Sustainable Fall Capsule Wardrobe


September 22, 2019


Creating a fall capsule wardrobe is such a nice way to make the transition from summer to fall feel a lot more streamlined, and focusing on ethical clothing brands for your fall capsule is a great way to slowly begin to make the transition away from fast fashion and towards sustainable clothing brands who are actively working to positively change our global fashion industry.

So if you have been wanting to transition to ethical clothing companies but are feeling overwhelmed, I’ve got you covered with some of my favorite ethical clothing brands who are making some exceptionally beautiful and affordable ethical clothing.

Typically when creating my capsules wardrobes I like to try my best to stay away from too many trends that don’t align with my overall style, and may not make it to next year. While jumping on a fall trend can be fun, it also is a big part of what contributes to so much of our fashion waste year to year. So if you do want to experiment with some fall trends this year, try to keep it to just 1-2 pieces in your capsule that you can truly see yourself wearing over and over, and still loving next year.

Sustainable Fall Capsule Wardrobe Favorites For 2019

How To Plan Your Fall Capsule Wardrobe

Step One: Get Inspired

Before I do anything else each season I love creating a vision board on pinterest and saving different images and outfits that I am feeling drawn towards. I will do this over the course of a week or two, coming back to it periodically, and then I will review everything I saved. Often I will notice very specific looks that kept being drawn towards, which really helps me get a good sense for what I may want to add to my fall capsule wardrobe, and what outfits I am feeling inspired to wear.

Step Two: Do A Wardrobe Reflection

When you first sit down to think about your fall capsule wardrobe I would love for you to ask yourself a few questions? Go grab a notebook, a cup of tea (or coffee, or wine), open up your closet and start working through the following:

  • What clothes do you love in your current wardrobe?

  • What clothes do you feel you need more of?

  • What clothes do you not need any more of?

  • What colors are you drawn to?

  • How do you want your personal style and wardrobe to make you feel?

  • How important is sustainable fashion to you?

Step Three: Do A Wardrobe Audit

Now begin to go through your current wardrobe and pull out everything that you could actually envision yourself wearing, and look forward to wearing over the next few Fall months. BE HONEST! The pieces you pull are going to be the foundation for your Fall capsule that we will work to build the rest of the capsule wardrobe around.

Looking at the pieces that you pulled from your wardrobe start to notice duplicates. For instance do you have four white sweaters and five pairs of jeans? These items you probably don’t need to be purchasing this season and may even be able to pair down and sell!

Step Four: De-Clutter With Intention And Responsibly!

I can’t emphasize this enough, your clutter and purchases are your responsibility, “de-cluttering” should always be done mindfully and we need to take better responsibility for how we “get-rid of” the things we no longer want — which ultimately comes back to buying less but better.

When you first start to create a more sustainable and intentional wardrobe you may be dealing with A LOT of clothes that you do not want or need. In order to stop making impulse purchases and really create a sustainable and intentional wardrobe I do believe that you need to keep your closet pretty paired down so you can really see what you own and have to wear. This means that all these unwanted items need to be removed from your closet.

So go back to your closet and notice everything you left behind. What of these items would you be willing to let go immediately and could sell? Pull out these pieces and place them in a TO SELL container(s) that you can store and eventually upload for sale to sites like thredUp, ebay, or poshmark.

For the items that are stained, ripped, or too worn to sell consider, see if they could be cut up and used for cleaning rags before tossing. For other items that you don’t think you could sell, but may be worth donating, consider the seasonality of the clothes you are bringing to your local thrift shop and don’t donate anything that is really junk and most likely wouldn’t be useful to anyone. Place all these items in a TO DONATE container.

Notice how uncomfortable you may feel with how much unwanted clothing you have after going through this process. Use that feeling as motivation to avoid mindless and unintentional clothing purchases in the future.

Step Five: Make A List

Now make a list of everything you currently have for your Fall capsule, and another list of what you would ideally like to add to your Fall capsule wardrobe. You can use your pinterest vision board to help with this part!

Notice what areas of your wardrobe feel empty like basic shirts, or everyday Fall shoes, and which feel really full like jeans or sweaters. Maybe you really have always wanted a Fall friendly dress or skirt but don’t have any. This exercise will really help you to identify the areas of your wardrobe that you really don’t need to focus on and the areas that could use a little help.

Useful Tip: We often gravitate to the same types of clothes over and over again, which is why you may always feel compelled to buy new jeans, or the same neutral sweaters. Noticing these habits and being able to really take stock of all the duplicates in your wardrobe can help reduce this kind of impulse shopping.

Step Six: Shop With Intention

By the end of this process you will have two lists, one with the items you own and one with the items you would ideally like to add this season. When choosing new pieces to purchase for your fall capsule wardrobe, try to keep most purchases focused on items that will be timeless and you can see yourself wearing for many years to come! I give myself a rule that I don’t buy more than one “trending” style a season, and often if I give myself a little time to think about it I often don’t really need the “trendy piece of the moment”.

You can use my fall capsule wardrobe below for ideas of how to get started.

Note: you may not have the budget for everything you want/need and that’s okay! Prioritize the pieces that are the most versatile and would get the most wear, and utilize secondhand sites to save more money!

Sustainable Fall Capsule Wardrobe Favorites For 2019

Why Create A Fall Capsule Wardrobe?

Creating a fall capsule wardrobe is a great way to transition your wardrobe from summer to fall with intention. Fall is one of those seasons when a lot of impulse shopping can happen, and ideally a capsule wardrobe will help you to streamline your clothing options and minimize any wasteful purchases.

Tip: Creating a fall capsule wardrobe does not need to happen all at once. Instead focus on the Items you feel you really need. Each purchase you make for your capsule should check an item off your list and be intentional. So the next time you feel compelled to make an impulse purchase check your fall capsule wardrobe list and decide whether that purchase should really make the cut or not.

What Should Be In A Fall Capsule Wardrobe?

Every single person is going to have different needs for their fall capsule based on where you live, what the weather is like, and what types of activities you like to do during the fall. But generally speaking, I think that almost every fall capsule wardrobe will need the following and should be filled with mostly timeless pieces:

  • neutral sweaters

  • basic short and long sleeve shirts

  • blouses

  • light weight jacket

  • dresses that can easily transition from summer to fall

  • jeans

  • long skirt

  • boots

Before buying anything new I always recommend that folks look at what they currently own and try to bring new life into items that may have been forgotten. Then I would recommend checking your local consignment and second hand shops online to see if you can find any capsule pieces gently used. Only after you exhaust those two things would I recommend opting for something new.

Remember the most sustainable clothing will always be what you already own or has been pre-loved!

How Many Clothes Should Be In A Capsule Wardrobe?

There are many opinions about how many clothes should really be in a capsule wardrobe, but I don’t really love putting one specific number to the number of clothes you should or shouldn’t have. Instead think of your fall capsule as something that should allow you to get dressed quicker, wear all of your clothes multiple times throughout the season, and doesn’t leave you with that feeling of “I have so many clothes and nothing to wear”.

The point of a capsule is to reduce compulsive purchases and streamline your wardrobe so that over time you acquire a set of clothes that you absolutely love and wear over and over again from year to year.

Sustainable Fall Capsule Wardrobe Favorites For Ethical Style

The following are some of my favorite sustainable clothing brands that offer many affordable ethical clothing options that are made in an environmentally and socially responsible way, and are timeless enough to be used over and over again from year to year.

The ReCashmere Stroopwafle Crew Sweater: Living in Vermont, I pretty much live in sweaters six months of the year, and this sweater has become one of my absolute favorites. It’s super soft and cozy, and can easily be dressed up or down.

Shallow Moon Dress: Finding a perfect fall dress can be hard, but this dress from Patagonia is absolutely stunning and the perfect transition dress for fall.

The Day Market Tote: I looked at this Italian made bag for well over a year before finally making a purchase and I am so glad that I did. I use it every single day for work and running errands, and love how versatile and classic it is.

Amalia All Weather Boot: If you live in a cold or rainy climate than you are going to want these boots. Perfect for all those outdoor fall adventures and made to stand up to all types of weather conditions.

The Cocoon Coat: This coat is the ethical version of the very popular J.Crew/Madewell coat that everyone loves so much. So if you are looking for a classic fall coat to transition you into early winter I would highly recommend investing in this ethical coat.

Bae Skirt: I love a long fall skirt paired with boots and a cozy sweater and this skirt is perfect for dressing up for work or down for a casual day around town.

The Cupro Tie Front Top: This top is stunning and the perfect top for elevating a fall outfit. I find myself reaching for it to dress up jeans, and love the burnt orange color it comes in.

Authentic Stretch Mid Rise Skinny Jean: These have to be one of my favorite pairs of jeans because they fit my athletic shape perfectly, and while they have a little stretch do really hold their shape!

Clara Crossbody Purse: A crossbody purse is a must for fall days when you don’t need to bring around a big bag. I love this ethically made purse by Nisolo so much and know that it is something I will have for many years to come.

Adele Meadow Dress: Another beautiful fall dress that is perfect for warmer days, and can easily be dressed up with brown/black tights and boots for a more tailored look.

The Oversized Alpaca Crew Sweater: I have been living in this cozy sweater that makes you want to just curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a book. Already wishing that I had bought it in another color because I wear it so often!

Blythe Boot: I am all about the boots in the fall and these boots are a slightly more dressed up version of the other boots I’ve shared, but still function for all those outdoor fall adventures. I personally love these boots paired with the adele meadow dress.

Lisket Organic Cotton Cord Dress: Finding a truly warm fall dress can be hard, but this lisket organic cotton cord dress does the trick! Not only is it beautiful, it is also warm and can easily be used to transition from fall to winter.

Blundstone Boots 550 Series: I live in my blundstone boots and recommend them to absolutely anyone who asks. If you live in a cold, rainy, snowy climate then do yourself a favor and just invest in these boots. You will not regret it I promise.

The ReNew Snap Front Liner Jacket: If you are familiar with the patagonia liner lightweight jackets then this jacket is very similar — just a little more elevated in style. I personally love it thrown over a light sweater on cooler fall days.

Women’s Vintage Levi’s: Everyone needs a pair of vintage Ievi’s and these are one of my favorites that are looser fit and perfect for casual cozy fall days.

Ultra High Rise Elation Tights: These are by far my favorite athletic tights that I love to hike, run, and do yoga in. They are incredibly comfortable, while also holding their shape and giving my legs and stomach the right amount of support.

Bivy Vest: Every person needs a classic fall vest and it truly doesn’t get any better than this bivy vest. Personally I love vests that are a mix between casual and stylish, and I think that this vest is the perfect mix.

The ReCotton Henley: I love a good henley to, and this recotton version is sustainably made and perfect for wearing under vests or sweaters.

Authentic Stretch Mid-Rise Skinny: To round out my fall capsule, I like to have a pair of casual black jeans that can be dressed up or down and these skinny jeans are my favorite right now!

What are some of your favorite pieces in your sustainable Fall capsule wardrobe? Leave them below in the comments.

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Meet Meg

Mom of two, and registered dietitian specializing in prenatal, postpartum, and infant wellness. My passion for supporting moms and babies began more than a decade ago, but nothing made me more committed to helping moms and babies thrive than going through my own pregnancy and postpartum journey.

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