Well, I am back after an unintentional two week hiatus! Blogging has just not happened, but I have still been posting photos on Instagram of outfits that I put together each day with pieces from my capsule. If you are interested in following me on IG to get some more practical outfit ideas, you can find me at @capsule_cricket!
All that to say, I am so excited to be posting again for you all and answering a few questions about wardrobe budgeting and planning. I mentioned most of these questions and concerns in my earlier Capsule Wardrobe post, but I’ve laid them out a bit more extensively for you here!
I know when a lot of people hear “Capsule Wardrobe”, Stitch Fix, versatile pieces, clothing you LOVE, higher quality items, etc, they immediately jump to “Ugh, there’s no way I can build a capsule wardrobe because we’re on a tight budget, and it doesn’t make financial sense. I will just stick with what I already have, thanks!” And ladies (or gents if you happen to be reading this), I completely understand where you are coming from! We are on a pretty strict clothing budget as well, and as much as I would love to have $1000 to spend on a perfect capsule, that is way outside of what I would be able to spend on a 3-month wardrobe right now.
So here are a few things to remember when thinking about a capsule wardrobe budget:
1) You may end up spending more than you would typically spend the first few times you put together a capsule.
Why? If you start by purging, you may have a lot of holes to fill in your closet at the beginning. For my Spring capsule, I stuck to my budget without too much difficulty, but my Fall capsule ended up costing me quite a bit more than I typically would spend. As I mentioned in my earlier Fall Capsule post, I haven’t purchased many cold weather items in my current size for several years. And to top it all off, the last time I was this size in the Fall months, I was still in college and had never had a baby. Now I have had 2! Needless to say, my build is a bit different than it was then! So after purging the items that no longer fit and weren’t my style, I had very very few tops, and only a couple of bottoms that worked. I knew it was going to be an expensive seasonal wardrobe, so I tried to be picky and choosy, and I thrifted several pieces. However, we still ended up making an exception and pulled some money out of savings to help cover what didn’t fit into our budget.
2) You are buying clothing for 3 months at a time.
Technically (and I am certainly not perfect), you are not supposed to spend anything on clothing for a full 3 months after creating your capsule– until it’s time to purchase items for the next season. So, upfront it seems like you are spending a substantial chunk of money, but distributed over three months, it is much more reasonable. For example, if you spend $300 on a capsule, that is only $100 a month, and you can budget for the upfront expense in the 2 months prior (when you’re not supposed to be spending anything! :D).
3) Once you have built a capsule, it should never cost as much to build it again next time the season rolls around!
This is my favorite one– and it is a large part of what makes the idea of a capsule wardrobe seem worth it to me. Once you have whittled your wardrobe down to items you LOVE, you will be left with far more space, and far fewer things to store. Next time the season rolls around, you may have to sub out a few items as trends, taste and weight fluctuates, but you will stick to your general capsule building blocks, and will be excited to wear them again! Seriously, I already peeked back into my Spring/Summer box to show my husband something and got all excited again about my previous capsule! I know I only finished wearing it less than a month ago, but I still love it, and wore the same ~40 items for 5 months without getting a bit sick of them! Also, guys, my #1 piece of advice: spend something on a pair of jeans!! Jeans roll over into every single season’s capsule. So find a pair that you feel comfortable and beautiful in. You won’t regret it.
4) It will help you avoid impulse purchases
When you put together your season’s capsule, take into careful consideration what you own, and what you would like to add to your wardrobe. Look at Pinterest, plan, put together outfits mentally, and MAKE A SPECIFIC LIST. Then, go out and buy what is on the list. It’s just like meal planning and grocery shopping. If you stick to the plan, you will save so much money on the last minute “oooh, I definitely need that!” purchases that you will likely regret, and that won’t fit with your current wardrobe. It may be a LOVELY, gorgeous blouse, but when you get it home you realize that you can only wear it with one pair of pants. Oh, and those are in the wash…. etc. I’ve definitely done that! If you stick to your list, you will save $ in the long run (or even in the short run) by buying exactly what you need.
5) You can definitely thrift and shop sales for your capsule!
I still plan to write a blog post about this because it is one of my favorite things, but seriously, don’t rule this out. There are some great consignment/resale sites out there (Ebay, Zulily, thredUP (note: if you sign up at thredUP via this referral, we BOTH get $20 towards our next purchase! What a deal :D), Threadflip.com, Swap, Poshmark and others. And if you like a particular new item from a brand, wait until they have a big sale. Loft, Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, JCrew, AE, etc do 40% fairly often (definitely more than 1x/month). You just have to be patient. Look for items a few weeks-months before you’ll need them for your capsule, and grab them when a sale comes up! I bought a sweater and my trench for my Fall Capsule back in July. Breaking the 3-month rule? Well, yes, but I knew I needed them, and it definitely saved me money in the long run.
So take those thoughts into consideration when making a budget! If the capsule idea works like it is supposed to, those dollars will stretch, stretch, stretch! Unfortunately, because I have only done capsules for two seasons, I can’t vouch for this personally. The seasons haven’t had a chance to roll around again so I can’t see how many of the items still work in a year! But even in the worst case scenario, even if I can’t reuse any of the items, I have LOVED the simplicity, confidence, and organization that my capsules have added to my life since I started purging in March/April, and I would do it again without reservation.
Remember, building your capsule is the hard part! So be patient. I am always super frustrated at the beginning of the season, but once I have found the pieces I like, getting dressed and ready for the day is easy and fun! Even with two hungry kiddos under my feet 🙂