Budget-Friendly Tips to Start Your Capsule Wardrobe

Emma Does Fashion
by Emma Does Fashion

A capsule wardrobe. It sounds so enticing - a small collection of good-quality clothes that all go together and make getting ready in the morning a breeze. Of course it must be too good to be true... or is it?

Read on to see how you can begin your capsule wardrobe journey without spending a fortune.

The first thing to do is put aside some time (perhaps when you would normally be scrolling on your phone in front of a TV that you're not really paying attention to) and declutter your wardrobe. And when I say declutter, I mean, DECLUTTER! Take a leaf out of Marie Kondo's book and only keep items that you absolutely love.

If this frightens you, don't get rid of the items you don't love immediately. Put them somewhere less accessible than your wardrobe so you still have the option to use them if absolutely desperate. If you do find that you can't live without some of the things you plan to get rid of, make replacing them with a version you love your first priority next time you go shopping.

Fill your wardrobe only with items you love.

As well as making choosing outfits easier and moving towards a slow-fashion style that is better for the environment, a capsule wardrobe aims to fill you with joy whenever you examine an accessory or an item of clothing that you own. This is not going to be an overnight process - it will take time and you will make mistakes! But how can we minimise those mistakes?

Now that you have decluttered, you may need to go shopping to replace some of the items with versions that you adore. These can be hard to find and it may take more than one shopping trip or more than one night browsing on ASOS. We are so used to things being instant that we sometimes forget how to enjoy the process. Smile to yourself while trying on a new dress or scrolling through your favourite store's website. Try to keep a positive mindset even when it feels like nothing fits properly - that's what tailors are for! And they charge less than you think, or you might even be able to do it yourself.

Tailor cheap clothes to look more expensive.

Going clothes shopping is, of course, the biggest test. How can you be expected to start a capsule wardrobe with all those beautiful clothes on sale?

Firstly, make a list. When I go to the city centre, I make a list not only of the things I need to buy but also the shops I need to go in to get them. If a shop doesn't appear on my list, I try not to go in it. (I'm not saying it works every time - I'm only human...)

Only buy clothes in your colour palette.

I'm all about lists so I also have a list of items I've been thinking about for a while. If I see something while out shopping, but it or the category it falls into is not on my list, I don't buy it. If I'm still thinking about it in a week or so, it goes on my list of things to buy. This helps avoid wasting money on spontaneous purchases that are influenced by the pretty way the store has laid it out or those 'up to 70% off' signs that we are so easily drawn to.

The final list I keep is one of the colours I want in my wardrobe. This does not mean every colour under the sun because it's pretty - like everyone, I am always tempted by each season's trend colour, especially when it goes on sale. No, my list only includes colours I actually wear. You'll probably notice what these colours are when you do your declutter. Most of us wear a lot of black. I also like other neutrals such as camel, cream and white, as well as my statement colours like pink and dark green. I stick to my colour palette when I'm out shopping because I know that no matter how much that burnt orange top or that mustard yellow dress calls to me, it will inevitably end up not getting worn.

Neutral accessories can be worn with anything

So what have we learnt?

  1. You can't start your capsule wardrobe journey without examining what you already have. This will show you what you do and don't need and also what you actually wear.
  2. Work out what colours you love to wear and which ones tend to get lost at the back of your wardrobe.
  3. Bear all of the above in mind when you go shopping! Make a list and stick to it. You will build your capsule wardrobe more quickly and you will also save money.

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