An Easy Way to Extend Your Budget
Clothing capsules offer a clever way to extend your wardrobe
and do a lot with a little. By using the clothes you already
have in new and different combinations, you give yourself lots
of options without buying anything new. In fact, once you
understand how clothing capsules work, you can build your
wardrobe around them and give yourself tons of outfits -- and
stop wasting money on impulse items that don't go with anything
else you own.
The first thing you need to do is remember when planning
clothing capsules is that you CAN mix and match your clothes. Often, we
get in such a rut that we forget that there's more than one
way of doing things. Once you break out of that way of
thinking and try different things, you'll be amazed as what
you can do.
So what's a clothing capsule?
A clothing capsule is a group of 5-12 pieces (jacket, skirt,
slacks, etc.) that work in combination with each other in
color, style, or mood. Black pants with a leapored print scarf,
for example, or a white skirt with a navy and white top.
If you always wear certain tops with certain bottoms or
always wear the same jewelry with a certain dress, realizing
that you can wear those tried-and-true combos in different ways
becomes very liberating. It also allows you to do a lot more
with your wardrobe, enabling you to buy less, save more, and
still look great all the time.
While there are no set rules, here are some general
guidelines for building wardrobe capsules:
- Solids mix more easily than prints.
- Prints can bridge two completely different
- Simple, untrimmed styles are more versatile and become
- Each piece should be in your most flattering color
palette and fit both your shape and your clothing
personality. Don't buy items that don't fit or make you
- Avoid trendy styles. What's "in" this year will be
"out" next year and you'll be out the cash. Invest in
classic styles instead to get more wear out of your
Now I know from experience that some women are really good
at mixing and matching while others need a little more help.
Arrange your closet for easy access by keeping all the pants
together, all the jackets together, all the skirts together,
etc., by color, so that you can see at a glance what you have
to work with.
Study catalogs and window displays for ideas. Make note of
how a jacket might be worn a little differently or how an
accessory might be worn in a new way. It doesn't take a
To re-emphasize: Start building your capsules with what you
have. Often, the first inclination is to go run buy
something new. It's not necessary. See what you have, see
what you need, and add pieces as your budget allows.
In the meantime, experiment with what you have. Write down
the combinations if necessary. You'll get the hang of this in
Once you unlock your creativity by looking at your wardrobe
every which way, you'll soon find yourself doing the same with
other aspects of your life, like your home, your job, problem
solving, etc. When you do, you'll be delighted at what your
imagination can come up with. In the words of fashion designer
Jil Sander, "Think more, buy less."
|Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a
wardrobe and image consultant and author of
"Wardrobe Magic," an ebook
that shows women how to transform their unruly
closets into workable, wearable wardrobes. Visit
her online at
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