How My Capsule Wardrobe Saves Me Money

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A capsule wardrobe is a great way to save money and cut down on excess clothes. Here's how to build a minimalist wardrobe for cheap and look great.

In the minimalism world right now, capsule wardrobes are all the rage. When I first started hearing about them, I loved the idea of owning less, but I didn’t love the idea of wearing the same basic wardrobe of neutral colors every day.

However, as I warmed to the idea of building an expensive wardrobe on the cheap, the challenge motivated me to begin curating my closet. In the process, I realized that a minimalist wardrobe doesn’t have to be boring or neutral, and that building a capsule wardrobe can help you save money in the process by focusing on owning less and only purchasing quality pieces that last.

Because I love saving money and I love minimalism, I was ready for the challenge. After all, it’s just clothing. How hard can it be?

Now that I’ve built a minimalist wardrobe of my own, I believe it can be beneficial to anyone because it’s a collection of your favorite pieces that make you look and feel your best, which means you will always feel comfortable and look put together. Here’s how to build a capsule wardrobe of your own.

Find Your Style


Fashion is not one of my things, and because I never considered my personal style, I always bought clothing that didn’t work for me. So rather than start by buying new pieces, I found my style by cleaning out my closet and getting rid of 70 percent of my clothing. Even though that number is high, the result didn’t make me panic.

After going on a clothes shopping ban after all, I felt like I could handle anything my wardrobe had to throw at me.  It made me breathe a sigh of relief. In fact, I don’t even remember most of what I got rid of, so I don’t know why I was holding onto all of it to begin with.

Be brutal when cleaning out your own closet, and when you’re done, take all of your favorite pieces of clothing and ask yourself these questions:

What do they have in common?

What material are they made out of?

What color are they?

How do they fit?

How do I feel when I wear this?

Why do I love these items?

The answers to these questions will reveal your style by helping you identify the kind of clothing you feel the most comfortable in. If that means your style is jeans-and-a-t-shirt (like me), then that’s okay. This is the kind of clothing you need to build your wardrobe around, and every item in your closet that doesn’t meet that criteria needs to get the boot.

Consider Your Lifestyle


As you’re paring down, consider what you do on a daily basis. If you work from home, then you probably don’t need to hang on to all those stodgy work clothes from your corporate days. Instead, keep one or two business outfits in case you need them for a future event and let the rest go.

There’s no use in letting clothing you hardly wear take up valuable space in your closet, and if you discard it, you won’t miss it. This goes for your old wedding dress, too.

Focus On Quality with a capsule wardrobe


I used to be one of those people who loved to shop, especially when there was a bargain to be found. Target and Kohl’s were my weaknesses, and I never seemed to be able to put together an outfit that felt polished. Because I was addicted to fast fashion, like so many of us are, I wasted a ton of money on clothes that were ill-fitting, made overseas and fell apart too quickly.

It took me a while to realize that if I focused instead on buying slightly more expensive quality pieces today, I’d ultimately save money by nixing my desire to continuously shop for poorly made clothes that don’t work for me.

In other words, I can buy seven Target shirts that develop a hole within one season or I can buy two quality items at Kohl’s that I love that I can keep year after year, for about the same price – check out the Kohl’s clearance section to find similar savings for quality items.

If you focus on buying quality pieces now, you will save money in the long run by owning pieces that don’t need to be replaced every year, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to do it. When I need a new item today, I typically shop my local consignment shop first for a quality brand that I know will last rather than heading to the mall.

A capsule wardrobe is a great way to save money and cut down on excess clothes. Here's how to build a minimalist wardrobe for cheap and look great.

Focus on Fit

Whether you’re cleaning out your closet or shopping for something new, before you buy anything, try it on, even if you’re at a consignment shop. Try on every single piece and ask: Does it fit me every which way? Do I love the color and fabric? Am I super comfortable in it? And, most importantly, do I love it?

If it doesn’t fit your criteria and you don’t love it, it goes back on the rack, no exceptions, because if you buy clothing you don’t love, your closet is bound to revert back to its original clothing hoarding status. (Trust me, I know. I’ve made all of these mistakes before.)

Today, for the first time in my life, I’m thrilled with everything hanging in my closet. All of my clothes now hang with breathing room between them, and because I wear my favorite items every day, I always feel like I have something great to wear. I get up every day, put on one of my favorite outfits, and move on with my day, with one less decision to worry about. I don’t worry about fashion or buying something new anymore because I focus on what makes me feel the best with the clothing I already own.

Have you tried the capsule wardrobe trend? Are you thinking about trying it? How has it helped you save money? Do you miss any of the clothing you got rid of?

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Robin McDaniel

Robin is a freelance writer who chronicles her financial missteps and victories on her blog


  • Jaime @ Jaime Donovan says:

    I thought about this but in the end I decided it wasn’t for me. It’s all good though. Different strokes and all 😉

    I do agree with you on buying quality clothes even if they’re slightly more expensive. Sometimes the stars align and these clothes go on sale. Yea!

  • Lindsay @ The Notorious D.E.B.T. says:

    For me, fashion falls on my importance radar somewhere between cheese varieties and watching professional golf tournaments on TV.

    So, I have about 5 different shirts and pants. I spent top-dollar on them because they’re designed for hiking. I like these clothes better because they’re still stylish (for my tastes, at least), they last a long time, and I don’t have to worry about coordinating outfits. I literally just put on whatever’s at the top of the drawer wach day.

    It saves me a lot of time and money. I know fashion is something people in general really love, but for me, it’s a mystifying aspect of modern culture.

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      I’m the same– I don’t care about fashion as much as I just want to be comfortable and feel like myself. I could care less about what’s trendy.

  • Holly Johnson says:

    I think I might have an unintentional capsule wardrobe. I wear the same things all the time, mainly because I like certain pieces more than others. I also hate shopping for new stuff!

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      I think a lot of people wear their favorites all the time, but they’ve got so much other crap jamming up their closets. Get rid of all that extra crap and- voila!- you’ve got a capsule wardrobe without spending a dime.

  • Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog says:

    This is a great post. I haven’t bought clothes in a while (mainly because I’m in the process of losing weight and want the right fit).

    When I do start buying clothes again, I’ll do the “one in, one out” rule so that I’m not increasing the size of my closet.

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      Congrats on losing weight! It’s a good idea to stop buying clothes when you’re in that process. When you’re done, you can reward yourself with a new (but small and affordable) wardrobe. 🙂

      Best of luck to you!

  • Andi says:

    I did the full minimalist capsule wardrobe right before I got pregnant. It was great! I only had to add a couple things fit my expanding belly, although I did lose my favorite piece to a stick you belly in mayonnaise incident. The issue came once baby was here. So much spit up, pee, poo, etc. After one bad day I had a literally empty closet and an appointment to go to. Commence sleep deprived, hormone fueled meltdown. I’m getting back to it now and appreciate that it did help me crystallize my style, but it doesn’t necessarily work for all times of life.

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      Yes, maybe in different stages of our lives we may have to reassess things a bit, but having to deal with baby spit up is a (too short) season of life. 🙂

  • Amanda @centsiblyrich says:

    Great post! After reading this, I realized I do have a sort of capsule wardrobe. I wear the same clothes over and over and over again, but I don’t own that many in the first place.

    I need to focus on purchasing more quality clothing. I find my favorite clothes wear out more quickly than I would like.

  • Ms MoneyPennies says:

    I read that you wear 20% of the clothes you own 80% of the time. I tend to wear the same items over and over again and have a closet full of untouched outfits! I need to get one with getting rid of the excess clothes in my closet for sure. Love the tips on finding out what my favorite items have in common with each other as a method of determining my style!

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      That tip really helped for me. Once you get rid of the extra stuff in there, you honestly don’t remember most of what you got rid of because they aren’t your favorites anyway.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    These are really great tips, Robin. I am super picky when it comes to clothes so shopping doesn’t usually cost me much haha. I found some button-ups that work both as dress shirts and as casual shirts PLUS they fit great (which is usually what kills them for me). I bought a bunch of them and they make up the core of my wardrobe. I don’t feel tempted at all to buy more dress shirts or casual button-ups. Finding these quality pieces are super important if you want to avoid spending a ton of money on clothes long-term.

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      Thanks, DC. I wish I could find something that I loved so much that I wanted to buy multiples of them. It’d make my life that much easier!

  • Latoya @ Femme Frugality says:

    I’ve tried paring down my closet and I pretty much know what I like to wear and don’t mind if it appears I wear the same thing all the time. I guess now I just need to focus more on the quality piece of it.

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