Contributor: Whitney Manney


Creating a capsule wardrobe has made quite the wave in fashion, encouraging women on the run with busy careers to make getting dressed for the day easier and providing a favored technique of those living an intentional minimalist lifestyle.

The concept of the capsule wardrobe originated in the 1970s and was trademarked by Susie Faux. The general idea is to pull together a few essential items for everyday wear and freshen up your capsule with occasional seasonal updates.

Fast forward to now – the world of fashion is ever evolving at lightning speed, never waiting for the rest of us to catch up. Sustainability, craftsmanship, and individuality are priorities in my design aesthetic and personal wardrobe…and trust me it’s an expansive wardrobe. Not because I’m a shopaholic, but because I frequently find pieces or design garments that really speak to who I am. When thinking about how I could apply the principles of capsule wardrobe building to my closet, I was overwhelmed! Not because of the amount of clothing that I have, but because of the implied rules. I don’t want to stick to one colour palette for a week or even a full month, neutrals are just not me, and I live for patterns! So how could I bring fun and personality into my capsule wardrobe?


Here is my guide to putting together a capsule wardrobe that makes sense for you.


  1. What’s your statement?

What story would you like to tell through your look? My mission in life is to encourage women to wear their statement. Maybe it’s fearless, relaxed, glam, minimal…whatever you decide! Picking an overarching theme will give you direction when curating pieces for your capsule.


  1. Identify your needs and be honest

Do you work in a corporate setting? Need looks for constant travel? Are workouts a big part of your day? Make sure you take all of these day to day activities into consideration when doing a capsule pull of the essentials. All of your needs for the time period you’ve set need to be addressed. Otherwise, it’s going to be easier to not stick to the plan.


  1. Phasing out

While you’re picking through your current closet, keep an objective mind about what may need to be phased out of your closet. I personally tend to be a clothes hoarder because of memories or the fact that something was such a great deal or hard to find. What pieces do you want to phase out of your closet? Take into consideration what type of clothing it is (casual, active, formal, etc.), the last time you wore it and does it fit into your current statement. We should all have a goal of embracing more ethically made pieces into our wardrobe, not saying that you should donate all things you have from fast fashion stores at once, but consider slowing down on your purchases from those type of stores.


  1. Remix!

At this point, you may have a huge pile of clothing that you either hate or are having a hard time letting go of. One of my favorite things to do with pieces I’m on the fence about is to upcycle them into a new garment or alter them. This method is great for skirts that you maybe want to take from maxi to mini length, turn a dress into a jacket or repairing pants that have one too many rips. Find a local seamstress for quick alterations like hems, new buttons, and zippers. If you have a piece that you want a to completely makeover to maximise its wear, commission an independent designer to help you get more life out of the garment.


  1. Introduce ethical pieces

The goal of creating a capsule wardrobe is to clear yourself of the things you’re not in love with or no longer need, and to be aware of your consumership. But, it would be smart to analyse what clothing you could swap out for a more ethical brand/designer. Thinking critically about this will cause you to make more deliberate decisions when making future purchases. Ethical pieces are an investment, but they also support a diverse group of business owners and local economies. The market for ethically made fashion is wide open, so be sure to do your research on who offers what, price ranges, brand missions, etc.


  1. Right now is the perfect time

Time is fleeting, pull out that dress you’ve been saving for the “perfect moment” and try to style it into your capsule. There is no such thing as the perfect moment, and if you are still having a hard time wearing it then you should be asking yourself if it really belongs in your closet.


  1. Start small and grow it

Maybe doing a month-long capsule is daunting, start small with a two-week capsule and see how it goes from there. Any small changes can make a big impact on your future buying habits.


  1. Have fun!

There is no wrong way to build a personal capsule wardrobe, create something that is right for you and that’s going to make you feel like your best self. Use this as a chance to include the essentials, your favourites and things that you want to challenge yourself with. Be daring in the outfits that you style, this is really going to challenge you to access your curated picks and think beyond the basics.


Setting intention for your wardrobe can not only help you streamline your morning routine or the organisation of an overwhelming closet, but a capsule wardrobe can also lay the foundation for what is important to you in the present. There’s nothing better than loving how you’ve decided to present yourself. Use this as a chance to push your boundaries, and, most importantly for you, to define and wear your statement.


Bio: Whitney Manney is the head designer of US-based independent fashion label WHITNEYMANNEY. Learn more about WHITNEYMANNEY’s street art inspired textiles and garments at whitneymanney.com, worldwide shipping available.



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