Arts and Entertainment

STUYLE CORNER: The Wonder Wardrobe

What is the wonder wardrobe, why is it so great, and how can I make one myself?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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By Ka Seng Soo

The wonder wardrobe is a fully interchangeable closet personalized for a minimalist lifestyle and is eco-friendly and beneficial for your finances in the long term. Though you may have never heard of the wonder wardrobe, you’re probably familiar with its predecessor, the capsule closet: a small collection of clothing where most items complement each other. In a sense, the wonder wardrobe is like the capsule wardrobe to an extreme, as in this model, every piece is guaranteed to pair well with another piece. As an example, a random top will match with all of your jeans, shorts, and skirts, and vice versa. Because of this organized system, you’ll never have to struggle with putting together an outfit in the mornings.

What makes the wonder wardrobe even more unique is that you’re not limited to a basic color palette. In a capsule model, you typically start with a base color (such as black or navy) and “build” on that base with a variety of other neutral colors including white, grey, blue denim, or taupe. In contrast, with the wonder wardrobe, your color theme has no restrictions. For example, you can have a romantic combination of light pink, cherry red, dark brown, beige, and ivory. Or perhaps modern brights like lemon yellow, sky blue, lime, cobalt, black, and white. Additionally, there’s no need to stick to a minimalist aesthetic like with the capsule closet; you are free to draw random inspiration from your moodboard and experiment as much as you’d like.

Wonder wardrobes are personalized not only to an individual’s taste in fashion, but also to their lifestyle. Someone who goes to the gym every day before work will have a very different closet than a party-loving college student, or a writer who lives by the beach. These differences in environment and routine will be reflected in the types of clothing included in their closets and the materials of these garments.

Finally, one of the most important qualities of the wonder wardrobe is its small size. The idea is to buy fewer clothes of higher quality so that they will last longer, resulting in less waste. In this way, the wonder wardrobe is very environmentally-friendly, as you won’t be contributing to the 92 million tons of clothing thrown out every year. To shift to a more sustainable lifestyle, begin by shopping at brands like Reformation, Levi’s, and People Tree. Restricting yourself to buying less clothing also ensures that you’ll only buy comfortable pieces that you truly love, fit your style, and make you feel great wearing them.

It’s evident that a wonder wardrobe takes a lot of planning. For this reason, it’s best to find and purchase all of your clothing at once, at the start of each season. This way, you can try on every possible outfit combination and make any adjustments if needed. One suggestion is to start off with a basic model of six tops, six bottoms, a couple of dresses and jackets (depending on the season), two to three pairs of shoes, and two bags.

Of course, this sounds expensive—which is why the best way to start a wonder wardrobe is to first look into your own closet. Use the Marie Kondo method to toss anything that doesn’t “spark joy,” and only keep the items you truly love wearing. Unfortunately, that one sparkly top you swore you were saving for New Year’s Eve but haven’t touched in years will probably have to go. Donate the items you no longer need to a clothing drop or thrift store instead of throwing them away to be more eco-friendly. From the clothes you’ve saved, pick a few items that match together to start your new wardrobe, and store away the rest.

Next, work on your color scheme. Choose colors based on the clothes you picked, but don’t be afraid to add more! A wonder wardrobe is all about experimentation and self-expression, no matter the size of your closet.

Then, figure out what clothes you need based on your lifestyle. Think about what activities you do in a typical week, whether that’s exercising, socializing, working, or working from home. From there, make a list of garments that will suit your needs. If you only go out once a month, there’s no need to buy half a dozen polyester beaded tops. But, if going out is something you do frequently, look for tops that are more versatile; for example, a silk button-down shirt works great for going to dinner with friends and can easily be dressed up for a professional interview.

Versatility is very important for items in a wonder wardrobe, so keep that in mind for the next step: shopping. To make this step simpler, use your list and color scheme to quickly navigate websites by filtering for clothes that fit your palette and are available in your size. While shopping, take screenshots of the items you like and envision how they might work together to create cohesive outfits. Finding tops and bottoms that all match effortlessly is harder than it sounds, but easy once you know what to look for. One tip is to pick all of your statement garments or patterned items to be either tops or bottoms. For example, you can have a few flashy tops, and make all of your bottoms solid-colored so that your outfits are easier to coordinate.

The beauty of a wonder wardrobe is that it will completely simplify your getting-ready routine. You can rest assured that every time you open your closet, the perfect outfit will be there. Not only will this save time, but it will also increase your confidence; you’ll be wearing outfits that you truly love and allow you to fully express yourself, while also being sustainable and reducing your ecological footprint. By investing in this wardrobe, you’ll be doing good for yourself and for the planet.

Note: This wardrobe model was pioneered by Daria Andronescu. She’s built her own company around this concept, and if you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend checking her page out on YouTube. She posts examples of fashionable and timeless wardrobes for all body types and seasons and explains how to budget your clothing spending if you decide to convert to this closet.