I started Lilla Barn Clothing to fill a personal need of mine — to be able to dress my daughter in clothes that were neither pink or blue AND fit over cloth diapers. Fast forward six years and our handmade garments are still created to neutralize gender norms, but also to inspire creativity and adventure, and remain ethically and sustainably made. The rise of the slow fashion movement has given a name to how we’ve been working for the past six years and has given a voice to fashion designers across the world. Our goal is to protect our earth and its people by making changes within the fashion industry.
In case you need a slow fashion recap:
The fast fashion industry cranks out clothing quickly and cheaply. These garments are trendy and inexpensive so that we will buy more of them. And since the production time table is so short, garment workers are often overworked and underpaid in dangerous work environments. Since these garments are not made to last, they mostly end up in landfills creating more waste.
The slow fashion movement has grown out of the need to take better care of our planet and its people. To me, slow fashion is two-fold:
- Slowing down my process as a designer and producer means I’m thoughtful about my process and I make well-made garments that will last a long time.
- Slowing down my process as a consumer means I think before I buy. I ask questions about how and where garments are made. I make them myself or buy them directly from other makers.
One of my favorite quotes associated with the slow fashion movement is by Vivienne Westwood.
“Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.”
Minimalism is often included in slow fashion conversations since there is an emphasis on buying less. One practice that is related to both minimalism and slow fashion is the creation of capsule wardrobes. Creating your own capsule wardrobe is a great way to simplify your life, edit your wardrobe, and change your buying practices.
What’s a Capsule Wardrobe?
Quite simply, a capsule wardrobe is a small collection made up of useful and versatile pieces that you absolutely LOVE to wear.
A capsule wardrobe is usually comprised of a small number of pieces (somewhere between 10-50) that can be mixed and matched. Your capsule wardrobe can change with each season, in fact, it’s pretty common to swap out pieces between seasons. Most people using capsule wardrobes have a “bank” of clothes (not stored in their closet) to create capsule wardrobes from.
Pro-tip: You can also create capsule wardrobes for kids!
Need to be convinced? Building a capsule wardrobe will help you:
Save time. Have you ever looked at your overflowing closet thinking that you have nothing to wear? Having your own capsule wardrobe will simplify getting dressed. You will have fewer pieces of clothing, but choosing versatile items will provide you with more pairing possibilities.
Save on space. Creating a capsule wardrobe is a great idea if you want to simplify your life and are not sure where to start. I normally recommend first taking stock of your current closet and getting rid of what you don’t wear and what doesn’t fit.
Save money. Do you find pieces in your closet that you bought cheaply or on sale that you never wear? Maybe the tags are still attached? Creating a capsule wardrobe will help you shop less often and with more intention.
Ready to get started?
Identify your style. Take a look at the clothes you love that you already own. You will probably be able to define your style just by these pieces. Still need help? Read this.
Assess your wardrobe.
- Try things on.
- Take out what doesn’t fit.
- Take out what you don’t wear.
Not ready to get rid of certain things, but you don’t wear them frequently? Move them out of your closet so you have them just in case but they aren’t taking up valuable closet real estate. Still need help? Talk to Kelly Brask with Less is More. She’ll help whip your closet into shape without judgement.
Fill any gaps. You can totally create a capsule wardrobe with pieces you already have. There may also be holes in your wardrobe. Maybe you need layering pieces? Or basics? Or a statement piece?
Make a plan to invest in new pieces. Think quality over quantity. Consider how new pieces will fit in with your current wardrobe. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you buy anything new:
- How do I feel in it? Make sure to try it on.
- Do I love it?
- Is it versatile? What can I wear with it?
- Does it layer?
- Where and how was it made?
Keep in mind that everyone’s capsule wardrobe looks a little different. It’s really about creating a system that works for you.
Caroline from Unfancy (one of the modern capsule wardrobe experts) said this about trying to capsule for a year:
“At the end of my year long capsule experiment, I found myself more content, more confident, and more in-tune with my personal style than ever before.”
Even if you aren’t working with a capsule wardrobe, you CAN be more intentional about your fashion purchases by asking questions that are important to you. Even our small choices can lead to big changes within the industry.
Want to read more? Here are a few more resources with info about slow fashion:
Photograph by Tipping Point Photography.
Content provided by Women Belong member Bergen Anderson