How to Build An Ethical Capsule Wardrobe – for Spring & Summer
(German version here)
Edit: This post originally went online five (!!!) years ago in 2017. Today it was time to update it. Luckily I didn’t have to change much. Capsule wardrobes simply survive the ravages of time. A few links and products have been updated, since of course much was sold out in the meantime.
I thought a long time about how to build the perfect ethical capsule wardrobe. I am usually not a big fan of just minimalistic black-and-white capsule wardrobes. It gets too boring too quickly and you tend to go shopping too often then. That’s why I did a lot of research (and with a lot I mean A LOT), to put together 4 steps for the perfect spring and summer capsule wardrobe using ethical fashion brands. I only want to support fair trade and sustainable labels and they also usually offer high quality garments that last forever – a very important point regarding an ethical capsule wardrobe!
I’ve created the Ethical Capsule Wardrobe guide in a way so that you can tweak it for your own preferences and style. PS: this post contains affiliate links. Read below what that means.
Step 1 – Choose a color palette and add textures and patterns
You can just create your own little moodboard and pick a nice and simple color palette. Don’t forget to build your palette on black, white, gray and beige. I’ve only added the color lilac, but don’t hesitate to switch that for green, blue or orange-brown or rosé for a romantic style.
Also depending on which style you go for, you should have some different fabrics and patterns in mind when choosing your garments. Don’t forget that lace, floral prints and stripes can add an interesting touch to your wardrobe.
Step 2 – Stock up on the basics
I love this part! There are SO many great ethical fashion brands out there that focus on the best basics you can get – high quality and great materials!
- striped long-sleeve, you can find this style at Armedangels and Loveco
- black slip dress, Jan’n June (sold out, long version here)
- T-Shirts & Tops: Armedangels, Loveco & Avocadostore (in all these stores you can find great fair trade basic t-shirts for a fair price)
- “Leather” jacket – goes with everything, but I no longer buy a new leather. You’ll find many great options second hand. I also love the new Vegan Coated Collection by Jan’n June!
- denim – Armed Angels has a great selection!
- Soft pant – specially in the summer, loose pants are a good choice. Armedangels has a beautiful one made from the sustainable material Tencel. I also have the same in green (unfortunately not in black!) – Top quality and very soft!
- Denim shorts or other well-fitting shorts – five years ago I wrote that there is a bad selection when it comes to ethical fashion shorts. But that has changed in the meantime, and you find great ones eg here or here. But of course you can also find nice models second hand.
- soft, short skirt a simple, comfortable and loose skirt, eg by Rotholz.
- Simple summer jacket – I love light overshirts. These you can find great second hand. Otherwise, there are beautiful models at Armedangels. If you are more into grey, then imagine a gray parka here, just as if you have rather green or brown tones built into your palette.
Step 3 – Spice it up with some special items
As I already mentioned I find monochrome wardrobes a bit boring – I am just not the minimalistic type and when I look at what my friends and family wear I notice that they aren’t either. Normally everyone likes to have some special items in their closet. These might cost a bit more than basics, but that’s why they are “special”. Here you can also add some patterns but only ones that fit with your color palette!
- Lace dresses, nude dresses and flouncy dresses – you can find these on Sezane (not 100% Sustainable Fashion but they are very committed to the issue of fair trade and sustainability, but there is still room for improvement)
- white blouse here, here and here I have linked boho alternatives for you.
- Lilac blouse – tiija (my own label!), made of Tencel & linen
- tunic – My Sleeping Gypsy, very bold, but perfect for vacation, special summer events or for a fancy dinner!
- Other beautiful summer dresses you can currently find at Armedangels, tiija, Baige The Label, The Slow Label, Jan’n June or on Loveco!
Step 4 – Keep it minimal with shoes and accessories
I often made the mistake and bought crazy shoes and bags that look good on their own but can’t be combined with other items in my closet. What a waste of material and money! That’s why I recommend simple colors and cuts for shoes and accessories so that you can create many different looks with them!
- Here I generally prefer to buy second-hand.
- In the picture you can see bags from Matt & Natt (via Avocadostore, 1, 2, 3) and from seasara.
More accessories: Since this is a spring & summer guide, sunglasses & Co. cannot be missing:
I hope you enjoyed my Ethical Capsule Wardrobe guide! Let me know what you think, and tell me if you think the guide is useful for you and if you learned more about your wardrobe now!