Save. Spend. Splurge.

A Seasonal Minimalist Wardrobe

Inspired by Frugal City Girl, who did a post on her 20 items for winter!

Note: she lives in London England, where the weather is much milder than oh let’s say Montreal Canada where temperatures can dip well below freezing into the -30C / -22F degrees.

I realized upon reading her post, that I do something similar because I ALSO wear basically the same things each season due to temperature restrictions (too hot, too cold).

Unlike BF,  I don’t wear the same things year-round, nor do I care to.

Barack Obama only wears grey or blue suits apparently, thinks the same as BF (BOYS!) and only wears 5 shirts and 2 pairs of pants and has 5 pairs of exactly the same colour and brand of socks.

In order to manage the challenge of being president of the United States, Barack Obama hits the gym at 7:30 on the dot every morning, and wears only blue or grey suits in order to cut down on non-vital decisions. “You need to focus your decision-making energy,” he told Vanity Fair. “You need to routinize yourself.”

Seriously Obama!? Way to make me feel like I’m wasting my decision-making energy!!!


So I thought a great exercise would be to go through what I wear for each season… until I realized that I could basically do one major wardrobe for the year, and then another one just for summer.

I don’t need ALL my clothes (that, I knew), but I want to keep them.

If I was forced, here’s what my wardrobe could look like…


My 20-piece Autumn and Winter Wardrobe by saverspender

I really don’t deviate from this wardrobe during the 3 seasons…

The tops and shoes may change, but not by a lot.

When it’s cold, I don’t wear skirts or dresses because it is NOT doable in -30 C (-22 F) weather.


Summer 20-piece Minimalist Wardrobe by saverspender

Notice a trend here? Dresses, skirts, tops, ballet flats, belts, accessories.

That’s it.

It’s what I love to wear in the summer and I make the most of it.

How would you fare with a 20-piece wardrobe for each season?


  • Susana

    What you choose and what you use is basically the weather you have. Buenos Aires is much like San Francisco, Very cold but it doesn’t snow.
    I’m making a neutral mid season wardrobe, pretty large, with things I can layer should the weather get colder or peel off when it becomes hotter. So my heavier and lighter weather things are nonexistant really, a couple of shorts, sleeveless tees, lightweight dresses, or big bulky parkas. All I wear are those 40 pieces that take care of most situations and include the ocassional date and interview or night event, and for the most part get used almost 9 months a year.
    At least that’s the weather here, and I’m glad I’ve put it together. I could use a few more pieces and a dash of color but I still haven’t decided when or where.
    Hope it helps!

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Of course 🙂 You are perfectly right!!!

      Have you thought about just wearing colours that appeal to you? I am in love with jewel tones, so I tend to gravitate towards those the most and first of all.

  • Tania

    Oh, I love your wardrobe capsules, very cute. I am really loving that black coat but don’t need one since I’m a Hawaii girl. I get what Obama is saying. I used to love fashion but have been moving to a black/grey/striped minimal wardrobe where I don’t need to think at all each day.

    I definitely think I could do a twenty piece. I pretty much wear the same twenty pieces over and over right now but I am honestly struggling with letting go of the other stuff. Baby steps…

  • The Asian Pear

    I have nothing to say except I love these posts… <3

  • Sheryl @ Cdn Dream at 45

    I think I unintentionally do this, although I’ve kinda ended up with 2 mini wardrobes instead.

    For work, I have 3 pairs of dress pants and about 10 tops, most go with each other.

    Non work clothes, 2 pairs of jeans, 5 casual tops, 1 pair of workout pants. To dress up the jeans I will “borrow” from my work wardbrobe.

    In the summer I have some dresses to add to the mix, but that is pretty much it.

    Notice I didn’t mention the shoes…lol

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Shoes are difficult. I am picky without being picky, but I do need a basic shoe wardrobe of fabric shoes, flats (ballets are my favourite), boots, winter boots, rain boots… sometimes I wish we just had one weather here.

  • MelD

    Hm, I do love a capsule wardrobe, the smaller the better (six items or less, anyone?!) and find it very liberating when I do practice it – usually for a few weeks at a time, a few pieces that mix and match nicely and then I get bored and switch some of them out for a different colourway or feel, depending on the month/season, even if the basic style is the same. I like going with the seasons if I can.
    This looks a bit one-sided to me – though I do appreciate climate differences. It’s not always temperature, either. I had a warm, handknit cardigan I couldn’t wear in Switzerland no matter how cold it got (efficient heating systems) but it was perfect in July when the wind came in off the Atlantic in Brittany! I still wear a skirt in winter – a lined, wool one and warm tights (or leggings) and silk undies, boots and a longer coat. In a city setting, I’m not outside for long or else walking, which keeps me warm. On the other hand, much as I love dresses and own plenty, I still need pants and shorts in the summer because I’m not always doing city things – your dresses would look a bit silly on our boat or when I’m on the floor with my grandchildren!
    Great exercise, though – I’m always perusing capsule wardrobes online for good ideas and multifunctional designs.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I like capsule wardrobes too. It is how I think when I travel.

      Good point on the skirts and running around. At this point in my life, I don’t have that to think of, but these capsules would change once I have kids and grand kids.

      My go-to outfit most times is jeans, a top, jacket/sweater and flats. 🙂

  • SarahN

    Oh my this makes me want to do a post on my wardrobe! I have multiples of the same (like long sleeved cotton stretch tops, for under everything in winter and tanks for under the long sleeved tees, but also in summer a bit too). I have 4 pairs of jeans too. AND I wear a uniform to work :p And I don’t have the -30C (only really 5-35 C here). Hmmm… I could have less, but I wouldn’t cause I would need to wash more, and couldn’t mix it up as much as my brain needs.

    but on shoes, I could do with one pair of summer ballet flats

  • eemusings

    ZOMG, I don’t think I could ever live in Canada. Hate the fickle weather and rain/humidity in Auckland but at least it’s relatively warm.

    I think I could handle 20 items (and will probably have fewer than that from next month while on the road!) My work ‘uniform’ is basically skirt, top, cardigan and flats. Weekends, swap out the skirt for jeans. I used to work with a woman who literally only ever wore black pants and cardigans (all same style but in about 7 different colours) to work.

  • Chinwe

    I love all of your items! I recently returned from Paris and was inspired by a book I read there (Jennife Scott’s Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris, apropos non?) to eliminate 60% of my wardrobe. I’m not quite down to 20 total pieces for the whole season (including shoes, mon dieu), but have 15 items for work, 15 dresses/occassionwear pieces and another 20 blended itemsfor “casualwear”. While I’m not quite where I want to be (need more quality item, but need to eliminate my $80K in debt first :-/) I continue to be insipired by your lifestyle choices and this amazing blog. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, you’re always a bright spot in my day!

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      You are too sweet! Thank you. I can only hope to continue to live up to your expectations, be patient please, when I don’t. 🙂

      20 pieces would be fine for me but I just like to wear variety too much, but people who hate thinking about what to wear should find their uniform 🙂

  • Revanche

    I think I mostly live in jeans plus tops (sweaters & jackets & scarves when cold) but I wonder if I could really pare down to 20 items per season… it’s just that it feels like we only have warm/hot (3-5 weeks of the year, scattered), then cold or colder. 🙂

    But I definitely have too much clothing right now and am planning to cut things out. Come curate my wardrobe??

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I could live in basic outfits if I had to. Don’t wanna but could do it.

      I just like variety too much to just live with a few items, unless I’m forced by way of traveling or other more practical means.

      Consider it a date!!

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