How to Thrift a Capsule Wardrobe

July 10, 2020 6 min read

Why a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a smaller wardrobe made up of versatile, high quality pieces that can easily be styled together multiple ways. Most of us only wear about 20% of our clothing, while the other 80% takes up a lot of space and makes it harder to choose an outfit in the morning. You know those pieces that are well made, fit you perfectly, and you’re excited to wear? Your capsule wardrobe should be made up entirely of those items.

There are so many benefits to utilizing a capsule wardrobe, both for you and the planet. You’ll save time planning outfits, save space in your closet, and reduce your carbon footprint. Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. By purchasing versatile pieces and doing more with less, you can feel good knowing you’re lessening your carbon footprint.

Shopping secondhand can be a great way to build a sustainable capsule wardrobe, it’s good for your wallet and the planet. The key to a good capsule wardrobe is being highly selective about the clothing you own, so we put together some tips to help you find those perfect pieces, whether your thrifting in-person or online.


Types of Pieces in a Capsule Wardrobe



Basics are a staple in any capsule wardrobe. You want to be very selective when choosing your basics because you will wear them a ton and you want to feel great in them. Just because they’re basic doesn’t mean they're boring, trust us, when you find the perfect white t-shirt you’ll be excited to wear it.


Versatile pieces

We’re big fans of versatile pieces at Encircled (as you may have noticed). Multiway items make perfect capsule wardrobe pieces. For example, our Evolve Top can be worn 8 different ways, allowing you to replace multiple styles in your wardrobe with just one top. A piece doesn’t have to be multiway to be versatile though, clothing that can be easily dressed up or down for multiple occasions are a great choice as well.


Pieces you love

There are no strict rules when it comes to building a capsule wardrobe, so if you find a statement piece that you feel amazing in and will wear a lot, go with it. Your capsule wardrobe should bring you joy and work with your lifestyle, so everyone’s wardrobe will look different.


Tips to thrift your capsule wardrobe

Before starting any capsule wardrobe, you’ll want to do a closet audit. A closet audit is a process where you go through every piece of clothing you own, and decide which pieces you’ll keep, or donate/sell. Your keep pile should only include the clothing you truly enjoy wearing and want in your ideal wardrobe. As you can imagine, this will probably take you a while so we recommend setting a day or two aside for this step.

Once you’ve taken stock of what you’re keeping, you’ll be able to see where the gaps exist and make a list of what you’re looking to thrift!

Shopping in person 

Making a list of what you’re looking for is so important when thrifting. Thrift stores aren’t typically the most organized places to shop so having a clear idea of what you’re looking for will help keep you on track.

We recommend wearing some of your most worn pieces when shopping so you can start planning outfits and see how a garment fits with your style. If an item doesn’t pair well with your everyday style, it’s not the best capsule wardrobe pick.

Shopping online

Similar to going to a thrift store, the volume of clothing in online second hand shops can be overwhelming. However, in addition to working from your list, online second hand shops typically allow you to filter what you’re looking for. For example, on Poshmark you can search by brand, type of item, and specify your size, colour, price range and more.

One of the most important tips for shopping online is to know your measurements. This is the best way to figure out whether an item will fit, as sizing standards vary so much between brands. Once you know your measurements, you can always ask sellers for specific measurements if they’re not already listed.

General tips

Remember, you can alter a piece if everything about it is perfect except for the fit. Every item in your capsule wardrobe should fit you like a glove, which may be hard to find when shopping second hand. So having a basic understanding of what types of alterations can easily be done at your local tailor will help you decide whether to purchase a piece that needs altering.

Another important note is to always check the tags on a garment. Certain fabrics will wear better and last longer than others, so knowing what to look for fabric wise is essential. For example, Modal and bamboo are both plant based fabrics that will drape beautifully and stand the test of time. Whereas polyester or acrylic won’t feel great against your skin, or last long (especially if they’re already second hand). You’ll want to look for care instructions as well, most of us don’t want to be going to the dry cleaners every other week so be sure to check these before you buy. Remember, if you’re shopping online, you can always message the seller for this information, don’t be afraid to ask questions!


Online thrifting options


Poshmark is our staff pick for online thrifting. The Poshmark app and website are very user friendly whether you’re buying or selling, and with around 50 million users there’s lots of selection.

We wanted to make it easier for you to buy and sell gently used Encircled pieces so we launched a new Facebook group, The Encircled Community! Using the Poshmark app or website, you’ll be able to post your listing to our Facebook group, and if you’re looking for gently used Encircled pieces this is the place to be!

We’ll also be sharing styling tips, behind the scenes content, and outfit inspo. We invite you to share your style, outfits, opinions, and questions. This is a positive space where everyone is welcomed, accepted and embraced for who they are.




Depop is very similar to Poshmark, however the platform is more popular for shopping trendy, statement pieces.



thredUP is the largest online consignment store, allowing people to send in their new or gently worn clothing to be sold on their platform. Meaning your purchase will be through thredUP, rather than an individual seller.


These are just a few of the more common online marketplaces for second hand clothing. If you have any recommendations for online second hand stores, feel free to leave them in the comments section!

A Note on Thrifting and Privilege

We want to acknowledge that there is a difference between choosing and having to buy second hand. If you’re shopping second hand for any other reason than it’s the only option, you should be aware of your privilege and keep it in mind when shopping. As thrifting has risen in popularity over the years, some second hand stores have increased their prices to match the increased demand created by the people who can afford to pay a little more. This price increase can make thrifting too costly for the people who rely on shopping secondhand.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t thrift if you don’t have to, buying second hand is a great way to shop sustainably and reduce the amount of clothing going into landfill. However, what you can do is ensure you’re only buying what you need, this should be easy if you have your capsule wardrobe shopping list. And if you can afford to, support sustainable/ethical fashion brands working to change the industry, while also pushing fast fashion brands to do better.



Looking for some Capsule Wardrobe inspo? Checkout the posts below!


 The Essential Work Capsule Wardrobe

A Canadian-Made Summer Capsule Wardrobe



What's the best thing you've every found at a thrift store? Let us know in the comments!


Travel Essentials. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is Made in Canada, out of sustainable, and eco friendly materials.

Travel Essentials. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.Travel Essentials. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.Travel Essentials. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.Travel Essentials. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.


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