Closet Edit Recap - Building a more Sustainable "capsule" inspired wardrobe
This past weekend I had the opportunity to do a closet edit with a client who wanted to decrease the amount of pieces in her wardrobe and work towards creating more of a capsule wardrobe that aligns with her desire to live a more sustainable lifestyle. She and her husband have recently developed an app (myWardrobeonline) that allows you to be part of an online consignment community where quality gently used clothing can be circulated (without $$ being exchanged). This is ideal for people who: want to add new pieces to their wardrobe without breaking the bank, find a new home for pieces they no longer wear, for women who love to shop consignment or vintage, or for people who want to keep good fashion in circulation so as to maybe slow down fast fashion...even if their part helps just a little bit. Click here to learn more about the app and how it works. If you love shopping consignment or clothing swaps this app could very well be for you!
In preparation for this edit, I did a lot of reading on sustainable and capsule wardrobes. One of the gurus of this movement is Be More With Less who created the Project 333 capsule wardrobe. Worth checking out if you've ever considered giving something like this a whirl.
To keep with the spirit of sustainability here were some considerations we chatted about during our edit (my loose guidelines are far less strict than those in the project listed above, but may be an easier way to transition into this mindset):
1) Make sure there is a solid foundation of good quality basics:
Rather than skimping on those pieces that are the meat and potatoes of the wardrobe, I wanted to make sure she had a good arsenal of basics (outfit building blocks), and if she needed to add/replace any that she did so with high quality, durable ones that will serve well over time. I think of sustainability as kind of being synonymous with durability so you won't need to replace as often (but that doesn't mean that style needs to fall by the wayside). Basics are the foundation of the capsule wardrobe.
2) Try to establish a cohesive colour palette throughout the wardrobe for more versatility
It is easier to put outfits together when the garments are made of of colours that easily "go" together (this is also something that works well in the capsule wardrobe concept). This allows for so many more combinations with fewer pieces. Plus, wearing the right colours does make all the difference (but that is a topic for another day...).
3) Keep what is working rather than adhering to strict # rules
While I love the spirit of a capsule wardrobe's "less is more philosophy" (trust me, I have been in too many overstuffed closets where the situation has become so confused it is almost impossible to put outfits together), I find it difficult to follow too many rules when it comes to putting together a workable wardrobe - everyone's needs and starting points are so different. Also, it doesn't feel very sustainable to get rid of things just to whittle the wardrobe down to a set number of garments. Our criteria was: if it fits and flatters (makes you feel good), can be styled several ways, is in good condition, is loved, and suits lifestyle needs...it stays.
4) Add new pieces when you need to, or when you absolutely LOVE them
I am never one who believes we should deprive ourselves completely even if we are trying to curb our habits (for example: if I am trying to eat more healthily, I will still treat myself). New pieces such as high quality basics should be replaced on a needs basis and, if you come across a garment you adore, you should indulge yourself (within reason) as you will most likely wear it often and over time - which does align with that idea of sustainability in the closet.
With these things in mind, for this edit I put together an outfit that reflected this plan:
- Good quality basics (my dark denim and black ankle boots)
- T-shirt that I found in a consignment store
- Reversible bomber jacket that I found in Paris on our honeymoon (this is a LOVE piece I will have for a long time and wear often)
- My Louis "never full" bag that used to be my mum's - (sentimental, classic and durable).
We had a huge pile of garments that we were able to remove from the closet that weren't serving her as well as those we lovingly (and systematically) put back in the wardrobe. These were all in great condition and could easily fill some gaps in someone else's closet.
I have a feeling many of them will be uploaded to myWardrobeonline very soon - worth checking out if you want to fill some holes in your wardrobe, but in a more sustainable, cost friendly (yet stylish) manner.