Spring Capsule Wardrobe

It’s almost Spring (the world seems to be thawing at the time of writing) and I am experiencing a small amount of anxiety regarding the changing of my capsule wardrobe. I prescribe to the capsule wardrobe, mainly because I have a love/hate relationship with shopping and have limited closet space. It has come time to fill some glaring wardrobe holes that were apparent last spring/summer and have not been filled.  As any good capsule wardrobe prescriber knows, an ongoing list is paramount to making thoughtful purchases. The unedited version of my list follows:


Now this doesn’t seem like a whole lot however, I am picky. I am picky about what I wear, how it fits (must be comfy), and that it is made ethically.

I recently went to target for rechargeable batteries (I know my life is so exciting) and some very cute shirts that I could wear to my business casual work environment called to me. I stopped and looked and felt and considered. One particularly cute short sleeve button up (on the list) was pretty much exactly what I want, but made in Indonesia. The other mustard yellow, sweater, textured top (not on the list) was made in Guatemala. So I resisted. I walked away from these clothes because I knew that I wouldn’t feel good about wearing them. That kind of fashion no longer aligns with my values.

Instead I went home (with my rechargeable batteries) and began to do some much needed work on clothes I already have. A beautiful cardigan with hole in the elbow? I darned that hole and put a cute heart shaped patch over top: good as new, maybe better. Another beautiful cardigan with a hole in the wrist from shoving my bulky watch through as I rush out the door every morning, fixed that right up with a few stiches. Another cardigan… (this is a pattern obviously) with so many pills it looked like one of those cute, trendy teddy coats: took a razor to that and it is good as new. Now all of my sweaters are waiting in a (large) pile to be steamed and either packed away for winter (which will hopefully end soon) or folded up and put back on the shelf. It feels good to bring new life to these clothes that I have so many memories in and that have so much more life in them.

Having an ethical closet is about more than just buying ethical clothes, it’s also about finding the value in the clothes that you have and taking care of them. It’s about recognizing that textile production is straining our environment and the less that we frivolously consume and discard, the better.

Similarly, the capsule wardrobe forces you to think critically about your purchases, to take care of the clothes that you have, and to find good homes or uses (donating clothing has its own set of problems) for clothes that you no longer need.

These shared ethos make the capsule wardrobe and  Ethical/Sustainable clothing a match made in floral printed heaven.

Okay so back to the list:

Because I work a 8 to 5 business casual job I have a pretty standard set of what I wear every day: black or blue slacks + nice blouse + cardigan/blazer + flats. If I leave the house on the weekend (which I mostly avoid) I wear leggings or comfy wide-leg pants or maybe a dress if it’s really hot…maybe. I’m constantly tempted to buy more of what I have, to stay in my comfort zone (another pair of wide leg black pants? more leggings? Yes please!). But I imagine that that’s why I feel like my wardrobe is so lackluster. I know that I need to, at least, buy some things to fill the holes in my wardrobe and maybe even *gasp* branch out. But as a non-committal person and someone who absolutely hates trying clothes on in store (it’s happened once in the last 3 years) pulling the trigger has been difficult. I plan to overcome this… well, now.

So here are my plannings and plottings on my ethical, capsule shopping list:

SCARF: I am on the prowl for a huge (maybe cashmere?) solid camel/tan scarf that is on sale this spring to hide away for next winter. I have a few printed scarves but none solid and none ridiculously huge. I’ve got no idea where to find this but I’m not exactly in a rush. Maybe one of those gorgeous things from Minimo... or Cuyana...

SHOES: I need new flats that have sturdy soles as I walk a lot and my shoes don’t seem to last very long. I’m looking at Everlane, Rothy’s, and Able (formerly live fashionable). Going to scour the reviews and see what people say about their longevity. If I’m spending a pretty penny, I want to be sure they last.

BRAS: I need bras that fit, god I hate bra shopping. Mine are always uncomfortable, maybe because I don’t try them on and they cost $12. There are a few brands I’ve been looking into: White Rabbit, The Wylde, Wear Naked, and Wama have come across my insta-feed but I have yet to really dig into their ethicality. *comment if you have any ideas or feedback about these brands please*

JEANS: Jeans are tough. I have exactly 2 pairs of jeans. One boyfriend and ripped up, like really ripped up, and one highwaisted and skinny which may not come up over my thighs but I haven’t checked in…6 months? (I checked, they don’t fit). Both pairs are stuffed in a box under my bed with the rest of the clothing that didn’t make it into my winter capsule. I need something in between, whether or not these fit. Something that doesn’t look like I came over to paint your house in but also doesn’t look like I’m hitting the town with my girls. Like a straight leg blue? Pretty standard. I’m looking at Everlane and AGOLD on Alternative Apparel, I would be looking at ABLE denim but I am terrified of denim without any stretch. I should also check out Reformation but their ethical practices are, as of now, a mystery to me.

BUTTON-UP TOPS: As for tops that I can wear to work, I’m interested in kind of a boxy, masculine button up. However I’m not entirely sure this will pair with any of my work pants. That’s definitely something to consider. For now I’m thinking that I could find something to fit the bill at either Madewell or Everlane. And I probably only need one…minimalism or something.

TANKS: From what I have seen, tanks with a shelf bra is something of a relic from days long gone. Can’t seem to find anyone that’s making them, ethically or not.

YOGA PANTS: I recently ordered some yoga pants (really just athletic pants) from outdoor voices and they just didn’t work. I’m a fairly normal body type, even a little taller than average and wow these made me feel short and rotund. Very glad they have a wonderful return policy. So I may try a different variation in that brand or I may branch out, People Tree has some that look good and are about half the price but shipping to the US will cost… well a lot.

FLIP FLOPS: Lastly the flip flops. I’m pretty picky about what I wear on my feet and I have a tropical vacation coming up. So since my Havanavas are just a little bit broken, I found a brand that is selling nice, plain, sustainable, ethical flip flops for cheap! Well pretty cheap. Olli’s flip flops are made from real, sustainably sourced rubber and are made in factories that the founders visit personally to ensure ethical practices. At $27, I’d say they’re a bargain, and they have them on Amazon *free shipping*. (Since I found these I decided to at least try to fix my flip flops, I have a glue gun after all. It’s just as important as trying to fix a hole in my sweater, maybe more because the wool sweater would at least biodegrade while the, likely plastic, soles of my flip flops never will).

Whew! Okay! That was a lot, so thanks for reading if you made it this far!

Obviously I also want some pretty, floral things to match the spring weather and my spring mood. People Tree definitely has a variety right now and there is a particular tulip print skirt that I have my eye on, among other things. Madewell also has a beautiful wrap top in so many springy patterns. There are also so many cool slides from starch slides, who make shoes out of recycled men’s shirts! A few of my favorite patterns are sold out but I adore these shoes and may splurge on a pair soon.

Since the weather hasn’t fully committed to spring, I’ll give myself a little time on the florals (and the slides) but for everything else… it’s go time.


Just Ethical Goods