How a capsule wardrobe is saving me a fortune on clothes


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Carrie Bradshaw once said in Sex and the City, "Sometimes I would buy Vogue instead of dinner, I felt it fed me more", and I feel exactly the same.

I love fashion, nothing excites me more than being at New York Fashion Week or watching the Met Gala entrances.

However, my love for fashion hasn't been confined to the runways or TV. Somehow, I had acquired enough clothes to fill 15 suitcases.

how switching to a capsule wardrobe is saving me thousands of dollars a year on clothes

Something had to give. My wardrobe was bursting at the seams, but whenever I reached for something to wear, it almost always came from the same pile of clothes.

Occasionally, I would pull out a different piece, but most if not all of what I wore was on constant rotation.

So, I made the decision to create a "capsule wardrobe", which consisted of 10-40 neutral-based, high-quality pieces that could be combined to create several different looks.

In theory, this sounded great ... 40 of my most loved pieces? Easily done, right? Not quite.

The issue was that I wanted everything. For this reason, The first step to creating a capsule wardrobe was dividing the contents of my wardrobe into three piles: "Yes", "Maybe", "Time to get rid of you", and the second step was being honest with myself.

I knew the premise of a capsule wardrobe included a blazer, jeans, trousers, leather jacket, the little black dress, T-shirts, bodysuits, knits, skirts, coats, and so on.

Just Google "capsule wardrobe" - there are hundreds of articles to guide you.

But nowhere in any of those articles did they mention my favorite statement gold sequin Zara trousers.

When I like something, I need multiple variations of a similar look, and that's how I ended up with 11 sequinned and nine leather items.

I realised that I would not be able to put together a complete capsule wardrobe in one go, but I would try the 75/25 rule: 75% of my wardrobe would be "core" and 25% would be my "one-off" pieces.

Over a period of two weeks, I went back and forth between those three piles, until finally I was comfortable with what I was getting rid of and what I was keeping.

clothes destash

What I learned since switching to a capsule wardrobe

1. I was spending a LOT of money on clothes I didn't need.

I wouldn't think it through, I would just spend because it looked good. Without this excessive expenditure on clothing, I ended up having more discretionary income to spend on other things, such as travel.

2. Expensive isn't always bad

If you're lucky enough to be able to afford a more expensive item from time to time, it's likely to be better quality. This isn't the case for everything, but when it comes to your core wardrobe, invest in the quality items when you can and you will get more cost per wear. I've had a Chanel blazer since 2010 that I am still wearing, and often I'll pair it with a pair of Zara trousers I got in 2015.

3. Capsule doesn't have to be boring

Play around with textures and materials. I have a pair of flared faux leather pants that I absolutely adore and wear on rotation in winter, and a silver Calvin Klein puffer jacket to add a bit of fun to my coat collection since I got rid of five black winter coats.

4. I don't feel bad buying those 25% pieces.

I rarely buy clothes anymore, so when I see something that catches my eye I don't feel guilty splurging. I've purged my wardrobe three times in the past 18 months, and each time it gets easier, my throw-away pile gets smaller, and my savings and quality wardrobe get bigger.

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Leona Nair is a human resources manager and former shopaholic suffering from an incurable case of wanderlust. A New Yorker based in Sydney, she has perfected the art of smart spending without forgoing quality. She is a firm believer that you can get what you want without having to break the bank, and is passionate about sharing all that she has learned.