Create the perfect capsule wardrobe on a budget

When to save so you can afford to splurge on the good stuff.

Everybody feels the pinch of a tighter budget now and again. Whether you’re saving for a trip, paying off a mortgage or have been going a bit nuts in your shopping lately, there will be times when you’ll need to work out what you can and can’t afford to skimp on when it comes to your wardrobe. The best way to do this is to include variety in the costliness of your wardrobe: mix some mid-range garments with a few high quality pieces you’ll own forever. We all dream of one day going shopping and not even looking at the price tag! But until then, here are our 6 top tips for how to create the perfect wardrobe and not blow your budget.

Check out what you own

If you’re bored with your wardrobe or want to refresh it for a new season, check it out before you hit the shops. Take out every single item and cull what you never wear, hate, or what never fit you right. Take note of the good basics and your faves. If you know you’re going to wear that maxi skirt a thousand times this summer, it’s okay to get yourself some tops and accessories to pair with it.

Avoid impulse buying

As the type of person who celebrates a good day or soothes a bad mood by marching into a shop and buying myself a present, this is a hard one. But shopping every time you're bored, have had a bad day or decide “I deserve it” can smash your budget to smithereens within weeks. Think of more constructive ways to cheer yourself up when you need it, and call your bestie to squeal over the good news. When you are shopping, don’t just grab a piece because it’s cute, on sale, or goes with your eyes. Remember what you have in your wardrobe already. A solid tip is to come up with three or more items you already own that this new piece will go with. If you can’t come up with anything, put it back. Odds are you’ll never wear it. Shop wisely and only buy what you really love.

If you’re going to invest, make it worth it

Everybody has heard that you should invest in a few good pieces to up the ante of your wardrobe. What you may not realise is that investing in a designer piece does not mean you have to get the most out-there, eye-catching item from the designer’s latest collection. Say you have been saving your pennies for a pair of Louboutins. Which will you wear more, the orange 11cm heels with gold studs and mesh cut outs or a classic pair of black or nude pumps that can go from the office to cocktails? Your serious splurge items need to be pieces you will wear again and again. Otherwise you have just got yourself an extremely expensive dust collector!

Go for quality above everything

Avoid throwaway fashion. It can be fun to dig through fast fashion store’s clearance bins and go home with the same slouchy knit in six different colours, but if you never wear them or they unravel after a couple of washes, you’re throwing money away. Yes, cheaper pieces can be great for when you don’t want to splurge on a whole new outfit, but for the everyday wear, opt for mid-range garments that feel good in your hands and on your skin.

Stock up on basics, mix and match, and avoid doubles

Live by the French girls mantra of a few good staple pieces that you can mix and match will make your wardrobe look complete. Think a basic white tee, little black dress, good jeans, black skirt and a blazer. Before you know it you'll have developed a capsule wardrobe with a timeless feel. Crazy trends date too quickly and can’t be worn with an array of pieces. What’s really important here is to avoid doubling up. If you own one black pencil skirt, don’t buy another one. That’s a quick way to end up with a wardrobe bursting with duplicate items, and you’ll get bored with the lack of choice and variety.

Embrace pre-loved fashion

Budgeting fashionistas rejoice! Vintage and pre-loved is all the rage. You can pick up some seriously cute second hand and vintage pieces at charity stores and shops dedicated to collecting vintage items. Just remember to follow our rule here too. Buy only what you love and can wear with several outfits! Another great option for glam pieces on a budget is consignment shops and websites. You can find all kinds of high-end fashion, handbags and shoes at half price or more. Some of these pieces are in near-new condition! Who said your Chanel bag had to be brand new?

Words: Hanna Sloan