The Real Cost of Creating a Wardrobe Capsule
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
I saw a very sad announcement over the weekend. Zac Posen closed his House. It’s disappointing that great designers like Posen are having difficulty in a strong economy. But the apparel industry is changing and not to the betterment of the consumer.
I find it interesting that at this same time, I am receiving significantly more requests from women who want to clean out their closets and create a wardrobe that works.
Curiously, every one of these women have used Stitch Fix and been disappointed both in the styling service and the quality of clothes. Because of Stitch Fix type companies, books and YouTube videos on creating capsule wardrobes, Marie Kondo’s book on decluttering, and reality TV shows, today’s women want a beautiful closet filled with a capsule wardrobe.
There’s just one big problem. The surge of fast fashion companies like Zara along with Amazon and Facebook’s movement into apparel is costing us the mid-level price and quality clothing necessary to give women what they want.
I love to clean-out a woman’s closet and create a capsule wardrobe but the fundamentals of capsule dressing is to have a set of classic basics in your primary colors. In my closet you will find at least five pieces (pants, jacket, dress, top and shoes) in black, brown, blue and white with the addition now of green and millennial pink. I started putting this basic wardrobe together at least five years ago with high quality pieces. With each of these sets I have at least five blouses (solids and prints), and two white shirts. Each season I’ll add at least one trendy outfit and update any foundation pieces that have become old. And truthfully, that’s not counting all my beautiful sweaters, dresses, jackets and shoes.
Nowadays I’m doing closet clean-outs where many of the basics are fast fashion pieces that are only made to last a year or two. So, I end up having to throw a bunch of these clothes out. My client ends up spending the bulk of her budget re-buying the basics which doesn't make her happy. Typically, she wants some seasonal fun or color in her wardrobe, so money gets moved over to buying one or two trending outfits. So, unless a client has a significant budget, she can’t reach her goal or having a capsule wardrobe.
Sadly designers, such as Ralph Lauren who produces a good line of clothing in the $100-$200 range, limit their clothing to casual pieces. Great clothing lines like Doncaster are gone and other lines like Jones of New York and Anne Klein are producing fewer pieces. Thus, is takes stylists like me much longer to find quality clothing that fits a variety of sizes and body shapes. The bottom line is while women are more sophisticated in dressing, they don’t have good, relatively affordable clothing to purchase. And the current trends don’t show this getting better.
I will say that when I travel to places like LA, New York and Honolulu, I have a much better selection of clothing and shoes (buying shoes online is a total pain). But few clients can travel with me. And the more sophisticated the stylist, the bigger the budget she will expect to work with.
But the good news is that we still have the power of the purse. A professional stylist can help with your closet clean-out and your clothing recommendations. Then you can determine what line(s) to use to build your wardrobe basics. If you stay away from the cheap, China manufactured clothing you will force companies to offer a better line of products. Maintaining a relationship with a stylist will help you add those dynamic, seasonal pieces that makes a wardrobe interesting and personal.
Ultimately, you can have the closet of your dreams. It just takes an investment.