Shopping for Your Capsule Wardrobe Simplified
One of the benefits of a capsule wardrobe is how much easier shopping becomes. Instead of constantly looking for new things, we spend a lot more time looking for a specific piece.
Once you know what pieces look the best on you and fit and feel great, you’ve narrowed down your brand list. Certain shops and brands are going to work better for each individual person because we all have different styles and different body types.
Now, we’re certainly not saying to stop shopping. That isn’t something we’d wish on anyone!
Some of us take pleasure in trying new brands and styles, but for the wardrobe basics you want to look for quality. Once you narrow down your brands it makes filling in these pieces much easier.
If you’re new to the Capsule Wardrobe you might want to start here! Otherwise read on!
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Things to consider when shopping for your capsule wardrobe:
We’re not going to give you a list of store’s. You can find that anywhere, and you probably already have some favorites. Instead we’re going to help you narrow down your brand list so that you can better determine where to shop. Some people prefer shopping in person, some prefer online, so we’ve got some tips for both.
You’ve probably got some pretty incredible local boutiques near you. These shops may have great offerings and brands that you’ve never heard of . Some of them may even have their own clothing collections.
If you haven’t shopped small and local, we always encourage you to start there. You’re likely to find really helpful staff that will cater to you and as you develop a relationship they can make suggestions for you.
Thrift stores are another great option to find well made clothing. There are many incredible deals to be found in thrift stores and some of them are just like small boutiques these days. Even Goodwill has a boutique brand for their designer clothing, we found outstanding deals on coats and jackets last year.
How to Choose Quality clothing
We’re going to start with how to choose quality clothing. If you know what to look for to determine quality it makes the rest of the list easier.
Just because something is a brand name doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a quality item and vice versa. You can occasionally find a very well made item in a budget store but you may just have to spend a lot more time scouring items to pick them out. In luxury brands you will find that quality is part of the price but there are lots of levels of fashion in between.
The most common levels of fashion are:
- Fast Fashion
- Affordable Luxury
Some lists will include more or less of these categories but those are really the basics. It’s going to be hard to find quality items in the budget category but that doesn’t make it impossible. You’re not likely to find cheap fabrics in the couture or luxury lines either.
Here are a few basics ideas of what to look for to help determine the quality of clothing.
Start off by checking the fabric content. Natural fibers – cotton, linen, bamboo, wool and silk are going to last longer. Synthetic fibers are generally going to wear out faster. Cheaper fabrics tend to pill or shrink when they’re washed and don’t stand up to the test of time.
Be sure to read the care labels on any item you purchase. Proper care of fabrics can extend the lifetime of any piece of clothing.
It’s also important to notice if something requires special care, such as dry cleaning. This may be a deciding factor on whether you want to purchase it or not. I try to save dry cleaning for only very special clothing that I use for special occasions.
Always check the seams and hems. The hem lines and seams should be straight and flat. A crooked seam and lot’s of loose threads is the sign of lower quality. Attention to detail is found on higher quality items.
Be sure that your patterns match at the seams, especially if an item is striped. You want to be sure that those stripes match up on the back of your dress and higher quality items won’t skimp in this area. Less expensive pieces are made with less fabric and may not match patterns.
We all have a budget. Some people’s budgets are higher or lower than others but we still operate based on price. With a capsule wardrobe the goal is to get the best quality you can at the price point you can afford.
You get what you pay for is a rule of thumb, but you can purchase a less expensive item and if you take great care of it, it can be a long term piece.
It can be challenging to find long term pieces in budget brands. Many times the materials and workmanship on these items just doesn’t hold up so shop these sparingly. They’re a great way to incorporate seasonal trends into your wardrobe, or try out a new color or pattern. Try hand washing and air drying these pieces to extend the life of the fabric.
If you’ve spent any time at all shopping for clothing you know that fit and size can vary greatly between lines. Sometimes even a different style in the same brand can fit differently. There don’t seem to be any hard and fast rules to this game so it takes some trial and error to find what works best for your body.
If you’re shopping online it helps to know your measurements. Most online shops have a size chart and you’ll need to know your measurements to follow the charts. Be sure to read their size guides before you purchase to get the best fit possible. If you’re not sure, ask customer service and if they aren’t helpful then try a different shop.
For online shopping be sure that you research the return policy. If you don’t love the way something fits you’ll want to be able to exchange it for a better fit.
I prefer to shop in store so that I can feel the fabrics and actually try things on. This also helps me curb shopping since I actually have to plan to go shop instead of sitting at my computer and adding things to my cart.
Whether you’re shopping in store or online try on your clothing and look at how it hangs. Higher quality items will fit better across the shoulders and bust. The buttons shouldn’t gap and the hems should lay flat on your tops. On your pants the pockets should lay flat. Be sure to sit down in a pair of pants to see how they fit. On a shirt, try crossing your arms in front of you to see how the fit is in the shoulders.
Remember that a capsule wardrobe is limiting (but also freeing) so you want to purchase the best quality that fits into your budget. Over time you will find that your wardrobe budget will expand since you are spending less money overall. Buying quality items means that they will last longer and fit better.
Be sure to read reviews about brands that you’re interested in to see what other customers say. Reviews are a great way to learn about a company and their clothing.
And lastly, taking care when washing and drying your clothing will make a big difference in how they’ll hold up in the long run.
How to find the best brands
The easiest way to find your brands are to start with what you already own. While you may not have been paying close attention in the past, you might be surprised to find that you have several items from one brand over another.
If that’s the case then your job just got a lot easier. Write down these brand names and plan to expand those lines. I have one specific line I love for jeans. I have another for tank tops. Now that I have limited my options it makes it much easier to replace an item than to go out searching for a needle in a haystack.
Write down a few brands that you already have in your closet and then check online to see where you can find them nearby. Sign up for their mailing lists to receive discounts and offers and keep track of their sales. It’s much easier to build any wardrobe if you can find items at a discount.
Ask a friend
If you have a friend or acquaintance that has a style you admire – ask them. Many people are flattered to know that you admire their wardrobes and are more than willing to share information on where they shop.
It’s also a lot more fun to shop when you have a friend or group with you. They can help keep you accountable for that one item you’re looking for, or they might help you find that great bargain you might have missed.
You might also want to check out these tips:
How long have you been working on your capsule wardrobe and how’s it going? We find that it gets easier after a few seasons and it’s definitely worth the investment. Have you found a great bargain that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!