{eco travel} a cool capsule wardrobe for the eco traveler

Friday, March 3, 2017


“reduction is the least observed of the three r’s of environmentalism {reduce, reuse, recycle} but it’s probably the most important. reuse and recycling are sensible measures in an over-productive society, but why not neutralise the problem of overproduction at the source? instead of choosing to act efficiently at the end of a product’s life cycle by reusing or recycling it, we should stop said product from being made in the first place by eliminating consumer demand for it." robert wringham

what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? really, it's the idea of a minimalist closet: it means subscribing to the idea of less purchases + investing in pieces that withstand seasonal trends. it means purchasing slow fashion items in colors + styles that play nice {aka can be worn together}, with the end goal of keeping + caring for those items for years to come {and wearing + re-wearing those items}, as was done once upon a time.

essentially, it's like having a monogamous relationship with your wardrobe. but if dating + meeting new people thrills you more than settling down with an s/o, and the idea of committing to a capsule wardrobe sounds less than exciting {yawn, snore, snooooze}, well, stay with me here {head up off the keyboard!}. a capsule wardrobe is the ryan gosling of wardrobes. instead of buying a new frock each time a celebration or special event pops up {new dress = new date}, you take ryan {committed relationship = capsule wardrobe}. that is, you wear what you have, and what you have you really, really like}.

a capsule wardrobe is adopting the notion of quality over quantity.

in the end, it means investing in a set number of wardrobe pieces* {many pieces you will already own} and spending less time in department stores, which equals more time with family + friends and yes, more money for travel adventures if your heart so desires {because when it's time to shop, you're going to pop into your very own closet + select a playful piece from your own wardrobe instead of heading to the mall to purchase another bargain bin item}.

traveling challenges me to whittle down my choices even further. i own a total of 48 pieces of apparel {that's my entire wardrobe}, and like russian stacking dolls, there's an even tinier version of my wardrobe lying in wait!

here for you today, 14 ethically-produced items including shoes {and not including my hefty books} for day to night outings so you can travel unfettered + free.


from chicago to new york to paris, and then to sunny marseille, i've been a busy girl. there are many things i profess to love about traveling: the planning + packing, the humming airports + the teeming terminals {meeting riveting humans like the two sexagenarian missionaries + their three-legged dog named trinity: where else could i encounter such a diverse + dynamic set?}; i even love the in-flight magazines. and i love to travel light.

no check-ins, no hassle, just me + the weight of my over-sized poetry books or novels {which i can't seem to live without} and a few clothing items to stay cozy + comfortable while looking contemporary + cool.

so here's an easy guide for creating a simple, capsule wardrobe; 14 modern basics in a monochromatic palette + simple silhouettes for mixing and matching galore {all fair trade, organic, animal-friendly + ready to roll}:

1  s k i r t
the midi skirt. i love this little number. i own a vintage, pleated diaphanous skirt that gets along swimmingly with everything in my wardrobe. depending on your style + body type, you might prefer a pencil skirt or an a-line skirt. search the racks at your fave charity shop or vintage retailer. if you're stateside, check out my absolute fave collective of vintage dealers at beehive chicago + if you're in paris, check out vintage system, 3e.

1  s c a r f
the knit scarf. mine is a thrifted version from vintage boutique chine machine in paris, 10e + 18e. if you're in america, try crossroads trading co. kaight shop in new york carries this handsome, handmade windowpane check scarf as well as this singular kantha knit scarf woven from 100% khadi cotton, by indigo handloom {crafted by hand using zero elecricity!}.

2  j a c k e t s
the trusty denim jacket. a goes-with-everything deep indigo version from patagonia. i wear mine solo on warmer days + layered under my moto jacket on crisp days. check your local thrift shop for a fine vintage model with lots of character: pop into buffalo exchange in the usa, or mad vintage in paris, 4e for the best selections.
the moto jacket. you know how i feel about the moto jacket: simplify your life by choosing your perfect mate here. wear it independently or over the denim jacket on cooler days.

2  j e a n s
the long-lasting pair. a woman's best friends are not diamonds, it's denim. the most durable jeans i own are by nudie. and i wear them frequently. by frequently, i mean i depend on these jeans weekly.
the enduring pair. i also own + wear big star jeans. they move, they stretch, they retain their shape. eternally youthful, these jeans don't fray + won't age. i'm a mover + shaker, and boy can they keep up.

3  t o p s
the perfect layering tank from miakoda. or the fitted tank from groceries apparel.
the cool graphic tank from beetxbeet. or a striped version from threads for thought.
the multitasking chambray top from loomstate. wear it over tanks or under jumpers.

3  p u l l o v e r s
the cropped pullover from theo the label. or the cropped sweater from know the origin.
the oversized boyfriend sweatshirt from baserange. or the deep v jumper from bon label.
the long-sleeved, funnel-neck top from signe. or the cropped turtleneck from reformation.

2  p a i r s  o f  s h o e s 
perfect for the happy nomad + the fearless wanderer: the white trainer by wills + black oxfords from bourgeois boheme. both are equally comfy.

to see how my boy-meets-girl looks come together, follow along on instagram, where you'll see the mixing + matching magic happening. 

let us not forget books, glorious books. i like to choose my travel partners carefully; sometimes i select j.d. salinger, other times i pick f. scott fitzgerald. for my most recent travels i chose  literary iconoclast e.e. cummings as my companion; his complete book of poetry enthralls me. now, i didn't include socks on the list above, but i've long considered myself an eco sock connoisseur, and have a list of ethically produced + animal friendly options here. and of course, there's the perfect little weekender bag to pack your life into and head out for the next adventure.

{don't forget the tip}*capsule wardrobes can include 35-45 items of clothing, but there's no set rule. a helpful tip for creating a flexible + fluid capsule wardrobe is to choose a color palette from the start: colors that work well together. i love monochromatic hues, so my closet is a sea of black, gray and white. i'll add a splash of red wine {a deep, dark red hue intermingles nicely} or olive green. if you lean towards pastels, choose light tones: items that can be integrated into your closet easily. try to lean away from trends; if you like patterns, stay close to classic, enduring patterns like stripes + checks. really, it's deeply satisfying + quite fun to see how many different ensembles can come together from your capsule wardrobe. and all that time + extra funds on your hands, well the world is at your fingertips, my friends!

while i was packing light for cooler weather, my friend + fellow sustainable living blogger, holly at leotie lovely, has been showing us how to put together a warm-weather vacation capsule wardrobe for those traveling to tropical climes. see how she does it from head {headphones} to toe {fuzzy socks, that is} right over here.

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{images/artwork by f+d }
{eco mode: wearing vintage denim jacket under thrifted faux leather moto jacket + jeans by big star denim}

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