The History of the Capsule Wardrobe
The idea of the capsule wardrobe has been spoken about lot in recent years as just one solution to the continuing environmental crisis, but it’s actually not a new idea. It was first mentioned in the 1970s when a shop called Wardrobe was opened in London by Susie Faux with the simple idea of creating a minimalist, high quality wardrobe that wearers can easily mix and match. This idea then moved to America with Donna Karan’s break-though collection in 1985 - "Seven Easy Pieces", where the whole show was based around just seven items and all the different ways you could wear them.
What is a Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is a limited selection of clothing that is interchangeable and complement each other. This is a planet-friendly idea at the best of times but we can make it even more sustainable by doing a few extra things. One key way is to create clothing from fabrics which are as harmless to the planet as possible; we all know that is more difficult than expected but for more information, read our blog on Seven Sustainable Fabrics. Another thing to bear in mind is how well the fabric will wash, the best fabrics for the planet can be washed on lower temperatures and less frequently.
The pieces within your capsule wardrobe should be timeless and classic with the emphasis on quality over quantity. For the summer, another thing to bear in mind is that we live in Britain, meaning we probably don’t need 20 summer dresses unless they are suitable for work as well as playing at the park. Or think about creating clothing that can be layered up in the cooler months.
Why Create a Capsule Wardrobe?
The reasons for working on creating a capsule wardrobe are numerous and it’s not just because we all have too many clothes.
Less Decisions - Less clothing, means less time deciding on what to wear.
More Time - Not just because getting ready is easier, but the gaps in your capsule are clearer and you will spend less time mindlessly shopping.
Saves Money - Buying or making fewer clothes will save you money and allow you to make higher quality items helping them to last longer.
One of the biggest reasons to create a smaller capsule wardrobe is sustainability - you just need to look at these facts about the fashion industry to understand why:
- The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world, after the oil industry
- 20% of water pollution in the world comes from textile processing
- The UK alone creates 206,456 tonnes of textile waste in a year
Planning your capsule wardrobe
But we can all help by buying and making less, and wearing our clothes more. To do that we need to create capsule wardrobes, and the very best place to start is with what you have already. Look for the items you wear the most, and then what you are missing in order to wear other things more.
For example, have you got a collection of skirts and trousers but are missing neutral and simple tops to carry them to both work and casual wear? So maybe adding a few simple shirts would open up your whole wardrobe without even trying.
Like the Megan Nielsen Dove blouse which is perfect for work, but also for more casual wear and can be layered up too. Perfect. And we have mentioned before that it seems like the Dove Blouse and our chambrays are a match made in heaven. Particularly as they come with the OEKO-TEX 100 as standard.
The Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse and Chambray Fabrics
When looking to create a capsule wardrobe it’s also a great time to have a good clear out which is good for so many reasons. It’s a great for our mental health to let go of things we don’t need any more. By clearing out and either donating clothing to charity shops or re-selling things, you are encouraging the second-hand market which is growing year on year and is great for a sustainable planet. In the year 2022 the second hand market will be worth $43 billion (another great fact to crack out in the pub).
What Colours to Include in a Capsule Wardrobe
Another key part of creating a capsule wardrobe is by looking at the colours that you wear the most and creating items that go with more garments, such as neutrals in colours like cream, white, navy and khaki. A Breton Stripe t-shirt has been a staple of our wardrobe for many years, and is essential to a capsule wardrobe - it can be worn with trousers and blazers for work or teamed with a light-weight skirt for summery casual days. In case this hasn’t convinced you, our Navy and Ecru Breton jersey is organic, meaning it hasn’t polluted the planet during production.
What should be in a summer capsule wardrobe?
For the summer in Britain you will possibly need more layering garments as we can go from a heatwave to a downpour in minutes. So a good place to start is a few high quality t-shirts that you can dress down for weekends or team with a slightly fancier skirt or trousers, but most importantly can be layered under cardigans and jumpers.
The summer is also a time for weddings and parties, part of creating a capsule wardrobe is changing our perspective on occasion dressing. Instead of making a special occasion dress that you will only wear at best a handful of times, why not put the time and effort into something you can wear again and again. We thought that the Elodie Wrap Dress by Closet Core Patterns in a pretty viscose or lawn could easily be dressed up for a wedding but simply change the accessories and you could wear it for work or a picnic.
Another great addition to a capsule wardrobe is a versatile pair of trousers, as they can be smartened up for work with a blouse or shirt teamed with a blazer. But can also be dressed down quickly by teaming them with a classic t-shirt and trainer for a trip to the pub. And a good pair of trousers is also good for the summer months in the UK as they are suitable for all the types of weathers we can experience and could even be worn into cooler months extending the number of wears again. These trousers by Wardrobe By Me are a great example of trousers that can be dressed up or down depending on the situation, and made from a linen would give a lovely summer vibe.
There is an argument that separates are handy for a smaller, harder-working wardrobe and everyone needs a great skirt. Skirts are a great item for dressing up or down depending on the occasion and this one by Chalk and Notch would look great with a cami and pretty earrings for a wedding or with a simple t-shirt for work. We thought making it in one of our soft furnishing panamas in a bright colour would be great for the summer and would keep it both casual and more formal.
How to Sew a Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe
There is an argument that by sewing your wardrobe you are more likely to wear it more because of the time and energy you have put into it. However, there are other ways which make your handmade wardrobe even better for the environment. Firstly, look out for fabrics that have been created without harming the planet too much; as we have already discussed, this can be tricky but it’s a good idea to look out for fabrics which come with the OEKO-TEX 100 label or Better Cotton Initiative labels. At Fabrics Galore we are always looking to improve our quantities of more modern and sustainable fabrics such as Bamboo, Organic Cotton and Linens.
Shop for Sustainable Fabrics at Fabrics Galore London
So all you need for your striped Breton top, your dress up or down wrap dress, a plain skirt and your summer floral sweatshirt, head on over to our sustainable fabric collection. But if you can’t find the right fabric that has been produced with the planet in mind, make sure to create a garment that you can wear over and over again for many years to come. This is a key way to create a capsule wardrobe that will save you both time and money as well as having a positive impact on the planet. For more inspiration for your summer capsule wardrobe read our blog on the perfect capsule wardrobe for summer staycations.