With the rest of the pile, ask yourself the following questions: Do I feel good when I wear this item? Is it comfortable? When last did I wear it and will I wear it again? Is it flattering for my body? If the answer to any of these is no, let the item go.

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6: Once you’re done, spend time organising your wardrobe in a way that works for you.

If it’s all too overwhelming and you’re struggling to let go of things, Pippa suggests keeping things in a box for six months. If you go back to any items in the box, keep them, if not, let them go.

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Pippa Leenstra – pippa@pippaj.co.za, www.pippaj.co.za

Facebook: Pippa J Personal Styling

Twitter: @PippaLeenstra

Instagram: Pippajstyle

Shop Images: Lunar

For more capsule wardrobe inspiration, see these two awesome blogs: Unfancy and bemorewithless.

Mignon van Zyl
About me

Journalist, hiker and design enthusiast with a mild form of OCD and a love for storytelling. After completing my degree at Rhodes University, I moved to White River to work for a lifestyle magazine called Lowveld Living. Thanks to my job, I’ve visited some of the most glamorous game lodges and homes, met wonderfully weird but inspiring artists, fed and kissed a tame hippo, hiked the ‘sentinel of the Lowveld’ and realised my devotion to nature. Most happy when I’m writing, walking or road tripping.

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