17 Jun

Capsule Wardrobes: How to Build a Sustainable Closet for Life

Have you ever pulled open the doors of your wardrobe, only to find yourself muttering (or groaning loudly) that you have nothing to wear? Me too. At this point it can be tempting to rush out and buy something new, fun, and affordable. But if it’s this kind of quick-fix buying that leads to the ‘nothing to wear’ dilemma in the first place, then we’re just running in circles.

Cue the ‘capsule wardrobe.’ The term was coined by British fashion icon Susie Faux in the 1970s. It refers to a collection of 30-40 practical and versatile pieces of clothing put together to create an entire wardrobe for a season. While the concept isn’t new, in the age of fast fashion it represents a shift in thinking about how we wear clothes which could inspire important change in our consumption habits.

Why we love it, and why you’ll love it too

In our busy lives, many of us reach the point of decision fatigue early on in our day. By narrowing your wardrobe down to thoughtfully selected essentials you’re saving yourself multiple decisions every day. Alongside the everyday stresses, the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world, so changing your clothing habits is not just a lifestyle fix, but a planet fix too. Thinking mindfully about how our fashion purchases might improve our daily lives fosters an emphasis on quality over quantity, reducing waste and saving us money in the long run.

Where to begin?

Building a capsule wardrobe is about choosing a logical selection of clothing that you not only love to wear, but that is practical and versatile. To begin the process you may need to pull everything out of your closet and take stock. Some questions you can ask yourself about each item are:

  • Have I worn it in the last year?
  • Does it fit my day-to-day lifestyle?
  • Does it go with my other clothing?
  • Do I LOVE it?

These will help you make decisions about what should stay and what can go. The content of your capsule wardrobe will vary depending on the season and your individual style. But importantly, you want to have a balance of tops, bottoms, layers, and accessories. Neutral colours that pair well are also key.

There are numerous fashionistas and bloggers who swear by the capsule wardrobe or similar minimalist wardrobe systems. Here are some who inspire us:

Daria Andronescu with Wonder Wardrobe

For the last two years, capsule wardrobe queen Daria Andronescu has been taking newbie ethical fashionistas by the digital hand and helping them on their way to sustainable style. Her Wonder Wardrobe YouTube channel boasts more than 40k subscribers, who are treated with regular tips, news and fashion finds.

Project 333

Courtney Carver’s diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis moved her to “create a life with time and space for what really matters.” After feeling the benefits of minimalist living, she started the popular movement Project 333, which encourages people to create a wardrobe of thirty-three items every three months.

Ecomono

Australian fashion blogger Sam Leigh documents her journey from “fast fashion hoarder to slow fashion minimalist” on Ecomono. You can shop ethical brands and pick up tips on how to build a minimalist wardrobe based on Australian seasons.

Verena Erin with My Green Closet

Verena is a dedicated minimalist, environmentalist and capsule-ist. We love her YouTube channel because it’s instructive and gives great visual inspo, showing us how many gorgeous outfits can be created with just 30-ish items of clothing.

Here is her Capsule Wardrobe Essentials video:

Let’s do it!

If your wardrobe is full of bright colours and patterns or statement pieces that just won’t work with many other pieces, you may need to stock up on some more versatile items. Here are some of our favourites rated ‘Great’ or ‘Good’ on the Good On You app that will act as perfect staples for the beginner’s capsule wardrobe.

VETTA

Rated: Good

The Apron Jumpsuit – Ships internationally

VETTA’s capsule wardrobe essentials are made in the USA from eco-friendly fabrics.

See the rating.

Armedangels

Rated: Great

Lyocell Blouse – Ships internationally

Affordable, ethical and on-trend. Germany’s Armedangels get a ‘Great’ rating across the board from us.  The brand covers all the basics for women, men and kids. Armedangels quality and long-lasting pieces are made from eco-friendly and certified materials, like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton. The brand also adopted the Fair Wear Foundation Code of Conduct to protect its workers abroad.

See the rating.

Shop Armedangels.

People Tree

Rated: Great

Sasha Trousers – Ships internationally

A day at the office, a night out, or a relaxed lunch… There’s almost nothing you couldn’t tackle in these finely cut black pants. On top of this, People Tree are world leaders and innovators in the ethical fashion movement.

See the rating.

Shop People Tree.

Nobody Denim

Rated: Good

Francoise Jacket – Ships internationally

Nobody Denim have a longstanding commitment to ethical manufacturing principles and offer a unique vision of responsible design.

See the rating.

Shop Nobody Denim.

While going full capsule may not be everyone’s cup of tea, taking even a few steps towards adopting a more minimalist wardrobe will help foster a mindful approach to fashion. A slow fashion mindset is not only beneficial for our stress levels and for our bank accounts, it’s something that can help change the world.

Editor's note: Feature image via Unsplash. Images via brands mentioned. Good On You has big plans for ethical fashion in 2019! To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offers code or affiliate links.

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