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Girl, what are you wearing right now? If you’re anything like me, it’s some combination of a tunic with leggings or skinny jeans or a striped shirt with jeans and keds.
This is my casual mom uniform. I chose it about 6 months after I birthed my last baby. My body was still changing and I didn’t want to invest in quality pieces until I knew where it would land. Instead, I bought a tunic from The Gap in 5 different colors, leggings that looked like pants, and jeans off eBay.
Now that I’ve got the baby weight under control, I can actually make purchases that will stay with me for the long haul. But in purchasing, I don’t want to feed the environmental disaster that is “fast fashion.” I’ve decided to invest in some quality pieces from sustainable resources and use a capsule wardrobe to keep my spending in check.
Here’s all the information you need to start your own capsule wardrobe using my super cute sustainable clothing finds.
Why You Need a Capsule Wardrobe Instead of a Mom Uniform
A capsule wardrobe is perfect for us moms with (a) not a ton of money to spend on new clothes, and (b) not a ton of time to pick out our clothes each morning. With a capsule, you limit yourself to a set number of intentionally chosen clothing items for a season.
How many times have I been knee-deep in clothes only to cry out to my waiting husband that I have nothing to wear? My Marie Kondo decluttering project left me with a bunch of items that I loved but didn’t necessarily go together. Plus, I had huge gaps in my wardrobe because I was so hesitant to buy something new.
How to Create Your Capsule Wardrobe
Creating a capsule wardrobe will give some structure to my editing this time. It’s deceptively simple. Just pick a number of clothing items, 37 seems to be the consensus on the interwebs, and stick to only wearing those items for a season. Most people exclude specialty items like workout wear, swimsuits, underwear and pajamas, and all accessories. Shoes are included though. Wah, wah.
The idea is that you should be able to mix and match most of the 37 items. This way, your mom uniform is easy to figure out whether you’re going to the park, church, or date night. You’ll have 37 pieces that you love to wear and are easy to style together.
My Capsule Wardrobe
Here’s how it breaks down for me. Your capsule wardrobe may differ depending on how much you love shoes and whether you’re a dress person or a pants person. Personally, I am a pants person. I prefer neutral colors like navy, maroon and olive green, with a print or two thrown in for fun.
5 Pairs of Shoes: Navy slip on tennies, Charcoal lace-up tennies, wedge sandals, flat sandals & tall boots.
1 Skirt: a full knee length skirt in maroon
2 Dresses: Coral sundress, Navy Blue short dress
3 Pairs of Jeans: skinny, slim & flare
2 Shorts:Denim and a Print
2 Capris: Fuchsia & Olive Green
18 Tops: 3 tunics, 3 long sleeved shirts, 2 button ups (windowpane print or plaid), 3 thin sweaters, 5 t-shirts, 2 tank tops
4 Toppers: 1 coat, 2 open cardis, 1 vest
Honestly, these are the clothes I wear almost everyday anyway so this doesn’t feel restrictive. It will be freeing to just have my faves easily accessible in my closet without having to stare at that same skirt I spent way too much money on but have no idea how to wear. Because these microdecisions are so draining, it’s important to cut them out where you can.
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The Importance of Sustainable Clothing
Maybe you’ll find all that you need for your capsule wardrobe in your current clothing collection. More than likely, though, you’ll want to add a few key pieces or replace a few that no longer work for you. Here’s where I’d like to put in a plug for sustainable clothing.
Sustainable Clothing is Built to Last
Sustainable clothing is generally well-made clothing using high-quality renewable materials. Many sustainable brands aim for timeless pieces that are not meant to be changed out with every passing trend.
Fast Fashion, on the other hand, describes clothes that are made quickly to capitalize on trends or microseasons that pass by in weeks. The materials are usually synthetic and the workmanship is not meant to withstand repeated wear. Some even argue that these clothes are made to self-destruct (planned obsolescence) so you’ll be forced to buy new clothes on the regular.Fast Fashion is made to self-destruct so you’ll be forced to buy new clothes on the regular.Click To Tweet
Donating Old Clothes is Not As Helpful As We Hoped
Of course, you can donate your old clothes if they wear out or lose relevance. But the thing is, most people don’t donate so clothes end up in landfills. Synthetic materials take eons to break down in landfills. And even if clothes are donated, a lot of them aren’t wanted. Fast fashion has made clothing so cheap, so disposable, that people in developing countries don’t want our cast-offs anymore.
Enter sustainable clothing. Not only is sustainable clothing built to last, but it is usually made from resources that are renewable or biodegradable. By choosing quality pieces you love from reputable manufacturers, you can stem the tide of fast fashion swamping our planet.By choosing quality pieces from reputable manufacturers, you can stem the tide of fast fashion. Click To Tweet
The items in your capsule wardrobe are going to be working overtime. You will be wearing these pieces nonstop for three months so they need to be quality to hold up. Choosing sustainable fashion will make sure your wardrobe additions last through this season and beyond.
My Sustainable Clothing Picks for Spring
But now, what to buy? And where do we even find sustainable clothing? I’m glad you asked. As always, I’ve done all the research for you. I’ve picked timeless pieces from sustainable sources below.
Some of these include affiliate or referral links to help support the blog. My cut does not affect my honest opinions and does not increase your price if you choose to buy.
Try Used Clothing
The most sustainable choice is clothes that are new to you, but used to someone else. Thrift and consignment stores can offer some fabulous finds. But if you’re like me, Costco’s the only brick and mortar you have time for these days.
Online consignment stores like ThredUp have stepped in to fill this gap. It’s usually far easier to wade through online offerings than the often crowded clothing racks at the consignment shop. If you use my referral link, you’ll get $10 toward your purchase at ThredUp.
Rent the Runway is a cool option if you need a dress for a special occasion. Why spend a ton for a dress that you’ll wear once and then have to clean and store? By the time you need something fancy again, it’ll be out of style or not fit. Instead, pick one of the amazing dresses from Rent the Runway, wear it to your event, and send it back when you’re done. Rent the Runway covers dry cleaning and has many beautiful options for around $50 or less.
Sustainable Clothing Brands
If used isn’t your thing, there are some great brands creating well-made, sustainably sourced fashion. For a one stop shop for sustainable clothing from various brands, try MadeFAIR. They have great sales and I’ve picked a few of my favorites in the slide show below. I am seriously lusting after the magenta peeptoe flats at the end!
Everlane has some fashion-forward mom uniform basics at fairly reasonable prices. I love their street fleece cropped bomber, Breton ribbed cotton sweater, and ribbed wool-cashmere oversized open cardigan.
Hope Made In The World eschews the microseason strategy of fast fashion, only releasing quality timeless pieces twice a year. For a more boho look, try Symbology. Finally, Eileen Fischer is probably the most well-known brand exercising sustainable choices.
If the thought of shopping online only to return 90% of the things because they aren’t well-fitting or good-looking enough to be included in your capsule wardrobe makes you want to grab a pint of B&J and hide in your closet, consider the in-home stylist model.
Try an In-Home Stylist
CAbi creates beautiful clothing that every season goes together, is backed by a two year guarantee (goodbye disposable clothes!) and funds small business loans for female entrepreneurs in the developing world. The catch is it can only be purchased from a CAbi stylist in-person, not online. Contact the company to find one near you. If you're in New York, get in touch with my friend Amy Howlett who's a CAbi stylist and all around wonderful person.
It's time for Mama to feel cute! With some mindful choices, you can have a functional fashionable spring capsule wardrobe that serves your needs without overwhelming you with choice. Best of all, you can do it while being kind to the environment if you choose sustainable sources.
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