Today, I’d like to continue a favorite series on the blog! One that highlights easy strategies for BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET. Each month, I’m proposing something for all of us to ditch in order to free up some line items on our budgets with values that can go to more practical expenditures like paying down on debt and saving for special occasions. (You can catch up on last month’s suggestions HERE.) Whether you’re actively pinching pennies or simply want to re-direct some of those pennies to better serve you, this series is for you! So, let’s get started…
When you don’t have the money for a bunch of high-end outfits, it can be really tempting to spend $10 here and $15 there on clearance rack tops and “here today, gone tomorrow” trends. I’ve definitely been there. In college, I would constantly tell myself not to spend money on clothes. Then an occasion would pop up, I’d whine, “I have nothing to wear!”, and head straight for the cutest but cheapest option. The problem with this strategy? I was purchasing an item of clothing with only ONE outcome in mind. Wearing it to whatever party, banquet, or trip I bought it for. And often that’s the only time it would get worn. Sure, it might have only cost me $7.99 but was that money well spent for one time use? Hardly! And when I did manage to work these pieces into my everyday clothing repertoire, they weren’t long for this world anyhow. Fast fashion falls apart quick, y’all.
So what’s a penny-pinching girl who still wants to look put together to do? Enter: CAPSULE WARDROBES. If you haven’t yet heard of this fashion sorcery, a capsule wardrobe basically involves streamlining your clothes to a collection of pieces, placing value on quality over quantity. The more outfit combinations the better! Capsule wardrobes are a cohesive collection. And they’ll certainly save you money. Investing in a pair of black skinny jeans is a smart idea…if that’s your favorite type of trouser, you feel awesome in them, and they match every single t-shirt and sweater in your collection. When you have a stash of clothes you actually enjoy wearing, it is easier to create practical outfits. No more last minute trips to Forever 21 before that gallery opening or feverish sale rack rifling before that interview. Convinced you need a capsule wardrobe. Here’s a plan of action…
Week 1. Evaluate all your current clothing items.
Take all your clothes out of your closet, dresser, etc. and lay them out on your bed or a table. Take time to evaluate each piece. When was the last time you wore it? Do you still like the color, the pattern, the fit? Try items on if you haven’t worn it in awhile. Has it gotten loose? Snug? A stain you can’t identify? Once you’ve gone through all your items, start placing everything into three piles.
- Items you wear on the regular. These items are non-negotiable. They are your current closet staples and/or wardrobe basics. Place them back in your closet or drawers.
- Seasonal items you’d still like to keep and pull out when appropriate. You can store these items away for later use.
- Items you’re not so in to. This is stuff you haven’t worn in forever, doesn’t fit, is damaged, or doesn’t really match your style, other clothes, lifestyle, etc. Give this stuff away to your friends and family or donate it to your local Goodwill.
Week 2. Put Pile #1 into practical application.
For this week, wear ONLY the clothes you kept in Pile #1. This may be a bit difficult style-wise but it is the best way to identify holes in your wardrobe. Keep a list of those items you wish you had available. Do you need more pants for work? Are your tennis shoes starting to look a little too scuffy for their own good? Take note! Also, begin to evaluate your wardrobe as a whole instead of lots of different, individual pieces. Does the ratio of business-wear to casual-wear match your current lifestyle? Is there a cohesive color palette? Enough “mix & match” potential? Play around with the possibilities and then…
Week 3. Make a shopping list!
After identifying the holes in your wardrobe, start filling them in. This doesn’t have to happen all at once but keeping a list will deter you from making those fast fashion purchases. Instead, you’ll have a plan. Keep the list in your purse or on your phone. That way, you’ll always know what to keep your eye out for and you can hunt the best bargains while still making an investment.
Week 4. Time for a fashion show.
Now that you have a pared down collection, and perhaps a few items purchased off your shopping list, it’s time to experiment with your new wardrobe. Try on different and new-to-you combinations. Write down the outfits you love and want to replicate or SNAP A SELFIE! Finally, decide how long you’d like to keep this particular capsule. Many capsule wardrobe aficionados go for a three month/seasonal duration. If you’d like to try for longer, go for it! Either way, set a date for a re-evaluation and wardrobe update and jot it down in your calendar or set a reminder in your phone so you don’t forget!
Week 1 —
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
30 Wardrobe Essentials You Should Own by the Time You’re 30
The Style Strategy: A Less-Is-More Approach to Staying Chic and Shopping Smart by Nina Garcia
Week 2 —
50 Piece All-Season Capsule Wardrobe
Week 3 —
Stores you like! Duh!
Week 4 —
Add Variety to Your Wardrobe with One Little Trick