Capsule Wardrobes and How They Help the Environment

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of essential, versatile, and timeless clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create various outfits. By building a capsule wardrobe, you can reduce the number of clothing items you own while still having enough options to dress for any occasion. Because a typical capsule wardrobe consists of primarily neutral colors, it’s difficult to get sick of them very quickly.

One reason why capsule wardrobes are so great is that when you have a smaller wardrobe, you are less likely to buy clothing items impulsively or wear them only once or twice before discarding them. This reduces the amount of clothing waste that ends up in landfills, which is a significant environmental problem.

Another way these wardrobes help the environment is by lessening carbon emissions. Unfortunately, the fashion industry is responsible for a considerable amount of carbon emissions, mainly due to the production and transportation of clothing items. It was found that 10% of our annual global carbon emissions were due to the fashion industry. A frightening figure states that if this pace is maintained, the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions will surge more than 50 percent by 2030. By buying fewer clothes and opting for timeless and high-quality pieces, you can reduce your carbon footprint.

As I follow the fashion trends I see on social media, I’ve noticed a large shift in what’s “in” recently. Many influencers–and their fan bases–have looked to the “capsule wardrobe” blueprint as a new strategy for picking out clothing for their closet. Matilda Djerf, a Swedish fashion and lifestyle influencer I’ve been following for years, has unwaveringly been my primary source of inspiration for my fashion choices. Her looks never fail to feel effortless and beautifully curated, no matter what occasion. Djerf’s outfits often feature timeless, neutral pieces throwing in a tasteful pop of color here and there. She has shown me the guidelines for maintaining a capsule wardrobe and the beauty in basics. The influencer leans into simplicity when it comes to style, and shows that a closet can be built on things that can last a lifetime rather than what is trending currently.

Despite the capsule wardrobe being beneficial to the environment, a large barrier to more people using it is that sustainable clothing options can often be quite expensive. Unfortunately, the prices of sustainable fabrics are, on average, two and a half to four times more expensive in comparison to more commonly used fabrics. This discrepancy is partly because they cost more for the manufacturers to produce, thus the increase in price. These sustainable–and pricey–options are then significantly less accessible to the general population.

To combat this, I suggest integrating sustainable pieces into your wardrobe slowly and one by one. It’s unrealistic to think that you can form a capsule wardrobe overnight, as buying many expensive pieces at a time is not financially feasible for most people. Another way to make a capsule wardrobe easier to achieve is to sell old and outdated clothes on social e-commerce apps such as Depop or Poshmark, and then use that money towards buying timeless sustainable pieces.

No matter what you choose to do with your wardrobe, there are so many styles out there–colorful and bright, or not–that are beautiful. If you are one to love color and can’t live without it, keep wearing it! But if you would like to change it up, creating a capsule wardrobe for yourself is a great and stylish option. One important thing, though, is to note how your wardrobe choices may impact the environment. In the modern day, with social media being so prevalent in our lives, we’re exposed to thousands of products or services to buy in a day. Many of these products are pushed out through trends and are not meant to last you, perpetuating a vicious cycle of consumerism that is only damaging the planet.

By: Maddy Adler