Hit the Thrift Store for Your Next Capsule Wardrobe

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©. Value Village -- A full capsule wardrobe for summer that cost less than $150

Value Village shows how you can buy 16 basic items for under $150.

Capsule wardrobes are a hot topic these days. The urge to declutter one’s closet and simplify one’s style is shared by many people. There has been a surge in blog posts and slideshows striving to help overwhelmed individuals determine their colors and essential looks, but unfortunately, many of these focus on what must be added to a wardrobe in order to make it complete. In many of these cases, creating a capsule wardrobe – supposedly an act of minimalism – is actually quite expensive.

Earlier this year, I wrote a post called “4 steps for creating a capsule wardrobe,” in which I outlined an approach used by fashion blogger Caroline at Unfancy. One of my readers complained vehemently:

“How is buying new clothes every 3 months ‘minimalist,’ in any sense of the word? Buying 4-8 new items each season is another way of saying that you throw out 16-32 garments every year, correct? That’s MAXIMALISM. Minimalism would be to buy your 37 garments, making sure to choose high-quality ones that will last for many years, and that you won’t tire of on a whim, and then you won’t have to throw them out every 3 months.”

The reader is right. It’s silly to be forking out loads of cash for brand new clothes on a regular basis to create and maintain a so-called ‘minimalist’ capsule wardrobe. But the truth is that you do need basic, versatile pieces in order to use fewer overall. So what’s the best approach?

Shop at a thrift store! At least, this is the advice shared by thrift giant Value Village, and I have to say it resonates with me. In a press release, Value Village says that interest in thrift stores is growing, with 60 percent of people buying second-hand clothes in 2016.

dress & denim outfit

© Value Village

office outfit

© Value Village

With the vast majority of Value Village’s clothes priced below $10 (and their prices tend to be higher than other thrift stores, I’ve noticed), it is possible to put together a fabulous capsule wardrobe that rivals any brand-new one at a fraction of the cost.

In fact, the retailer did exactly that to show what possibilities exist. The capsule wardrobe pictured above was sourced entirely at Value Village’s newest location in Etobicoke, Ontario, and cost a grand total of $141.84.

Thrifted Capsule Wardrobe:
1. Denim jacket - $5.49
2. Blazer - $9.99
3. Striped dress - $13.99
4. Chambray shirt - $7.49
5. Black dress - $11.49
6. Denim shorts - $4.99
7. Dark wash skinny jeans - $16.99
8. Light wash skinny jeans - $8.49
9. White blouse - $5.99
10. Black tank - $4.99
11. Lace tank - $7.99
12. Gray tank - $5.99
13. Striped tee - $8.49
14. Nude flats - $9.49
15. White sneakers - $4.99
16. Black sandals - $14.99

Considering how easy it is to drop $140 on a single pair of skinny jeans, this wardrobe is nothing to scoff at. Thrift shopping does take more time than shopping at a conventional store with multiple sizes in the same style, but it's more of a treasure hunt. It's rewarding to find a well-fitting, high-quality piece that's unique and to save a significant amount of money while you're at it -- freeing up dollars for summer memories that will last far longer than any item of clothing!