A closet complete with the most sought-after items is every fashionista’s dream. However, shopping for new outfits every season can be quite a nightmare for the environment. 

In case you didn’t know, we consume more than 80 billion of new clothing each year. The United Kingdom (UK) alone uses no less than 1.1 million tonnes of garments annually, with more than 300,000 tonnes of garments ending up in landfills. 

If humongous piles of textile waste aren’t worrying enough, the production of fast fashion also harms the planet in other problematic ways: 

  • It generates more carbon emissions than shipping and international flights combined.  
  • It produces 20% of the world’s wastewater.
  • It pollutes the Earth’s oceans with microplastics from discarded textiles.  

Clothing brands such as Patagonia are currently making efforts to make the consumption of fashion more sustainable through their ethically-produced garments. Fashion rental platforms and online thrift shops have also become commonplace as we look for alternative sources of stylish wear minus the carbon footprint.

Although suitable for the environment, these eco-conscious methods still cause us to fill our closets with unnecessary clothing. Once we see that our current outfits do not match this season’s trends, we are quick to either buy new additions to our wardrobe.

So how do you dress more by buying or borrowing less? The answer lies in a not-so-new method of building a closet never goes out of style: capsule wardrobes!


What is a capsule wardrobe?

Coined by British boutique owner Susie Faux in the 1970s, the term ‘capsule wardrobe’ refers to a consciously curated collection of essential and timeless clothing fit for all seasons.

Faux believed that consumers were spending too much money on fashion items that are not made with quality in mind and quickly go out of season. So she decided to make fashion more sustainable by creating a miniature wardrobe of versatile and interchangeable clothing that can be mixed and matched to suit any fashion trend. 

In 1985, the popularity of the capsule wardrobe concept skyrocketed when designer Donna Karan launched “Seven Easy Pieces, a capsule collection of stylish workwear clothing, and it has remained relevant in the realm of sustainable fashion ever since. 

The contents of a capsule wardrobe can vary since we all have different style preferences and fashion needs. Some can get by with having as few as ten clothing items in their capsules, while others have as much as 50. When it comes to curating your capsule wardrobe, there really isn’t a hard-and-fast rule on how many items you should keep, as long as your wardrobe choices are high-quality, cover your basic fashion needs, and fit your lifestyle. 

Are capsule wardrobes worth it? 

Aside from clearing up closet space and reducing the time you spend deciding what to wear, here are other benefits that make capsule wardrobes worth giving a shot: 

It’s beneficial for your wallet. 

On average, adults in the UK spend at least £100 monthly on fashion items. Capsule wardrobes encourage you to make use of clothing that’s already in your closet, so you don’t have to spend lots shopping for new items every season.

It’s good for the planet

Another perk to having a capsule wardrobe is you get to maximise garments that would otherwise end up in landfills. In case you’re not yet ready to buy sustainable apparel or rent clothing, starting a capsule wardrobe can help you transition from using disposable fashion towards dressing sustainably. 

You can have fewer clothes but with more style.  

Consumers in the UK have more than $46 billion worth of unworn clothes in their closets, but having more doesn’t always ensure dressing better. Building a capsule wardrobe encourages the use of classic and versatile fashion pieces, giving you the freedom of owning fewer garments without compromising your style.

So, how do I build one?

At this point, you’re probably already warming up to the idea of having a capsule wardrobe, but don’t know how to build one. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started in creating a capsule wardrobe from scratch: 

1. Know your style and needs

To build a capsule wardrobe that works for you, get a feel for your style preference and your lifestyle needs. Do you like casual, chic, vintage, or high-street wear? Do you need clothes for work, sports, parties, and other events? By answering these questions, you’ll get a better idea as to what clothes you’ll include in your capsule collection. 

2. Make an inventory of your clothes

Once you’ve gotten a better idea of your style and needs, it’s time to take a close look at all the dresses, tops, shoes, pants, and accessories you own. You may sort items based on how frequently you wear them and their usability.

3. Choose and create a list of what you’ll include in your capsule wardrobe

Select 10 to 50 items you’ll want to wear for the next 3 to 6 months and list them. You may categorise the items according to clothing (dress, pants, skirt, shirt, blazer, coat, jacket), jewellery (earrings, necklace, bracelet), accessories (scarf, belt, sunglasses), and shoes (heels, sneakers, flats, running shoes). 

4. Store what you don’t use (and donate if you can) 

Surely there are going to be clothing items that you don’t use as frequently but still want to keep. You can store these occasional-use items for now and include them again in your next capsule wardrobe. You also have the option to donate some of your excess clothing and repurpose the ones in poor condition. 

5. Mix and match items in your capsule wardrobe. 

When you’ve finally built your capsule wardrobe, you can experiment by mixing and matching the clothing you’ve decided to wear for the next months.

At first, it can be challenging having to stick to such a bare-bones wardrobe, but don’t’ be discouraged! It may help to check blogs, newsletters, and online tools that offer visual guides, style inspirations, examples, and fashion advice! 

Now that you’ve acquainted yourself with what a capsule wardrobe is, how it’s beneficial, and how to build one, you’re now ready towards building a close that’s not only sustainable but also never goes out of style!

Other Articles That May Interest You:

Fast Fashion: The Good, the Bad, and the Solution

The Slow Fashion Movement: What It Is, and Why We Should All Get Behind It

8 Best Dress Rental Sites for the Eco-friendly and Frugal Fashionista

Sustainably Dress for Less: 5 Online Thrift Stores Worth Checking Out

About The Author

May can usually be found reading an eco magazine absorbed in the latest gripping articles on all things eco! May is passionate about the environment. May believes in looking and feeling good whilst living an eco friendly lifestyle. In her spare time she loves cooking, playing her guitar and going for country walks. May lives in the UK and enjoys spending time with friends, family and her two adorable cats.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.