Save Money with a Capsule Wardrobe

“I have nothing to wear,” said the person who has an overflowing closet of clothes.

“It’s on sale,” said the person who only buys from fast-fashion brands.

If these phrases sound familiar to you, it might be time to do a serious closet overhaul to save you time and money and help you become happier with your wardrobe. The idea of a capsule wardrobe, a wardrobe with minimal pieces that can be mixed and matched, has been trending for a few years now. The tips below can help you create a capsule wardrobe of your own.

Step 1: Define your style 

Ask friends and family to describe your style. What do they see you wear most often? What do they think you dislike wearing? Sometimes an outside perspective can be beneficial to help you understand your style. For example, maybe your loved ones notice you love your sneakers but that you haven’t touched your high heels in a long time. Keep these observations in mind.

From there, write out what your style means to you and how it fits into your life. Perhaps you value comfort over trendiness because you work an active job or have kids you play with often. This statement can be as long or as short as you’d like, but it should truly represent you! Refer to it whenever you feel stuck or unmotivated to clean out your closet.

Step 2: Go through your current wardrobe 

Gather all the clothing you own in one place. Take note of how large the pile is, and remember that “oh wow” feeling. Ask yourself these questions to help determine what to keep, donate, and throw away.

  • Does this fit right now or is it something I would like to fit into?
  • How often have I worn this in the past few weeks (or the last time it was in-season)?
  • Am I only holding on to this item for sentimental value?
  • Would I notice if this piece was gone? For example, will you search for the item before an event or night out?

Step 3: Donate and sell 

The hardest part is over, and now you can separate your items into three categories: those to keep, those to donate, and those to sell. If you know a loved one who could benefit from one of the items you’re parting with, give it to them. You can also donate your gently used items to places like Goodwill to help people in your community who cannot afford to buy brand new clothing. However, if you have something valuable that you can sell, like a pair of designer shoes, head to a secondhand store and put this cash toward any quality pieces you need for your new wardrobe.

Step 4: Follow a list 

Did you know the average adult only needs about 36 pieces of clothing in their closet? Most people need even less now that they work from home. Here’s a list you can use as a reference, but be sure to adjust it to your needs. If you stick to a predetermined list, you will be less likely to keep more than you need.

Try to choose neutral colors or a basic color scheme for your wardrobe so you can mix and match as many pieces as possible to create multiple outfits from one piece of clothing.

Capsule Wardrobe

2–3 business casual shirts

2–3 blouses or button-down shirts

2 sweaters

3 T-Shirts/casual lounge shirts

2 long-sleeved shirts

2 tank tops or hot weather active shirts

1 cardigan

2 dresses, one casual and one formal

3 pairs of jeans in various washes (dark, medium, and light)

3 pairs of workout shorts or lounge shorts

2 pairs of yoga pants or leggings

2 pairs of slacks or dress pants

A jean jacket, leather jacket, and a rain jacket

5 pairs of shoes (flats or dressy comfortable shoes, formal heels or dress shoes, sneakers, sandals or casual slide-on shoes, and boots)


LPL Tracking #1-05179395