How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe As A College Student On A Budget

It’s like wearing an outfit that’s custom-made for you.

by Jada Jackson
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The new year is almost here, and it’s time to start thinking about how to organize and make the best wardrobe for 2024. In recent years, capsule wardrobes have become a hot topic in the fashion world and on TikTok, where videos about them have reached nearly 2 billion views. Capsule wardrobing consists of organizing a collection of core pieces — ideally 37 items — that can suit your needs throughout each of the seasons. This helps to maximize the amount of wear you get for your clothing items and allows you to develop your personal style. As a college student or intern, having a capsule wardrobe can make outfit planning easier, help declutter your already small closet, and help you feel like you’re wearing a ’fit that’s custom-made for you.

If capsule wardrobing seems intimidating, know that you don’t have to get rid of everything in your closet and start over. Instead, you can utilize the clothing you already have and buy or thrift a handful of newer items. Here’s how you can build a capsule wardrobe without breaking the bank.

The High-Low Method

If you’re building your capsule wardrobe on a budget, you can go for the high-low method, when you incorporate high-fashion with more affordable fast-fashion brands. This ensures you still have good quality core pieces, but it also doesn’t cost a fortune. For example, you can invest in a *splurge* item like a leather blazer and pair that up with a dress or skirt from Asos.

Go For Neutrals

It might be seen as playing it safe, but having a lot of neutrals in your capsule collection gives you the ability to switch between pieces with ease. That doesn’t mean your closet has to be minimalist — you can choose pieces that have elevated detailing like ruffling, asymmetrical stitching, or even studs.

Choose Classic Silhouettes

The word “classic” is somewhat subjective because it means different things to so many people. However, when you’re choosing items for your wardrobe, go for pieces that can be timeless for you and ones that you’ve seen coming back into style often. Trench coats, tote bags, and collar shirts will always be staple silhouettes that you can wear for years down the line.

Have Fun With Statement Jewelry, Accessories, & Shoes

Again, a capsule wardrobe does not have to be minimalistic or simple if you don’t want it to be. Adding statement jewelry and accessories can be an affordable way to get different colors and textures in your wardrobe. So go with those bright red ballet flats or more outlandish jewelry pieces.

Spice Your Wardrobe Up With Clothing Rental Subscriptions

Sometimes the trends and styles you want to experiment with would put you out of your budget. But clothing rental subsections like Nuuly are creating a way to try out new styles that you can later slowly integrate into your closet. You can rent up to six new clothing items each month for $98, and once the month is up, you can choose to keep or send the pieces back.