In our last post we started exploring the idea of a sustainable wardrobe. We believe choosing wisely and investing in quality is the essence of style sustainability. As we discussed further we also realised it's the start of that elusive ideal: the quintessential capsule wardrobe.
Capsule wardrobes are all about picking the right pieces and not wasting money on fast fashion to follow trends that come and go. Rather than buying into the latest look, it's about identifying those wardrobe staples that will go with just about anything. It's about carefully curating clothes that are timeless and simple enough to look great no matter what you wear them with. A bit like our plain white t-shirts!
The concept isn't anything new though, and was first introduced by Susie Faux back in the 1970’s, as a way for stylish women to build a wardrobe that could be adapted for any occasion. It is about items that will form the foundation of a fully functioning wardrobe. Pieces that will go with anything and be returned to season after season.
A capsule wardrobe is built around key pieces that form the core of your wardrobe and can be mixed and matched to make different outfits. So the rules of building a capsule wardrobe, is knowing how the pieces will work together, and what elements match where. That means considering colours, shapes, fabrics.. well, everything! There’s almost a science to it.
Most articles we encountered advised you to try to form a basic skeleton along the lines of:
3-4 jackets (of varied styles to suit different seasons: blazer, casual etc)
3 cardigans / jumpers
3 blouses / shirts
3 dresses (at least one plain)
2 pairs of jeans
2 pairs of trousers (plain, neutral colour)
and a small selection of tops.
Working on our own wardrobes, we've found some golden rules that are worth sticking to:
1. Try to set a limit.
Think about how many pieces you buy a year and half it! You really don’t need as much as you think. Use that saved budget on a small number of really key items to build your wardrobe. An interesting challenge is to try and only buy 12 items of clothing a year - that way it's just one per month!
2. Never buy on impulse.
Always ask yourself if you really need something new. Could you just bring freshness by mixing things in a different way. Ask yourself what else will it work with?
3. Start with a wardrobe clear out.
First of all rid yourself of anything that you’ve not worn in the last 12 months. Ok, so now you can actually see your wardrobe, you can use the capsule principle to work through what items go together. Now, can you pair down even further? It's only once you've had a proper clean out that you'll know what gaps you have and what you ‘actually’ need.
4. Invest in quality.
When you are buying a new item use some of that budget you’ve saved by not impulse purchasing to invest in quality and apply some ethical thinking. If possible buy locally, research ethical designers and always ask who made it so you know you’re buying responsibly!
5. Do you really need to buy new at all?
Think vintage or get creative and upcycle some of your own old pieces. Learn to look after what you’ve got. Take all the clothes you’re disposing of and have a swishing party or if you’re looking for a dress for a special occasion just rent it! You can rent anything from bags to jeans!
6. Love it.
Your wardrobe says a lot about you, your values and your image. By thinking a little about it the chances are you're buying things that suit you and you love wearing and that’s a great thing for your confidence.
Although it may take a while, once you’ve organised your capsule pieces you're well on the way to building a truly sustainable wardrobe! Having a capsule wardrobe can lead to you feeling more confident about the way that you dress and look. By buying classic, timeless designs, your clothes will never go out of style. And you'll be saving yourself money in the long run.