Creating a capsule wardrobe is minimalist, takes the faff out of deciding what to wear and is sustainable.
A capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few, key essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion. These items coordinate well and can be worn in a number of different ways to cater for multiple occasions. A typical capsule wardrobe includes separates as well as a few seasonal pieces such as a winter coat and a transitional coat/jacket that takes you through the change in weather.
Fashion has been hitting the headlines recently not for its inspirational designs but for its damaging effects on the environment. Building a capsule wardrobe can help you reduce your environmental impact, create little to no waste, and have clothes that are cross-seasonal, meaning they can be worn throughout the year until they are literally on their last thread, so to speak.
So then how do you go from a wardrobe full of clothes, most of which you probably don’t wear or have never worn, to create a capsule wardrobe? Here are some tips on how to streamline your existing wardrobe so you can begin the process of cultivating a capsule wardrobe.
First things first – let’s begin by color coding. Take out the clothes in your wardrobe that are the following colors – black, blue, grey and white. Create a TO KEEP pile and put these clothes there.
These are classic colors as far as the color spectrum goes with clothing. They also mix and match well, giving you various options to create a multitude of outfits for different occasions.
Anyone can create a capsule wardrobe, but that’s not to say that that capsule wardrobe is necessarily sustainable. If you want to create a capsule wardrobe that’s sustainable or environmentally friendly, strip your existing wardrobe right down to the fabrics that you wear. Look at the clothes that you have and check whether they are made from natural fibers – cotton, silks, and wools – or not.
If you have a wardrobe full of plastic and synthetic fibers – polyesters and nylons – this is your chance to let go of them. A major cause of concern with the clothes that are being sent to landfill is the amount that is made of synthetic fibers, which are not biodegradable.
By creating a capsule wardrobe of clothes that are made from natural materials, even once you’ve worn them to death, they will eventually biodegrade or return back to nature as it were.
You may find that some or all of the clothes in your TO KEEP pile of neutral colors is not made from natural materials. Don’t fret that if you “discard all non-natural materials, you won’t have any clothes to wear”. Instead, see it in a positive light – as this is an opportunity to acquire some new clothes that you will wear and will wear often while being more mindful of the environment.
It may even be that you have clothes made from natural materials that you just don’t wear, that is not your style or are not suitable for your capsule collection. That too is ok, put them in your TO GO pile.
Building a capsule wardrobe that takes you through the seasons is all about layering. For instance, if you have a short-sleeved cotton dress, you can team that in the winter by wearing it with a long-sleeved crew neck T-shirt, or a turtle neck. Or you could throw on a chunky knit cardigan, in a classic black or grey color, over the dress.
Go through your wardrobe and set aside any cardigans, turtle necks, long-sleeve T-shirts or crew neck jumpers that are in classic colors – black, navy blue or grey – and/or in natural materials. Put these in your TO KEEP pile.
Do you have a pile of shoes you’ve never worn or like the look of, but won’t dare walk out in them? If yes, then now comes the time to let go of them once and for all. Work your way through your shoe collection. If you’ve not worn them in the last year, then put them in the TO GO pile. If there’s a pair of classic shoes that you have worn on special occasions, then keep those but do not use the excuse that “these I may wear on a special occasion” to hoard the rest. Let them go and if needs be, allow room in your wardrobe for a new pair.
Once you are able to let go of pairs of shoes or boots, then sift out the remaining shoes by material. You may want to keep leather or canvas shoes, but those made from non-natural materials such as synthetic leather can go in your TO GO pile.
Now you have made room in your closet to allow for a capsule collection. You can put your TO GO pile in bags. You may or may not have several bags of clothes at this point. Donate your old clothes to charity, thrift stores or give them away to friends or family. In the next post, I will show you how to begin creating your capsule collection.
About the Author
Rosa Medea is a writer specializing in sustainable lifestyle, green living, natural health and wellbeing. She also appreciates good tunes, making cocktails, and discovering new places to walk in nature.