In my journey going from a crazy clothes-hoarding shopaholic to now being the proud owner of a highly curated timeless sustainable wardrobe. I have learned that the best-balanced wardrobe is based on these 4 pillars;
The stuff we all need like underwear, socks, t-shirts, jeans, softies… etc.
Basically, the items that might not be all that exciting to buy, but necessary to have*. These are the clothes we will use, abuse and likely have to discard (preferably donate to fabric recycling if possible) at some point. They will get worn and washed a lot, and because of this, they won’t have a particularly good second-hand value and will rarely last us past 3 years of use.
Because of this, I don’t recommend spending a large amount of money on these kinds of basics since they won’t last. You will most likely get a fairly good #PricePerWear out of them if you go for a mid-range price point and focus on quality over designer names.
Essentials are excellent to buy from sustainable brands. It will give you the quality without the designer price tag and as we have to keep on re-buying these items we are supporting an industry that truly needs it. Most sustainable brands have a great selection of basics, so why not find a favorite and stick with it?
(*I don’t include these things in my #OneItemAMonth challenge for this reason.)
2. Style-defining items
These are the pieces that shout your name. The signature clothes that you know you will love for years and years to come. Styles that won’t date because they fit you and your personality so well. It’s the jewels in the crown and the items that stand out in your wardrobe.
Since these garments are all about timeless style and personal flair, they are excellent to both buy and sell pre-loved. I would choose a slightly higher price point and make sure to go both for amazing quality, the perfect fit and that little bit of flair. These items are usually future wardrobe heroes.
3. Wardrobe heroes
A wardrobe hero is a piece of clothing that you have owned and worn consistently for more than 3 years. A loved and trusted item that you feel great wearing and that is aging well. It can be your favorite leather jacket, that one pair of jeans, a pair of really comfortable sneakers or just that perfect white shirt.
Wardrobe heroes are all about quality, practicality, and fit. The Price Per Wear will be amazing no matter what you paid because you are using these items so much. It’s basically the pieces your entire wardrobe is leaning on to be able to work hard for you.
Personal examples of wardrobe heroes – My black Rag & Bone jeans I’m wearing in these photos and my Burberry trench coat.
4. Wardrobe superheroes
You will probably not have many of these in your wardrobe if you are in your 20s, but already 10 years later you should have at least a few. Wardrobe superheroes are items we have owned and used for more than 5 years.
The quality of these pieces has to be exceptional to last. So most likely the price point will be on the higher end. But the price Per Wear will make these items the cheapest in your wardrobe, no matter how much they cost you when you bought them.
Your wardrobe heroes are completely timeless and were never a part of any trend. They stand the test of time and you still love them as much now as you did when you bought them, if not more.
The goal of the perfect sustainable wardrobe is to have more wardrobe heroes and superheroes than style-defining items. Ideally, the latter category will seamlessly morph in heroes with time. The longer we own and use something, the longer the life of the garment and the more integrated the item will be in our personal style.
Personal examples of wardrobe superheroes – My Moncler jacket (11 years), my Chanel bag (13 years) I’m wearing in these photos and my Louis Vuitton bag (20 years).
If you curate your clothing based on the concept of the 4 pillars of a sustainable capsule wardrobe. You will eventually be left with the pure essence of your personal style. Something completely unique and defining only for you and at the same time super sustainable.
Photos – Rosalind Alcazar