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Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called "Wardrobe" in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don't go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. This idea was popularised by American designer Donna Karan, who, in 1985, released an influential capsule collection of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces.
The term is widely used in the British and American fashion media, and has been the subject of several popular television series. The term has come to refer to a collection of clothing that is composed of interchangeable items only, to maximise the number of outfits that can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be "key" or "staple" items in coordinating colours.
The term "capsule wardrobe" was coined by Susie Faux, owner of the West End boutique "Wardrobe", in the 1970s to refer to a collection of essential items of clothing that would not go out of fashion, and therefore could be worn for multiple seasons. The aim was to update this collection with seasonal pieces to provide something to wear for any occasion without buying many new items of clothing. Typically, Faux suggests that a woman's capsule wardrobe contain at least "2 pairs of trousers, a dress or a skirt, a jacket, a coat, a knit, two pairs of shoes and two bags".
The concept of a capsule wardrobe was popularised by American designer Donna Karan in 1985, when she released her "7 Easy Pieces" collection. Her aim was to fill what she referred to as "a void in the marketplace" for a stylish and practical wardrobe designed with working women in mind. When the collection debuted, she showed eight models dressed only in bodysuits and black tights. The models then began to add items of clothing such as wrap-skirts, trousers, and dresses, to demonstrate her interchangeable style of dressing.
As a term, "capsule wardrobe" is widely used in the fashion media; for instance, the fashion sections in British newspapers The Independent and The Daily Telegraph have recently run dedicated capsule wardrobe features, as well as British Marie Claire and Elle magazines, among others. The concept has been further popularised by several television programmes, including Trinny and Susannah's 'What Not to Wear', which aired on the BBC 2001–2007, and Gok's Fashion Fix, which aired on Channel Four from 2008 onwards. Presenter and stylist Gok Wan asserts that a capsule wardrobe is an especially important tool in a recession as it allows people to look good on a small budget. This is perhaps part of the reason that the idea has endured since its conception in the 1970s.
|Sample women's wardrobe||Sample men's wardrobe|
|A belted trench coat||A suit|
|Skinny jeans||A pair of jeans|
|A white shirt||A pea coat|
|A black blazer||T-shirts|
|A little black dress (LBD)||Cotton shirts|
|A pair of tailored trousers||A blazer|
|A pencil skirt||A pair of slacks|
|T-shirts and camisole tops||A pair of smart shoes|
|A cashmere sweater||A pair of casual shoes|
|A sundress||A pair of trainers|
|A pair of ballet flats||A watch|
|A pair of long boots||A jacket|
|A tote bag||Sunglasses|
|A clutch bag|
|A silk scarf|
|A pair of high heels|
|A pair of casual shoes|
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