How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe on a Budget

Whoever said that looking great has to cost a lot of money or require a ton of effort? By creating a capsule wardrobe, you can have all sorts of outfits that look amazing without spending a lot of money or needing to spend hours each morning deciding what to wear.

capsule wardrobe list

Capsule wardrobes are, by nature, simple. They tend to consist of fewer pieces than most traditional wardrobes, and all of those pieces are carefully chosen to work well with each other. Shopping for this type of wardrobe is much more cost-effective than buying individual outfits. It also simplifies your life and allows you to have plenty of looks to choose from without ever facing the “I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear” dilemma.

Building a new wardrobe sounds expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. If your closet is in serious need of an overhaul and you don’t have a lot of money to spend, keep reading to learn how to build a capsule wardrobe on a budget.

Take Stock of What You Have

Cleaning out your closet certainly isn’t the most fun part of building a new wardrobe, but it’s important. You need to figure out what you already have and can keep. Start by sorting your clothes, shoes and accessories into three piles: Keep, donate and throw away. Keep things that are in good condition, fit well and visually match each other. The goal is to reduce the number of items you have and keep only the pieces that can be matched with other pieces you own to make several outfits.

closet with clothes and shoes

Identify What You Need

Once you’ve sorted through what you have, you’ll be able to figure out what you need easily. If you have tons of solid colored t-shirts but very few pairs of pants, for example, you know that you’ll need to focus on bottoms when you go shopping.

Come up with ideas for a few specific outfits and write down what you would need to buy to make them work. Keep in mind that the items in a capsule wardrobe should be easy to mix and match to create outfits for work, running errands, nights out and everything in between.

Use the list you’ve created to come up with a rough idea of how many pieces of each type of clothing you’ll need. The average capsule wardrobe has between 25 and 50 pieces overall, including accessories. When you are working with a limited budget, it’s usually easier to stick to the smaller end of the spectrum.

Shop for the Basics

When you are ready to start shopping, buy the basics first. To save money on the simple pieces that you need the most of, consider ordering from a wholesaler. Stock up on must-have wholesale apparel basics, like t-shirts, tank tops and underwear. Garments like wholesale t-shirts are extremely affordable, and they are versatile enough to use in a wide range of outfits. Buying them first means that you will have a large part of your wardrobe built before you start shopping for more costly items.

closet with organizers

Buy the Rest of Your Clothes

Once you have your shirts and underwear figured out, it’s time to start shopping for bottoms. A good capsule wardrobe includes things like dress pants and skirts for work, as well as jeans and other casual garments for day-to-day wear. Depending on the dress code where you work, though, you may be able to get away with choosing pieces, like dress jeans, that do double duty.

Now is also the time to shop for blazers, cardigans, dresses, etc. Just make sure that the ones you choose work well with the other pieces in your wardrobe so that you don’t need to buy separate ones for each outfit.

When money is tight, consider shopping for clothing at a local thrift store. You can score some great deals on nearly new clothing. If thrifting isn’t quite your style, you can also save big by keeping an eye out for store specials. Buying clothing on sale takes a bit of planning, but doing so can really stretch a tight budget.

Once you’ve bought all of the clothes you need, you can use any remaining money to purchase shoes and accessories. Like your clothes, your shoes and accessories should be simple ones that work with several different outfits rather than statement pieces that only work with one look.

Building a capsule wardrobe may seem overwhelming, but it’s actually much simpler than managing a traditional wardrobe. With the tips listed above, you can simplify your life by building a capsule wardrobe that won’t break the bank.

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