Have you ever heard of a capsule wardrobe? Neither had I until I picked up a 10 cent garage sale book titled, "Working Wardrobe: Affordable Clothes That Work For You!" by Janet Wallach.
The book was dated: Vogue-style sewing pattern models illustrate the concepts and limited woman's roles in the working world are discussed. But the material was fabulous: especially useful for someone like me working professionally with limited cash reserves for new clothing.
The main concept is using your existing clothing, with a few additions, to make a two color capsule with additional color accents.
You begin by sorting your clothing into the things you wear and the things you don't. Then, take the "wear" pile and sort it by color. There will be a few favorite, well tailored pieces that appear, often in similar colors. For myself, these were blacks, whites, and espressos. These colors formed the basis for two capsule wardrobes, one in black and white, and one in espresso and white. Other examples living in your closet might be a mauve and charcoal capsule or a tan and red capsule.
For the concept to work, you generally will need at least one jacket, two blouses or shirts, a skirt, a sweater, and a pair of pants in either one or both of the two colors. Janet Wallach recommends choosing 12 different pieces in two colors for a total of 40 combinations. This equates to a different outfit everyday for 8 weeks.
After organizing my two capsules I discovered that I only needed one espresso/white skirt (found for $4.99 at Value Village) and one black/white blouse (4$ at a garage sale) to complete.
It was truly a revelation: for about 9$, I had a whole new wardrobe!
The greatest thing about it has been the time savings. I'm no longer spending 20 minutes poring over my closet trying to choose a professional outfit for work.
As for the remaining clothing, some I kept for accents and the rest either was donated or taken to a consignment store. I'm hoping that the consignments will cover the cost of the new additions.
It turns out you don't need a closet-full to look your best. By streamlining your wardrobe you can save time, reduce consumption, and save money.
This book is still in print. If you are intrigued by these concepts you can do some further reading.