Published on september 19, 2016

How To Build A Fall Capsule Wardrobe (On A Budget)

written by Team thredUP



noun // verb

A tight edit of clothes that work together to create multiple outfits. It includes core essentials designed to be worn all year long supplemented by a few new items or accessories each season.



This is it. You’re ready to embrace the mini wardrobe lifestyle. But where do you even start, and how do you capsule without spending tons of money? Slow down. We’ve got you covered.

For fall’s Capsule Wardrobe Challenge, we enlisted the expertise of San Francisco-based capsule blogger Harben Porter. Known for her California-cool style, Harben has become a major inspiration for those building a mini closet on a mini budget.

“Capsules are powerful tools to help you define your style, simplify your wardrobe routine, and adhere to the less sexy (but nonetheless important) parts of life, like sticking to a budget,” she says. “The beauty of having an edited closet is just that – it’s edited, and if done right, it should only be full of your most favorite things.” 

We couldn’t agree more, so let’s get started!

1. Establish your key pieces for the season.

I have pieces that stay in my capsule throughout the entire year; those are my essentials. Then I have more seasonally attuned pieces that I bring in and take out. This fall, I’m looking for transitional styles—lighter and heavier jackets, sweaters that I can layer, a great skirt I can wear to work or to go out.”

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2. Know how to invest.

“When it comes to investment pieces, I really look for a timeless silhouettes, high-quality fabric, and craftsmanship. I splurge on outerwear, handbags, and shoes most often because they tend to be items you can wear for years to come.”

3. Shop secondhand for trendier pieces.

“This is really important for the capsule model. You don’t need to be so rigid that you can’t play around with trends. If I am inspired by a trend, I always shop for it secondhand because it’s much easier and more affordable to bring in and out of my closet.” 

4. Include pieces that can multitask.

“Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to capsules. For example, a denim jacket can also be buttoned up and worn as a shirt, or a simple shift can be tucked into a skirt and styled as a blouse.”


5. Transition your seasonal favorites.

“There’s no reason to abandon your summer dresses just because the weather turns cooler. Get creative! There are a lot of different ways to experiment and transition those dresses into your fall capsule.”

6. Don’t be afraid to add color and texture.

This is super important. I think a lot of people hear the word capsule and think about neutrals or basic solids. Actually, there’s a lot of room to be creative. I start out by building a mood board. I love parsing out my main colors and then choosing accent colors that will see me through the season.”

7. Go into it for a good reason.

The thing I love most about a capsule wardrobe is the shift in mentality and frame of mind. For me, a capsule means shopping with intentionality and being very conscious about the few number of pieces that you bring into your home and into your closet.

Here are the nine fall essentials to help build your mini wardrobe. ( Pin this so you don’t forget!) Shop our fall capsule curation to refresh your closet with what you need. 


Tell us in the comments: Are you planning on a capsule wardrobe this season? 

[All photos by Ashley Batz]