The 80/20 Wardrobe Solution Chic Women Swear By

If we’ve learned one thing from the queries and comments we hear from you, dear reader, it’s that closet dissatisfaction is practically universal. Whether you feel as if you don’t have anything to wear, you don’t know how to put the items together that you do own, or you’re on too tight of a budget to have a complete wardrobe, there’s a common feeling of frustration that we want to help address.

The overarching solution is to approach your closet as a curator—which includes thinking about what you want your future wardrobe to look like, considering which items you really need, and defining your personal style—but these concepts can often feel vague, and you may be unsure where to start. What’s a girl to do? You may want to consider the 80/20 wardrobe plan. It’s a shopping-and-budget solution that lets you take control of your closet by thoughtfully crafting a wardrobe that is satisfying and inspiring.

Interested? Scroll down to find out more!

What It Is:

The 80/20 wardrobe plan allocates your seasonal shopping budget into two distinct portions. Eighty percent of your funds will go toward key pieces that will enrich your current wardrobe. These pieces should be quality items that you spend a fair amount of time researching to find the perfect brand, material, and price. They should be strategic additions that either replace and upgrade worn items or fill necessary wardrobe gaps. The other 20% of your seasonal budget is not designated for specific, pre-planned items but is for spontaneous finds, experimental trends, and anything that strikes your fancy in the moment.

As for what your clothing budget should be, check out this rule of thumb.

Why Women Swear by It:

​The 80/20 wardrobe plan has been hailed as the ideal compromise between carefully planning out purchases and allowing for a little wiggle room for pick-me-up items. Other wardrobe plans, like the five-piece French wardrobe, can feel a bit strict for some women, and the 80/20 plan’s realistic rules allow for a bit more freedom. You’ll be consciously working toward a more curated and satisfying closet with 80% of your budget and simultaneously won’t feel restricted when you want to buy that ridiculously cute furry key chain or whatever captivating item you find on a whim.

The purchases we would make on the 80/20 plan with a $500 budget:

A simple yet polished skirt that's also budget-friendly. 

These earrings make for a great seasonal piece, since they’ll go with everything. 

Even when shopping the trends, look for pieces that feel like strong additions to your wardrobe.

A multipurpose day-to-night dress is a must-buy.

Sunglasses are a great trend piece to buy on a budget.

It’s easy to dress up or down a simple button-down with eye-catching details like a tie.

Shopping for jeans is all about fit. We love the high-waisted look of these from Topshop.

A printed midi dress works for the office or a weekend off.

A pair of statement shoes make for a trend piece worthy of your closet.

Want more budgeting advice? Here's the shopping mistake costing you major money!

Opening Image: Style du Monde

This post has been updated by Aemilia Madden.