How To Invest In Your Wardrobe Essentials Without Breaking the Bank

This isn’t the first time that I’ve spoken about my desire to start investing in the basics that make up my wardrobe, but I feel like I’m taking it the most seriously this time around. The whole idea of a capsule wardrobe has interested me for a long time but I was lacking three key ingredients to really make it work for me; money, a sense of personal style and a little bit of body confidence. I’m hoping to write something about each topic individually in time, but for now - the three steps that I’ve been following in order to make the most of my everyday basics.

carven cross trainers white

Step 1

Identify and define the basics of your wardrobe

For me, this first step only goes to show how important it is to get a good understanding of your personal style before you start to invest in your wardrobe. Some staples will be the same for almost everybody, while others will completely differ. For instance, a pair of black skinny jeans might be high on someone’s list, but they’re not something I personally get a lot of wear from. I live in oversized, button-ups shirts, but depending on your own style that might not factor in for you at all.

Identify your most worn pieces, look at what makes them such an essential for you and write a comprehensive list of items that form the foundation of your wardrobe. For me, the list went a little like this:

  • Smart black trousers

  • Smart grey trousers

  • Straight blue jeans

  • White button-up shirt

  • White t-shirt

  • Long sleeved Breton

  • Casual black dress

  • Black boots

  • Black flats

  • White leather trainers


White Shirt, Acne Studios | Trainers, Carven | Trousers, Acne Studios | Breton, Comme des Garcons

cdg play breton top

Step 2

Plan and source

I believe in investing in the basics, but it’s never a decision that I take lightly. Designer brands aren’t a common occurrence in my wardrobe and I certainly don’t have the kind of disposable income that allows me to pick up multiple items every month. Mid-range brands like COS, Whistles and Norse Projects are some of my favourites and allow me to choose high quality, well designed pieces that wont cripple me financially. 

On the rare occasion that I do venture into more high end territory, I almost always source pieces from second hand retailers. Vestiaire Collective is one of my favourite places to shop as each item undergoes rigorous quality control checks. It ensures that that every item ordered is the real deal - and gets delivered exactly as described. Still, I firmly believe that a lot can be said for sites like eBay and Depop, too. Doing your research is key, so pay attention to past reviews and what kind of other items the seller uploads. It’s undeniably more of a risk, but as long as you remember that price that looks too good to be true probably is, there are some real bargains to be had.

Step 3

Make the most of every piece

Mixing and matching pieces is something that I get genuine enjoyment from and will really help you to take the most of your investment. Buying second hand works for me again here, as picking up pieces in charity shops is a habit that allows me to continue building around my basic pieces without breaking the bank. I also try to stay away from trends as much as possible, instead choosing pieces that I know will work for years to come and that I personally feel comfortable in.

Perhaps the part of investing in the basics that I struggle with the most is breaking out of my comfort zone. There’s a fine line between building a collection of items that suit your style and filling your wardrobe with the same piece time and time again, but I’m beginning to discover that those lower ticket items that you work around your basic pieces are your chance to still have fun with fashion, while continuing to invest in the pieces that will stay with you forever.