How to Create the Perfect Plus Size Capsule Wardrobe

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Typically, women have different wardrobes for work, play and chill days. But wouldn’t it be cool if you could create a wardrobe that was interchangeable for all of the occasions above? As you mix and match certain pieces for your wardrobe, you can take pieces of clothing from the office to the club and also weave them into your leisure looks. This kind of outfit rotation can be described as a capsule wardrobe, which has all of the basics needed to create staple looks while also comprising statement pieces that help fashionistas diversify their look. A capsule wardrobe is great for women who feel like they are constantly looking at their closet feeling like they either have too many options or not enough because while these collections are usually more on the minimal side, the pairing opportunities are endless. This promotes the feeling of having just the right amount of options and the freedom to give each piece its own personality any day of the week.

Susie Faux, the owner of a London Boutique called Wardrobe, first created the term “capsule wardrobe” to describe a collection that is made up of a few essential items—like a dress, shirt, skirt and jacket—that can be worn during every season while being paired with on-trend and seasonal statement pieces. 

The capsule wardrobe could have been necessitated by the rise in popularity of the “minimalist” life, which usually means living with only the essentials you need and getting rid of clutter—Marie Kondo, anyone? Another factor that makes the capsule wardrobe so appealing could be attributed to the fact that when consumers have too many options with their clothing, wardrobe and styles, it can cause frustration and kill inspiration, according to Psychologist Barry Schwartz. Instead of having a closet full of clothes that date back to your late high school years, a capsule collection boasts a few classic pieces that can be styled to appear different than before, which maximizes your wardrobe and also contributes to feeling like you have less clutter and just the right amount of options.

full figured woman holding dress up

If you look at your closet every morning and you’re not feeling inspired, try building a capsule wardrobe that will have your style feeling renewed, refined and 100 percent you. Here are some guidelines and tips on how to create the perfect capsule collection.

Get to Know Your Style

On average, women don’t easily part ways with their clothes—old and new. According to a University of Minnesota study, 85 percent of women will keep clothes in their closet that don’t even fit them anymore. So chances are that there are so many pieces in your closet that no longer represent your current style or fit you, but in creating a new wardrobe, we want to make sure that every piece speaks to you and every aspect of your life right now. In order to create the perfect capsule wardrobe, create a mood board or write a journal answering the following questions:

  • What are a few adjectives or articles of clothing that describe your personal style?
  • What pieces do you feel most comfortable in?
  • What styles make you feel the most confident and flatter your body type?
  • Are there any trends, fits or styles you want to try and incorporate into your wardrobe?
  • Which colors are complementary to your skin tone, hair color, you? What colors do you love?
  • What are three occasions you get dressed for the most? (work, going out, staying in, etc.)

Once you have the answers to these questions, they should help give you a better idea of what your capsule wardrobe should look like. Now you’re ready to start shopping!

All About the Basics

Let’s start with the plus size basics. The key to any capsule wardrobe is the strength of your foundation– how many basic, classic garments you have. While basic and classic pieces may not always pack the right amount of punch you need to express yourself, they are needed to make your wardrobe work double time as you style your wardrobe for multiple occasions.

  • Stock Up on Different Fits– When creating your capsule wardrobe, keep in mind that the number of fits and styles you have are more important than the variety of prints and colors. The idea behind a capsule collection is to make each piece as versatile as possible so that you can create endless looks with a limited amount of clothing. For example, instead of owning one little black dress, fill your wardrobe with a mini, midi and maxi dress that range from a body con to a skater fit. A simple black plus size dress is perfect for any occasion, and it can be paired with just about anything.

a simple black dress graphic

  • Stick with Neutral Colors– Your capsule wardrobe should have a very specific feel and style to it that speaks to your personality and the way you envision yourself dressing every day. But even if your personality is similar to a box of crayons, it’s more ideal to keep the capsule to a limited and carefully curated color palette. Your collection doesn’t have to be monochromatic, but the more neutrals that make up your wardrobe, the more chances you have to pair items together seamlessly. If you must have more color in your wardrobe, then find a color that speaks to you and makes you feel confident and then mix and match with neutrals like beige, grey and black. Don’t worry– you’ll have more opportunities to make your personality shine through with statement pieces.

The Art of Layering

Layering is a styling technique that isn’t utilized enough, but it has the potential to completely transform a look. In capsule wardrobes, layering is the very thing that maximizes the possibilities of each piece. Whether you’re an expert at layering or you rarely ever do it, take a fresh look at your soon to be capsule wardrobe and make sure you have pieces that can easily be layered and paired with each other. When layering, don’t be afraid to step out of the box and layer garments that you wouldn’t have thought to pair together before.

  • Sweater Weather– Sweaters make a really great addition to any kind of wardrobe, but especially a capsule collection because they are perfect for layering. Have a few plus size sweaters on hand to throw over a fitted dress or skirt for a unique look. Or, you can prep sweaters up for the office by pairing them with a button up shirt, rolling up the sleeves to expose the cuffs of your button up.

the art of layering graphic

  • Cardigans on Deck– Cardigans are a more obvious choice when it comes to layering because they can easily top off almost every look. However, they can also make or break a look. If you get dressed and feel like your outfit could use an extra something, throw on a bold cardigan to tie everything in.
  • Add Polish with a Blazer– Blazers are another layer that can instantly take an outfit to the office or dress up your everyday basic look. However, blazers do more than just make a look a little more formal. They can also serve as statement pieces while being able to be paired with just about everything. Blazers are a great addition to a capsule wardrobe because of their versatility and the impact they can have on any outfit. 

Make a Statement 

Capsule wardrobes sometimes take the rap for being basic or bland because each piece in the collection needs to be able to pair nicely with everything else. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for statement pieces that may not necessarily fall perfectly in line with the look and feel of your capsule collection. Here are some characteristics you should look out for when picking the right statement pieces for your new wardrobe. Regardless of these tips, remember to have fun and stay true to your style when it comes to the statement pieces. Your personality should shine through here! 

  • The Impact of Color– While your capsule wardrobe should fall within a limited or monochromatic color scheme, your statement pieces do not have to follow suit. For example, if your new wardrobe consists of neutral colors like black, beige and white, throw a hot pink moto jacket into the mix for an unexpected twist. While it’s important that your statement pieces pack a punch, make sure you are sticking to colors that are true to you and your style. The whole point of a capsule collection is to create a wardrobe using pieces you wear often. Even if you find the coolest statement jacket, skirt or boots, if it’s not something you would usually wear, it’s useless. 

the impact of color graphic

  • Use Texture to Create Contrast– Monochromatic wardrobes can become bland very quickly—especially if you are feeling uninspired. But one simple way to create emphasis in your looks and spice up your capsule wardrobe is through playing with interesting textures. Depending on your taste and style, textures can range from fuzzy sweaters to shiny vinyl crocodile print. Envision this: your new wardrobe is all-black everything. Obviously, there is little room to create emphasis in an all-black look. However, if you have a black cotton sweater and pair that with black faux leather leggings, your look just got a whole lot more interesting. If you’re not big into playing with texture, take baby steps. Find your comfort color—like black, for example—and see which textures and patterns you can find that are subtle yet stand out. 
  • All About the Accessories– If you want to keep your capsule wardrobe simple and concise, but still want to be able to add pops of contrast here and there, turn to accessories. Whether it be scarves, hats or necklaces, accessories hold a lot of power when it comes to dressing an outfit up or down. You can either keep your jewelry classic and versatile like your wardrobe, or you can invest in statement pieces. 

Ready to Create Your Capsule Wardrobe?

Going from having a vast wardrobe to a capsule collection can seem like a daunting task. As you go through your closet and pair down to only the items that currently represent your style and fit you well, it may be hard to let go of old clothes that don’t speak to you anymore. To keep you on track to creating your perfect capsule wardrobe, try putting these older pieces that you don’t wear in a box. If you don’t think about these pieces for 30 days or don’t go back into the box to retrieve them, then you officially don’t need them. This can ease the stress that we feel when we donate or recycle clothing we feel like we may need tomorrow—even though we haven’t worn it in three years. 

donation box filled with clothing

After you have raided your closet, study your responses to the style personality questions you answered at the beginning of this article. Create a mood board and determine a color scheme you’d like to work with. Creating a visual representation of what you want your capsule collection to look like will help you identify the pieces you need and help keep you on track when it comes to piecing together classic pieces to create your new wardrobe. 

To get excited about your new capsule collection, start shopping for plus size women’s clothing and filling up your online cart with your new looks! Adding some new pieces to your wardrobe will have you feeling inspired and excited.