Sustainability Tips: Building a Capsule Wardrobe
Sustainable shopping starts with conscious consumption and there’s no better practice at that than the capsule wardrobe.
Of the estimated 17,000,000 pounds of textile generated each year, nearly 66% of it ends up in the landfill.
With the crazy speed at which fashion and trends are generated now, it doesn’t surprise us. Here at Aventura, we produce two collections a year, but we know some fast fashion companies produce closer to 24 collections a year, churning out poor quality looks geared towards attracting current trends.
We continue to be tempted by their great deals (hey look, a $5 sweater!) and with their endless options. Plus we have nothing to wear at home…Does this situation sound familiar to you? How about this one:
Because that bright yellow, polka-dot sweater was only $5, you’re more willing to overlook the faults of the garment. You might not actually have anywhere or occasion to wear it, or it didn’t quite fit right, or it may have been unraveling slightly at the cuff. Then, after you get it home, it sits unused in your closet for years before it gets thrown away. After all, it was only $5 so what’s the harm to you?
We’ve ALL been there! But the problem is, these styles that end up in the trash are harming the environment. Our goal is not to end shopping. It is to build a more sustainable shopping practice that allows you to slow down and ask important questions before pulling out your credit card.
We believe this all starts at building a capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe is one that has around 30-50 pieces (including shoes, but excluding workout gear) that can be styled in many unique combinations. It’s a simplified wardrobe that maximizes not only the outfits you can create from one piece, but the number of times you wear a piece. It defies trends and seasons, allowing you to wear styles now and later. Plus, it helps eliminate decision fatigue, making getting dressed in the morning easier!
Tips to Creating a Sustainable Wardrobe:
- Evaluate what you currently have and make thrift, mend, and keep piles. We think the best way to go about this is to separate all clothing into their category. For example, put all of your pants together to see what you have before making decisions. Then gather your casual shirts, your sweaters, your dresses, and so on. By comparing directly with like clothing, we can better determine what we have and where there’s room for improvement.
- When shopping, look for quality clothing made to last. Price is not always an accurate indicator, so be sure to keep an eye on company reviews and how garments are made. A rule of thumb is to seek out clothing made from sustainable fibers and/or at Fair Trade Certified™ factories first and foremost. Learn more about sustainable fibers here and fair trade production here. Warning: many fast fashion companies use cleaver marketing and buzz words like these to make themselves seem like eco-conscious companies. Look for measurable means of accountability and transparency from fashion brands instead.
- Make sure a new item matches existing items in your closet. You should be able to make no fewer than five unique outfits - but the more the better! Versatility is the ultimate goal when adding items into your wardrobe. The more it matches, the more valuable it is to you.
- Your goal should be to wear something at least 30 times. When shopping, keep this number in mind.
- Make sure it fits well. If you’re buying in person and have the opportunity to try on there, great! If you’re buying online, look at reviews and the company’s tagged Instagram photos for candid pictures of other customers wearing their styles to compare how a style might look on your body.
- Ask yourself if what your shopping for is a need or a want.
Questions to ask yourself when shopping those irresistible trending looks (because we all get swept into trends!):
- Can you find this piece at a thrift store or a responsible fashion company?
- Am I more attracted to the pricetag or the look?
- How will I feel when I wear this?
- Where will I wear this?
- Can I commit to wearing this piece at least once a week? What about once a month?
- Is this true love or Instagram, i.e. if I put this back now, will I still be thinking about it in 48 hours or will I have moved on?
What to do at the end of a garment’s life:
- If the garment is in good condition but you’re ready to part with it: look for local clothing swaps, thrift stores, or marketplaces like Facebook and Poshmark to give your piece a second life.
- If the garment has a rip but you still love it: repair it yourself! We found this amazing mending guide from Fashion Revolution.
- If the garment is ripped or too well worn to donate: consider transforming your clothing into a DYI project. Macrame plant holders, anyone? Find some inspiration here.