What’s the best, most fun way you know to save money on clothes? You’re probably thinking of sales racks, thrift stores, maybe swapping with friends. But how about creating a wardrobe using only a few articles of clothing?
That’s the idea behind the capsule wardrobe. The concept of the capsule wardrobe was created by London boutique owner Susie Faux, who believes that personal wardrobes that use a small number of clothing items to make as many outfits as you can is the best, most economical way to save money while remaining chic and cool.
Here’s how it works: you pick out 15-20 pieces (including accessories) and use those to make up an entire wardrobe. Obviously, you start with the basics: khaki slacks, black leggings, jeans, and a few cute tops that can be spread among them interchangeably. Then, you accessorize using smaller pieces that look good with anything, like silver earrings or necklaces. Simple, right?
Well, kind of. It’s easy to find a pair of jeans and a couple of tops that go well together, but finding six or eight perfect tops for three pairs of different colored pants can be super-challenging. And accessorizing when you’ve got a number of different colors is quite the pain if you aren’t the best at fashion, like me.
So how do you know what to pick? Neutral colors are usually preferable. Blacks, browns, grays, and tans tend to work pretty well interchangeably. Plus, having multiple pairs of pants that can work with multiple tops is essential. So a tan-base shirt could easily go with brown slacks, black capris, and even a grey jacket. A cute salmon-colored peasant top might work perfectly with jeans, but it’d also be awesome with khaki shorts or a full-length skirt.
To properly execute the capsule wardrobe, you really have to think hard about your clothing choices. Don’t just pick out what looks good in the store. Instead, choose items you know to be classics (or to be your favorites for long periods of time). Shy away from super-trendy styles or absurd colors (like neon) that will only go with one specific outfit.
Above all, make sure what you’re buying is of good quality. That doesn’t mean you have to purchase the most expensive pair of jeans or avoid the clearance rack. What it does mean is that you should do your best to buy things that will last. $15 may seem like a good deal on a pair of shoes, but if you have to buy them every few months, you’ll end up spending much more over the course of just two years — more than the probably $80 or so it would cost to get a good pair that would last you even longer. By getting creative and being realistic about what you can afford, you can become a capsule wardrobe expert, have quality clothes, and still save a ton of money!