The capsule wardrobe concept has been around for decades, but it has had a recent resurgence in popularity. This is because people are looking to simplify their lives and have less clutter in their homes.
The idea behind the capsule wardrobe is that you only buy clothes that fit your style and work with one another. It's not about wearing all black or dressing up like an astronaut for every occasion – it's about having a few items of clothing that can be mixed, matched, layered, and worn together to create outfits for any occasion.
For those who don't want to spend money on expensive boutique brands (or even new clothes), this may be the perfect solution! You can easily build a capsule wardrobe on a budget with some helpful tips.
What is a Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe consists of a limited number of clothing and accessory items that are chosen according to a certain theme or style.
The purpose is to have outfits for any occasion, without needing tons of clothes in one's closet. It may also help reduce the amount of stress around what to wear in mornings or on days when someone has no time to plan ahead
A capsule wardrobe is ideal if you're transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle and want to downsize your closet's contents for reasons of sustainability and space, have an upcoming vacation (especially when you're travelling light), or are planning on doing some home renovations that will involve painting or redecorating.
Capsule Wardrobe Essentials
A capsule wardrobe must be versatile – that means items in your closet should work with all of the other pieces. This can happen if you build a color palette, or by choosing neutral shades and textures for each group of clothing. You can easily create a capsule wardrobe on a budget, as well. We'll go into ways to save as you build your capsule wardrobe later in this post.
In order to keep an aesthetically pleasing balance between formal wear and everyday clothes, take into account how the capsule wardrobe will be used. For example, you may not want to have too many items that are only appropriate for everyday wear if you'll need to wear a suit to work or a dress (or suit) to a formal dinner. On the other hand, if you'll only be wearing the capsule wardrobe for everyday purposes, it may not need as many formal items.
You can also use a capsule closet to create different outfits and styles. For example, if you're going into the office but want to remain casual, wear your jacket over an easy-to-wear dress or skirt with tights and strappy sandals or knee high boots.
Take into account your local climate, as well. If you all seasons, you'll want a capsule wardrobe that is versatile for fall/winter as well as spring/summer. This type of capsule closet may include items such as a dress, jacket, skirt and tights/tights to wear with boots in the winter months. It would also need casual everyday clothes like jeans and tops during spring and summer.
Use this capsule wardrobe essentials list as a basis for building your own closet.
You also want to decide on your color palette, which is typically one or two colors. For example, if you choose black and white as your color palette then all of the items in your capsule wardrobe will be either black, white, or a combination of both. You can stick to neutral colors for many items and add a pop of color with a statement piece, like an orange blazer or scarf.
The most important thing is to assess your lifestyle and pick pieces that will be useful for you in the weeks ahead. For example, if you have sports games coming up then it's best to include items like athletic shorts and running shoes so they are easy to find when you need them.
Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe
Minimizes decision fatigue
Having a capsule wardrobe lessens the stress of trying to find what you want to wear in your closet.
Saves time and money
A capsule wardrobe is easy on the wallet because it only consists of a few items that are versatile enough for various occasions, like work or play
Quickly assesses what needs updating
You can quickly assess what you need to update because it's easy to see the items that are missing.
If your closet has become cluttered with clothes that have been worn a few times, switching over to a capsule wardrobe will save valuable storage space and make everything more accessible.
Creates awareness of current clothing habits
We all have clothes that we don't wear because they're uncomfortable or unflattering. A capsule wardrobe will help you become more aware of what clothes are in your closet and why they haven't been worn again, which can be a huge step towards breaking bad habits.
Increases likelihood of wearing clothing
You're more likely to wear clothing that you feel good in and is appropriate for the occasion, which will make your life much easier.
How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe on a Budget
A complete capsule wardrobe might cost about $500-$1000, which may seem like a lot of money if you don't have much in the way of savings or a large budget for clothes. Here are some ways to start building your new capsule wardrobes without breaking the bank.
Don't be afraid to shop consignment stores.
You'd be surprised what you'll find at a consignment store. I've found brand new clothing, tags still on them, in the shops around me. It's a great feeling when you find a $50 pair of jeans for $5 and they'll go great in your capsule wardrobe.
Buy clothing you love
Buying what you like is always the best way to avoid regretting your purchases in the future and wasting money on something that doesn't fit right or isn't flattering. Buying clothes with cash also helps make them feel more valuable, which can help when it comes time for wardrobe purging.
Invest in staples
The idea of a capsule wardrobe is to have clothing that you can mix and match. It's good practice to invest in versatile pieces like black pants, neutral shoes, basic tees and skirts. Stylish staples can go a long way in any capsule wardrobe.
Think outside the box
You don't need to stick with what you know. A capsule wardrobe should be tailored specifically for your needs, so expand your horizons and experiment with different styles that work best for you!
Invest in quality items
Quality items will last longer and you won't have to worry about ruining your capsule wardrobe with one bad purchase. It's better to save up for a more expensive item that you'll wear time and again than buy the cheaper version of something, only to find out it doesn't work well with what else is in your closet.
I feel this is especially important when it comes to your footwear. Comfortable shoes and boots are very important.
Don't buy it all at once
Start with a couple of key pieces that you know work well for your lifestyle, and find out what outfits they pair best with
Think about the items in your closet that are already working for you; take those into consideration as you shop online or at stores so you don't buy anything redundant
Then slowly build up to more items to build your wardrobe and lifestyle.
Ready to build your capsule wardrobe?
Now that you know the benefits of a capsule wardrobe, it’s time to get started building your own. You may not have all the clothes in your favorite colors and styles at first, but don't let this discourage you; there are plenty of ways to build up an impressive collection on a budget. Start with the essential items and then go from there!
What are your essential items going to be? Share your great finds while you build your capsule wardrobe on a budget!