My winter capsule wardrobe: Thrift-store edition

For the last year, I have been slowly removing clothes from my closet that I didn’t wear or that didn’t fit me. I did this over a few seasons, and it made the process of getting rid of excess clothing easier for me. It meant less emotional angst in seeing fewer and fewer pieces of clothing in my closet — and less financial angst about getting rid of clothes I bought but never wore.

Through that process, I created a much smaller wardrobe from the clothes I already owned. I would have left it there, as just eliminating the number of options in my closet made the job of getting dressed in the morning easier.

But, I lost weight in the last six months, and I needed to replace some of my old clothes that no longer fit. I took that as my opportunity to try and build a more planned-out capsule wardrobe.

My Planning Process

I started by trying to define my style. After searching blogs and social media, I landed on a mixture of upscale/refined bohemian, creative chic and relaxed but refined comfort.

Then, I picked a color scheme (brown, black, dark green, cream/white and purple/maroon), and I made a list of the items I wanted in my capsule wardrobe. Since I started this process right before winter, I selected a mix of sweaters, button-up shirts, turtlenecks, tees, pants and skirts, and I made a Pinterest board of what I wanted to include.

I also recently made it a goal of mine to become a more conscious consumer, and, whenever possible, buy used or second-hand rather than new. So, I decided I would try to build this wardrobe by following this motto: “First, thrift in person. Then, thrift online. If you can’t thrift it, buy it.

Here’s how it went.

What I Bought

For the most part, I was able to purchase everything on my list used from a combination of local thrift and consignment stores and the online consignment store, ThredUp. This was the first time I ever shopped at ThredUp, and I was largely happy with my purchases, though you do need to be aware that there are restocking and return fees involved if you order an item you don’t want to keep.

I did end up buying three items new from Madewell during their Black Friday sale: two, long-sleeve cotton t-shirts and a short-sleeve corduroy shirt.

All of the items I purchased are pictured below (please excuse the wrinkles) along with the place I got them from and the price. While I spent more than I had planned on a few items, overall I’m happy with the style, quality and material of my new wardrobe, as well as the interchangeability of the pieces.


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