Filling the gaps in my capsule wardrobe (for less)

Filling the gaps in my capsule wardrobe (for less)

This post is sponsored by thredUP. All wardrobe angst is my own. 

Like so many of you, one of my goals for the year to come is to get my closet in order. I keep my wardrobe deliberately small, which means every piece needs to pull its weight.

I’m great at culling clothes that don’t work for me, but as someone who doesn’t love to shop, I’m not always great at replacing them. My work-from-home uniform of easy-to-wear, neutral-heavy basics is in pretty good shape thanks to a successful mall expedition and a visit to thredUP, but lately I’ve noticed the gaps in my wardrobe. Specifically, whenever the occasion calls for something fancier than jeans, I’m in trouble.

I wanted to find a few pieces that would mix and match with my existing wardrobe of jeans and sweaters, elevating my look when the occasion required: important meetings, evening concerts, church. To fill in the gaps, I turned to thredUP, the largest online thrift store where millions of women refresh their closets. They make secondhand shopping easy, convenient, and affordable, carrying on trend, like-new fashion from top brands and designers for up to 90% off. (Plus I have a coupon code for you that get you an even better deal on your first purchase.)

I wanted to find dressier, work-appropriate pieces that didn’t feel corporate. I’ve had success with Anthropologie pieces in the past, and thredUP had a great selection of Anthro brands like Maeve, elevenses, Odille, and Sparrow—a jacket, a blazer, a few skirts, a pretty silk blouse. I also used thredUP’s easy search tools to search for a few specific items I’ve been missing in my wardrobe.

I’m a huge fan of uniform dressing: I tend to wear the same outfits over and over again. A typical work-at-home outfit for this time of year looks like this: neutral tee, cozy cardigan, great jeans, flats or boots. I love this outfit, but don’t want to wear it to an important meeting. (Or date night.)

I thought a black blazer would be a nice addition to my basic wardrobe. (I’ve been meaning to buy one for years, but the good ones are pricey!) I hopped on thredUP, searched my favorite brands, and settled on this gorgeous velvet blazer from Theory. I love the cut of Theory blazers, but never wanted to shell out $400 for one in the past. But on thredUP, this like-new beauty was $35.99 instead of $385.

These two outfits—the cardigan vs the blazer—look totally different, but it took me about a minute to change from the first to the second. I kept the white tee and jeans, swapping the cozy cardigan for the black blazer, the flats for heels, and added a pendant.

And while black jeans are still jeans, nice black jeans look dressier. My old black jeans were stretched out and faded, so I searched thredUP for a replacement pair. These are J Brand, and I found them on thredUP for $37.99, way less than the $196 retail price.

I used to wear skirts all the time, but had so completely fallen out of the habit I didn’t have a single one in my closet. I’ve been wanting to experiment with skirts again. thredUP’s low prices bolstered my confidence: it’s much easier to take a risk when the financial commitment is low. I found this beautiful Anthropologie skirt—with tags!—for just $12.99, instead of the $89 it would have cost me at Anthro. This basic is so easy to wear with many of the tops and sweaters I’d usually wear with jeans.

And a note about those heels: I always search for shoes when I’m shopping thredUP, because they get thousands of new items in every day. I was shocked at the great selection they had in my size—I wear 11, so good shoes are hard to find. But thredUP had a large selection, including designer brands like Jimmy Choos and Manalo Blahniks—the brands I wouldn’t dream of spending $600 (or more!) on but am admittedly curious about—in my size.

These patent heels are Brian Atwood, and they retail for a whopping $650. On  thredUP, they were $98.99—not a bargain basement, but an excellent value if you love designer heels. (This is probably a good time to mention that if you don’t love your thredUP purchase, returns are easy.)

A great coat pulls an outfit together—even if your “outfit” is the white tee and jeans you’ve been wearing all day at home. I’ve wanted to buy a classic brown trench for ages, but the good ones are so darn expensive, so I was thrilled to find this one from the Anthropologie brand elevenses for far less than the $149 sticker price. This one is good as new, only cost $26.99, and fills a major gap in my cool-weather wardrobe.

I’m wearing the trench with Citizens of Humanity jeans that I scored on thredUP for $17.99. This brand retails for more like $200, so I was thrilled with that price.

A quick note about designer denim. Whenever I’m shopping thredUP, I always take a minute to search for jeans. It’s quick and easy if you know what to do, and the savings can be astonishing.

I use the sort features on thredUP to search for my favorite brands—usually Paige, Madewell, J Brand, and Citizens—in my size. I pay close attention to the measurements thredUP provides on every pair—the inseam, rise, and waist—and choose accordingly. This gave me the confidence to pass up a beautiful pair of Citizens jeans for a jawdropping $11.99, because the rise was only 8 inches—at least an inch too low for my taste. (If you don’t know your measurements, no worries: just measure your favorite pair of jeans, and you’re all set.)

Want to try it yourself? thredUP is offering Modern Mrs. Darcy readers a special discount! The first 100 readers to use the code ANNE30 get an extra 30% off their first thredUP order. (Applies to new U.S. customers only. Redeemable online only. Excludes items $150 and above.)

capsule wardrobe

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23 comments | Comment


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  1. Amy says:

    Just FYI Thredup just changed their return policies. You can only receive one free return shipping label every 30 days. They’re trying to consolidate and streamline the amount of shipping – which makes sense. But they didn’t really tell anyone. It’s not a deal breaker, just something to take into consideration when you are ordering. Otherwise, it’s $8.99 to return.

  2. Judy says:

    Love ThredUp! Unlike you I have a rather full closet, thanks to ThredUp. I prefer having lots of choices based on the occasion (including several cruises where I needed something a bit dressy). ThredUp’s prices make that not only possible but, when I want to change out items, my still very good clothes can be donated to charity allowing others to enjoy their top quality. It’s a win-win for me! One of your many excellent recommendations?

  3. Janna says:

    Now you’ve done it again Anne! 🙂 I LOVE my Madewell jeans thanks to you and now you’ve given me two new brands to choose from–in the last year I’ve refused to buy any jeans no matter how great they look–if the rise isn’t at least nine inches they don’t go in my cart. I forget about Thredup but not any more after paying retail for a pair of Madewell jeans a couple weeks ago!

  4. Janean says:

    My parents traveled a lot for business and my mom always packed a basic black dress, pearls and modest heals. She always said, “You never know when you might get a nice invitation or when someone’s going to die!” Hilarious, but kind of brilliant. She was always ready for a cocktail party or a funeral. Whenever I look at my seriously lacking closest I think, “Please, nobody die.”

  5. Amanda says:

    I am great at culling clothes…but also hate to shop. ThredUp has a good plus size selection, too, which is awesome!

    Can I ask about the brown leather bag you are carrying in the trench coat photo? I love it!

  6. Shawna says:

    “Dressier, work appropriate clothes that don’t feel corporate” is exactly what I am looking for. Love your outfits. We are moving across the country and I am changing professions, so I’m going to purge every single thing I don’t love. BTW, we are moving to Louisville, so I really hope to run into you at Trader Joe’s one day!!! Unlikely, I know, but great fun if if happened.

  7. Libby says:

    “All wardrobe angst is my own.” Ugh. I hear this! Hahaha! ThredUp is one of my favorite sources for shoes and fancier (than leggings and tunics) clothes because I don’t wear them *all the time* so I don’t want to spend a fortune but I still want quality pieces.

  8. Kay says:

    Oh wow! If only we had this in England, postage abroad costs silly amounts so the savings wouldn’t be enough, and then there would be import taxes etc on top too. I love your velvet blazer. x

  9. Aimee says:

    I know nothing about ThredUp (other than from this post) but I just have to say, the pictures of you are adorable. It’s fun to see your face and not just your words!

  10. Kristen says:

    You are definitely channelling Kathleen Kelly in the skirt!

    I have had luck with coats and jeans (yet) on ThredUp but I found my favorite church dress and a couple other things I adore.

  11. Renee P. says:

    Size 11 shoes?! How tall are you, Anne?? I just shopped ThredUP this week and I said to myself “Why don’t I check here more often?!” Heads up to others – they often give discount codes (~15% off) on their app, just make sure you allow notifications.

  12. Kimberly says:

    I LOVE thredUP. My mother is a little squicked by my newfound love for secondhand, but yeah, I’ll HAPPILY wear someone else’s castoff designer dress for $24. I’m waiting for my order now – two pair of jean styles I don’t normally wear. One is a flare and one is a wide leg trouser. Two pair of jeans for $24, and if I don’t like them, they’ll become two pair of jean shorts for $24.

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