How to Build Your Dream Capsule Wardrobe on a Budget (+ Grab Our FREE Printable!)

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Easily build your dream wardrobe with our step-by-step guide!

woman smiling pulling on black booties

Your dream capsule wardrobe starts here. 😍

Learn how to easily build your dream capsule wardrobe on a budget. We’ve done all the work for you with our free printable and top shopping recommendations!

holding Capsule Wardrobe printable

Building a capsule wardrobe is life-changing. ✨

By downsizing your wardrobe, you’ll be freeing your mind and space from physical clutter which can oftentimes turn into stressful mental clutter. However, just because you’re downsizing doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing closet!

Imagine owning roughly 20 pieces of clothing and getting an entire month’s wardrobe out of it! As wild as it sounds, that’s the idea behind a capsule wardrobe and living more simply.

flatlay with light wash jeans black turtleneck and booties

According to an interview with the Wall Street Journal, California Closet’s Chief Design Officer said, only 20 percent of the clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis. 😱

A capsule wardrobe will focus your attention on beautiful, simple, quality clothes that truly bring you joy and it’s less to think about each morning when you get dressed. It’s a win-win, really.

woman smiling holding up amazon prime box

Many people have already started to embrace minimalism (me included! 🙋‍♀️) with home organization being a focus in many homes these days. I personally love the idea of streamlining closets which is why I want to help you achieve this effortless minimalist lifestyle, too.

While quality is obviously the main factor in the longevity of this wardrobe lifestyle, you can find perfect, stylish pieces at inexpensive prices at retailers such as Target and Amazon or shopping at your local consignment stores.

Hip Tip: Amazon Try Before You Buy is a wonderful and FREE way to try new clothes without paying for them if you’re a Prime member. Only pay for what you keep!

hand holding a free assembly clothing tag

Know what pieces to shop for when building your capsule wardrobe:

  • Invest in neutral pieces. This will allow each piece of clothing to be versatile with nearly every outfit you choose from your capsule wardrobe.
  • Pinpoint your style. Don’t ever settle for pieces you don’t actually love. Purchasing items you can’t get enough of will have you wanting to wear them multiple different ways.
  • Play with texture, but stick to timeless. Neutral doesn’t mean boring. They’re classy and timeless, and the possibilities of mixing and matching are endless when everything goes together. Adding colorful accessories and sticking to timeless silhouettes will ensure your wardrobe will never go out of style.

Ready to get started, friends?! 🛍️😍

woman holding capsule wardrobe printable in hand

Here are 10 pieces I love to kick-start your capsule wardrobe:

capsule wardrobe pieces on white background with numbers

1. Amazon Essentials Jersey Stitch Cardigan

woman taking selfie in mirror wearing beige cardigan

This cardigan can be worn with leggings, jeans, a dress, or just about anything else if you’re outfit is needing an extra layer. Plus, it’s always sure to make you look put together with zero effort on your end!

2. Downeast Essential Tee T-Shirt

woman wearing plain white top

Downeast Essential Tee T-Shirt – $18.76 (regularly $19.99)

I love the silhouette of this top that perfectly cups your shoulders and has such a beautiful delicate neckline. Plus, you simply can’t beat the price! From jeans, wrap pants, shorts, and everything in between, this fitted top is a staple piece you’ll love wearing over and over.

3. Amazon GRECERELLE Maxi Dress

woman wearing black maxi dress and sunglasses standing on walkway surrounded by greenery

Amazon GRECERELLE Maxi Dress – $23.79 (regularly $32.99) 

A simple maxi dress gives you the ability to achieve effortless style no matter how busy you are. Pair it with a cute jean jacket, or sandals, tie it in the front or wear it on its own. The options are endless!

Hip Tip: Check out our full review of this dress from over the years and how my Hip sidekicks and a Hip reader styled this dress!

4. Studio Blue Tobi High Rise Straight Ankle Jean

woman taking selfie in dressing room mirror

I recently grabbed this capsule wardrobe piece in a Stitch Fix box! They’ve quickly become my go-to jeans and I always feel super hip wearing them. Coming from someone who loves skinny jeans, I can’t believe I’m falling in love with this straight-leg trend again.

Want a more affordable option? Check out the Universal Threads Skinny Jeans at Target and spend under $30!

5. Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

close up of woman wearing faux leather leggings in mirror

Sure we all have a pair of great black leggings in our closet, but if you don’t have a great pair of faux leather leggings yet, you need to asap! These can be dressed up or down and will elevate any outfit! Although these Spanx are a bit pricey, I especially love how well they suck you in and they’ve held up wonderfully for me over the past 4+ years!

Hip Tip: You can score these leggings on sale during the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Still can’t justify the cost? My Hip sidekick Chelsey recently rocked this affordable pair from Walmart!

woman sitting on steps with black leggings

Check out this Walmart pair if you don’t want to break the bank. A pair of faux leather leggings are a must-have regardless of which you choose!

Read more about Chelsey’s budget-friendly outfit and see more Walmart Fall fashion from our team.

6. LC Lauren Conrad Feel Good Curvy High-Waist Skinny Jeans

woman taking selfie in dressing room mirror

LC Lauren Conrad Feel Good Curvy High-Waist Skinny Jeans$36.99 (regularly $50)
Use promo code FAMILY20 for 20% off
Final cost just $29.59

I couldn’t share a list of favorite pieces without throwing in another pair of tried and true denim and I really love the affordable Lauren Conrad line at Kohls because they come in a wide range of sizes and wash colors! I’ve been buying them for the past few years and still love the first pair I bought!

Need plus sizes? Shop all plus sizes from the Lauren Conrad line!

7. Free Assembly Rib Turtleneck

close up of woman wearing black free assembly turtleneck

Oh, how I love a slim-fitting turtleneck! This is a timeless silhouette that I think looks phenomenal on every body type! Tuck it in (or leave it out) and you’ll be ready for whatever the day brings your way!

8. Amazon Essentials Flat Banded Sandal

feet with white sandals

A capsule wardrobe wouldn’t be complete without a great pair of versatile sandals. Whether you still get warmer days in the fall or you plan to wear them next season, these are an item you’ll get tons of use out of!

9. Dream Pairs Chunky High Heel Ankle Booties

woman putting on black booties sitting on white couch

Dream Pairs Chunky High Heel Ankle Booties – $32.99 (regularly $49.99)

You’ll be ready to rock any legging or jeans with these booties! I recently scooped these up at Walmart and can’t believe how comfortable they are for the incredibly low price! Although my black leather pair is currently sold out, they do come in 5 other colors including black suede! 😍

10. J. Crew Factory Chambray Shirt

woman posing in chambray shirt with white background

J. Crew Factory Chambray Shirt – $46.50 (regularly $79.50) 

If a piece of clothing were to scream capsule wardrobe, this chambray shirt would be it! It’s also great as an extra layer without being as warm as a cardigan or jacket. Better yet, this would even look adorable with a white tee underneath and your favorite cardigan over top. 😏

Already have some capsule wardrobe pieces in your closet?

woman holding yellow sweater and brown booties
If your closet cleanout made you realize you already have tons of perfect capsule wardrobe pieces, use what you have rather than buy new ones! It’ll save money and chances are you already love them if they made the keep pile. 😉 Soon you’ll notice nearly all of your pieces work together seamlessly together! 👏

Now it’s time to get dressed!

Check out my Hip sidekick, Chelsey’s, capsule wardrobe inspiration! 🤩

nine eight shacket 5 outfits

I absolutely love how Chelsey created her own style using her new plaid shacket and faux leather leggings from Walmart! With black as her neutral go-to, I can’t get over how stunning she looks in her pieces! 🤩

Ready to share your inspiration with us? Share your capsule wardrobe with us and tag @hip2save on Instagram or Facebook!

Looking for the best bra to wear underneath your styled outfits? Our team loves this one!

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Sara’s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

Join The Discussion

Comments 42

  1. Stevmill8809

    You should make a list for guys.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Great idea! Thanks so much for the request! I have passed this on to the team!

  2. Mia

    I’m a “plus-sized” person. I love the whole idea of neutral. Many clothing manufacturers make loud clothing for plus-sized. I don’t like looking like a walking pylon. I also don’t like to spend a lot of $$ on clothing…love sales & clearance. Thoughts about where (sites/stores) to look for plus-sized clothing. Some of the links you provided have XXL but I wear 2XL and I always thought it was the same but it’s not. Thanks for a GREAT post! Can’t wait to go through my closet and purge!

    • Dee

      Chicos has some very good, pretty (and packable) styles for plus sized professionals. You might want to start with the Travelers Collection. The current season clothes are not priced like Target or Walmart, but they don’t fall apart or fade after two trips through the laundry, either. They do have some great sales. I like that they make clothes for regular/petite/plus and not separate lines.

      • Mia

        Thank you! I’ll check their site. I think we use to have that store in the mall but now that COVID hit, many have closed or at the very least, not re-opened.

    • Sara

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Mia! Let us know how your closet purge goes, I can’t wait to hear!

    • Dee

      What I did was found two styles of shirts I love at Torrid (their Harper blouse and their tunic t-shirt) and I bought three of each in different neutrals (black, navy, taupe and grey in the Harper… black, grey and olive in tunic tee). For jeans, I chose one style from Old Navy and bought them in three different colors as well. Mercari, Poshmark, ebay, facebook marketplace — all great places to find name brand for cheaper than retail. That’s where a bunch of my torrid stuff comes from or of course like a true couponer, I wait for sales

      • Sara

        Great ideas, Dee! Thanks for sharing!

  3. DealAddict

    The simplicity of it makes me curious so I always have to check out the pictures & read the posts even though I know it’s not for me. I think clothes are fun & a way of being creative. Sometimes I dress for my mood/how I’m feeling & the weather. I like lots of choices to mix & match & accessorize. More is more! BUT I can definitely see how this would appeal to people & it looks so nice & simple.

    • Sara

      It’s definitely not for everyone, but so glad you could appreciate the post nonetheless. Thanks for stopping by, DealAddict!

  4. mlj211

    Love this idea! I’ve been slowly working towards this goal. My problems are that I’m 5’11” so I always have the problem of finding pants in lengths. It’s been a lifelong battle but I plug along. Thanks for sharing these tips!!

    • Sara

      You’re so welcome, I’m so glad you loved this post!

    • DealAddict

      I find great tall jeans at gap, old navy, madewell, jcrew & target! So many options for us tall girls these days!

    • KayleighW

      I’m 5’11” too! I also have a difficult pear shape to fit. Depending on your budget, try Buckle for loooong jeans. Old Navy Tall jeans are great, too! I have a 34/35″ inseam. Some jeans at Target also work, in the Long styles.

  5. Suzanne

    I’ve been doing the minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 for about six months and love it! Less is more 💕

    • Sara

      So glad you’re loving the change, Suzanne! Thanks for sharing with us!

  6. Melissa Ann

    Thank you for this post and ideas! I’ve been enjoying a minimalist wardrobe for several years now after being inspired by Jennifer L Scott’s Tedtalk on Youtube: The Ten Item Wardrobe. I will never go back! Less is more. It is amazingly freeing! There are different approaches to having a minimalist wardrobe. Jennifer’s approach is to have a core of 10 items each season which she fills out with some extra items such as t-shirts, sweaters, and accessories. She has videos for each season where she curates her choices. She actually buys very little each season. The goal is to not only pare down to a smaller wardrobe, but have everything that you have be something you truly enjoy wearing because it looks good on you and can be mixed with other items in your wardrobe.

    • Sara

      Yes to all of that, Melissa! I’m so happy to hear how much you love this change!

  7. Priscilla

    What about workout gear?

    • Sara

      I decided not to include workout gear in the actual post as everyone’s needs will be different, Priscilla! For me, I have about 3 bottoms and 2 tops/bras that I absolutely love! Since I do laundry every day or every other day it works perfectly for me. 🙂 Hope that helps!

  8. A

    Thank you so much! I absolutely despise clothes shopping, and so need something like this in my life. I basically have everything already I just don’t know how to put it together. Your list is a game changer for me. I’ve declared that October will be the month I learn to put cute casual outfits together. 😊🙌🏻‼️

    • Sara

      Your whole comment made my day, A! So glad this post was helpful to you and can’t wait to hear about how October goes for you! Keep us posted. 🙂

      • A

        Yay, I’m so glad. Will do! 😊

  9. Dee

    Some tips for adapting the neutrals in this color palette to other women would be helpful. For instance, women with warm tones should swap that bright white for ivory, etc. It would be a great post to show several different women working the capsule wardrobe in flattering tones for them

    • Sara

      That’s a great idea, Dee. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Csandst1

    One sweater in NJ wouldn’t work. Sometimes the high is 12 degrees.

  11. llaura256

    I was poor when I was little so my one splurge is clothing. I love walking in my closet with so much to choose from as for everything wlse I’m a minimalist! Ha!

  12. Vanessa K

    I love this! My Pinterest board is filled with capsule wardrobes. I’ve been working on mine for awhile. But I love color and pattern, so my wardrobe is loud, it’s all about multifunction, and keeping in the same family of color. My favorite color is orange, and my favorite pattern is tiger, so those are my neutrals. It’s fun to play with once you understand the basics. Instead of a plain denim jacket, I have up cycled my with sequins sleeves to have a huge pop of bling!

    • Sara

      Sounds like you’ve got the hang of it, Vanessa! I love that you’ve added your own unique style to your capsule wardrobe!

  13. Mary

    I think you would have to do laundry almost every day!

    • Sara

      I do about one load every day or every other day. With a family of 5 it helps keep the laundry at bay and that way I won’t spend my whole weekend doing it. 🙂

  14. Evie

    Geez, is anyone a Jean’s and t short person like me!

    • Florida Girl

      Me! I am a jeans and tshirt kind of girl. See my post below for the reasons why. 🙂

  15. Kitty

    I have a smaller wardrobe now due to pregnancy and I always have something cute to wear! I have about 10 tees, 5 shorts/pants, 2 dresses. Neutrals are key so everything goes together. Definitely doing this with my regular wardrobe in a few months 😀

    • Sara

      Congratulations, Kitty!

  16. Florida Girl

    Love this post. I live in Florida. It’s HOT, really HOT! I wear jeans to work and a nice shirt. I barely dress up when going to dinner because FL is so casual. I despise dresses because I have to wear spanx and it’s too hot, plus It still does not cover all the flaws. If I do dress up at work, I wear black pants. All colored pants I try on, you can see all the imperfections on my thighs. Clothes just aren’t made the way they used to be. Do you have any tips for this FL girl?

  17. Corina

    My problem is that I yoyo with my weight. I lost 63 lbs by last summer and felt so healthy and good about myself. I bought a lot of new clothes and donated my bigger sizes. Then quarantine hit and my weight crept up 20lbs. Now those cute clothes I bought last year( a lot were from posts on here) do not fit again. Ugh….

  18. A

    This post motivated me to take a chance on a $15 black maxi dress from Ltd. At 5ft2in and very curvy, it’s not a style I’ve dared to try. Not too mention I’m not a big fan of dresses to begin with. Anyways, it came in today and actually fits me perfectly, doesn’t even need to be hemmed! I’m so excited about this new and very versatile addition to my wardrobe. Thank you!!

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      I’m so excited you took a chance, A! Now you have a new style to include in your daily wear! Yahoo!

  19. KayleighW

    Thank you for this post!! I’ve pinned several posts on Pinterest, but I love that you’ve included a list of outfits! I’ve wanted to make a capsule wardrobe for a long time now, but this is super helpful and quite possibly just the thing I need to actually get it done! 😁

  20. Angela Westfield

    Hi! Loved this post! Will you do another wardrobe capsule this fall?

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Hi there! Glad you’ve enjoyed this post! Thanks so much for the request! I have passed this along and it appears this will be done again! Be sure to stay tuned!

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