Fashion, University Life

Capsule Wardrobe on a Student Budget

Written by Tamanna Kaur

With a new semester of University, there’s no doubt that thousands of students are currently making plans on budgeting their lifestyles over the next few months. As a final year student, I’ve seen the financial stress first-hand, especially when it comes to clothing. Many students make the mistake of solely focussing on clubbing outfits, and are left wondering why they never have anything to wear every morning. Others may take a more methodical approach when trying to curate the perfect wardrobe, but often end up over-spending.

So, I felt it was crucial to compile the ultimate list on building a capsule wardrobe. That way, you can look polished in every situation, without dipping too far into that precious student loan.


STEP 1: Invest in neutral basics

These will be your most worn pieces, so it is vital that they’re comfortable while staying true to your own personal style.

• A cropped white tee: The most important item in your wardrobe because of its versatility. Wear it with sweatpants and a puffer jacket on those chilly 9am lecture mornings, or pair it with a vibrant mini skirt, blazer and statement jewellery for a night out on the town!

£8, ASOS

• The perfect pair of straight cut jeans: Very on trend right now and won’t be going out of style anytime soon! Wear them to a study session, lunch with a friend, date night or club!

£24.99, H&M

 ● The LBD: Might take you a hot minute to find the right one, but once you’ve found your favourite little black dress, you’ll always have a go-to fashion piece that you can dress up or down, for any occasion!

£6 (reduced from £25), Monki

● A simple button down: An essential for potential job interviews, but can also be layered casually on a sunny day out.

£12.99 H&M

Step 2: Layering & Keeping warm

The KEY to elevating an outfit is layering. Plus, who wouldn’t want to look chic while staying warm and cozy in the winter months?! 

● A neutral blazer: These tend to be slightly pricier than the other garments featured in this guide, but it’s an item that will stay with you forever! A neutral, oversized blazer can be thrown on top of any outfit.

£35.00, Missguided

● Cozy cable-knit sweater: you’ll be reaching for this every morning when you wish you could stay in bed but have an early morning class to rush to. This one from H&M is beaded with pearls!

£26.00 (reduced from £34.99), H&M

● A cropped puffer jacket: Puffers are ESSENTIAL for university, but purchasing a cropped one means you can still show off your outfit. Not to mention, cropped jackets look great with clubbing dresses.

£55, Weekday

Step 3: Statement pieces and accent colours

Since most of your wardrobe will consist of a neutral colour scheme, picking 3 vibrant colours to buy additional pieces in will make space for more outfits and the option to make a statement without splurging. (Tip: spend time thinking about your accent colour choice, it’s important they complement your skin tone, fit every season and make you feel confident!)

 ● Wide leg trousers: My favourite wardrobe necessity by far! Perfect for nights out and causal plans with friends. 

£23.40 (reduced from £39.00) Nastygal

 ● Day to night top: Perfect for going on a night out straight after studying in a café all day.

£12,00 (reduced from £20) Natsygal

Step 4: You only need 3 pairs of shoes for uni!

● Trainers: These will be your most worn pair of pumps! I recommend getting a second cheaper pair of trainers that you don’t mind getting ruined because no-one wears heels on student nights out.

£38, Reebok

● Ankle boots: When you want to be dressier but still walk around comfortably, ankle boots are a must!

£16.00 (reduced from £24.99) H&M

The items listed in this article are all primary pieces which are versatile for every occasion you will encounter at university and can be mixed and matched to create endless outfits every season due to their timeless nature. So you invest once, and never have to worry about a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear ever again!


Tamanna Kaur is a final year Marketing student and self-employed content creator with a passion for style and social media marketing. She spends most of her time working with fashion brands and taking photos for her Instagram blog. You can find her here: @tamkaur

Feature image sourced from Pinterest