The idea of a capsule wardrobe—a small selection of quality items you can get a lot of wear out of—is taking the fashion world by storm. Whether applied to your closet or your makeup bag, capsules can help you hone your taste, simplify your morning routine, and avoid clutter. Your jewelry collection can also be curated into a capsule.
If you don’t have much jewelry to begin with, creating a jewelry capsule can help round out your collection. And if you love to accessorize with jewelry, creating a capsule doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything; it’ll free you up to enjoy your favorite staples more, while allowing room for experimentation and fun.
Ready to get started? Here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you curate your capsule.
What’s in the capsule?
In a capsule wardrobe, the “rules” on how many items to include vary, but the typical wardrobe seems to include 30 to 40 pieces. Similarly, the number of items to include in your jewelry capsule is up to you. Simplify until you’re comfortable with what you have, and tailor your capsule to your lifestyle and preferences. It’s also worth noting that this process isn’t just about getting rid of items. You may find that you’re missing a type of jewelry you’d like to have or that a cheap item needs to be replaced with something nicer. Remember that there’s no rush—the goal of a capsule is to have quality items that will last, so take your time finding what you need.
A minimalistic jewelry capsule could contain a mere six items: one pair of studs, one pair of dangly earrings or hoops, one ring, one watch, one necklace, and one bracelet. These few pieces cover the basics, and if the pieces are simple and neutral, they can be worn with virtually any ensemble. For variety, that capsule could be doubled, with two contrasting items in each of the categories above—pearl studs and diamond studs, a simple bracelet and a statement bracelet, etc.
Though a numerical system might be helpful for some, I personally find it too constricting. In creating my jewelry capsule, I relied on two determining factors. The first was Marie Kondo’s metric, “Does this item spark joy?” If it sparked joy, I kept it. Then, I thought in more practical terms: if the jewelry was for frequent day-to-day use (think cubic zirconia studs) or if it was a timeless classic (pearl necklaces and the like), it was part of the capsule. If not, I still kept it, but not in the capsule category―more on that in a moment.
I ended up with a capsule of 18 items. It includes my wedding band and engagement ring, 1 additional ring, 4 sets of earrings, 2 watches, and a small variety of bracelets and necklaces, many of which have already withstood the test of time and previous purges.
The capsule isn’t everything
Just as a clothing capsule wardrobe has room for supplementation, so does a jewelry capsule. If you were stressing about getting rid of anything outside your capsule, this is where you can breathe a sigh of relief! I find it helpful to think of my non-capsule pieces in two distinct categories: novelties and keepsakes. That doesn’t mean my jewelry has to be physically divided that way (though that’s certainly an option). It’s simply a way to think more intentionally about the overall collection.
Novelties include fun seasonal pieces (candy-cane earrings for Christmas) or quirky distinctive items (a pretzel necklace from Germany). This is also the place to incorporate trendy pieces or things that go with one or two particular outfits. Some of us may only have a few novelty items, while others may have several; I currently have six. Curating your novelty collection is a chance to celebrate a specific time of year or season of life.
Keepsakes include items that you simply can’t bear to part with, like a charm bracelet from childhood or your first pair of earrings. These items could dwell in a separate memento box, but I like keeping them with the rest of my jewelry because they evoke such fond memories.
Organizing your jewelry
If you haven’t invested in jewelry organization, now is the time to do it. Part of maximizing your jewelry collection is storing it well—it’ll be less prone to breaks, tarnishing, and the like if it’s stored with care. And, logistically speaking, it’s much easier to put on a necklace if you don’t have to untangle it first.
I like the aesthetic and practicality of a traditional wooden jewelry box with a few divided drawers, but there are plenty of other options. Jewelry trays that fit in dresser drawers allow you to see everything at a glance. If you have a small collection, you might be able to fit everything—or at least your capsule—into a travel jewelry case or on a small tray. If you have limited storage space, you can also display your jewelry on the wall as part of your decor.
Putting thought into my jewelry has given me a greater appreciation for what I have. As an added bonus, capsuling has also helped me steer clear of impulse buys. If you try it out, you may find, as I have, that less really can be more.