Tips, Tricks, and Shopping: Capsule Closet Step IV

It’s the last post of this series! If you haven’t read anything up until now, start with the FAQ of a small wardrobe, getting rid of junk, closet by color, and basic buildup. When you finish those, come back to this one. Here I will give tips and trick about how to shop as well as where and what to bring. You have everything you need go go out and get your basics. Even if you already have what you need for your minimalist wardrobe, these tips will help when you need to replace something or are deciding if you should go shopping or not. 

I don’t go shopping very often, and when I do, I usually don’t buy anything. I am very particular when it comes to what I add to my wardrobe. Sometimes I’ll go out looking for something 5 times before finding the right piece. I need to make sure that I will keep it for a long time, that it is of high quality, and that it fits in all the right ways. It’s a tall order and it’s why it took me so long to complete my own wardrobe capsule.

A Side Note: “That’s not a true minimalist lifestyle”

Maybe, but hear me out first.

I’ve received a few arguments that purging your closet, deciding on what looks best, picking the colors, and building back up what you are missing is moving away from what minimalism really is. I disagree, but do understand what you are seeing.

When I tell people to follow these steps to a minimalist wardrobe, I intend for this to happen once, then for at least three years, nothing much will change. You see, I think that just getting rid of many items will not solve the problem. In order to become simple with how you dress, you must have a wardrobe that is simple and in which many pieces can be interchanged with each other.

If you just get rid of many items, you still don’t know what will go with what at the end of the day. This will lead you right back into the store to buy more things, keeping consumerism alive. If you think out each piece of clothing, what color to get it in, and what it will go with later, you know you have outfits, and you will shop less in the long run.

Tips, Tricks, and Helpful Hints

Saving Money  in the Long Run:

Blue jeans
Pixabay. Jeans go through a lot in one life. Opt for good quality, it’s OK to pay more.

If shopping for clothing, go for the nicer brands. Much like my argument on buying a new car, new clothing that is nice, will overall last much longer than thrifted clothing that you got second hand. It’s also important to note that just because it’s $100 does not mean it’s quality made and just because it is $5 does not mean that it’s cheap and will fall apart.

In general, the quality of the piece will determine how much you should spend on it. For example, if it looks like it will fall apart, it’s not even worth $1; however, if it looks like it will last a few years, it is worth more. Read below for more on how to test quality on clothing to determine if the price is worth the piece.

A Guide to Quality:

  1. Pull the Seams: Do they seam like they are stretching to much? Do they seem like they might fall apart?
  2. Try it On: Seems obvious. While trying it on you need to do a full range of motion that you would normally do while wearing it. If it’s a shirt, raise you hands above your head, jump up and down, jog in place, ect. If your trying on a pair of pants, sit, squat, jump, ect. Make sure that these motions are comfortable in the item you are wearing.
  3. Look at the price: If you are looking a shirt for $5, there is a reason. If the shirt is $50 on sale for $25, then think about why you would wear it, how often, and what it would go with. If you have many outfits that could be created by this one piece, then it is worth it. A cheap piece is never worth getting just to fall apart in less than a year.
  4. Ask a friend: Never shop alone. You should always have someone to bounce ideas off of when looking at clothing. Always bring someone that will tell you what they really think. This person should be able to tell you it’s ugly without feeling bad or you getting mad. This will help you get an outside opinion. 
  5. Try on multiple sizes: If you’re like me, you are not just one size in every brand. To ensure that it fits well, you need to try on a size that is larger or smaller. When I get tops, I often get a small and a medium just to be sure it fits the way it is supposed to.

Where to Shop for Quality Clothing:

For the best clothing that will last the longest, do not rule any shop out. However, gear yourself towards walking into the boutiques that can often be a bit more pricey. These places specialize in making quality goods in a specific style. This means that unlike Macy’s that sells many pieces of varying style and quality, boutiques will sell a few pieces of the same style and better overall quality.

Clothing Shop
Pixabay. Always check out a boutique!

General Notes about Mall Stores:

  • Forever 21: I like this store, however I have found an above average rate of low quality items here.
  • H&M: I’ve gotten a few basics here but be careful about the quality of the fabric. My college group had a saying “the price is the number of times you can wish it before it falls apart.”
  • Rue 21: I shop here for shirts. Plain shirts that are the basis of most outfits I wear. MadMan notes that none of the men’s clothing looks “mature” or like something you’d want to wear for a few years.
  • Express: A great place for work clothing. Both MadMan and I shop here.
  • Tilly’s: I shop here often as it is my style. I have yet to get any items of poor quality.
  • Zumies: Again, a place that sells clothing in my style. It can be hard to sift through everything, but I have never gotten a low quality item.
  • American Eagle: I have found that pants here are good quality. Madman likes a few other clothing lines here.
  • Buckle: On the pricey side, but great quality clothing. The clothing I get from here lasts for years without holes or frays. Shop here for items you know you will keep for a long time.
  • Anchor Stores: Any anchor store is a hit or miss. I have found that, in general, these stores have a lower quality. I avoid Sears completely, but will venture into Dillard’s on occasion.

Bring Clothing With You:

Pixabay. Pack those pants for shopping!

If you know you are going out to try on new pants, bring two tops of differing style and color to make sure that the pants you try on look good with multiple things. If you are going out to try on tops, bring a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts. You can see what the top looks like in the summer and in the winter. Also, if you  like layering, you need those items with you so that you can ensure that your outfits will look proper and won’t look mismatched.

To do this, I wear what is most bulky and then pack the other extras in a Kavu that I have. I take this into the dressing room and make sure to try on a top with at least two pairs of pants, ect.

Note: If you love heals, bring some so that  you can try on your pants with both heals and regular shoes.

Saving the Environment:

If you love the environment, try bringing your own bag and opting for emailed receipts. This will reduce the amount of waist that you accumulate and keep all the receipts in a safe place.

You have a smaller wardrobe with more outfits that before.
This is something to celebrate!
Try on everything, it’s fun.

Post a photo of your closet before and after.
What was the hardest part of shopping?
What do you hate shopping for the most? (SHOES)


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