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So, you know you want a minimalist capsule wardrobe. You may have even created your own style guide, and gone so far as to make a capsule wardrobe from what you already own.

But you noticed certain wardrobe essentials that you’re missing. Items you’d like to include in your base wardrobe.

You’ve also been reluctant to actually sell, donate or repurpose the clothes you eliminated because some of them fill (albeit poorly) the gaps that exist at the moment. They don’t quite fit right, or are the wrong colour but you can make it work for now.

I’m guessing you’d love to just go out and buy all the things you need and finally turf the things you don’t. Then you can be perfectly organised and never have nothing to wear again. Trust me, I know how you feel. I’m so impatient to complete my wardrobe, too. It can be so tempting to go to Kmart, spend only $100 and have every single gap in your wardrobe filled.

But we both know that you want to shop by your values from now on. Doing so can be expensive, yes. Or, it takes a while for the exact item you’re seeking to pop up in the local secondhand shop. But…

You don’t want to be like every other basic, tasteless person out there, do you? Don’t you want to stand out and be proud of the quality and style of your clothes?

Not to mention the guilt you’ll feel for supporting fast fashion once you get everything home. And annoyance when they skew and bleed colour into everything else when you first wash them.

Take the time to properly curate the perfect minimalist capsule wardrobe for yourself. You’ll be so glad you did.

The other thing about investing in high quality, timeless pieces is that in the long run, you save money. You’re probably still thinking in terms of how often you buy new clothes from Kmart. Don’t do that. It’s not a fair comparison.

By spending more now, the pieces you curate will need less maintenance over time (those buttons and seams will be sewn PROPERLY), last longer, and look nicer for longer. They won’t skew or tear easily in the wash. They won’t bleed colour into other items.

And they might even come with a guarantee for repairs or replacements for life. How could you not be tempted by this? Over time, the replacement cost becomes super low.

So. You’re thinking pretty hard about it. This is the path you want to take, but you’re still not sure you can afford it, even over time. Well, I’m in the same boat.

Here are the things I’m doing to reduce the cost of curating my perfect minimalist wardrobe.


1. Dye your rejects

Your first option is always changing the items you already own. If you love the style and fit but not the colour – change the colour. Dying clothes is relatively simple. You just need to check the type of material you’re going to dye, buy the right sort of dye for the material, and then follow the instructions. That’s it!

Naturally, it works better if you’re going from light to dark. I have a few things that I’m about to dye navy and I expect it to work well. It’s one of the base colours that I picked when creating my wardrobe style guide (read how to do that here).


2. Change the shape/fit/length

Another option for things you already own. One of the easiest things to do is to change the length of something. If you have jeans that you would love to be shorts, a long skirt that you would prefer in mini form, a shirt that would look better as a tank…

Find a tutorial and get it done.

Changing the fit and shape of something doesn’t have to be too difficult, either. I have a pair of bootcut jeans at the moment that fit me perfectly around the waist and the hips, but don’t go with my style (I’m a skinny jeans girl). I’m planning to take the legs in so that they fit like skinny jeans.

It’s a simple procedure, I just need to get to it! This sort of thing goes for other items of clothing too. You can make a shirt or tank fitted by taking in the sides, a wide skirt to a pencil skirt. Just use your imagination.


3. Op shopping/second hand (eBay etc)/garage sales

Depending on what you’re after, perusing op shops/thrift shops and online trading posts such as eBay can be the way to go. I don’t tend to hold out much hope for whites, but you never know your luck. Sometimes you can get great discounts on usually pricey brands, as well.

This solution can be good for leather jackets, worn-in jeans, and dresses.


4. Make your own

Come again? Make your OWN clothes? Of course! Why not? A simple singlet doesn’t take much sewing or much calculation. Patterns can be found online or in second hand stores, or new in haberdasheries.

It only takes a little fabric and thread, and I’m sure someone in your family has a sewing machine. You could even have a family sewing weekend where everyone learns how to sew a bit and can come a way with a new item of clothing!

If you don’t have access to a sewing machine, check your local library or ask around on social media. Chances are you’ll be able to find one not too far away.


5. Swap with family and friends

Another alternative is to arrange a clothing swap day between your family and friends (or even your community). Your sister, cousin, best friend, or random acquaintance may be looking to get rid of just the item you’re looking for.

Pick a day when most of you are available, bring all the clothes you no longer want (a great way to declutter, too) and trade things.

Sell or donate anything left unwanted at the end of the day.



6. Borrow if you can

If you need a dress for a party (generally a short amount of time) and you don’t have one in your own wardrobe that will suit, see if you can borrow one from someone you know.

Make sure you ask first though! And once you’re done, ensure the item is clean and in the condition you received it when you return it. Return it promptly so that you might continue this behaviour in the future.


7. Dumpster diving

This one only applies if it’s legal in your state/local area. Some department stores dump excess stock and sale stock after a certain time, which generally goes to landfill.

I know, I was furious too when I found this out. You can keep an eye on their dumpster and seize an opportunity when you see it.

Make sure you check the local laws on this, but if it’s otherwise going to landfill you might as well save it. And if it saves you money too? Great!

The majority of stock being thrown away in this manner is probably not going to be high end sort of stuff, but you could always find a gem. You don’t know if you don’t look!


8. Wait for sales

Subscribe to updates on sales events if you have your eye on something in particular. Then get in quick so that you don’t miss out!

I myself am tempted by these shirts from The North Face (sold by Wild Earth), which are made with recycled plastic bottles and come with a lifetime guarantee. I’ve been looking for something like this for a while, although my preference is Merino wool.

But don’t buy on impulse, and don’t let the fact that it’s on sale affect your decision. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it – even if it’s discounted by 80%. Save yourself whatever that remaining 20% is and don’t buy it.


9. Enter competitions and giveaways

This one’s a bit of a stretch, but someone has to win. If it doesn’t cost you anything, why not go for it? Look for brands who match your values, and enter giveaways for them when they come up. Some brands offer $1000 vouchers, some offer a free shirt.

You can’t win if you don’t enter. However, in keeping with your values, don’t enter for things you don’t want. If you win, you just have to store the thing you won and feel guilty that someone who actually wanted it could have won it.


10. Buy or make convertible or reversible clothing

This one’s a bit different, but encapsulates the whole idea of the minimalist capsule wardrobe. You still might buy it new, but it reduces the amount of things you have to buy.

If you want a strapless dress, a halter dress, and a cap sleeve dress… A convertible dress will tick each of those boxes, all in the one garment.

There’s also a cardigan out there that is a cardigan (duh), a scarf, and a dress all in one. I think you can make it a skirt, too.

Alternatively, there are plenty of tutorials on getting creative with scarves. Some are truly inspiring! I’ve saved some tutorials on Pinterest to try out later.


11. Local buy-nothing groups on Facebook

There are tonnes of groups popping up on Facebook lately that are to do with buying nothing. These groups exist for people to list their unwanted things so that others might take them off their hands. It’s a great place to find things for free that you might be after.

Bigger groups are better. More items are listed and more people will be looking for what you’re giving away. In a way it sort of bypasses op shops, because you’re still donating it but to someone who doesn’t have to pay for it.


12. Rent lesser-needed items

You don’t need to have a cocktail dress on hand for every time you’re invited to a cocktail party. Unless that happens often! There are a plethora of companies out there from whom you can rent a dress for occasions like these.

They cost only a percentage of what you’d pay retail, and you don’t have to store it or bother selling it on once you’re done! Taking this route often means that you can get something nicer than you would otherwise be able to afford, too.


So, there you have it! A heap of different ways to make a minimalist capsule wardrobe cheaply. I hope you found something that helped you out. Let me know in the comments how you’re reducing the cost of curating your wardrobe.

Image credit: Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

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