Author Topic: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe  (Read 21988 times)

gbbi_977

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High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« on: April 13, 2015, 11:57:24 AM »
Hello everyone,

I can't find any recent posts on this so thought I would start a new thread.

I am looking for recommendations of high quality clothing (I'm female, but DH would also like recommendations) to use as basis of a capsule wardrobe.

I'm not looking to buy all-new right now, but as things start to get beyond repair, I'd like to replace items with things that will last longer than my current items.

I'm willing to pay more for higher quality if it means the clothes have a longer life.

My two-cents:

- JCrew used to be good for tees/singlets, but the ones I have now don't seem worth the extra cash

- Target do lots of basics but don't seem to last long, so not a great 'cost per wear'

- I've been buying from Madewell when they have big mark-downs/clearances, and so far the quality seems pretty good, but I don't think it's worth the non-sale prices

- I just ordered a plain tee (long sleeve Ryan) from Everlane and so far I'm impressed - it was $25 but seems very well made*

Looking forward to your suggestions. I'm based in the US.

*Everlane referral link: https://www.everlane.com/r/annajanehigh

lise

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 12:15:08 PM »
I'm mainly following to see what people suggest.

I'm an everlane fan too. 

I used to like GAP for basics but I purchase a pair of jeans less than a year ago and there are two holes in them already (around the belt loops in two different parts).  Just seems to suggest the quality of fabric has gone done as these jeans were loose fitting on me.


cynthia1848

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2015, 12:25:38 PM »
What level of formality are you looking for?

For t-shirts, I have 2 kinds, (1) dressy (modal from Banana Republic) and (2) cotton (mostly Boden, but a few from Old Navy for knocking around the house).  I have also noticed that J Crew is poorer quality lately.  The modal t-shirts that I wear to work last for years.  Boden has better quality than J Crew by a mile; I haven't tried Everlane.

J Crew is still good for jeans for the price, if they fit you well.  I have a couple of pairs of J Brand jeans that I wear for fancier occasions like date night, but those are very expensive.  On the other side of things, I have Old Navy jeans that are only good for weekends and if I'm not going to see anyone except my family.  :)


CommonCents

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2015, 12:28:17 PM »
I use Ann Taylor for my work clothes.  Sign up for the emails, stalk the sales and get them on at least double if not triple sale.  (I think "sale" price these days is basically full price.)

justajane

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2015, 12:30:09 PM »
My Land's End clothing are hit or miss, but overall the T-shirts last longer than Target, Old Navy, or Kohls.

In general the best way to make your clothes last longer is to (mostly) air dry them. With jeans, I give them a 20 minute or so head start and then air dry them. With t-shirts, they go straight on a hanger and dry within a few hours.

acorn

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2015, 02:29:03 PM »
I'm interested in this as well - what is quality? Something that doesn't pill, lose its color, or lose its shape easily? Part of it is the clothing itself, but a fairly important second part is the maintenance and care of it.

For the clothing itself, fabric and construction are probably the most important. Check for loose threads, pull at the seams to make sure the clothing is not going to fall apart or become misshapen with just one tug. With day to day wear, the biggest problem is usually pilling (at least that's the problem for me). That usually has to do with the fabric, certain synthetics like polyester and acrylic pill like crazy, avoid those and it should be fine. Go for a walk around thrift stores and see which fabrics look to be in decent shape. (I like thick cotton that's tightly woven, less likely to pill.)

A bigger part is going to be the maintenance and care of clothing. It's probably a good idea to check the care labels to see how you're supposed to wash them. Turning clothes inside out, washing on cold/low heat, air-drying clothes away from direct sunlight as justajane mentioned would reduce pilling and fading. Reduce the frequency of washing your clothes, unless they're your gym clothes or you sweat bucketloads everyday, shirts should be fine for 2-3 wears. Different clothings should be handled differently too. For knits and sweaters, dry flat to prevent them from stretching out. Regular T-shirts should be folded or put into/taken out of hangers from the bottom, or you'll end up stretching out the neck everytime you force a hanger in and out  from the top. Button-down shirts should be hung up with the top button fastened to keep the collars crisp.

TL;DR: Choose the right fabrics. Increase the number of wears before washing. Wash carefully. Air dry. Store appropriately. And clothes should last longer -> i.e. not pill as much, not fade, not lose its shape.

That said, I don't have any particular brands that I favor, and would be interested to hear recommendations from others too.

The Beacon

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2015, 02:46:40 PM »
We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 small kids. We have a washer, no dryer. We have been using a drying rack for the past 3 years. It works more than perfectly for us. Not only does it save energy,  but also it saves space in my laundry room.

Lis

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2015, 03:23:42 PM »
Hit up your local Goodwills or thrift stores. When I was interviewing for jobs, I picked up a brand new (tags still on) Ann Taylor suit for $13. I think it cost more to have the pants tailored.

I also picked up a... ahem, certain luxury item from VS (brand new, tags still on) that retailed $55... for $5. The cashier couldn't even believe it. I should have sold it on ebay or something, but I put it to use elsewhere ;)

Michread

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2015, 03:31:43 PM »
Lands End and LLBean have always wore well for me.  Both are best bought on sale in a "store" vs the catalog if you live near Sears or LLBean stores.  Otherwise wait for the 20% discounts a few times/yr

Villanelle

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2015, 03:34:41 PM »
Unless you are hitting up clearance racks (not just sale, but hard core clearance), always shop online.  Nearly every retailers (and most department stores) have frequent coupon codes.  Never buy without a code.  On top of that, sign up for an ebates account.  Chas back for doing nothing except clicking through from their site to the shopping site, or using their installed notification that pops up every time you go to an eligible website.  Cash back ranges from 2-10+ percent  They send a check ~ quarterly.

Yes, the isn't specific brands, but it is advice for getting many of the mentioned brands (Banana, Boden, Lands End etc. for cheaper.)  Banana has 40% off codes onlin e several times a year.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2015, 03:41:44 PM »
Schoola, an online site where people donate used clothes and the proceeds benefit schools, now has women's clothes. Frugal Girl is one of the bloggers where I think you can get a coupon code.

My very favorite camisole is from White House Black Market, but the sweaters I bought there are just OK. My Loft camisoles are also pretty nice.

zinethstache

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2015, 04:28:32 PM »
I was VERY involved with horses (think clothing must be bomb proof) and I learned which brands were durable, and fashionable in that crowd... then I went to ebay. A goodwill would not likely have the specific type of items I wanted as they are very specialized. I have $100 jeans that I got for $12, so I am happy. Ebay searches are your friend!

I will never forget wearing a thinner pair of stretchy jeans to the barn, and someone wanted me to get on their 16.3 hand warm blood because it was misbehaving... HAH, those jeans ripped so fast while I was getting on (sans mounting block) I was more careful what I wore after that... they were favorite work jeans...

For tops I buy plain garments used in the embellishing industry as I  decorate using rhinestones and vinyl. I've found the brand bella+canvas brand to be a nice longer lasting quality of t-shirt. I use them as layers. I think even online retail prices are reasonable compared to LL Bean and J Crew brands. They have longer tees, misses and junior sizing.

zinnie

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2015, 04:34:06 PM »
Following this. All the places that used to have nice lasting clothes no longer do.

Dee18

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2015, 06:41:17 PM »
I do not think you can consistently rely on a brand name for quality.  Check the fabric yourself.  Is it as heavy as you want? Is it 100%cotton (which wears best for a tshirt, but will take the longest to dry)? Is the stitching even? I sometimes wad up a corner of the garment for a second and then let it go to judge the wrinkle factor.

Equally important, does it fit well? Even when you bend over or sit down? (I rarely buy online because  I have found the fit is not consistent, even within the same brand.) Is the color one you will regularly wear?

For fleece, I have found Northface and Columbia to wear well.  For 3/4 sleeve shirts I love 3Dots. For dresses I find Jones New York and Ralph Lauren make washable ones that wear well and are readily available at discount and outlet stores. 

Gradually I have gotten rid of all the clothes I did not really love.  I can fit all my clothes in a 3 foot wide closet and 2 chests of drawers.  I do not have "out of season" clothes stored elsewhere.  I wash clothes as Acorn suggests and hang dry everything on plastic hangers.  Most important, I only buy things I really love.  Life is much simpler with a pared down wardrobe.

LadyStache

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2015, 06:41:47 PM »
I really like Ann Taylor, White House Black Market, and Banana Republic. The regular prices look super high, but if you shop sales and/or outlets, it's not terrible. Their clothes always fit really well so I don't have to spend time/money on tailoring, and they seem to hold up well too.

merula

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2015, 07:47:58 PM »
I'm a big fan of thrift shops. I look for brands that have fit well in the past (Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Ann Klein, Limited and Ralph Lauren, for me), and don't buy unless I love it and it fits perfectly. I check everything over, but I will still buy things with flaws if it's within my skills to fix.

The thrift shop method doesn't work as well when you're looking for something specific, which is where Twice comes in. It's like an online consignment shop, but you can sort by size and brand. Slightly more expensive than thrift stores, but I've been very happy with it. For pants specifically, they list waist, hip and inseam measurements, which are much more reliable than the tag size. One drawback is their return system. You can get free returns if you accept the refund in store credit, otherwise there's a $5 return fee. I get why they do it, but I'm not happy about it.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 01:08:04 PM by merula »

NCGal

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2015, 08:17:38 PM »
Land's End guarantees their clothing. You can return something years after you bought it for any reason. I know people who have done this for clothing that deteriorated after a few years. They even mention this on their website. I seem to recall Lord and Taylor allowing returns, anytime for items that don't last. I'm not sure if it applies to any brand, or just their own. There's nothing about it on their website.

justajane

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2015, 06:11:10 AM »
LL Bean is obviously similar to Land's End, and I have read that their quality has stayed more constant than Land's End. I just don't have personal experience with their clothing. I've only bought their back packs for my kids. One perk with LL Bean is that they have free shipping all the time, and IIRC free returns.

rubybeth

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2015, 06:48:22 AM »
Haven't seen Eddie Bauer mentioned. DH and I each have a couple things from there that have held up well for years. I haven't tried Boden but they have really cute stuff that seems high quality. I've been really pleasantly surprised with the quality of jeans from American Eagle--I know it appears to be mainly a store for young people, but I've bought jeans and shorts there for years, and love it.

I try to buy mostly quality, classic pieces, that won't go out of style (or I just don't care if they do, like the wool cardigans that I have in 4 colors from the Gap) and then refresh my wardrobe with cheap pieces when they get holes or yellowed (t-shirts from Target or Old Navy).  I mainly wear khakis or corduroy to work, no suits required.

MandalayVA

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2015, 08:13:32 AM »
LL Bean is obviously similar to Land's End, and I have read that their quality has stayed more constant than Land's End. I just don't have personal experience with their clothing. I've only bought their back packs for my kids. One perk with LL Bean is that they have free shipping all the time, and IIRC free returns.

Land's End went downhill when it was bought out by Sears, but I have stuff I bought from it before Sears and it still holds up.  LL Bean has very good and consistent quality.  You may pay upfront, but you'll get decades of use out of it.

lise

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2015, 08:47:19 AM »
Many "Casual" brands have been mentioned (LL Bean, Lands End, Edie Bauer).

What about "dressier", more tailored, brands?
Lots of complaining about the quality going downhill of brands like Banana Republic, J Crew, etc.  Any brands that are still good? 

I agree Ann Taylor is good quality but it's a little but conservative for my taste so I don't have many pieces from there, but what I do have, has lasted well.

And adding to the T-shirt discussion, I have some Uniqlo Supima cotton ones that have lasted well.

tmac

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2015, 09:21:04 AM »
It occurred to me that, because I always look at thrift shops first, I'm dodging the issue of whether the clothing will hold up. My problem, specifically, is jeans. Almost always, if they're long enough at the store, they'll shrink once I get them home. But if I get them at the Goodwill, if they fit at the store, they'll continue to fit once they're washed. And if they've held up well enough to still look good at the store, chances are they'll hold up for a while yet for me.

thurston howell iv

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2015, 10:53:49 AM »
Not sure wtf a "capsule wardrobe" is but there are several forums dedicated to high quality clothes and style (not fashion)- Mostly men's stuff that I've seen but most of the brands make garments for both sexes.  If you want to know what is considered good quality, you will find dissertations on the certain weave of a fabric that makes it superior to another and so on. Some of these folks get excessive.

gbbi_977

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2015, 11:02:12 AM »
Not sure wtf a "capsule wardrobe" is but there are several forums dedicated to high quality clothes and style (not fashion)- Mostly men's stuff that I've seen but most of the brands make garments for both sexes.  If you want to know what is considered good quality, you will find dissertations on the certain weave of a fabric that makes it superior to another and so on. Some of these folks get excessive.

Thanks for the tip - if there are any in particular that you've found trustworthy, it would be great if you have time to post some links.

In terms of 'wtf a capsule wardrobe is' :) well, kind of like with minimalism, frugality, money mustaches, different people have different definitions...but what I was referring to was the idea of owning fewer pieces, all of which can be mixed and matched (which means choosing a color palette, and classic/timeless pieces rather than trendy statement pieces)...and for me, part of the convenience of owning fewer pieces is that they should be high quality, and not require replacing very often.

Kind of an antidote to the 'fast fashion' movement that we're seeing.

thurston howell iv

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2015, 11:13:14 AM »
I see.

Well there's a couple of forums (askandyaboutclothes & thestyleforum)  I like but they are totally NOT mustachian. Not in the least. However, they do have insight on lots of the details some of us less stylistically inclined guys would normally catch. They recommend books on proper dress. The go on about what cut of collar to get to insure proportion to your face, what colors to wear in relation to your skin tone, etc... (Yes, it's a bit much but interesting nevertheless)

To give you an idea, I always liked "nice" clothes but I only went by brands because I had no idea. Turns out I was wasting money on junk. I even discovered thrift stores. (I normally wouldn't have bothered) but, I have learned from my mistakes.

Now, I dress better than most of the people I work with (and they earn more than me). And my expenses are minimal (like under $40 head to toe for a complete ensemble-usually less, way less). DW is in on this too. She gets Anne Taylor and Talbot (I hear these are quality but I am not sure 100%)   Maybe I'm deviating because I like to have lots of options and if they're inexpensive, why not?  Hell, I even got my dad to try some thrifted stuff. Now, when he goes to Court to work as an interpreter, he is better dressed than 95% of the attorneys.

I just read an article on msn about a girl who went and dropped a few grand on black pants, and white blouses. That's her whole wardrobe. She wears the same exact thing to work every day in order to take the stress out of figuring out what to wear. She claimed it made her life easier.

http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a10441/why-i-wear-the-same-thing-to-work-everday/









« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 11:17:27 AM by thurston howell iv »

justajane

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2015, 11:13:39 AM »
Not sure wtf a "capsule wardrobe" is but there are several forums dedicated to high quality clothes and style (not fashion)- Mostly men's stuff that I've seen but most of the brands make garments for both sexes.  If you want to know what is considered good quality, you will find dissertations on the certain weave of a fabric that makes it superior to another and so on. Some of these folks get excessive.

From wikipedia, "Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called "Wardrobe" in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that will not go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. This idea was popularised by American designer Donna Karan, who, in 1985, released an influential capsule collection of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces."

lise

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2015, 11:24:50 AM »

I just read an article on msn about a girl who went and dropped a few grand on black pants, and white blouses. That's her whole wardrobe. She wears the same exact thing to work every day in order to take the stress out of figuring out what to wear. She claimed it made her life easier.

http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a10441/why-i-wear-the-same-thing-to-work-everday/

Basically she has a very minimalist capsule wardrobe!  Great read - thanks for sharing!


pbkmaine

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2015, 02:01:21 PM »
Being (mostly) retired, I get most of my clothes from thrift shops. So much so that it now kills me to spend more than $5.00 on an item of clothing. But when I was working full time, I would go into stores like Nordstrom's to try on the expensive stuff, then see if I could duplicate it on Ebay, at outlet malls, or during those seasonal sales at department stores. Ebay can be very useful, especially for skirts and blazers. (I have to try slacks on). The good Ebay sellers list the measurements of their clothes, so measure ones you have that fit well and look good, and search for those measurements. I have had great luck finding pencil skirts on Ebay. LLBean has been mentioned, and if you are near their outlet stores, they have periodic great sales. Brooks Brothers outlets have great sales as well. I once had two medium gray BB pants suits, one from the outlet and one from the Wall Street store. The outlet suit cost less than half as much as the Wall Street one and looked just as good.

tarheeldan

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2015, 02:02:47 PM »
For men, http://dappered.com/ is the thriftier flavor of styleforum and askandyaboutclothes

zinnie

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #29 on: April 14, 2015, 02:10:53 PM »

I just read an article on msn about a girl who went and dropped a few grand on black pants, and white blouses. That's her whole wardrobe. She wears the same exact thing to work every day in order to take the stress out of figuring out what to wear. She claimed it made her life easier.

http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a10441/why-i-wear-the-same-thing-to-work-everday/
Basically she has a very minimalist capsule wardrobe!  Great read - thanks for sharing!




This is the greatest thing ever. I love this idea. I had a college professor who did this and I thought he was crazy, but this would seriously reduce a huge amount of time and effort spent on work clothing. I love this quote from her: "To state the obvious, a work uniform is not an original idea. There's a group of people that have embraced this way of dressing for years—they call it a suit. For men, it's a very common approach, even mandatory in most professions." :)


Villanelle

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2015, 03:15:06 PM »
Even if you don't want to go as far as all black trousers and all white blouses, the idea of a uniform can make things very easy.  For some people, that might be wife-legged trousers (in various neutrals, so gray, black, navy, tan, brown, etc.), sleeveless shells (solids and prints), and a cardigan.  If you stick with a limited color pallete (so maybe grays, navy, blues, and greens), everything basically goes with everything else.  The light blue cardi goes with the black pants and the blue and green shell.  The gray pants work just as well, or you can wear them with a solid green shell and a Navy cardi.  No matter how tempting that red cardigan is, or the orange and yellow shell, you don't buy them because while they work with some parts of your wardrobe, they don't work with *every* or even most part.

Someone else might wear skirts and blazers over blouses.  Or wash and wear (jersey, ponte, etc.) dresses with cardis and blazers over them. 

Regardless of the choice, having a uniform can really simplify things, but it doesn't have to mean you look identical each day. You know that when you grab any pant, any cardi, and any shell, they work.  So there's no thought involved, and yet it doesn't look like you are wearing the same outfit every day.

zinnie

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2015, 05:12:11 PM »
Even if you don't want to go as far as all black trousers and all white blouses, the idea of a uniform can make things very easy.  For some people, that might be wife-legged trousers (in various neutrals, so gray, black, navy, tan, brown, etc.), sleeveless shells (solids and prints), and a cardigan.  If you stick with a limited color pallete (so maybe grays, navy, blues, and greens), everything basically goes with everything else.  The light blue cardi goes with the black pants and the blue and green shell.  The gray pants work just as well, or you can wear them with a solid green shell and a Navy cardi.  No matter how tempting that red cardigan is, or the orange and yellow shell, you don't buy them because while they work with some parts of your wardrobe, they don't work with *every* or even most part.

Someone else might wear skirts and blazers over blouses.  Or wash and wear (jersey, ponte, etc.) dresses with cardis and blazers over them. 

Regardless of the choice, having a uniform can really simplify things, but it doesn't have to mean you look identical each day. You know that when you grab any pant, any cardi, and any shell, they work.  So there's no thought involved, and yet it doesn't look like you are wearing the same outfit every day.

All good ideas. I personally need to move towards more of this. I want to reduce the number of items of clothing I own, but it is hard when certain things only go with certain other things. Thanks for the ideas!

MMMaybe

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2015, 06:31:07 PM »
Now I know this won't be practical for everyone but living in Asia, I have been getting clothes made a lot. What I have learnt from the experience (and will help me choose clothes more wisely in the future), is to look at the quality/type of the material. I look at the material in shops now and find a wide range of quality, even in the same price range.

Certain materials like synthetic jersey hold up well and I have had tops last for several years without fading or piling. The added bonus is that it doesn't need ironing. This time, I have also tried a silk jersey fabric and I will see how that holds up.

I tend to avoid cotton now even though it would work better in this climate because it doesn't last. I go for linen-synthetic mixes for summer trousers and they have worked very well.

I have tended to buy higher end, non synthetic materials for tailor made coats and winter trousers because I think they wear better and don't attract lint. Again, these are lasting for years.

The other point is to get clothes altered. I find that by making sure that my clothes fit well, it tends to make them look more expensive. I have fixed items that were languishing in the back of my closet and put them into frequent rotation. I have had jeans altered to make the legs look more streamlined and a lot of people wouldn't believe they were Gap.

I have really learnt a lot and hope that will make me a more careful shopper going forward :)

Firefly

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #33 on: April 14, 2015, 09:01:01 PM »
I used t dismiss Lands End and LL Bean as casual, frumpy brands. However, lately I am becoming a fan. Lands End has tons of cute dresses that can be dressed up or down for many occasions and are reasonably priced. LL Bean has Signature line that tends to be a little more upscale and trendy. I bought some great Italian wool lined pants from them on sale that I wore for several years and they don't show any signs of wear. Boden has some good classic pieces that seem to be of a good quality. I have 3 of their dresses and so far have no complains.

cynthia1848

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2015, 10:27:27 AM »
I work in a formal office and my suits are from J Crew and Theory.  I also have one suit from Reiss and a few blazers from Nordstrom brand and Banana Republic.  I have a few work pants from J Crew that are the "Eaton boy" (no longer made).  Curvier ladies may like Talbots and Brooks Brothers better - those brands don't fit me well.

For blouses that are fancier for work, I like Boden; I also have a few Theory blouses (bought on sale) and a few silk ones picked up at various places from Joie, Boss, etc.  I have sweaters from J Crew and Bloomingdale's cashmere brand.

I find LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, and Lands End too frumpy and casual for my workplace.  They fit more boxy, less tailored, and too short (for the shirts and pants) and have shorter sleeves than I need (I am fairly tall).

yoga mama

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2015, 01:13:57 PM »
I haven't seen Patagonia mentioned.  They are pretty pricey and you definitely will not get the desirable items on sale as readily as some of the other stores mentioned.  But they are a reputable company with a good philosophy and to me, this is worth spending some extra money on.  I have a skirt and a couple of dresses from them that have held up extremely well, travel well, and can be dressed up or are also good for a more casual look.  They have a sale 2-3x per year (specifically the winter stuff gets marked down around the end of January, don't know the timing of the others) where the current season gets marked down to 30-50% off. 

I've had a goal of minimizing my wardrobe for a while and have had some success in purging but still struggle when deciding what to wear.  I love the concrete suggestions here and once I'm done being pregnant (currently stuck digging through an accumulation of maternity hand-me-downs) I am going to re-evaluate my wardrobe!  Thanks to all! 

RunHappy

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2015, 01:24:09 PM »
I use Ann Taylor and WHBM for some work clothes.  I look for shapes and colors that can be worn from season to season.

I also hit Ross, TJ Max, and Marshalls for other items like sheath dresses, cardigans, and tops.  I found a Tahari dress 3 years ago at Marshalls for $70.  I can't even begin to imagine how many times I have worn it, but it is still in brand new condition and looks like I just bought it.


RapmasterD

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2015, 07:08:37 PM »
For the guy...get on the Banana email list and when they have a "40% off one full priced item" that's your potential buying signal.

Embok

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #38 on: April 16, 2015, 12:30:45 AM »
As a woman lawyer, I have to dress professionally, and have adopted a capsule wardrobe:  black slacks or skirt, black or white or off white blouse or top, and a nice jacket or blazer, with some accessories.   The tops and slacks can be found many places; but I spend a fair amount for the jackets, as they both set the tone and I wear them over and over. 

My current favorites are jackets from Lafayette 148, preferably bought online at the end of the season or with a promo code;  they are appropriate for my work but not dowdy.  They are investments up front, but ultimately good value in terms of dollars per wearing.

Rural

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2015, 04:00:15 PM »
For work, I own exactly 4 pairs of pants: two black and two khaki, all of them men's Dockers no iron, no fade. Every shirt I own goes with all of them. On the rare week when I have to go in all five days I repeat a pair of pants or I wear jeans.


I wear the same pair of black shoes every day, currently Dr Shoal's tennis shoes with a ton of arch support and added gel insert because I have plantar fasciitis. I replace the shoes every summer, so this may change, but whatever I'll replace them with will be black. I do have a back up dressy-looking pair from Dansko with enough arch support. I keep them around in case I have to go to a funeral or present at a national meeting, but so far I haven't had to wear them this year.



No one's ever noticed the pants or the shoes because they're all so neutral.


It's not a full capsule wardrobe, just half of one, but it has made everything so incredibly much easier. The most I ever have to do is pick out a shirt. If it's a fancy day, giving a presentation or something, I choose one of the pairs of black pants and a Jones New York blouse and throw a jacket on top. Done.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2015, 04:39:37 PM »
For mens stuff, Costco! Their mens dress shirts are awesome. They often have good business casual pants too. I just started to hit up the "brand name" racks at the thrift store. Instead of paying $6 for a $25 item maybe I'll pay $15 or $20 for a $100 - $200 item. The quality difference is often well worth it. I just found a new BCBG wrap dress that way!

I'm going to +1 Patagonia. Their clothing is amazing in longevity. The oldest pieces in my closet are Patagonia and worn often. Still nearly new In appearance even if they are 10 years old.

fresh

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2015, 07:03:16 PM »
Nobody has mentioned buying higher end clothing of smaller labels.  You can typically find some interesting things at Neiman Marcus and even Anthropolgie.

You might want to check out these brands:

Three Dots
Bailey 44
Dolan (I've found some good sale pieces that look professional at Anthropologie)
Amanda Uprichard

Between these you should be able to find a mixture of dressier pieces to basics and on the plus side it almost all if not all made in the usa!


lovesasa

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #42 on: April 20, 2015, 08:51:22 AM »
Another vote for Ann Taylor. I've been incredibly pleased with how my blouses have held up. I also have a nice blazer that has held up well, but I don't need it much so I don't know how it would hold up to heavier wear. I bought most of them at outlet stores on serious clearance or black friday.

One thing to remember with outlet stores is that nowadays the clothing sold at them is generally produced specifically for the outlet stores, meaning it's a different line and sometimes lower quality than the regular line.

That being said, I've been really pleased with my Outlet Ann Taylor garb with one exception - a pencil skirt I bought dropped the hem after the second wear. That being said, the fabric is still high quality and the cut flatters me well. Fixing a fallen hem isn't that difficult. Everything else has held up well, even after regular wear for 2-3 years.

Buying Ann Taylor Outlet on end of summer clearance ended up costing me the same as similar blouses from Ross, and I feel that the fabric is sturdier and holds up better, although I am generally more comfortable bringing the "cheaper" (ok same price) Ross stuff when I travel.

sequim

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #43 on: April 20, 2015, 12:03:39 PM »
Have no idea what a capsule wardrobe is - did you mean casual?  At first I thought it meant clothes for someone living in a "capsule" or very small city space!  Finally figured out it must be "casual" wear.

I had the same issues noting the quality of clothes was going downhill.  I ordered a few things from various online retailers (I hate shopping in stores) and had very mixed results.  Finally I discovered LL Bean and after having bought a few things I knew what size to get.  I only buy things that get very high reviews as I've been burned on quality before - just because it's LL Bean doesn't mean they don't also carry crap merchandise.  Also, once you become a customer, they frequently send you coupons to use.  Plus, I've also been able to get credit card points and get an award card I could use with them.  Shopping their sales is good and you usually get the news through catalogs very quickly when you're a regular customer.

In the past I've found many clothing items from thrift stores are there for a reason (shrinkage, spots, torn) but finding new things with tags on sounds great!  You just have to really examine clothes you get from the thrift stores.  Once we "semi-retire" in May, I'll be haunting the thrift stores..


lise

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #44 on: April 20, 2015, 12:10:03 PM »
No Sequim - someone posted the Wikipedia link about what capsule is if you read further up the thread.

I grew up hearing it being called "mix and match", but capsule seems to be the new word for it.

Elliot

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #45 on: April 20, 2015, 12:11:20 PM »
I don't thrift often because I'm an unusual size, but I do consider my purchases carefully.

Probably 80% of our closets are ll bean, land's end, and land's end. Sometimes I get the darts of the buttondowns altered to fit my waist better, which is just a couple dollars. DH likes Old Navy's khakis, and I have particular brand I like for silk shirts. Our sweaters have become all Woolovers (a UK brand, available through their own site and through amazon) since they offer very reasonable prices for natural fiber sweaters.

For shoes, DH likes Clark's brand for casual shoes, Nike for athletic shoes, and the name of the dress shoe brand he likes escapes me. I have found that pour la victoire makes some of my favorite shoes and are impeccable quality and comfort. They aren't a mustachian price, but if you are vigilant you can fine them for 70% off retail price.

Fodder

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #46 on: April 20, 2015, 12:26:55 PM »
I have a surprisingly good track record from stores like Gap, Old Navy, Joe Fresh and Forever21.  It just really depends on the garment - a lot of the stuff is thin and cheap and crappy, but some of the solid basics are great quality and last really well.  You need to look for the nicer finishing details, thicker, more durable fabrics, lining, etc., but lovely items can be found.

I also have some of my long-wearing staples from Silver Jeans (LOVE the Suki Surplus jeans), and for Canadians, both Rickis and RW&Co have really nice items that can be purchased very reasonably when on sale.

sequim

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #47 on: April 20, 2015, 12:32:24 PM »
I wish I liked shopping in an actual retail store (don't have the same dread in the thrift stores) as then I could tell the quality of an item.  Online you just can't tell when something turns out to be such thin fabric that you can see through it! 

kimmarg

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #48 on: April 20, 2015, 12:38:23 PM »
LL Bean is obviously similar to Land's End, and I have read that their quality has stayed more constant than Land's End. I just don't have personal experience with their clothing. I've only bought their back packs for my kids. One perk with LL Bean is that they have free shipping all the time, and IIRC free returns.

LLbean is generally really good for durability. I have had very few items that actually wore out. (Still wearing the fleece vest I was given in middle school!)  only downside is I personally don't always like the style. Clarence rack and outlet store is the way to go, but I realize not everyone lives 30 min from Freeport. Personally I always swing through the outlet when I'm over there. I usually have a few items I'm waiting for at my 'buy' price.

lise

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Re: High quality clothing for capsule wardrobe
« Reply #49 on: April 29, 2015, 06:48:38 AM »
Here's a link to a post I read today about the benefits of a capsule wardrobe:

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/wear-one/