By: Shannon Reilly
Social media apps often encourage fast fashion by speeding up trend cycles, with new must-haves popping up as fast as a video or post can go viral. I personally cannot count the number of times I have shopped for something completely unnecessary just because I saw it on my feed. But some creators have shared ways that they have broken out of the loop: the capsule wardrobe, which is a collection of classic clothing pieces that work together to create a full wardrobe, negate the need to buy more clothes every season or year, and reduce consumption.
But what is it really?
The capsule wardrobe idea turns away from buying bold, trendy pieces, and toward practical and basic clothing. As the name implies, it strives to create a wardrobe that is small, thoughtful, and long-lasting. It also can be great for people that never know what to wear as its minimalism simplifies getting dressed. Truly sustainable fashion is often expensive, but the most sustainable option is always what you already own. This is a great philosophy to adopt for people that want to be sustainable and stick to their budget.
A number of bloggers and companies have recently released their guides to a capsule wardrobe; but, the general consensus is that a good capsule wardrobe includes 25-50 pieces of clothing that can be mixed and matched to create outfits for about any occasion. Think jeans and trousers, solid colored shirts and blouses, a neutral colored dress, and any other pieces that you reach for weekly. You can also narrow your wardrobe by only keeping and buying clothes that fit within a certain color palette, so that you can be sure your clothes will always match together.
Where do I start?
In your own wardrobe! Narrow down your clothes to just the items you reach for often, and sell or give away the rest. This is always the hardest part for me, because clothes can provoke sentimental feelings and memories, but I have never missed or thought of a piece of clothing once it is gone.
Where can I shop for the rest?
Thrift stores are a great place for sweaters, blouses, and even jeans. A bonus is that clothes at thrift stores have already stood the test of time. Keep an eye out for high-quality brands and there will be more than you would expect. However, if you are looking for something new, many clothing brands have shifted to focusing on high-quality basics. There are a range of options depending on your budget, but brands like H&M, Abercrombie, Madewell, Girlfriend Collective, Everlane and Aritzia have basic and classic styles that will still look great in a few years. GreenHawks has also highlighted environmentally friendly brands worth checking out, so it is easier to shop for sustainable shoes or thrifted clothes online.
Overall, a capsule wardrobe can be a great philosophy to save money and be mindful about what you buy and wear. Just because it is basic, does not mean it has to lack invention and creativity. For example, how fun is the idea that you can have a “signature” color palette and collection? It is just another way that thinking sustainably is not a sacrifice, but a way of adding value and meaning to things in your life.