Ethical Fashion

How to Build a Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe in Just 5 Easy Steps

How to Build a Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe in Just 5 Simple Steps
Written by Claire Hastings

New trends in the fashion world - and all other industries for that matter - keep consumers on the shopping treadmill. There is always something new to buy that usually ends up being similar to the things you already own.

Plus, even when you buy something new and it makes you momentarily happy, you inevitably come down from your shopping 'high' and are faced with these questions:

  • What do you do with the old alternatives? Do you get rid of them? Do you sell or donate them?
  • When will you get the chance to wear this newly purchased item? Three weeks from now at the wedding you're attending?
  • Do you even have space for another item in your wardrobe?
  • Did you really need another white tee when you have six others just sitting there in your closet?

So mindless spending is the latest consumer trend; where people are wasting not only their hard-earned money but natural resources as well, all in an effort to keep up with the Joneses.

Related Post: How Advertising Has Contributed to Wasteful Consumption

How to Build a Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe

But we're not against shopping per se. Just unconscious shopping.

We think you can still exist in our consumer world without sacrificing style, comfort, and functionality of your wardrobe, or your ethical values - without being a wasteful shopper.

It all boils down to developing and curating a sustainable wardrobe full of timeless pieces that speak of your personal style and puts a stop to your thoughtless consumer mindset. 

Ready to leave the old consumer you? Here's how to become a new and improved version of yourself and get started with a capsule wardrobe...

1. Say goodbye to the stuff you don't like or wear.

If you’re searching the web for ideas on building a capsule wardrobe and have landed on this page, it’s clear that you feel overwhelmed by the amount of clothes that you own.

If you feel stressed out every time you need to rummage through the piles of garments that you don’t even know you have, just to get to your favourite pieces, consider this a red flag.

You need to declutter. Pronto.

If you’re not sure where to start, just take a look at garments that no longer fit you or that simply don’t match your style.

How to Build a Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe in Just 5 Easy Steps

This is the main point – your capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be plain. You can still focus on cultivating your own personal style - just make sure to sell, donate, repurpose or gift anything that’s not really 'you'.

And, let’s face it, most seasonal trends do not correspond to your image and are often disposable. So you might have thought that bright pink floral number was a good buy, but you've only worn it a handful of times you purchased it last Spring and you haven't worn it since. So let it go. That and the rest of the items that you don't like and don't need.

Related Post: How to Conquer Your Closet Madness

2. Choose quality over quantity.

If you want to adopt a minimalist, smart-consumer lifestyle, you also need to adjust your mindset to this frugal and planet-saving philosophy. Essentially, this means putting quality over quantity.

After all, isn’t it better to love and enjoy every single garment in your wardrobe instead of having a bunch of them that you kinda like, but not really?

Quality doesn't always mean expensive either. What’s a quality garment to you is all that matters, but it's also important to consider how an item is developed and made. No matter how much you love something, if it's not well-made to begin with and starts to fall apart after a few washes, then it's not 'quality.'

How to Build a Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe - Choose quality over quantity

So whether you shop at your favourite online boutique or a local second-hand shop as long as you stay true to your own style and buy the highest quality sustainable garment you can afford, you can't go too wrong.

Choose items that can match with your other garments or that can be worn separately. Of course, make sure that they show your style well and that you feel perfectly comfortable rocking them.

Related Post: Struggles of Curating a Cruelty-Free & Vegan Wardrobe

3. Learn to nurture your own style.

It’s time you realize that no one can put a label on your personal style. This means that whatever you find trendy and timeless is the right way to go. So, if you like bold and colourful patterns, feel free to hang on to those if you know you're going to get lots of wear out of those items.

If you actually like neutral shades and classic cuts, own it! There's nothing beige about liking beige.

In case you’re left with different shades of black after you declutter, don't worry  - let your inner goth show! What’s more, this is a great opportunity to pinpoint your favourite garment cuts and designs.

If you really like the way long flowy dresses look on you, you’ll know what to look for once the one you have is worn out. The same goes for your jackets, pants, tops, and skirts.

How to Build a Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe - Choose pieces that suit your style

4. Choose staple pieces & wardrobe 'basics'.

It’s essential that your staple capsule wardrobe pieces reflect your personality as much as possible. It’s easy to talk about basic garments like “pants” or “tops” and even “jackets”. But this doesn’t mean that you have to stick to the basics.

If you like layering and love your cardigans, blouses, and belts, don’t throw them away! Keep them if these items will get a lot of love and use. If you adore statement scarves and love to wear them in many different ways, there’s no reason to sacrifice those.

Also, the cut and design that you find flattering on you doesn't have to be the embodiment of classic style if you’re everything but a classic kind of girl. Embrace your inner fashion designer and make this capsule wardrobe all about you – not your friends, not Instagram fashion influencers, not the latest trends.

How to Build a Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe - Choose staple pieces & wardrobe basics

5. Review & reassess. 

Our styles, preferences and tastes change and we can slip into bad habits. So make sure to reassess your wardrobe situation every three months or so to make sure that you're still on track to building the sustainable capsule wardrobe you desire. If not, make sure to review steps 1-4 of this post and apply the wisdom to your closet.

It's easy to say 'Don’t let your mountain of clothes put pressure on you!' and 'Resist the need to buy more stuff than you need!' but it's a lot harder to do. We can all get a little sidetracked by looking at the beautifully presented trends in fashion magazines and Instagram images, and the next thing we know we've ordered something online that we shouldn't have.

Don't be hard on yourself. Just learn from the experience and the next time it happens you'll be better equipped to deal with your poor decision.

Enjoyed this post? You'll also love our post where we review the e-Book, 6 Steps to a Sustainable Wardrobe.

Enjoyed this post & want to show your gratitude? Then please support Eco Warrior Princess on Patreon!

About the author

Claire Hastings

Claire Hastings is a designer and writer from Brisbane, Australia. She is also the editor at the Ripped.me magazine and regular contributor at Dirty and Thirty and The Booklet.

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