Last updated on August 30th, 2018 at 10:13 am
In this article, we talk about capsule wardrobes, and more importantly, how to build a capsule wardrobe on a budget. You may not have heard of a capsule wardrobe before, but after reading this, all will become clear!
Not only are we looking at how to build a capsule wardrobe on a budget but we’re going to give you some clothing ideas for your own stylish capsule wardrobe, and also give you some capsule wardrobe tips. We’ll also tell you which shoes belong in your new wardrobe.
If you decide to implement a classic capsule wardrobe for yourself, you’ll wonder what took you so long. It’s a great way to take back control of your closet!
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
There are probably plenty of you reading this wondering, what is a capsule wardrobe? Well, its definition is a wardrobe of a few essential clothes that never go out of fashion. It’s essentially a wardrobe configuration designed to change your relationship with clothes, declutter your life and save you money.
How it works is, you cut down your wardrobe to only a few items of clothing that you know you will wear without question. Why would you want to do this? Well, do you ever look in your wardrobe and find that you have nothing to wear? Even though your wardrobe is filled to the brim with clothes? You can spend hours just deciding what to wear every time you head out.
Capsule wardrobes aim to put an end to that and there’s many reasons why you should. Not only can you save yourself time, by having a wardrobe filled with clothes that you know you want to wear, but you break free from the endless cycle of spending on clothes because you always feel like you have nothing to wear.
A great place to look for inspiration is Project 333. This is a minimalist fashion challenge, where you narrow your wardrobe down to 33 items including shoes, outerwear and accessories. Underwear, sleepwear, loungewear, sentimental jewellery and workout gear aren’t included in this. For 3 months, you can only wear your chosen 33 items.
The person who started Project 333 found that no-one even noticed that she had reduced her wardrobe so drastically. It goes to show that people generally don’t notice if you wear the same clothes, and you can achieve a much more sustainable relationship with your closet.
The whole project was designed to get people to think about how they use their clothes, and you can play around with the rules to suit you, so it’s a good place to start.
Building Your Capsule Wardrobe on a Budget
So, you’ve decided you want to create a capsule wardrobe! There’s just one problem with this. People often decide they want a capsule wardrobe because they’re spending too much on clothes, so how do you create a new wardrobe on a budget that’s already strained? We’re going to tell you how with these budget capsule wardrobe tips.
Step 1: Wardrobe Assessment
Firstly, you need to go through your existing wardrobe and whittle it down. This is the really hard bit. When it comes to clothes, we’re all a bit guilty of hoarding. So how do you do it? It’s easy. Divide all your clothes into 3 piles:
- Your first pile is your essentials pile. These are the clothing items that you always wear and will always love. These are going straight into your new capsule wardrobe. Depending on the size of your wardrobe, you may be able to complete your capsule wardrobe with the clothes you put in this pile alone. Bear the changing seasons in mind.
- The second pile is your undecided pile. Most of our clothes belong in this one. The clothes that you don’t really wear anymore but just can’t bring yourself to throw out. Put anything that you’re not sure about into this pile. Leave it for a couple weeks, maybe even a month. If you’re still not sure if it belongs in your essentials pile, it’s time to say goodbye.
- The third pile is your scrap heap. The clothes that you just don’t wear and the only purpose they serve is to clutter your wardrobe. You should be able to find quite a few clothes to go in this pile. If there’s items that are of value in there, sell them. You may need the money in the next stage of creating your capsule wardrobe. There are clothes-selling apps available, meaning you can do it all from the comfort of your own home. Alternatively, donate them. Your clothes could find their way to someone who needs them a lot more.
Step 2: Fill in the Blanks
After you’ve made your piles, identify what’s missing. This isn’t an excuse to go and buy loads of new stuff that you’re also never going to wear. We want to create a capsule wardrobe on a budget after all!
Be strict and only buy clothes that you need to complete the capsule wardrobe. A good ballpark to aim for is 30 to 50 total clothing items, but the main thing is getting your wardrobe down to a size you’re happy with.
Make a list of the things you need and assign a budget for this. Try not to impulse buy, find clothes that you like, sleep on it, then buy them.
Depending on how tight your budget is, look in charity shops or online to make some key savings. Having said this, the items of clothing you’ll be buying are intended to be with you for a long time so don’t be afraid to spend a bit more to get higher quality. Making the shift to a capsule wardrobe is a sign of intent to stop frivolous spending on clothes. So, get some good quality garments before you take the plunge.
Step 3: Know Your New Wardrobe
After you’ve acquired all the clothes for your capsule wardrobe, get to know it. For example, on paper, 30 items of clothing doesn’t sound like much. However, you can potentially create over 100 possible outfit combinations from this.
This is an important part of the process because creating a capsule wardrobe isn’t just about decluttering and saving money, it’s also about streamlining your closet. Knowing what different outfits can be achieved will save you time.
There you have it, your capsule wardrobe is complete! But that’s not all, we have some more capsule wardrobe tips…
- Keep a neutral colour base. Neutral tones are less memorable, and people won’t notice that you’ve already worn an item of clothing. Having a neutral colour base makes it easier to pair with other colours too.
- Be wary of patterns. Patterned tops and dresses are good, they match with other clothes very easily. However, patterned bottoms only go with plain tops so you’re limiting your options.
- Keep accent colours grouped together. The base colour of your wardrobe should be a neutral colour to give yourself the most options. Add accent items that give a splash of colour but with the same kind of effect. For example, choose only colours that are considered ‘warm’ or only primary colours.
- Be as varied as you can be in terms of the types of clothing. Try not to have two of the same items of clothing.
- Vary things with good accessories. Use them to add an extra dash of colour and character to your look.
- Don’t think you can’t buy any more new clothes. If you’re out shopping, and see something you like, a good practice is to think of what you can wear it with that you already own. If you can think of 5 items you own that will go with it, or if it will create 5 new outfit combinations, go ahead and buy it.
Capsule Wardrobe Essential Items
One of the hardest parts of this whole process is deciding what will go in your new wardrobe. So here are our capsule wardrobe essentials.
There are essentially three different types of clothes that you need in your capsule wardrobe:
- Work Clothes – pretty self-explanatory. Neutral tones are best here.
- Evening Clothes – these are your party clothes. Little black dresses, wedding wear, dinner party garb and the like.
- Day Clothes – the clothes you wear day-to-day. Stuff that you wear to run errands, to casual events etc.
Project 333 doesn’t include workout clothes, as they’re only intended to have one purpose anyway. If you wear your workout clothes to the gym, then don’t worry about them. If you’re buying gym clothes to then run errands in and never actually wear to the gym, these are eligible for the chop.
So, what goes into these three categories? Here are our short lists of essential items for all three.
Work Clothes Checklist
- Tank tops
- Tasteful accessories
Your work clothes checklist should be fairly straightforward. It should have all your work essentials like a blazer, some shirts, skirts and trousers. Include any accessories that you wear to work and also wear out in your day to day life. For example, a nice scarf for the winter or a tasteful necklace. It may be worth having some t-shirts or tank tops if you want to layer up.
Evening Clothes Checklist
- Statement Pieces
These are the clothes you wear on a night on the town. A leather jacket may belong here, alongside a pair of nice, dressy jeans. Any dresses that you wear out often belong here, not dresses that you bought for that one thing and have never worn since. This is also where your statement pieces belong.
Day Clothes Checklist
- Casual jacket
This is for your daily clothes, so think denim shorts, jeans that you wouldn’t wear in a nightclub, your favourite tees, some jumpers and a casual jacket.
Note that loungewear doesn’t face the chop with a capsule wardrobe. You don’t have to think about what you’re going to wear around the house where no-one will see you, so this doesn’t need to be streamlined; don’t confuse your loungewear with your day clothes.
Capsule Wardrobe Shoes
Finally, which shoes should be your capsule wardrobe staples? At Shoe Zone, we like to think we know a thing or two about women’s shoes and these are our essentials:
- Shoes – Essentials are court shoes (especially for work), ballerina pumps and statement heels.
- Sandals – Your new wardrobe has to have some sandals. Not just one pair either, we recommend having a pair of flip flops, some wedge sandals, heeled sandals and some strappy sandals.
- Boots – You’ll need some boots, especially in the winter. You can’t go wrong with Chelsea boots (any ankle boots will do), and a pair of high boots.
- Trainers – Whether these are some canvas numbers, or a sporty pair, trainers are an essential. They’re having a fashion moment right now and are ideal for day-to-day.
And that’s how you build a capsule wardrobe on a budget. We really recommend it; it’s a fun little project to undertake. It makes choosing what to wear easy again, will make you more responsible when it comes to maintaining your wardrobe and could save you money in the long run.
One of the best ways to create a budget capsule wardrobe is to get your shoes here at Shoe Zone. All of our shoes are available at super-competitive prices and if you want to cut costs on buying new treads, Shoe Zone is the first place you should visit! All of our products have free & fast delivery available, so you don’t have to pay extra to get them delivered to your door.