If you are trying to curate a high quality capsule wardrobe, but you just aren’t sure where to start or what to choose, you are not alone.
So many women are ready to clear out their closets and start building a capsule wardrobe, but they already feel like they never have anything to wear with a full closet.
If this sounds like you, then you probably fall into one of three categories.
1. You honestly have nothing to wear, meaning you have very few clothes. This could be for a number of reasons.
- Your clothes are too tight because you’ve gained weight or are pregnant.
- Your clothes are too baggy because you are losing weight.
- Your clothes have worn out because you have worn them to death.
- You have no clothes because you don’t like shopping.
2. You have several outfits, but you don’t like any of them.
3. You have a closet full of clothes, but you don’t like anything in there!
Up until a few years ago, I fit into either category 1 (multiple pregnancies, and constantly losing or gaining weight), or I fit into category 3 (worn out clothes).
I have never had tons of clothes, I would rather spend the money on something else or save it. But the outfits that I did have never really spoke to me, I didn’t have a defining style.
And even though I still don’t have a lot of clothes (I have a capsule wardrobe instead), I do have endless choices, and I enjoy the process of deciding what I’m going to wear each day.
Instead of being an exercise in futility, it’s exciting to choose an outfit and get ready for my day.
I don’t focus on quantity of clothes and accessories, I focus on the quality of the item and whether or not it is something that fits into my style profile.
These are the ways I have changed my capsule wardrobe from “never having anything to wear” to “woohoo! what am I going to choose today!”
Building Your Capsule Wardrobe: Stay away from Clearance Racks
I love a good deal as much as the next girl, but clothing is usually on the clearance rack for a reason. No one wants it.
Now, of course, there are some exceptions here. Occasionally, I will find a wardrobe basic that would fit in well with the rest of my closet, but this rarely happens.
A good rule of thumb is this: If you would not be willing to pay full price for it, then don’t buy it!
This means the item has to:
- Fit well—You don’t want to constantly be pulling and tugging your pants back into place. There are so many different cuts of pants out there, find the pair that flatters your current figure (not the figure you are hoping for if you loose 10 pounds, your figure right now.)
- Be a color or print that you adore.–Notice I said adore and not tolerate. If you are going to pay money to put an item in your closet, you need to adore it.)
Flatter you and make you feel confident. If you try on a shirt that you really wish was not so low cut, or if it’s too snug through the belly, etc. don’t buy it! There are plenty of fish in the sea, there’s no reason to settle.
Building Your Capsule Wardrobe: What to Spend More On
If you are budget conscience, like me, then you don’t have an endless clothing budget. Even though the material and fit of more upscale clothing lines are worth the steep price tag, it’s just not practical to purchase everything this way.
There are a few items in my capsule wardrobe that I am definitely willing to pay full price for. Everything else, I will either wait for a fantastic sale, buy used through an upscale consignment store, or find a less expensive dupe.
Here’s my list of what I’m willing to spend extra on:
- Bras. A well-fitting bra can completely change your silhouette. I insist on the best.
- Shoes. I have a strange foot. It’s very wide, short, with a high arch. I also have large calves. I don’t own a lot of shoes, but the shoes that I have are expensive. I have two different pairs of Tieks ballet flats, and one pair of leather knee high boots that are wide width, and wide calf. I have had the boots for three winters now, and the Tieks for almost a full year. They are all in excellent condition. I would much rather spend a lot of money on a pair of shoes that are both comfortable and beautiful and have less pairs, than to have 100 pairs of cheap, uncomfortable shoes that will wear out (and give me blisters) after just a few wears.
- Purses. I have two purses. A red Dooney and Bourke that I use in the winter, and a cream colored Michael Kors bag with snakeskin accents for spring and summer. I’ve had the red bag for two years now and it is still in amazing condition, and the Michael Kors bag is also in perfect condition after one season. I expect these bags to last me several more years, and even though I got a great deal on both of them, they were still expensive.
Building Your Capsule Wardrobe: Find an Upscale Consignment Shop
Finding a local upscale consignment shop, as well as a favorite online consignment shop is a great way to round out your wardrobe with expensive pieces that might otherwise be out of your reach.
I have a local shop that carries great brands at more affordable prices. I don’t buy everything here, but I will go in occasionally to see if they have a nice accent piece, or a wardrobe basic.
I’ve even found a really beautiful piece of jewelry before. The key is to go in with an idea of what you are looking for. Don’t fall into the “clearance rack” trap here. If you find an amazing blazer by an upscale designer, but it just doesn’t look right on you, or it’s not your color…don’t buy it!
Even if it’s an amazing price, and you’ve always dreamed of owning a piece by that designer, it’s not a good deal if you are never going to wear it, or worse, if you wear it but feel uncomfortable the whole time because it fits poorly.
Two of my favorite online consignment shops are Thred Up and Snob Swap. Thred Up has great handbags, and a lot of the time you can get them brand new, but at a huge discount (this is where I got my Dooney and Bourke purse). They also have some nicer brands of clothing available, just be choosy.
Snob Swap is going to have the much more expensive or luxury brands available. So even if you are buying it second-hand, you can still expect to pay a large price. If it’s a core item that you will wear year after year, and will never go out of style, it will be worth it!
It’s so important that the clothing and accessories that you allow into your closet earn their keep. You paid for them, they should be items that make you feel beautiful and confident.
Instead of allowing any item in, be more discriminating. Search out beauty, quality, and colors and patterns that you adore. Once you have a capsule wardrobe made up only of items that you love, you will start to look forward to getting dressed every morning.
And more importantly, you will know that no matter what you put on, you will look amazing!