The clothes diet: 10 items, five days and no cheating
Is it possible to get by solely on a ‘capsule wardrobe’? Three women put it to the test
The capsule wardrobe has become fashion’s great myth: we think that all true fashion “experts” are choosing from a minimal wardrobe of classic pieces, with the odd “trend” item thrown in for good measure.
Capsule wardrobes, by their very nature, are monochrome – there’s a man’s white shirt, says Vogue, and InStyle recommends a camel mac. You can’t go wrong with a pair of black, flat-fronted trousers, says Glamour.
In a rare moment of collision between fashion and reality, we challenged three young women to live within a capsule wardrobe, with a maximum of 10 items, for a working week. Shoes and jackets were included in the 10 items, while accessories were a free-for-all.
So did anyone fall off the wagon?
Fashion editor of Stellar and Kiss magazines
l A striped top from Zara
l A yellow pencil skirt from Cos
l A Givenchy T-shirt
l Black jeans from Topshop
l A multicoloured top from & Other Stories (stories.com)
l Leopard-print slip-ons from Gap
l Black boots from Zara
l A black leather jacket from Whistles
l A patent skirt from River Island
l A cashmere jumper from Zara
White shirts: 0
I thought it would be fun. I have a lot of clothes, so I thought it would be interesting to see how I could live within limits.
I always say 70 per cent of your wardrobe should be classics and 30 per cent trends. So I picked a few classics that went with everything – a nice T-shirt, a cashmere jumper, a bit of colour – and the leather jacket was a life-saver, because it pulled all of the items together. For colour and variety, I put in the pencil skirt and the multicoloured top.
I didn’t find it a challenge to put outfits together. When I go shopping, I always look at what I have in my wardrobe and, if I can’t put something together with three or four items I already own, there’s no point buying it. I think that’s the stylist’s brain. Doing this definitely pushed me, however, because I often dress for comfort, and this ended up being one of the busiest weeks I’d had in ages. It was nice to have all of my clothes laid out. The first morning, I thought: ooh, this is amazing.
Because some of the outfits were quite basic, there were days when I could compensate with make-up. I’d add a brighter lip, so I was doing my make-up a little bit more. It stopped me buying clothes too, because when I buy something new I usually wear it straight away.
By the end, I was starting to get a bit irritated – I was just itching to put on something new. On the Friday, I ended up wearing the black T-shirt, black jeans, black jacket, and it was a really sunny day. And if it had been freezing cold, I would have had a leather jacket and a jumper.