Basic Buildup: Capsule Closet Step III

So you know your colors. You’ve disposed of your “trash.” You’ve taken the plunge. Now it’s time to build back up your closet (not all the way back up). You’re goal now is to have a functioning minimalist closet that you can work and go casual in a maximum of 50 items. See the previous FAQ for information about that number. In this post, we will look at what basics everyone needs, how to add your style to the basics, and how to limit the number of shoes you own (it can be really hard.)

I have 50 items that I use between work and casual wear. That, for me, does not include accessories like necklaces, scarves, and hats. I got there over time by buying one nice piece here or there until I had what I needed. The first thing I had to overcome when building back up my wardrobe, was perfection. I realized fairly early on that I would never have the “perfect” wardrobe, even if I had 100s of items. Once I realized that, everything fell into place.

What are the “basics?”

Basics are the essential parts of a wardrobe that can be used for many outfits. For work a basic might be a blazer, for casual it might be a skirt or a pair of really nice jeans. I believe that it is flexible, and while some would say that every girl needs a skirt, I say, if you don’t like skirts then that is not a basic. (You will never catch me in something I can’t really move around in.) I do not own a skirt for this reason. Instead I own flair legged jeans (I know, skinny is in style, but not for me.)

How does one pick out their basics?

One Mad Life's Custom Box of Basic
Feel free to save this photo to your computer for reference!

Start with the list to the left. This list has many items that are considered by most as basic.

What would you never wear? Why? If you are really sure you’ll never wear it, or only wear it once a month, cross it off. Is there anything that year wear frequently that is not on the list? Add it.

What remains are your basics. The items you use to build your outfits every day. These are the things that you build off of when getting dressed in the morning.

If you need more help, Pintrest is a great resource when it comes to wardrobe ideas. Just don’t get sucked in. It can be addicting. Also, don’t forget, the colors that you chose last time will aid in picking out clothing with this list.

If you already have an item, there is no reason to purchase a new basic. Remember, this is all about minimalism. You don’t need to buy everything new. Reuse as much as you can and fill out your wardrobe over time for the rests.

Past the Basics:

You have your basics. You have them all. They will not be perfect, but you are very happy with where you stand. What now? Now, you work on the extras. For me, one example was a few cute plugs for my ears (I have size 2 plugs as well as second holes). These enabled me to add just a bit of flair and personality to my already “me” wardrobe. Another thing I got was a olive green cat shirt by Rip’N’Dip. It’s my favorite shirt and you would never know that the little cat is actually flicking you off under the pocket. It makes me smile. I wear that shirt under my plaid button down, under a denim jacket, or just alone on top of a few different pants.

***Remember, the goal of getting new pieces is that they can be used with many different outfits. You don’t want to get a shirt just to get home and realize nothing matches it. ***

A Note on Purchasing

When you build up this wardrobe, think about what you would want to wear in the next few years. This is not a capsule wardrobe just to be thrown away in 6 months. You should be purchasing quality items that will last for a few years at least. This is what keeps this process worth wile. By the end of these four steps, you should not need to do any major clothes shopping for at least three years. You will need to replace items here and there when they go bad or tear, but over all this should be how you like to look.


Clothing Shop
Pixabay. Sneak Peak!!! Did you know boutiques have frugal clothes?

If you are ready to do some actual shopping, take a look at the last posting, called “Tips, Tricks, and Shopping: Capsule Closet Step IV.” It will offer the final bits of advice I have for you. It will answer any lingering questions about buying clothing and how to be the best minimalist shopper. It will talk about where to go to get quality items on a budget as well as why splurging on clothing might actually be frugal in the long run. 

What is the one piece of clothing you can’t live without?
What does your style say about you?
Do you love or hate skirts and dresses?

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