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Beating Fast Fashion with a Capsule Wardobe

Fast Fashion is becoming a huge problem in our society. We are able to buy clothes for really cheap prices, but this means that the articles of clothing are also cheaply made. The clothes end up ripping or falling apart, and end up in landfills. One way to combat this is buy building a capsule wardrobe.


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What is Fast Fashion?

Fast Fashion is when articles of clothing or accessories, like purses and shoes, are bought by consumers for cheap and then thrown out quickly. As I mentioned, companies are starting to offer cheaper and cheaper articles of clothing, which would be great if the items were built from high quality materials and lasted for a long time.

For example, you can buy a $5 tshirt at Walmart, but realistically, that tshirt won’t last a very long time. They tend to be thin and wear out or rip easily. So in a few months of wearing that tshirt, you need to throw it out and buy a new one. This creates a cycle of buying and throwing out clothing items way too quickly. The items end up in the garbage and our landfills get needlessly bigger. There is also the environmental impact from manufacturing, packaging, and transporting all these items.

The Impact Fast Fashion has on our Environment

When a shirt or a pair of pants has a whole in them, they go in the trash right? Ideally, we would find a use for old clothing items, but that is just not always the case.

By buying and throwing out so many clothing items every year, our society creates a huge problem for our environment. Not only does the environment suffer when the items are in production or during transportation, but the items also hurt our environment when in the landfill. The items need to break down dyes, synthetic materials, and other chemicals, and all these things end up in the ground.

According to SustainYourStyle, Fast fashion is the second largest polluter in the world, right after the oil industry.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of staple pieces that won’t go out of style. Basically, you build your wardrobe around key pieces that you love and create outfits around them. You can then add in seasonal items, like scarves, coats, boots, etc.

For me, a capsule wardrobe means investing in high quality items that I love, and then creating outfits from these items. It means less time standing in front of my closet wondering what to wear, less money spent on clothing I’m not going to wear, and less environmental impact.

A capsule wardrobe is a great way to avoid fast fashion because there is no need to keep buying items. The items in your closet are all you need.

images of wardrobes image reads creating a capsule wardrobe to combat fast fashion

Steps to Building a Capsule Wardrobe

This is where there is a little wiggle room because capsule wardrobes can differ. For me, I have the same staples year round, with a few sweaters and warmer items thrown in for the colder months. With that being said, some people have wardrobes for every season.¬†For me, this is not necessary because I live in Canada and it’s cold for 8 months of the year so I don’t need to worry about several different seasons.

Here’s what to start with:

  • 5 pairs of pants
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 dresses
  • 9 tops
  • 5 pairs of shoes

My biggest tip is to keep things neutral. It will be easy to create outfits if your items are mostly white, gray, or black. You can then throw in some color with your accessories.

*I do not count workout gear into my capsule wardrobe. I buy high-quality workout gear already, and I workout five to six days a week. I can’t re-wear items two days in a row. I don’t count pajamas or lounge wear either, however, I do try to make sure I am buying high quality pieces here too. I have bought a few $5 pair of pajama pants from Walmart, only to have to throw them out in a month. Boo!

Cutting Down Your Current Wardrobe

This is probably the most difficult part of starting a capsule wardrobe because it means letting go of a lot of stuff. When going through your current clothing items, ask yourself if you are going to wear this in the next week. If not, get rid of it. If you don’t see yourself wearing something in the near future, there is no need to keep it around. The exemption is seasonal items of course!

If an item has been sitting in the back of your closet for months and you have no intention of wearing it… Why keep it? If you are keeping something because you could wear it ‘when you lose a little weight’ it’s time to toss it. Studies have actually shown that keeping items for this purposes actually does more harm than good.

Please remember, when getting rid of items in your closet, to donate the items instead of throwing them out! You can donate to your local woman’s shelter, a food bank, or even in Facebook groups. You may also be able to sell your items if you are willing to put in the work.

Fast Fashion does a great job of convincing you you need to buy more items. They are so inexpensive, one more tank top can’t hurt, right? Don’t let them fool you with their low prices.

Organizing Your Capsule Wardrobe

Taking the time to organize your closet will help you see what you have or what you might need. I use non-slip hangars to hang all of my clothes, and I hang all the same items together. For example, my closet goes like this: tops, bottoms, dresses and skirts, and then sweaters.

I also bought a closet organizer to help me keep things in order.

Make Sure You Love Your Wardrobe

You will want to make sure your wardrobe is full of items you love and love to wear. Make sure you try each piece on and that you are confident when you are wearing it. There is no point in keeping items in your closet that don’t fit you, or don’t make you feel confident.

Take your time when building your wardrobe and make sure you tell yourself it might not happen overnight. You might need to go to a few different stores and try on a lot of items before you find the pieces that work for you and your lifestyle.

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