The 3×3 wardrobe capsule is something that I first read about on the Curvy Sewing Collective here. The idea is that by mapping out tops, bottoms and layers in a grid (like below), you can find combinations which work together.
I’ve been experimenting with capsule wardrobes as a way to avoid wardrobe orphans (garments that don’t work well with others), but also as a way to learn how to combine colour in such a way as to plan cohesive capsules instead of discover them accidentally after the fact.
Above, my chosen pieces are, L-R from the top mustard crepe Nullarbor Cami, liberty print Waikerie Shirt (View B), natural linen Glebe Pants, plum tencel Willandra Pants, natural gingham Torrens Box Top, wool/viscose Mallee Jacket, moss green silk noil Waikerie Shirt (View C), tan Sculthorpe Pants, and the Mustard Crepe Nullarbor Cami.
Below, you can see how the 3×3 chart is organised, and the lines show different ways to put together outfits based on where things are in the grid.
Below, you can see the possible permutations which come from the yellow and red lines in the chart above. These are the outfits forms from the rows and columns of the 3×3 grid.
Below, some of the items that I included as ‘layers’ are actually just shirts. I really don’t ‘dress in layers’ unless it’s cold, so I included these since they do double-duty as tops and can really increase the possible variations!
Of course, if you’re happy to do a bit of ‘spacial mind bending’ then you can imagine the 3×3 as a couple of different tubes- as a tube that meets at the columns and also as a tube that meets at the rows. This lets you pair a bottom from the left hand side column of the chart with a top and layer that sit on the right hand side. Or to pair a top from and layer from the top row with the bottom of the bottom row.