Capsule Wardrobe

(My photo for you today may not appear to be related to the topic of this post, but bear with me! And a happy almost-December to you.)

A great way to reduce your footprint and free-up your headspace (and wallet!) is to implement a “Capsule Wardrobe.” It’s a wardrobe based around a small number of pieces that are durable, pair together well, and never go out of style. Over the years, particularly since moving to a super-humid, warm coastal area, I have gradually reduced the amount of clothes I am willing to keep around.

One of my best friends, CB, would say he has a natural capsule wardrobe. He is a no-fuss guy who gets by fine with a few t-shirts, shorts & jeans and a couple of nice shirts for special occasions. A lot of guys I know are just naturally like this.

For us women, it can be a bit more tricky because we like our fashion! I satisfy that “fashion” urge by having a variety of earrings and necklaces (mostly homemade or thrift-bought). They take up little space, they can even double as home decorations, and unlike piles of clothes in a humid climate, they don’t go moldy in the closet!

My core pieces are a couple of pairs of 3/4-length stretch leggings that are slightly flared at the bottom, a pair of stretchy slightly flared long pants, a short skirt and a midcalf-length skirt. All of these pieces are stretchy and black. (Though I sometimes think of changing my base color to olive green. Black can feel a bit harsh here in bright sunny beachside Florida.) And I have three pairs of socks and a pair of footless tights, all black also.

For tops, I have two long-sleeve stretch tops, one orange and one periwinkle blue; and an assortment of four or five tank tops (I buy them used at the thrift shop and when they wear out, which usually a couple do wear out every year, I turn them into household cleaning rags). I also have about five t-shirts, from various community events, but do not consider them essential to my wardrobe.

Other than underwear, that’s pretty much it. Most of my wardrobe would fit into a couple of milk crates. Almost everything is either thrifted or hand-me-down from friends who didn’t want stuff. The 3/4-length stretch leggings which a friend no longer wanted are amazing! This style lets me fully live my everyday life, getting around by bicycle etc., while still being able to create a put-together look. I have a personal preference for the slightly flared bottom, but there are lots of other options available. I doubt that stretch leggings will ever go out of style. (If they do, I’ll just have to be unfashionable!)

Now, about today’s photo. It shows my Christmas decorations. Micro-style, the way I roll! The cedar sprigs that form my “Christmas tree” double as an earring-stand, rendering my holiday earrings easily accessible. In other words, the “ornaments” on the “tree” are actually my holiday earrings (of which I’ve received a few pairs over the years as gifts). Including two pairs that are actually made to look like classic lightweight metal Christmas ornaments. I can just grab a pair of earrings off the “tree” and head out to a neighborhood holiday party or what have you. (The cedar sprigs came from the tree in my yard, which I recently had a branch trimmed off of so the cedar tree could better share space with its “buddy,” a palm tree growing right next to it.)

• LyndseyStripped, a zero-waste lifestyle blog based in Wales, has a nice article on how she put together her autumn capsule wardrobe. Her website is very visually attractive and offers good tips for living low-footprint without sacrificing style.
• And another style-related post on LyndseyStripped, this one about plastic-free/zero-waste cosmetics packaging. She has some good recommendations. I generally don’t wear makeup these days, but may choose to at some point in the future and it is good to have options and offer you some. The refillable bamboo packaging of one brand is really pretty as well as functional.
(As a bonus, the makeup post starts out with these words that sum up my approach to promoting a low-footprint lifestyle craze: “I think advocating a sustainable lifestyle is all about the ripple effect. If I harp on about it enough then something I say will strike a chord with someone. Then they might start harping on about that. And something THEY say might strike a chord with someone else. Then they might start harping on about that.”)

Tiny Bohemian Universe

Part of what prompted my post yesterday about electronic decluttering, was stumbling on a bunch of photos I’d totally forgotten about, stashed in dusty corners of my computer hard drive. This one is a photo-collage “excerpt” of a line of jewelry I made a few years back. I dubbed the pic “Tiny Bohemian Universe.” I love the bright colors and the sense of entering a sweet minuscule world, and thought you might enjoy it too.

One major advantage of the low-footprint lifestyle is that it frees up enormous amounts of time and energy. It can also radically reduce one’s income requirements. For me, those benefits add up to things like being able to create a line of jewelry and have that be part of my livelihood.