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Build your wardrobe by skipping right to the outfits you want to wear. Identify a set of regular looks you enjoy, and make sure you have the components to create them.
THE IDEA OF A CAPSULE WARDROBE
A capsule wardrobe is a wardrobe consisting of fewer but harder-working garments. Each piece has a clear purpose and is used as frequently and intensely as possible, maximising garment usage and value while helping you to dress smarter, with fewer items.
INTENSITY VS FREQUENCY OF USE
To build a capsule wardrobe, consider what garments are your Core Items, Building Blocks and Occasional Pieces. Ultimately, consider how intensely vs. how frequently you wear a garment before adding/keeping or refraining from/removing a garment. For illustrative purposes, we plotted every garment in our permanent collection across two axes: "Intensity" vs "Frequency" of use.
First, think of how you build your outfit any given day - from undergarments to outer layers. The more intimate a garment, the more intensely it will be used and the more of it you'll need. Then, consider how frequently you'll use a garment - everyday, regularly or only on specific occasions or periods of time? The less frequently you use a garment type the fewer - and the less variety - of that type of garment you'll need.
A DOZEN LINEN SHIRTS BUT JUST ONE COAT?
Putting these considerations into practice, you might end up with a surprisingly different ideal wardrobe vs. current wardrobe. For instance, you might wear linen shirts only during summer (infrequently), but in summer you wear them all day, every day (intensely) - maybe you'll need quite a handful. On the other hand, you might use an overshirt daily (frequently), but don't wear it all-day (less intensely) so you'll probably make do with just one or two options. Lastly, a wool coat might be worn both infrequently (only the coldest days) and less intensely (only for the commute), so you might not need more than one of those.
The matrix is illustrative, and meant to help you determine what YOU need in your wardrobe, and what you don't, to help you live happier with a lighter wardrobe.