Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe Brands: A Guide
When I first published this post in 2017, capsule wardrobes had gone viral. Whether you were a longtime mommy blogger or newly-minted Instagram influencer, it was all anyone could talk about. But it could be heard to find sustainable capsule wardrobe brands in one place.
Of course, it was unclear what exactly a capsule wardrobe was. For some, like arguably the most significant blogger in the capsule movement, Un-fancy, it was a way of “encapsulating” seasonal aesthetics into micro-wardrobes.
For others, it was a way to get a handle on out-of-control purchasing, if not in actuality, at least in the way clothing was stored. For others who were more sustainability-minded, it represented a way forward, out of the realm of fast fashion and into the light of a pared-down closet.
Sustainable fashion costs more, so maybe a capsule is what is needed for the majority of consumers. We can’t buy as much, but we can, perhaps, buy better.
While I am skeptical of the ways “capsule wardrobes” have been used to marketing overconsumption, I can get behind the idea of careful analysis of lifestyle and personal style in order to make considered choices in our wardrobes. With that in mind, I have updated my Ethical Capsule Wardrobe list, below, for a new year of sustainable shopping.
Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe Brands: 20 Essential Pieces
WHERE TO FIND…
1. The Tee
Everlane | Cotton essentials in easy fits
Elegantees | Feminine tees in stretch cotton
American Giant | Classic, longer line v-necks, u-necks, and more
Miakoda | Easy lounge fits in soft sustainable fabrics
Fair Indigo | Soft, thick pima cotton tees and tanks
2. The LBD
Maven Women | Professional and classic fits for all body types
Reformation | Sleek, trend-forward and vintage-inspired pieces in deadstock fabrics
Everlane | Modern and minimalist cuts
Victoria Road | Feminine and embroidered pieces
3. The Jacket
ABLE | Americana, modern cuts
Eileen Fisher | Looser, longer cuts
Ode to Sunday | The perfect blend of tailored and drapey
4. The Jeans
Everlane | Made in a fair trade and sustainable factory in lots of classic cuts
ABLE | Made in a fair trade factory with more modern fits
Levi’s Waterless | Sustainable processes, American classics
5. The Statement Skirt
People Tree | Classic, custom prints, British
Ash & Rose | Flowy and feminine
Mata Traders | Vintage-inspired with hand done details
Mayamiko | Artisan fabrics and mod cuts
6. The Blazer
Everlane | Modern, menswear-inspired
People Tree | Classic cuts
Mm. Lafleur | Versatile, for the modern professional woman
Connecticut Country Clothing | A classic tailored fit
7. The Drapey Cardigan
Miakoda | Lounge-inspired in soft fabrics
Soul Flower | Hippie-inspired
EcoVibe Apparel | Flowy and easy
Synergy Organic Clothing | Stretchy, soft organic cotton
8. The Sandals
Nisolo | Classic and minimalist
Fortress of Inca | Sturdy and beautiful
Birkenstock | Comfortable and classic
Po-zu (vegan options) | European made with European flair
9. The Sneakers
All Birds | Super sustainable sneakers made with wool and bamboo
Saola (vegan) | Skater inspired
OESH (made in Charlottesville!) | Ethically made in China, suitable for athletic activity
Everlane Tread | Sustainably made fashion sneakers
Adidas Parley Collection | Made with ocean plastic, suitable for athletic activity
10. The Versatile Flats
Nisolo | Feminine and office appropriate
The Root Collective | Fun details, artisan made
Fortress of Inca | Menswear-inspired
Po-zu | Vegan options
LL Bean (made in Maine varieties) | Bean boots!
Po-zu | My favorite
Bhava (vegan) | Beautiful sustainable vegan leather alternatives
12. The Cotton Undies
PACT Apparel | Classic cuts in organic cotton
Organic Basics | A simple collection in organic cotton and Tencel
Everlane | Pima cotton, very soft
13. The Leggings
PACT Apparel | Classic cotton leggings
Maggie’s Organics | Thicker cut, sustainably made
Fair Indigo | Full coverage
Miakoda | Soft fabrics
14. The Party Dress
Accompany | Artisan made luxury
Victoria Road | Beautiful embroidered pieces
Passion Lilie | Block printed, lots of summer styles
EcoVibe Apparel | Flowy and “younger” pieces
Reformation | Sleek and sexy styles made with deadstock fabric
15. The Black Pants
Brass Clothing | Ponte pants
Mm. Lafleur | Versatile
Everlane | Lots of nice essentials
16. The Socks
PACT Apparel | A variety of cuts and patterns
Maggie’s Organics | Classic socks, including wool hiking socks
19. The Button Down
The Fable | It’s their specialty
Kowtow | Tailored pieces with modern fits
Eileen Fisher | Flowy and artistic
Tradlands | Menswear-inspired classics
20. The Cold Weather Coat
Patagonia | Technical fabrics made sustainably
United By Blue | Sustainable and organic
Everlane | Made with recycled plastic
21. Classic Jewelry
Hannah Naomi | Super minimalist
Thicket | Nature-inspired
Fair Anita | Artisan made
See more Shopping Guides here.
Suggestions or questions?
Let me know in the comments.
A note on selection: I judged items by ethical labor standards, transparency, and eco-friendly advances while prioritizing fit, quality, price, and versatility. Many of these items are things I own myself.
Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.
Monday 4th of April 2022
Thank you! Love that all of these brands are sustainable and ethical. Have you tried any of the sustainable capsule wardrobe styling companies like Vetta and Veneka?
Monday 4th of April 2022
I haven't heard of Veneka. I haven't ordered from Vetta because it doesn't look like their pants and skirts are cut for "pear" shapes like mine. But I know that Kellie at https://wholeheartedwardrobe.com/ really likes them!
Monday 7th of December 2020
Absolutely love this post! You've easily given great sustainable and ethical brands for all my needs. Thank you so much!