Two stylist women photographed in an urban setting photo by nationtrendz

Smart Wardrobe Essentials Money Saving Tips

Smart Wardrobe Essentials Money Saving Tips

Two stylist women photographed in an urban setting photo by nationtrendz

Wardrobe essentials refers to the must have items in a person’s clothing collection. Little black dress, a two piece suit, a good leather jacket, a good pair of jeans are all examples of essential pieces going into a person’s wardrobe. When done right, your personalized capsule collection should accomplish three major goals: have a collection of literally every piece of garment you need for every occasion, speak your personal style, and most of all save you valuable money over the seasons.

A stylist woman dressed in white sweater and black shirt in Paris

Debugging the Wardrobe Essential Myth

  1. A good piece of wardrobe essential candidate should be well crafted with good materials and finishing. Items in such quality will be harder to find in “fast food” fashion retails that has a very different agenda. Good craftsmanship takes time. Time, we all know, is not for the fast fashion forward companies to spare. So be very curious and look through the labels for care instructions and materials if you do decide to hunt your next essential piece at a fast fashion retail.
  2. Buying a piece of essential clothing means you will want to wear it as long as you can. It is not keeping it in your wardrobe forever until a certain occasion arises for you to wear it. You have to think about how often you can wear it, clean it, how to clean it, etc. Are you willing to (or can you) fix it if it is losing a button or needs a quick sew? So the question here is, to what extent of essential is a piece of essential clothing means for you?
  3. Some people may think that an essential clothing item has to be in neutral colors, classic cuttings, or a certain brand name. That is not entirely true. While you should have a good plan of having items in those descriptions, some essential items should also be fun and speak your personality. It can be an interesting sweater, a colorful scarf, an asymmetric dress, or a really cool leather jacket (pass down from your mother or aunt). Remember, this is your wardrobe. Your style applies and that is what makes you stand out from the regular fashion.

An ethical French Girl's capsule wardrobe

Four easy tips to follow to find wardrobe essentials while saving money

1.Have A Plan

Plan out how many pieces you like to have in your wardrobe essential collection. Think about what do you usually need to wear the most (work outfits, school outfits, etc), then to your recreational times what makes you feel happy and comfortable wearing (a stylist jacket, a comfy sweater, a cute floral dress), then to your seasonal add ons( winter coat, autumn hat, boots, gloves). After that, your accessories. I have a “rule of 3” I follow dearly all these years. With any given time I only wear 3 types of accessories, belts included. So either a watch with a necklace statement piece. Lastly, pick how many items you want to have for your collection. 25 or 30 items should be very reasonable.

For more ideas:ELLE 30 Fashion Staples


2.Write the list out and filter your clothes accordingly in your existing closets

Chances are, you already have what you need. Pick a day at home, put on some music and make some tea, and have yourself a “Play with your closet” afternoon. Bring some friends over if you like company and they can help you sort things out. My safe guess is, you already have 50% what you need.

3.Check your local consignment stores

Your mom have a leather jacket from the 70’s that is already well worn naturally and fits you well. You borrowed your sister’s little black dress a few times and she didn’t mind. Ask if they are willing to part with their items if you don’t see them wear it anymore regularly than they used to. The same goes for pre-loved items at your local curated consignment stores. The idea here is, some of these essential items are so essential, they can be easily found without going into a full price retail store. In my area I have 3 pre-loved consignment stores selling high end brand labels. Some are even brand new!

4.If you must shop full price, wait for…

Seasonal sales. Sample sales. Outlet trips. Stick to what you need and stay away from distracting items. One particular item you should definitely spend time looking for is white shirts! White tees, white dress shirts and white tank tops are among the most needed in a capsule wardrobe. Go for white tees that are 100% cotton and can be easily washed. Look for white dress shirts that are “iron-free” with a slight slim cut. For white tank tops, look for one that give you some room. A tank top fit too tight is not comfortable and does not look classy.


Kaila So

Founder and Head Etiquette Coach at Kira Modelle. Content Creator for Kira Modelle Blog. "I believe good manner serves as the boundless bridge that communicates across cultures and people. Good manner the channel to communicate as a behavioral action that reflects the thoughts we have inside. It is two sides to the same coin, both are indications a person's integrity despite occasions."

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