We all made it through January! Whether you completed the Dryathlon, ticked off a few gym visits for a New Year’s Resolution, or simply managed to put on a brave face for the duration of the month, congratulations are in order. In February, routines will be firmly back in place, decorations have finally been stuffed up in the attic, and mornings aren’t quite as hard to stomach. Now we’re in the grips of normality, there’s enough time to give your wardrobe a detox too. And the most effective way to do that is to create a capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe is a condensed wardrobe, made up of pieces that are simple and versatile, working well together to make a number of different outfits. Making a capsule wardrobe is not only like a fun game of dressing up, but it’s also a sensible way to spend your time (no, really). If you’re forcing yourself to choose only the clothes you absolutely love, it will give you a clearer sense of what your style is. As we’ve written before, having a strong sense of personal style is more sustainable, and helps you keep to Livia Firth’s rule of asking “Will I wear this 30 times?” before buying new outfits. So a sustainable ethical capsule wardrobe gets double points for being kind to the planet.
Plus, it’ll save you time and energy in the mornings if your outfits are premeditated. Nick Tasler writing in Psychology Today claimed that the more decisions we make in a day, the less effective we become at making them. Better to spend that decision-making energy on an important business negotiation than umming and ahhing over which skirt to wear with that turtleneck. So, here’s a step-by-step guide to constructing your own concise capsule wardrobe, using exclusively ethical and vegan pieces.
1. Draw up a game plan
Ok, so your wardrobe might not look quite like that, but it’s good to aim high, right? There’s a wealth of advice on how to make your own ethical capsule wardrobe out there on the world wide web, so if you need some extra inspiration and advice, it’s certainly not in short supply. One blog packed full of tips and tricks is Into Mind. It recommends making three piles: one of clothes you absolutely adore and always wear, another for clothes you definitely won’t wear again, and a maybe pile. It’s worth noting what separates the loved versus hated clothes; if there’s a different colour scheme or a particular cut, then you’ll know what to avoid when buying future garments. You can even follow their Closet Detox Cheat Sheet if need be. Mega useful.
2. Visualise each outfit
With your maybe pile and love pile, start making outfits that work well together, using your simplest pieces. As it’s still chilly outside, you could play around with layering (Man Repeller’s blog on layering’s turtleneck, check shirt and jumper combo is a great idea). The more versatile an item, the more secure its place in your capsule wardrobe is. Blogger Every Girl recommends having three of everything (three skirts, three jeans, three t-shirts, etc), so you can have one casual look, one smart look and one statement look, depending on the occasion.
3. Out with the old
Some clothes might be in the maybe pile because they’re not quite the right fit anymore. In which case, it might be an idea to crack open the sewing box for a spot of re-hemming, or get on the phone to your local tailor to make more complicated alterations. Your summery outfits are likely to be in the maybe pile, so they can be packed away into storage for another few months. Then, the poor rejected clothes in the hated pile can be donated if they’re still in good nick, and recycled if not.
4. In with the new
As always, quality trumps quantity. Ethical capsule wardrobes work better if they include well-made staple pieces rather than ephemeral fashion fads, so it’s worth investing in good building blocks for your outfits. Kowtow makes simple organic cotton pieces designed for this very purpose, and our own e-shelves at Beyond Skin are full of high quality everyday shoes that would match with myriad outfits and styles. In fact, right now there are deals to be had; our Lucy black faux patent brogues are £46 cheaper in the sale, and you don’t get more versatile than black brogues. They’d work with indigo skinny jeans, smart charcoal trousers for work, a burgundy pencil skirt, a navy dress… you name it.
5. Get creative
Now your wardrobe is limited, you’ll start getting creative with your combinations, like blogger Fashion Veggie here. Plus, knowing that the pieces in your wardrobe all fit into your style will make creating an outfit much simpler, and much easier to adjust according to the weather.
Our Ethical Capsule Wardrobe Example
Now, enough of the theory! Here’s our ideal vegan and ethical capsule wardrobe to give you a little inspiration…
From left to right, starting at the top:
Kowtow Organic Cotton Turtleneck, £31.79
Kowtow Keepsake Trench in Black, £65.85
Kowtow Trestle Pants, £61.31
Kowtow Cast Shirt in Chambray, £49.96
Viva Creatures Viking Clutch, £76.63