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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CUA chapter.

As a graduating senior, I have started not only to look towards my future with graduate school in mind, but also thinking about my wardrobe. It’s taken years for me to nail down what I consider to be my ‘style’ and to take bigger fashion risks. I’ve only recently delved into the world of bodysuits and bold colored tennis shoes, and I’ll never look back. Trendy videos of people building their capsule wardrobe caused me to reflect on my present wardrobe and wonder: would I wear any of this in ten or even fifteen years? A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing that is chic rather than trendy; clothing that can both physically and stylistically withstand the test of time. I think about the working women in my life and about their wardrobes. My mom invested in her capsule wardrobe and has had high quality pieces that date back to the start of her career. However high quality they are, they were also made in a time in which clothing was made to last longer. An article from good on you, a website that vets eco friendly clothing distributors, defines fast fashion as “cheap, trendy clothing that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments at breakneck speed to meet consumer demand.” Today’s fast fashion has caused some clothing brands to be more affordable and skyrocketed the price of quality pieces.

It’s easy to say that if you invest in high quality clothing now, that it will last you years and years, but with a college student’s budget, options can be limited. I’ve learned that playing the waiting game is a more financially responsible option when shopping for high quality clothing. Utilizing reward points through a membership, waiting for sales, or taking advantage of student discounts has helped me to collect the clothes that make me feel good and not break the bank. Some of my personal favorites are TJ Maxx’s discount designer section, Madewell (they offer a student discount), Abercrombie (they’re online sale is much better than anything you’ll find in store), Anthropologie (for the more unique pieces), and J. Crew (the mother of the capsule wardrobe). 

Another way to shop for higher quality items on a budget is through outlet stores. These stores usually carry last season’s items at a discounted price because the retailer needs to make space for new inventory. It’s often surprising how many items of clothing are deemed ‘out-of-style’ and pushed out of stores. I find that these clothes are incredibly similar (if not exactly the same) as what is currently for sale in the main storefronts. A similar vein to shopping at outlet stores is going thrifting. Personally, I’ve yet to have much luck at a thrift store, but that does not deter me from the idea as a whole. Thrifting offers the opportunity to come across older clothing that was better made and has withstood the test of time. By buying previously loved clothing, you’re preventing the creation of more waste. And, doesn’t everyone love the feeling of a sweatshirt or jeans that are worn in? Through thrifting, you’re bypassing years of having to break in uncomfortable leather loafers or stiff Levi jeans; you can sit back, relax, and reduce your carbon footprint. 

When debating about an item, I try to think of at least three occasions in which I could wear it. If I can think of three, or at least a couple of different outfits, I deem it appropriate to buy. If I can’t, but I really like it and think it’s a fun piece (because who doesn’t love a statement piece here and there), I sleep on it. and iIf I’m really thinking about it, I adjust my budget to fit it in or wait for it to go on sale. 

I love expressing myself through my clothes. I find that they reflect my personality and give me another layer of confidence. I’m lucky enough to have found what works for me, and I hope that through these tips and tricks, you can find what works for you and build your own capsule wardrobe!

History Major Spanish Minor Class of 2024 at The Catholic University of America. From Connecticut