How to Create Your Forever Wardrobe
Stop buying incredibly unique items that can only be worn once and opt for pieces that go with anything and everything.
In middle school, I always fell prey to the latest fashion trends. I still get scary flashbacks of the multi-colored zebra and cow print jeans that seemed "so fetch." I look back at those trends of late 2020 and ask myself, "how could you ever like that"??? As a society, we tend to look towards others regarding inspiration in practically anything. We also like to fit in with others and try to make others perceive us as fashionable, cool, or trendy. And that's great, don't get me wrong, but TRENDS are just TRENDS, and they stay in the past and may come back to haunt you in the future. The $150 of accumulated Shein tops in the back of your closet are screaming to see the light. Rather than following the latest fashion, look at style throughout the years and timeless staples you will always enjoy. It may seem complicated to think of all of that initially, but I'm here to help guide you on what to have in your capsule wardrobe and what NOT to have. I still need to finish building my capsule wardrobe, but it is coming together and will continue growing for the following years.
But First, My Style Icons:
1. Where to Find Inspiration
I like finding inspiration for my capsule wardrobe by looking at vintage magazines, runway shows, and images where you can identify colors, fabrics, and patterns that you may find attractive to the eye and want to wear. Try to identify patterns while you are searching and looking through images. What is the type of jeans being worn? Why were these specific boots worn? You can also find inspiration through Youtube videos that go over different decades of fashion. But be aware, when looking at past trends, think about what is being worn at the moment and decide whether something catches your eye because it's relevant or because you genuinely like it. Here is some of my inspiration from throughout the years:
I primarily draw inspiration from dresses from the early 2000s to the mid-1970s. I feel like anything before the mid-1960s was explicitly designed not only to be fashionable but also to be modest. Now, there is nothing wrong with being modest, but it restricts the clothing from having freedom in creativity and design.
As listed above, I like dresses that aren't very constricted to the body (like a bodycon dress) but still give my silhouette shape and form. I prefer flowy fabrics, lace/crochet designs, and modest colors that aren't too aggressive to the eyes. Simple embroidery and solid colors are effortless and timeless.
The Blazer, Top, and Denim Combo:
Blazers aren't used as often as they should be. They tie in the most basic outfit together, and yes, this outfit is essential, but it is classy, chic, and timeless. For this look, high-waisted jeans should be paired with a blazer that goes right past the hips and a top that can be tucked into the jean or barely hit the waistline of the denim. Low-waisted jeans go with cropped fitted tops and blazers that reach the hips. I don't like the cropped blazer look in general and feel it is part of this passing recurrence of making everything shorter - even when it doesn't need to be. Notice that the jeans worn in the 80s have rolled-up cuffs near the bottom and are paired with high-top sneakers and long white socks. Later trends in the 90s have more straight-legged jeans that aren't rolled up and are paired with kitten heels, boots, or open-toed sandals.
Tops - shirts, blouses, long-sleeves, short-sleeves- are a vast category of clothing items, so I've chosen a great variety of looks. High-neck sleeveless tops and low-neck mid-sleeve shirts are my favorite essentials. I particularly like the high-neck sleeveless striped sweaters from the 80s in light colors, which is probably not a fan favorite. When looking for long sleeves, I recommend ones with neutral colors and no designs.
A good quality leather, letterman, and biker jacket will always stay in style. Simple designs with ageless logos (like a renowned team or school) will have the same meaning for years. I like dark brown and black leather jackets made of a more coarse material than those you find at the store today (like the one Bella Hadid wears in the last picture). The more worn a sweater is, the better it looks.
I may have yet to list my favorite heel type with the ones in the images above, but my favorite type is the stiletto-strappy heel in different aquamarines, hot pinks, and bright yellow colors. This may seem flamboyant, but I like the feminity presented through the heels. These heels can be seen through the late 1990s and early 2000s. I drew inspiration from the outfits in Legally Blonde, Clueless, and 13 going 30.
The heels, flats, and boots listed above withstand time and will do your outfits justice for the next 30 years. The ballet flats presented in the first images will always be a staple of comfortability and elegance - tied in by a simple outfit. I've noticed that square-toed heels are a type of heel presented in the late 2010s and early 2020s, which will not be sought for in future years - the most common type of heel I see at the clearance rack. The archived image, Manolo Blahnik, and Chanel heels listed above exemplify a very pointy and soft heel that has been prevalent in shoe style for several decades. Lastly, the black boots with a pointed-toe box and straight heel - the shoes in the image have a more square and abstract heel- will be a staple in your closet. These shoes are easy to style and practically go with any outfit.
Sneakers are versatile and comfortable. Any Adidas three-striped shoe will be a guaranteed forever staple in your closet because of its antiquity and establishment in the fashion industry. The Continental 80s from Adidas also go with any outfit, including Converse All-Stars, Nike Cortez's, and High-top (or low-top) Reeboks. Honorable mention to Nike Air Jordan 1's, although I didn't include it because it leans more toward streetwear style.
2. How to Start Building Your Capsule Wardrobe:
A Fresh Start:
Before building a capsule wardrobe, you should clean out your closet by donating and selling items you no longer use. If you last used a clothing item over three months ago, it is time to give it up unless it is a seasonal piece. Decide whether or not a dress you've worn once will be used again and if your cotton shirt from your 8th-grade field trip still deserves a place in the closet. Decide which shoes have the potential to come back in style in the future and donate/sell shoes you only bought because of an in-the-moment purchase.
Once you have cleaned your closet, I recommend looking for clothes at the thrift store. Denim skirts and jeans, leather jackets, and blazers are what you should look for when thrifting. Basic white, creme, and black tops can be boughten at stores such as Express, Garage, and Artizia. Garage's new "On-Pointe" collection has many basics for any occasion.
When looking for clothes while thrifting, make sure to look through each and every item of clothing. The days you go, thrifting should be planned in advance or done knowing a reasonable amount of time will be spent looking for hidden gems.