A capsule wardrobe with neutral tones and classic styles shown in a bright room with a white backdrop to provide an idea to the reader.
February 12, 2024
 in 
Slow Fashion

A Complete Guide on How to Build Your Capsule Wardrobe with Chic and Sustainable Brands

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or many of us, Cher’s wardrobe from Clueless remains the ultimate fantasy. Everything’s always neat. There’s no sifting through an overstuffed wardrobe while yelling “I have nothing to wear!”. She even makes getting dressed look fun …

If you’ve been struggling most days to find something to wear, despite frequent purchases, it may be time for a new approach – one that can make getting ready easier and lessen the climate cost of your wardrobe too. Capsule closets are just that good. 

That’s why you’ve seen them go viral online so many times, but how do you build your capsule wardrobe from scratch? And what makes them so sustainable anyway? Those are exactly the kinds of questions we’ll be answering in this in-depth guide. Prepare to be a capsule wardrobe expert by the end with a chic, eco-friendly closet at the ready so that you never have to worry about what to wear again.

We can’t promise you a closet from the iconic movie Clueless, but we’ll get you as close as we can.

Table of  Contents

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A basic capsule wardrobe is a pared-down, highly organized collection of clothes that have been selected to be as interchangeable as possible. The term has been around since at least the 1940’s but Susie Faux, a London boutique owner, is credited with reviving it in the 1970s. She used it to market her store of neutral, timeless clothes.

One of the first to put the idea of a capsule wardrobe into action on a big scale, however, was Donna Karen. In 1985, the American designer released a capsule clothing collection of just 7 interchangeable workwear pieces. If you consider the excess of 80’s fashion (anyone remember the TV show Dallas?), Donna Karen’s “7 Easy Pieces” was certainly an unusual move. Her aim? To show that with the right basics, a woman could accomplish anything.

What’s interesting to note is that with both Donna Karen and Susie Faux, a capsule wardrobe was less a commentary on consumerism or even sustainability, but rather about simplifying the act of getting dressed for convenience’s sake. This was a period when women were entering the workforce én mass for the first time and were expected to juggle both professional and domestic demands.

These days, a “capsule wardrobe” has come to mean something slightly different. Neutrals, timelessness, easy basics – these are still important features, but the intended outcome has shifted. Now it’s not just about more convenience, but about taking a stand against consumerism and changing how we shop so that we can change the world.

What Does a Capsule Wardrobe Have to Do with Sustainability?

A wooden sign reads "all you need is less" placed on top of a pile of clothing and shoes referencing  the environmental impact of buying and packing your closet with too much clothing.

The global fashion industry produces around 100 to 150 billion items of clothing each year. In the US alone, about 34 billion tons of used textiles are thrown out with the vast majority of that waste ending up in landfills where they contribute to pollution, public health issues, and ecological crises. We haven’t mentioned yet the sheer amount of water, chemicals, and carbon emissions that go into creating clothes in the first place.

All this to say that one thing is brutally clear: we need to be buying and throwing out less. Building a capsule wardrobe offers a tangible way to do this. In the age of fast fashion hauls on YouTube and hyper-consumerism, the concept of a capsule wardrobe is a chance to put protest back in fashion.

Scaling back shopping habits to focus on a simple wardrobe of essentials that you know you’ll wear season after season might not seem like activism, but it is. It allows you to shop more mindfully, keep only what you need, and get the wear out of your clothes instead of them ending up at a landfill in 6 months.

Here are some of the key sustainability factors of a capsule wardrobe that can help limit fashion waste:

  • Only buy what you need, instead of chasing after each trend.
  • Buying less also means having the budget to then invest in pieces that last or that have better sustainability features.
  • It encourages mindful shopping and fewer impulse purchases.
  • Fewer impulse purchases also translate to a reduction in e-commerce returns – a major part of fashion’s negative contributions to the planet’s health. In 2020 alone, an estimated 2.6 million tons of clothing returns went to landfill in the US. Free returns and last-minute online orders might be convenient, but many of those clothes never go back on sale.

Can a Capsule Wardrobe Be Considered Slow Fashion?

A capsule wardrobe is absolutely considered to be a part of the slow fashion movement as it slows down clothing consumption habits. Both approaches prioritize quality over quantity and aim to reduce the support of fast fashion, and its negative impact, wherever possible.

What Are the Benefits of Opting for a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe isn’t just a better shopping approach for the planet, it’s better for you. Here are 5 ways that opting for a capsule wardrobe can benefit your life:

1. Take Back Your Time

No one’s done a study on this yet, so we don't have the data to back up this claim, but we’re sure that the morning angst of picking out an outfit has taken years off our lives. It’s not just the time it takes to flip past the impulse purchases and things that don’t fit or feel right, it’s the decision fatigue that sets in.

Cutting back your clothes to a limited, capsule wardrobe can help you not only get out the door quicker but also ensure that you’re less exasperated by the time you do.

2. Save Money

There are so many ways that a capsule wardrobe can help you cut back on spending, so we had to make a list:

  • Limits the need for last-minute, impulse purchases (and all those delivery fees you don’t get refunded).
  • Allows you to focus on only buying what you need and getting the full wear-value out of each item.
  • Provides an opportunity to save up and invest in few pieces you really want instead of chasing after each trend.

The average American spends $151 per month on impulse purchases alone. If that’s you and online shopping, just think of how much a capsule closet could help you save. A very detailed look at these financial benefits , have been explained by The Financial Diet’s CEO.

3. Always Look Well Put Together

Part of the process of building a capsule wardrobe is distilling your closet down to the essentials. This can be empowering in two ways:

  1. You always have a clear picture of what’s in your wardrobe so you’re less likely to lose track of your favorite pieces.
  2. If you’re only keeping the best, that also means you’ll always look your best.

As we’ll also get to, another big part of a capsule wardrobe is developing a formula for how you get dressed in terms of a color palette, your style, etc. This makes putting outfits together far easier and boosts confidence in the process.

4. Increase Peace of Mind

The focus and clarity that building a capsule closet can bring is one of its greatest benefits. When you do shop, it’s far more mindfully, and devoid of the guilt that often clings after those pesky impulse purchases. Thanks to the distillation and clear-out process involved, you’re also no longer faced each day with an over-flowing wardrobe filled with things that annoy you.

5. Easier to Keep Neat and Tidy

The less is more approach that capsule closets involve also has a tangible impact on your space. Depending on how much you start with, building a capsule closet is likely to make any tight closets look positively spacious afterward. This will also make it far easier to keep your area and clothes neat and organized at all times. 

A Fun and Lasting Approach to Building Your Dream Capsule Wardrobe

Sustainability is a pretty serious topic, but we wholeheartedly believe that applying a sustainable mindset to your clothes can still be fun – especially when we’re talking about how to create a capsule wardrobe.

As you’ll hopefully see, building a capsule wardrobe is as much an exercise in styling and creativity as it is in sustainability. Here are 11, simple steps to help you get the most out of the process:

1. Reflect

Before you even start to consider how many items your capsule wardrobe should include or what it should look like, it’s important to reflect on:

  1. What purposes do your clothes need to meet e.g. your work situation, commute, etc.
  2. The style you’d like to embody.

This second aspect is usually the trickiest but nailing it can ensure that your capsule wardrobe doesn’t just fit your daily needs, but that it makes you feel good. As stylist Rachel Zoe famously said, “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

So what do you want to say? One of our favorite ways to reflect and re-think personal style is with Alison Bornstein’s famed 3-word approach. Watch below to learn all about it:

Something we love about this approach is that it provides a jumping-off point for a capsule wardrobe formula that you can return to at any time. 

2. Get Inspired

A woman surveying a style catalogue to gather inspiration for her capsule closet.

Get some friends over, crack open those Pinterest boards, and start getting a sense of the looks, colors, and textures that you most love. Part of what makes a capsule wardrobe more sustainable is that it encourages people to invest only in the things they like and will get wear out of.

To get that right, however, you have to give yourself some time to consider what your style goals are. Remember, rather than taking in the opinions of what others think looks best on you, make sure you love the way it feels on you, because ultimately, you are the one that is going to have to wear it everyday.

3. Choose a Color Palette

multiple palettes and fabric swatches of neutral and supporting colors.

Developing a color palette is crucial for ensuring that the clothes in your capsule wardrobe look great on you and can be styled easily together. Start your research for this part by simply noting the colors and tones you love wearing most. From here you can start to build your custom color palette:

  • Base Colors: These are your everyday, more neutral tones that you gravitate to and can include colors like navy, olive, or charcoal grey.
  • Supporting Colors: Shades that are slightly deeper or lighter than your base colors and can be used to mix and match.
  • Accent Colors: These can either be brighter versions of your base colors or even include one or two contrasting shades, such as a pop of red for a mostly grey, navy, and white base palette.

If you’re struggling to create a color palette, we recommend playing with Adobe Color. It’s a free tool that allows you to have a bit of fun with the color wheel and see which shades contrast or complement each other.

You can even take things a step further with the following color theory video guide by Stylist and Image Consultant, Mikaela Carrizo and find out which “season” palette compliments you best.

4. Clear Out

a person folding and boxing up their clothing and accessories for swapping, resale or donation after closet clear out.

Now it’s time for the grand closet clear-out! For this part, if you need some extra motivation to get things going, we recommend getting your friends over so that you can even get a little exchange party going.

When you’re doing your clear-out, take note of:

  • The items you seem to have gotten the most wear out of.
  • The brands that have lasted, and the ones that haven’t.
  • Which kind of fit and feel you gravitate most toward.
  • The items you’ve always been on the fence about (and why).

All of this can help provide useful data and inform future purchases. But how do you sort through everything? We’d recommend dividing up your clothes into these piles:

  • Keep.
  • Give away  – to friends or as donations.
  • Mend/Tailor. You probably have a few items that with some TLC, can be ready to wear ASAP.
  • Sell. The money from selling items second-hand can help fund replacements.

We will however caution that with a big clear-out, it’s worth keeping things aside for about a month before you part ways with them. Give yourself some time to see if there are items you find yourself needing again etc.

5. Limit Your Items

The defining factor of a capsule clothing collection is that it is, in some way, limited. There are many general formulas people can use for this, but the most popular is cutting back to just 30 – 40 items.

Here’s an example of how you can break down a 40-piece capsule wardrobe:

  • 12 X Tops: This should include shirts, T-shirts, and a mix of short and long sleeves. Have at least two black and two white T-shirts in the mix.
  • 5 X Sweaters: Warm knitwear as well as lighter-weight sweatshirts. Divide this up depending on your climate.
  • 6 X Pieces of Outerwear: Practical weather-proof jackets and coats as well as a smart blazer, and perhaps a leather or differently textured jacket.
  • 7 X Bottoms: Shorts, jeans (one light-wash and one dark), trousers, and skirts. 
  • 3 X Dresses/Jumpsuits: Try to include at least two different lengths with these.
  • 7 X Shoes: Sneakers, boots, sandals, and perhaps a pair of heels.

The above is just a guide. Ideally, you should build a formula unique to your needs and style. For example, if you hate pants and prefer to wear dresses as much as possible, then feel free to adjust things accordingly.

We’d argue that the most important limitation in all this is to keep only what you wear and make sure that your closet space is no longer jam-packed. Another helpful limitation to apply is to only keep things that can be worn in multiple ways or with many outfits. An exception to this is, of course, special occasion pieces.

It’s also worth building your capsule closet around specific seasons. For an example of this, we found the video below of the Autumn Capsule closet by TheAnna Edit helpful:

6. Flex Your Styling Muscles

An example of a classic styled outfit laid out against white background.

The best capsule wardrobes aren’t boring. If anything, they use limitations to get more creative about the styling process. As Youtube stylist Ciara O Doherty points out in her video guide, we often see outfits online and assume the only way to achieve that “look” is by owning those exact same items. Instead, it’s worth breaking that inspiration down and seeing how you might be able to recreate the best bits of it with items you already own.

7. Wear, Wear, Wear

An example of styling versatile clothing items for a capsule closet so that they are worn more frequently.

Once you’ve done an initial cull of your wardrobe, start wearing and styling the items. Take pictures of the combinations you love best and pay attention to the moments you want to reach for items you thought you were ready to let go of, or the things you expected to wear more of but didn’t. 

Every one of those experiences will give you a better picture of the capsule wardrobe essentials you need.

8. Track as You Go

A woman taking a photo of the items in her closet for wear tracking purposes.

Tools like the Whering App can help you track exactly what it is you’re wearing from your wardrobe and how often.

But how does this help you create a capsule closet? The data from tracking apps like this can illuminate styles, colors, and brands that you get the most out of and show what’s worth investing in the future, or what you need to let go of.

9. Identify Gaps

A person making a list of the clothing gaps in their capsule closet.

Through wearing, styling, and tracking your clothing habits, you’re likely to see some gaps arise. Maybe you notice you don’t have a versatile pair of Winter boots, or that as much as you love a good blazer, none of yours are fitting right. Start a list  with the gaps you’re noticing and some key descriptors of what you need your new purchases to look like or include.

10. Invest in High Quality Clothing

A woman wearing high quality scarf, blazer and button up shirt made from natural fabrics.n

Take your time with this part. Building a sustainable capsule wardrobe isn’t about erasing your current clothes and starting from scratch. It’s about slowly adjusting how you approach fashion as a whole.

Once you’ve seen where the gaps in your closet are, you can start researching items to invest in. Go slow with this so that you can find and afford high quality clothes that will last long, and do the job best. Not being rushed also allows you to take better advantage of second-hand options. Even just framing every addition or replacement for your wardrobe as an opportunity to invest, regardless of the price tag, can shift your mindset. 

11. Try Renting Fancy, Trendy, Seasonal Pieces

Green colored trendy accessories including earrings, sunglasses, and purse for special occasions that can be rented.

Something that causes a lot of panic, besides the myth that you have to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch (you don’t), is that capsule closets only allow for plain, boring clothes. We just don’t think that’s the case and later on, we will share some fantastic places that make basics look anything but. That said, the desire to play with a fresh color or want something special for a fancy occasion is completely normal and something rental services can easily accommodate. 

Instead of splurging on an insane pair of shoes you know you’ll only be able to wear once a year, rent them. Or borrow from friends. There are so many ways to inject fun into your capsule wardrobe that don’t require late-night impulse purchases.

The Art of Paring Down (and How to Cope)

We get it. Slimming your wardrobe down can seem extremely daunting, especially if you’re someone who has otherwise had an overflowing closet. Here are some simple ways to ease the transition into a capsule wardrobe:

  • Abundance Mindset: Focus on the things you’re gaining (time, savings, peace of mind, etc.) rather than what you might be giving up.
  • Make Room for Fun: Hang on to two or three of your more “out there” pieces. Not everything needs to be neutral. It just needs to make sense for how you like to wear clothes.
  • Get Creative: Hold a styling session with friends and get comfortable playing with new outfit combinations. We guarantee it’ll make you see how much more possibility your capsule wardrobe holds.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Capsule Closet

Here are 5 quick tips to help ensure that your capsule wardrobe doesn’t just work harder for the planet but that it works hard for you:

1. Go for Classic and Timeless Styles

Resisting trends can be hard work but we swear it pays off. We will say, however, that the concept of a “classic and timeless” style is more individual than we give it credit. If you are someone who delights in wearing bold colors and shapes, what feels classic to you might be very different for a committed minimalist. Don’t worry about what’s timeless to other people. Focus on what you can see yourself loving and wearing for years to come. Giving up trends also means giving up other people’s version of what great fashion looks like.

2. Adapt to Your Lifestyle

Where you work, the nature of your job, and just your daily demands all impact which clothes you’re most likely to reach for. Climate also plays a huge role in this. Get familiar with how you need your clothes to perform each day and adapt your capsule clothing collection to that. 

3. Prioritize Quality and Sustainability

This is the big one. Quality clothing made using sustainable methods ensures that you love and wear your clothes for as long as possible and keeps harmful waste and chemicals out of our ecosystems. The struggle many have with a capsule wardrobe is that it limits how often you can add things to your collection.  However, the beauty of buying less is that you get to buy better. 

4. The Importance of Accessorizing

A very important and simple tip we have for you is to accessorize your outfits to get even more variety out of your classic capsule closet. You can have lots of fun by getting creative with what you have by changing up you outfits with the right belt, purse, shoes, or jewelry. You may get to wear your favorite top or sweater even more by simply learning to rotate what you accessorize it with.

So learn play and get creative with your accessories to get more wear out of the fewer items in your capsule closet and bring an element of uniqueness to your style. Remember, there are options to rent your accessories for each season if you want.

5. Get Into Clothing Care

Do you know how to care for your clothes appropriately? Ensuring that your clothes last well isn’t simply a matter of shopping wisely, but of instigating good clothing care habits too. Some textiles require dry cleaning and TLC and if that’s just not something your lifestyle allows for, then stay away from those fabrics as much as possible.

A Quick Checklist for When You Want to Add or Replace a Clothing Item

When you’re trying to maintain a capsule wardrobe, every replacement or addition should be done mindfully. Here’s an easy checklist to use next time you’re considering a new purchase:

  • What gap does this fill in my wardrobe?
  • What will this item complement?
  • Does this fit with my style plan and goals?
  • How many different ways can I wear this?
  • Does it fit my budget?
  • Is there a more sustainable version of this I can try?
  • What do I know about the quality and longevity of this brand/item?
  • Is the care and washing that this item requires something I can realistically do?

15 Basic Items for Every Capsule Wardrobe (and Sustainable Brands)

Regardless of your personal style or lifestyle, there are some items that just about every capsule wardrobe needs. Here are 15 capsule wardrobe basics we recommend, and some of our favorite sustainable brands to source them from:

1. Tops: A Basic T-Shirt

Classic white T-shirt by Everlane made with sustainable fabrics.
The Supima Crew T-Shirt by EVERLANE

Allbirds

You don’t get much more timeless than an Allbirds T-shirt, plus we love how the whole family can shop for capsule closet basics here.

Product Range: Men’s, Women’s, and Kids’ clothes.

Sizing: XS – 3XS

Ships To: Worldwide.

Price Range: $35 - $50

Sustainability Stats:

  • Certified B-Corp.
  • Sustainably sourced materials, e.g. 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton (includes water-saving and chemical-reducing practices).
  • Carbon neutral.

EVERLANE

Everlane’s organic Box-Cut Tee is as cool as it is classic and comes in a range of flattering colors.

Product Range: Women’s and menswear

Sizing: XS – 3XL

Ships To: Worldwide.

Price Range: $30 - $50

Sustainability Stats:

  • 100% Organic Cotton.
  • Certified EPA Green Power Partner.

2. Tops: A Smart Shirt or Blouse

Oversized black shirt made with 100% organic cotton by The Slow Label brand.
The Oversized Classic Shirt by The Slow Label

The Slow Label

Slow fashion practices and chic basics? This Austrian brand does it all.

Product Range: Womenswear.

Sizing: XS-XL

Ships To: Europe and the UK.

Price Range: $128

Sustainability Stats:

  • Sustainable and organic fabrics.
  • Transparent supply chains and pricing.
  • Produce small, capsule collections with timeless, versatile pieces.

Thought

Whether you’re looking for plain or patterned blouses, this UK brand has everything you need.

Product Range: Womenswear.

Sizing: XS-XL

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $51-110

Sustainability Stats:

  • Sustainable fabrics, e.g. organic cotton, and recycled fibers.
  • Zero plastic packaging.

3. Bottoms: Skirts

Th classic slip skirt by Whimsy and Row made with sustainable materials.
The Donna Skirt by Whimsy and Row

Whimsy and Row

If there’s one skirt almost every woman needs in her capsule closet, it’s the classic, bias-cut midi that can seamlessly go from day to night. Whimsy and Row does one of our favorite versions.

Product Range: Womenswear.

Sizing: XS-XL

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $130 - $150

Sustainability Stats:

  • Small-batch production.
  • Sustainable fabrics.
  • Carbon Neutral.
  • Low-impact dyes.
  • Only use recycled water in manufacturing.
  • Recycled packaging.

Loud Bodies

Whether you’re looking for a classic black linen skirt or something a little funkier and fancier, Loud Bodies has it for you in a range of sizes.

Product Range: Womenswear.

Sizing: S-10XL

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $140 - $230

Sustainability Stats:

  • Use GOTS-certified and organic fabrics.
  • Non-toxic fibers.
  • Free advice on sizing so less chance of returns etc.
  • Plastic-free packaging.
  • Vegan.

4. Bottoms: Trousers

The straight cut corduroy trousers by mila.vert made with organic cotton.
The Straight Corduroy Trousers by Milla.Vert

Mila.Vert

Slovenia might not be your first place to look for chic, timeless trousers but Mila. Vert is putting the European country on the map.

Product Range: Womenswear.

Sizing: XS-XL

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $240 - $380

Sustainability Stats:

  • Sustainable fabrics e.g. organic cotton.
  • Vegan and Peta-Approved.
  • Small batch, ethical production.

Big Bud Press

Size-inclusive and gender-neutral, Big Bud Press has a set of social ethics that are as impressive as their eco-approach. The pants, it should be noted, are also incredible.

Product Range: Gender-neutral clothing.

Sizing: XXS-6XS

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $120 - $160

Sustainability Stats:

  • Only use 100% organic cotton grown and woven in America.
  • Non-toxic and low-impact dyes.
  • Heavy-duty stitching (which means better longevity).

5. Bottoms: The Perfect Jeans

The classic straight cut jeans by Outerknown made with sustainable fabrics..
The Liberty Straight jeans by Outerknown

Outerknown

If you want to know how to create a capsule wardrobe, one of the first things to do is to start embracing brands like this and the timeless styles they have to offer.

Product Range: Women’s and menswear.

Sizing: 24–32

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $100 - $220

Sustainability Stats:

  • Sustainable fabrics and sourcing.
  • Transparent approach to eco-initiatives.
  • Fair Labor and Fair Trade certified.
  • A pre-owned section.

Outland Denim

This Australian brand proves that doing good and making great jeans do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Product Range: Women’s and menswear.

Sizing: XXS–XXL

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $259 - $450

Sustainability Stats:

  • Traceable denim.
  • Organic cotton.
  • Innovative water and energy-reducing technology used for manufacturing.
  • Supports vulnerable groups through safe, dignified employment.

6. Outerwear: A Chic Coat or Trench

The recycled wool classic fitted coat by Reformation.
The Oscar Nipped coat by Reformation

Reformation

Though known as a more trend-driven brand, many of the coats that Reformation features are certified classics. 

Product Range: Womenswear

Sizing: S – XL

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $250 - $700

Sustainability Stats:

  • All fabrics are sourced from recycled, renewable, or regenerative materials.
  • Energy and water-saving measures for production.
  • Less chemically intensive dyes than most.

Etsy Vintage Dealers

Fashion writer, Harling Ross Anton recently shouted out vintage Etsy stores like Nostradamus Vintage, Vintage Dream Box, and Spleenless Shop for their array of classic, high-quality coats. It’s a reminder that Etsy is still one of the best places for the slow-fashion shopper.

Product Range: Women’s and menswear.

Sizing: Varies

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $80 - $160

Sustainability Stats:

  • Vintage.
  • Classic, high-quality styles.

7. Outerwear: Smart Blazer

The classic blazer by Anine Bing.
The Kaia Blazer by Anine Bing

Anine Bing

A sharp blazer that can be worn at weddings and meetings alike is a capsule wardrobe essential. Anine Bing specializes in versatile yet sustainable, and high quality pieces that last. Their Blazer's have been a popular classic for years.

Product Range: Women's

Sizing: XXS – XL

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $450 - $600

Sustainability Stats:

  • Their cotton fabrics are all GOTS Certified.
  • The Brand's production loop does not use harmful chemicals
  • Conservative buying processes to avoid overproduction and textile pollution.
  • 41% of their packaging is from sustainable origins.
  • Supports non-profits that empower women to achieve economic independence.

BAACAL

Whatever your capsule wardrobe color palette is, BAACAL has the dream blazer for you.

Product Range: Womenswear.

Sizing: 10-28

Ships To: Worldwide.

Price Range: $320-$340

Sustainability Stats:

  • Recycled and deadstock materials.
  • A dedicated sustainable collection.
  • Seasonless, slow-made clothing with free access to a fit consultant.

8. Outerwear: Leather/Pleather Jacket

The vegan leather jacket by Matt & Nat
The Savina Vegan Moto Jacket by Matt & Nat

Matt & Nat

A black, leather biker jacket is a capsule closet basic. For the perfect, vegan option, look no further.

Product Range: Women’s and menswear

Sizing: XS-XL

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $190-$215

Sustainability Stats:

  • Peta-Approved vegan.
  • Linings are all made from recycled plastic bottles.

Hyer Goods

“The perfect leather blazer doesn’t exi—" Yes it does. And it’s made from deadstock leather so it’s guilt-free too.

Product Range: Womenswear

Sizing: XS – L

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $375

Sustainability Stats:

  • Small-batch production.
  • Carbon-neutral shipping.
  • Deadstock leathers.

9. Outerwear: Weather-Proof Jacket

The versatile puffer jacket by TALA made with 100% Recycled Polyester.
The Storm Multiway Jacket by TALA Activewear

Patagonia

Few brands do practical outerwear as well or as sustainably as Patagonia.

Product Range: Women’s and menswear

Sizing: XXS – XXL

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $190 - $290

Sustainability Stats:

  • Certified B-Corp.
  • Uses sustainable materials such as post-consumer recycled polyester.
  • Sources from Fair Trade Certified™ factories.

TALA Activewear

Reversible, weather-proof bombers and 3-in-1 puffer jackets? TALA is making sure that just because you have a limited number of items in your capsule closet, it doesn’t mean you have to lose out.

Product Range: Women's activewear.

Sizing: XXS – 4XL

Price Range: $130-$260

Ships To: Worldwide.

Sustainability Stats:

  • Limited production runs and sales held mainly to move older stock.
  • Transparent manufacturing.
  • Recycled, organic, and naturally sourced materials.

10. Knitwear: Cozy Sweater

Navy high quality hand-finished sweater made with sustainable wool by navygrey.
The classic Oversize sweater by NavyGrey

NAADAM

Cashmere sweaters are always an investment but the simple styles and colors that Naadam offer mean that you’re guaranteed to wear them for years.

Product Range: Women’s and menswear

Sizing: XXS – XXL

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $100 - $350

Sustainability Stats:

  • Organic cashmere.
  • Transparent fabric sourcing.
  • Supports nomadic herding families in Mongolia.

NavyGrey

No one does cozy like the Brits. If you’ve been looking for your perfect, British rom-com style sweater, then say hello …. 

Product Range: Womenswear

Sizing: XS – L

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $400 - $500

Sustainability Stats:

  • Certified B-Corp.
  • Traceable materials.
  • Regenerative practices.
  • Low-chemical dyes or no dye at all

11. Dresses and Jumpsuits

Versatile black slip dress made with 00% Hemp by Mara Hoffman.
The versatile Zoya slip dress by Mara Hoffman

Tentree

Tentree’s classic jumpsuits and dresses are easy to dress up or down making them perfect for any capsule wardrobe.

Product Range: Womenswear.

Sizing: XS-XL

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $70-130

Sustainability Stats:

  • Certified B-Corp.
  • Climate neutral.
  • Circularity program.
  • Sustainable packaging.
  • Sustainable fabrics, e.g. organic cotton, recycled polyester, etc.

Mara Hoffman

Mara Hoffman dresses are a reminder that going timeless with your style doesn’t mean you have to miss out on any of the fun. Their pieces are every bit as chic as they are flirty.

Product Range: Womenswear.

Sizing: 00-12

Price Range: $300-$1200

Ships To: Worldwide.

Sustainability Stats:

  • Circular clothing program.
  • Sustainable fabrics e.g. organic cotton, deadstock, and recycled materials, and certified Climate Beneficial ™ wool.
  • Minimal, recyclable packaging.

12. Shoes: Sneakers

classic white sneakers by Veja made with chrome-free leather and natural rubber.
The Campo Chrome-free Leather White Platine sneaker by Veja

Veja

These sneakers are just the right amount of cool, whilst still being timeless enough that you can pair them with a million different outfits. 

Product Range: Men’s, Women’s, and Kids shoes

Sizing: EUR 35-49

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $180 - $250

Sustainability Stats:

  • Certified B-Corp.
  • Making strides to cut CO2 emissions.

Cariuma

Need a classic pair of white sneakers that won’t fall apart after a single season? Cariuma has you sorted. 

Product Range: Men’s, Women’s, and Kids shoes

Sizing: EUR 35-49

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $85-$130

Sustainability Stats:

  • Sustainably sourced, and OKO-Tex-certified materials.
  • Plants two trees for every pair of shoes bought.

13. Shoes: Summery Sandals or Pumps

Classic black pumps made with vegetable tanned leather by Sezane.
The Katie Babies classic pump by Sezane

Teva

Teva sandals are a comfortable, everyday go to that are great for a casual stroll downtown, the beach, in the park, and many more occasions.

Product Range: Men’s, Women’s, and Kids shoes

Sizing: 5-11

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $35-$110

Sustainability Stats:

  • Sustainable materials e.g. LWG-certified leather, and recycled plastic from discarded water bottles.
  • Water and waste reduction measures.

Sezane

Sezane has perfected chic, yet comfortable footwear. Their pumps are comfortable without cutting back on style.

Product Range: Women’s

Sizing: 5-11

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $195-$250

Sustainability Stats:

  • B-Corp certified.
  • Materials sourced with animal welfare and sustainable land management practices.
  • Pieces are free from harmful chemicals.
  • All shipping packaging made from 100% recycled cardboard
  • All stores are 100% powered by renewable energy.

14. Shoes: Boots

Toupe colored everyday boot made with certified sustainable leather by Nisolo.
The Ana Go-To Heeled Chelsea boots by Nisolo

In addition to the sustainable boot brands we have recommend below, you can find more options here.

Nisolo

Nisolo boots not only perform well in wet weather, but they also look stylish with just about any outfit and even come with a “sustainability facts” label to show their full impact.

Product Range: Women’s and Men's.

Sizing: 5-11

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $230-$260

Sustainable Features:

  • LWG-certified leather.
  • Vegetable-tanned leather outsole.
  • 100% living wages.
  • 0% Net Carbon.

Veerah

Chic, and classic style with cooler shapes – that’s what this brand, does best. Their boots are a classic base style that can be re-styled over time using various shoe accessories the brand offers.

Product Range: Women’s.

Sizing: 5-11

Ships To: Worldwide.

Price Range: $430-$500

Sustainable Features:

  • Made with algae or apple based, petroleum free vegan leather, and recycled materials.
  • limited production runs.
  • The lining of their boots are made with biodegradable materials such as Tencel.
  • Shoe boxes and dust bags are made with recycled materials.

15. An Everyday Purse

Versatile cross-body bag leather black bag made in sustainably powered factory by Poppy Barley Brand.
The everyday Slouchy Crossbody bag by Poppy Barley

Poppy Barley

The classic shapes and colors of Poppy Barley’s bags make them the perfect capsule closet basic.

Product Range: Womens’

Styles: Crossbody, backpacks, etc.

Ships To: North America and Australia.

Price Range: $130-$550

Sustainability Stats:

  • Certified B-Corp.
  • Sustainable materials e.g.  LWG-certified leather, and cactus leather.
  • Water-based glues.
  • Recycled Packaging.

Kayu

Their straw totes are some of our favorites, but Kayu has plenty of other styles to suit your capsule wardrobe needs.

Product Range: Womens’

Styles: Totes, clutches, etc.

Ships To: Worldwide

Price Range: $40-$400

Sustainability Stats:

  • Vegetable-tanned leather.
  • Traditional basket-weaving techniques.
  • Small-scale manufacturers.

A Capsule Closet with Endless Possibilities

If you’ve yelled “I need a new wardrobe!” while throwing out clothes in a sudden fit over what to wear recently, we are relieved to inform you that such drastic measures need not be used. Building a capsule wardrobe isn’t about throwing everything out or becoming a minimalist overnight. Neither of those things sound very realistic, or sustainable. Instead, as you grapple with the question of how to create a capsule closet, our main advice is to just slow down.

Get to know what you like, what you don’t, and what practicalities guide your outfits each day. Building a collection of chic, multi-functional essentials is always the goal but you’re so much more likely to love the outcome if you give yourself the time to cultivate it properly.

Capsule Closet FAQs

How many clothes should be in a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe usually includes about 30-40 items of clothing, excluding things like underwear and activewear.

What is the 5 4 3 2 1 capsule wardrobe?

The 5 4 3 2 1 capsule wardrobe is a minimalist packing approach for travel that includes: 5 sets of socks and underwear, 4 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 pairs of shoes, and 1 hat.

What is a 333 capsule wardrobe? 

The 333 capsule wardrobe is a great way to dip your toe into the world of capsule closets. It’s a challenge that involves wearing only 33 articles of clothing for three months, including shoes and accessories.

How do you start a capsule wardrobe for beginners?

To start a capsule wardrobe as a beginner, start by reviewing your style and lifestyle needs, do a closet clear-out, and try a month of only wearing 30 -40 items. Track what works and what doesn’t and use this as a basis for when you create your capsule closet formula.

What doesn't count in a capsule wardrobe?

Usually, the items that don’t count in a capsule wardrobe are underwear, socks, activewear, pajamas, and very formal wear.

Do pajamas count in a capsule wardrobe? 

No, Pajamas don’t count in a capsule wardrobe.

How many T-shirts for a capsule wardrobe? 

How many T-shirts you should have in a capsule wardrobe depends on you and what you like to wear. We’d say in general though, 5 is a good number with at least one white, and one black T-shirt included.

What is the 3-color rule? 

The 3-color rule is a great formula to use when building a capsule closet and daily outfits. The idea is simple: no outfit should contain more than 3 colors. This can make everyday styling easier but remember – fashion rules are made to be broken. Only use an approach like this if it helps you.