White button-down shirt with skinny jeans

September means back to school and, for a lot of people, back to work. It also signals the start of fall and with that, fall wardrobe shopping. I know, I know, everyone and their mother (especially fashion bloggers, like me) loses their mind over fall fashion – it means layering and ankle booties and moto jackets, etc.! Truth be told, previously other than for fall fashion, I’ve never gotten excited for autumn. I’ve explained in a prior blog post exactly why. And this year, even the fall wardrobe shopping isn’t getting me giddy like it used to because it just means spending more money and my attitude about that has changed!

Ever since I met with a Meridian Credit Union financial advisor earlier this year and wrote this blog post on saving money, I’ve been making a concerted effort to cut back on my spending and to find ways to stretch my hard-earned cash. So, when I learned about the 2.5% interest GIC that Meridian is offering for 90 days, and was asked to participate in their spending challenge, I was all ears!

Let me explain.

What Is the Meridian Spending Challenge?

Picture of Meridian credit union with logo

Meridian challenged me to build a fall wardrobe with only $100, including tax. Say what?! Yes, only $100 to build an entire fall wardrobe! Sounds impossible, right? Naturally, as the competitive person I am, I accepted. I thought this would be a great challenge and would push me to emphasize my fall saving, rather than spending.

So, with a little online research and a lot of ingenuity, I actually figured out a way to build an entire fall wardrobe for only $100 (well, technically $100.20). Spoiler alert: I went over by 20 cents, but I’m still considering this a win!

What Can You Buy for $100?

Okay, so the trick to making this work is to build a fall wardrobe capsule. A capsule consists of a few core pieces that you can create multiple outfits with. From these essentials, you can mix and match within the capsule, or mix and match with your existing wardrobe and accessories!

Here is the fall wardrobe capsule I built with only $100:

Collage of my fall wardrobe capsule for $100

Capsule details: 

  1. Denim jacket – Forever 21//$25 plus tax = $28.25
  2. Tank top – Forever 21//$2.90 plus tax = $3.27
  3. Crew neck sweater – H&M//$14.99 plus tax = $16.94
  4. Skinny jeans – Forever 21//$10.90 plus tax = $12.31
  5. Grey pencil skirt – Forever 21//$9.90 plus tax = $11.19
  6. Classic white cotton shirt – H&M//$24.99 plus tax = $28.24

Grand Total: $100.20

And here is a step-by-step breakdown of how I built my fall wardrobe capsule for only $100.

How Exactly To Build a Fall Wardrobe for $100

  1. Choose Your Basics

First, figure out what key pieces you are going to want in your wardrobe capsule. These must be wardrobe staples/basics that will last you throughout the entire season and even transcend seasons. Trendy pieces will fall by the wayside by next season. Look for pieces that can be styled multiple ways. Skinny jeans? A bomber or denim jacket? A basic tee?

Look at how I was able to style this classic white button-down shirt two ways:

and this grey pencil skirt in 4 different ways:


  1. Start Online

If I didn’t do #1 and attempted to walk into stores without any prior research, I surely wouldn’t have been able to find the best deals (hello $10.90 jeans from Forever 21!)! I would’ve been distracted by all the new arrivals (stores love to stick all the new arrivals in the front and those tiny old sales rack wayyyy in the back)!

So, once you’ve put together a list of your wardrobe staples, go online to find them! You’ll usually benefit from cheaper online deals and a larger inventory (since they usually ship from a retailer’s warehouse). Just make sure you factor in your shipping costs, if any, and try to purchase from retailers that allow you to return items in-store if something doesn’t work out.

In my case, I didn’t have enough time to wait for items to be shipped to me. But I was able to do all my research online and write down item numbers, so I was prepared when I went in-store to find the items!

  1. Comparison Shop

Keep a few tabs open on your browser to your favourite retailers’ websites and do a side-by-side comparison of your staples. On each website, you can do a search for the item and then sort from the lowest price to highest. This is how I knew that a crew neck sweater from H&M was cheaper than an almost identical one at Forever 21 AND how I knew there was a $25 denim jacket at Forever 21!

Here are some more pictures of how I styled my fall wardrobe capsule.

Grey pencil skirt with crew neck sweater Adding a denim jacket and booties to change the look Some white converse and denim jacket to make the look more sporty

So, that’s pretty much it! If you’ve paid attention to the above photos, you’ll see that I created at least 6 different looks using the same 6 wardrobe capsule pieces!

I had so much fun with this spending challenge – it felt like I was in a scavenger hunt or something! And if I, as a fashion blogger, can do it, so can you!!! By spending less, you can save more, and invest in things like Meridian’s 2.5% GIC.

Photography by: Love Over Lenses Photography

*This post was done in partnership with Meridian Credit Union. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own.