How To Build a Thrifted Capsule Wardrobe


Do you have those days when you feel like you have nothing to wear but your closet is surprisingly full of clothes?

You are not alone.

We’re all living busy lives and the last thing we need is to spend hours figuring out what to wear! The simplest solution to avoid decision fatigue every morning (and evade major fashion faux pas) is to make fashion simple, minimal and sustainable with a focus on longevity of wear, quality and ensuring that each piece is combinable.

Building a capsule wardrobe with thrifted clothes not only makes your wardrobe simple and sustainable, but is also more affordable than purchasing from ethical or slow fashion boutiques.. Ready to step out of the ‘I have nothing to wear’ dilemma & start building your capsule wardrobe?

What Is A Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of pieces that work together to meet every possible style need, from work and travel to casual Fridays and first dates. Capsule wardrobes consist of basic & timeless pieces that can be worn and coordinated in most seasons. The purpose of such a wardrobe is to maximize your choices with a minimum number of pieces, without compromising on the style quotient.

Contrary to popular belief, a capsule wardrobe is not about limiting your style but about collecting curated items that offer your wardrobe versatility and quality. By choosing to thrift these individual pieces instead of buying new, you are able to access quality items at a fraction of the original cost.

Why Build A Thrifted Capsule Wardrobe?

The first benefit of building such a wardrobe is that you are able to eliminate clothing that you aren’t wearing- You’re identifying items that work best for you & your lifestyle and choosing to let go of the clutter and indecision. Secondly, a capsule wardrobe is a sustainable way to approach fashion as you are focused on your own needs instead of trends and scoring the next new piece. Additionally, if you’re thrifting these essentials, you’re saving yourself some serious cash too!

A well made, thrifted capsule wardrobe helps you laser focus on pieces that can be styled in multiple ways with minimal effort and cost- These pieces will stay with you forever, unlike your boyfriend. Feeling attacked? Same here.

Let's Build A Thrifted Capsule Wardrobe

While every capsule wardrobe will depend on your personal needs, the general idea remains the same- Mr. Basics & Miss Versatility will be the main characters while the other essential characters include:

Layering Pieces

Layering pieces like thrifted blazers, jackets and coats are must-haves for a good capsule wardrobe. A good quality layering piece helps build outfit variations and makes your outfit seasonally appropriate. For example, a sturdy and plain thrifted denim jacket is perfect to layer on a strappy dress in Spring and can also work layered on top of a turtle neck sweater, during the winters.

Find a layering piece works best for you- If your style is more smart casual or classic, perhaps a boxy blazer would be right up your alley. If you’re in college and need something relaxed and fun, thrift some denim and leather jackets! Whatever your choice of layering piece may be, start with solid, basic colors and simple, clean cuts to maximise combinability.

The Classic Shirt

A crisp shirt is the most timeless staple piece in a capsule wardrobe. Shirts offer you unlimited styling options to choose from and can be combined with pretty much any bottom be it pants, shorts, skirts and joggers. Many bloggers like Komal Pandey, Akansha Redhu and Roshni Bhatia have showcased endless styling ways from a single shirt. Start building your thrifted capsule closet with a boxy classic white or black full-sleeve shirt, an oversized solid half-sleeve shirt in your favourite color and a classic striped shirt. Don’t forget to play around with the silhouette of your shirt by exploring different tucks, wraps, knots and neckline variations for different occasions!

Basic Tees & Bodysuits

Wait, don’t skip this one! While we’re sure you already know that a white and black tee are literal lifesavers in a closet, elevate your game with some thrifted bodysuits! These bad boys are the most trending and versatile pieces this season. No more scrunched up fabric and bulging tummies- get your favourite t-shirt styles in bodysuit silhouettes. Remember to start with solid colors and based on your personal needs, expand into a couple of graphic/printed pieces! Bodysuits are also perfect for layering in winters as they eliminate the need to tuck excess fabric into already bulky waistbands.

Jeans, Jeans & Jeans

Every wardrobe needs a few evergreen & stylish bottoms that are comfortable, flattering, and go with almost everything. If there’s one thing that you must have in your thrifted capsule wardrobe, it's jeans, baby! A pair of mid-rise straight leg clean blue jeans is going to be a lifesaver and can be worn for literally any occasion, even most offices. Make sure to avoid distracting colors and elements like too much fade, rips and fancy silhouettes. You can expand your thrifted capsule collection with a second pair of jeans in a lighter color (white or beige), a darker color (navy or black) and a classic denim skirt for dressier occasions!

The Wrap Dress

Every wardrobe must have an amazing thrifted dress and we’d suggest investing in a beautiful wrap silhouette. Why? Because first, it hides food babies and second, it’s easy to layer on top of tees, bodysuits and even mock neck sweaters during winters. Start with a simple and flattering dress and add in your favourite prints at a later stage!

Well folks, now that you’ve figured out the basics of building a good thrift-friendly capsule wardrobe, it's time to start scouring the internet for your next thrift find! To get started, simply type in a keyword into the ReThought search bar above and voila, you’ll find some amazing thrifted capsule ready pieces! You can explore various Indian thrift shops (100+ and counting!) on the ReThought platform and get a curated, size-appropriate feed at your fingertips! Ready? Take me thrifting!