At this point, who hasn’t read about building a capsule wardrobe? It is fast. It is inexpensive. It is chic! The Dallas Mom’s Blog article Why I Got Rid of My Wardrobe discusses how to scale down your closet, but what about those of us that don’t have much from the start?
Ladies, this one is for you!
I started my “capsule wardrobe” because I was broke. I had recently had a child and my body shape was changing. I had moved three times in one year and somewhere along the way I ended up with zilch to wear. It was not “Hey, my closet is full and nothing works!” but “Hey, my closet only has a couple of hangers and left over maternity dresses with mild lactation stains.” I had a company to run, which was centered around the fashion industry none the less. I needed to make it work! I took some advice from great fashion stylists and designers, considered myself a minimalist, and got to shopping.
Here are the tricks that I have learned.
The most crucial part when creating an efficient wardrobe is deciding on your colors. While I tend to stay pretty monochromatic, I divide my wardrobe pallet into three parts:
- Staple Color: This represents the staples of your wardrobe. This will become the color of your more expensive items like jackets, pants, and shoes. If you want an efficient wardrobe, then stick to no more than 3 main colors. My staple wardrobe colors are black and grey.
- Neutrals: Use neutral colors for the wardrobe items that you replace more frequently and don’t want to spend a ton of money on like t-shirts, sneakers, and cardigans. Keep in mind, you should be able to use your neutral pallet with every other color in your wardrobe. My neutrals are white, yellow, and blush pink.
- Accent Colors: These colors compliment your main and neutral colors while adding variety. Accent colors can be used for your accessories or can be a statement piece like a skirt or blouse. My accent colors vary depending on the season. Since it is currently Spring, I am accenting my wardrobe with Teal. In the fall I accent with Plum or wine colors.
Deciding on your color pallet is important. While it is fun to see what is trending, it is more important that you wear what looks best on you. If you have an outfit that you get a lot of compliments on, use that as your color guide. If you don’t have that awesome outfit yet, don’t worry! You’ve decided to change your wardrobe and that is the first step to becoming fashionable.
If you have the funds, then hire a stylist! They can help you create a wardrobe that you’ll love and use on any budget. Shell Styling put this outfit together for me. I would have never worn these colors on my own. If you are on a budget, try using something like colour lovers wardrobe pallet generator to get some pallet ideas and start learning what you love.
If you are well versed in your surrounding stores and fashion trends, then you can skip this part. For me however, I had been out of the shopping game for quite some time. I asked friends, hair stylists, even random stylish strangers where they were shopping. I went online and looked at each store, then determined what store fit the look I wanted to achieve.
This is the time to really focus on the “type” of wardrobe you are wanting. Do you want your wardrobe to be the laid-back hipster? Maybe you need to be more polished and professional? What about embracing your curves with 1950s era retro silhouettes like Pinup Girl Clothing? Make a list of the places where you want to make wardrobe purchases. You can do this in a variety of ways like Pinterest or even your journal. This simple step helps clarify what you want to achieve and will save you time and money in the long run.
Shopping for Staples
If I am without a stylist, I start shopping by going to the MOST expensive place on my list and purchasing the core items of my wardrobe. My latest shopping trip started at Banana Republic. I talk to a sales associate that seems to “get” me and say something like this:
- My budget is $150
- I am interested in purchasing shorts, pants, and possibly some nice blouses
- My color pallet is primarily black and white
- I want to get the most value for my money
Sales associates know their inventory so they can get you the best sales, cuts, and colors without wasting any time. Let them know how much you appreciate their help. If you receive great service, tell the cashier or manager. Who knows? Maybe this person becomes your go-to fashion adviser.
At this point, you may want to take a break. Did you have items that you were on the fence about? Consider taking them home and talking to your partner or friend to decide if you really want to keep those jeans. I don’t think it is important to shop all at once. I think it is more important that you love your wardrobe. I typically give myself a couple of days to decide if I really like what I purchased. By the end of the week, if I haven’t worn the item that I was on the fence about, I return it! There are return policies for a reason. Put a note in your calendar so that you reassess your purchases while you are still able to return the items. This step allows you to experiment outside of your comfort zone, without the fear of commitment.
Shopping for Basics
Purchasing your basic t-shirts and tank tops is a much easier step than purchasing the core of your wardrobe. Basic Wardrobe Staples at H&M, Nordstrom Rack, and Target’s Women’s clothing department tend to have everything I need. I don’t recommend over-thinking this step, I recommend DOING IT! When people say “I have nothing to wear” it is most often because they don’t have enough of the basics. If white t-shirts are a staple in your wardrobe, find your perfect tee and buy a couple.
Shopping for Accent Pieces
Accent pieces are a little different. They are statement pieces so I tend to search for one of a kind things that no one else will have. To find a good accent piece you have to keep your eyes peeled. My favorite statement piece is a one of a kind plum pencil skirt made by stef clothing. She is an Austin, Texas designer and she up-cycled the skirt from second hand fabric. No one will ever have that skirt! The other secret to great accent pieces? Thrift stores! My favorites are Uptown Cheapskate Austin, Texas Thrift Store and Frock On Vintage Austin, Texas Thrift Store. Accent pieces are meant to bring variety to your wardrobe and can take some time to find. I have found that the more effort you put into search for great statement pieces, the more you get out of them!
So there you are ladies, my broke girl’s guide to building your wardrobe capsule! May this blog bring you happy shopping trips and stylish closets.
What are your tips for shopping on a budget? We want to read them!