1 Brook There organic cotton bras & undies
2 Indigenous Designs organic cotton melange turtleneck sweater
3 Yala organic bamboo leggings (substitute with Imogene & Willie black jeans)
4 Raven + Lily everyday leather tote
5 Nisolo Chukka Boot
6 Kinross cashmere scarf
7 Striped long sleeve dress by Amour Vert
8 PACT organic cotton tights
9 Blue Canoe Organic cotton/bamboo jacket
10 Fortress of Inca oxfords
11 Matt & Nat vegan o’hara purse (also can be a clutch)
12 Yala bamboo gray sweater
13 Kowtow long sleeve organic cotton tunic
14 Yala organic bamboo leggings
15 Veja organic cotton & leather sneakers
+ Kinross cashmere scarf again
16 Indigenous Designs organic cotton printed cardigan
17 Groceries organic cotton long sleeve crew neck tee (lots of colors)
18 Toad & Co black a-line
PACT organic cotton tights
Raven + Lily tote
Fortress of Inca oxfords
Can you feel it? Fall is here, even in Texas. With the cooler temps, I was inspired to create a fall wardrobe, from scratch, full of sustainable fashion. If we must, we can call it a “Sustainable Fall Capsule wardrobe” although I prefer to just think of it as everything you need for fall, and probably winter too. I won’t deny the beauty of the capsule wardrobe idea for some, though, and here is my idea of a completely sustainable one for cooler weather, given a very casual lifestyle, or for the work-at-home woman – this is probably not office-appropriate, unless it’s a very casual office.
As I said, for the purposes of showcasing items, and making outfits, I am starting from scratch, creating a sustainable wardrobe out of nothing. Of course, you wouldn’t need to do that, because you probably have things in your closet already that could work in place of many of my ideas, and certainly, you should use them, but if not, I hope I’ve made some excellent alternative suggestions.
I chose items that are made from organic cotton, traceable wool, locally sourced leather and/or that are made in the US or closely monitored factories in China, or using local artisans, among many other sustainable characteristics. Many pieces are from Rodale’s a company that provides in-depth information on why each piece/brand is considered sustainable, and who is offering 30% off select items until 10/21. I’ve also featured some of my favorite items from Zady’s essential collection, and a couple of other favorite pieces from around the web (Kaight & Emerson Fry).
There are 24 items total including some duplicates (for example, I’ve included two dresses, one striped, and one solid, as well as one patterned cardigan, and one solid cardigan) from which you could easily create a season’s worth of outfits. Honestly, I think this are more than enough individual pieces to have a very comfortable seasonal wardrobe, even for me. I thought about adding a pair of slouchy black pants to the capsule but decided against it, given that I’m sticking with a particular silhouette here and that would skew it and create the need for more “fitted” tops. (Now that I’m inspired though, I think I’ll put together another wardrobe with more architectural, “edgy” pieces that all work together…)
Black high-rise skinny jeans | Imogene & Willie
3 Leggings | Yala organic bamboo
8 Black Tights | PACT organic cotton tights
18 Skirt | Toad & Co black a-line
2 Oversized chunky sweater | Indigenous Designs organic cotton melange turtleneck sweater
12 Drapy, loose sweater | Yala bamboo gray sweater
V-neck sweater | Toad & Co longer length wool sweater
Crew neck sweater | Zady .06 Lightweight Alpaca
16 Cardigan | printed (organic cotton) / solid (alpaca)
13 layering tunic | Emerson Fry sleeveless organic cotton / Kowtow long sleeve organic cotton top
17 long sleeve tee | Groceries organic cotton long sleeve crew neck tee
7 Dress | Striped long sleeve by Amour Vert / simple black short sleeve by Icebreaker
9 Jacket | Blue Canoe Organic cotton/bamboo jacket
Wool coat | Zady .08 Made-in-the-US wool coat
4 Tote | Raven + Lily everyday leather tote
11 Cross body bag | Matt & Nat vegan o’hara purse (also can be a clutch)
6 Oversized scarf | Kinross cashmere / Emerson Fry wool
5 Boots | Nisolo Chukka Boot
15 Sneakers | Veja organic cotton & leather
10 Oxfords | Fortress of Inca
More outfit ideas:
monday: leggings, chunky sweater, boots,
tuesday: tights, dress, jacket
wednesday: leggings, tunic, drapey sweater, sneakers
thursday: skirt, long sleeve top, cardigan, oxford shoes
friday: jeans, lightweight alpaca sweater, sneakers
saturday: leggings, sleeveless tunic, long v-neck sweater, oxfords
sunday: dress, tights, cardigan, boots
monday: black wool dress, tights, oxfords, printed cardigan
tuesday: jeans, organic cotton sleeveless tunic, cashmere scarf, jacket, boots
wednesday: leggings, long v-neck sweater, coat, sneakers
thursday: tights, skirt, lightweight alpaca sweater, wool scarf, coat, oxfords
friday: jeans, long sleeve tunic, draped sweater, boots
saturday: leggings, chunky sweater, sneakers
sunday: striped dress, tights, oxfords, scarf, coat
monday: jeans, long sleeve tee, cardigan, oxfords
tuesday: leggings, striped dress, sneakers, lightweight alpaca sweater
wednesday: tights, skirt, sleeveless tunic (tucked in), jacket, cashmere scarf, boots
thursday: jeans, long v-neck sweater, wool scarf, boots, coat
friday: leggings, black wool dress, patterned cardigan, oxfords
saturday: jeans, chunky sweater, sneakers
sunday: jeans, lightweight sweater, oxfords, coat
What do you think? What would you add/take away to make this wardrobe work for you? Do you create seasonal wardrobes for yourself?
I can vouch for the Icebreaker Villa dress! I’ve owned four of them over the years. First a black one, size S (which got chewed by mice on a camping trip), then I sized up and had a brown one in M which I used as maternity wear (this is an amazing, flexible silhouette), and now I have two in rotation: a vivd striped purple one in XS and an almost-black one (I think the color was “cabernet” but it’s a very, very dark purple) in S. I’m a 2 or a 4 usually, and both the XS and the S work for me. The XS looks tailored and is very flattering and hits a few inches above my knee; the small is more relaxed and hits just above knee-length, my only gripe is that the arm holes gape a little too much for my taste so I usually wear it with a light jacket, buttondown shirt, or cardigan.
Thank you for pointing out those beautiful Peruvian shoemakers, Fortress of Inca and Nisolo. A pair of chukkas is on my wishlist right now and those Nisolos look perfect — just wish they had the women’s version in black, or the men’s version in smaller sizes…
I also had two of the Icebreaker Villa dresses but they both ended up with holes in them. I really really want to love their products but I feel like I’ve had problems with too many items.
I’m about to be in the market for new underwear (to replace my Icebreaker undies). I looked at Brook There but had about decided on Hanky Panky. Any thoughts?
Grechen Reiter says
thank you for the review of that icebreaker dress! i love it, it looks so versatile…
and i agree with you on the chukka boots, i wish they were black 🙂
Grechen Reiter says
i have tons of hanky panky underwear, and i like the thongs, for wearing under super-tight things, so if you’re looking for a thong, i recommend only hanky panky. otherwise, i swear now by only hearts. i have two pairs of their bikinis and they are the only underwear i cannot feel that i’m wearing and never have to “worry” about. i know i’m due to review my organic cotton undies purchases, and i’ll do that tomorrow for a more in-depth look, but after trying so many things, i feel like i’m going to just buy 5 more pairs of only hearts bikinis and call it a day….they have their organic cotton ones at rodale’s, but i also really like their “second skins” line, which they have some pieces at shop bop but more at their own site: http://www.onlyhearts.com/second-skin-bikini/
Kate Magill says
DH and I wear a lot of merino garments for hiking and traveling. I’ve found that to keep them intact I basically have to treat them like lingerie. I handwash or put them on an extra-delicate cycle in a lingerie bag. And always air dry, never in the machine. They do dry faster than cotton. I also don’t wash them with detergent — a dedicated wool wash like Eucalan is the way to go (and Eucalan is no-rinse, basically a leave-in conditioner for wool!). Oh, and if you’re really serious about your wool, padded hangers! I never thought I’d own padded hangers…
I think it’s a shame Icebreaker markets its garments as machine washable. Sure, they won’t shrink like hand-knit sweaters, but they’re still not cotton and deserve gentler treatment. 🙂
I like all your choices, but I personally would choose more tops. Sometimes,
I wear three different outfits a day depending on what I’m doing or the weather.
Living in the southwest, we need variable weather clothing. More layers.
Thanks for making me think about the choices I make!
Grechen Reiter says
i agree with you – i guess i didn’t include “home” or exercise clothes here, but i definitely change clothes a few times a day when it’s hot, or depending on what I do during the day!
It might just be my closet and Icebreaker that don’t get along! I line dry almost all of my clothes (especially wool and silk) and only wash in cold water. I do use detergent but only a small amount.
I also keep a pretty small wardrobe so my clothes get worn often. Maybe my mileage is just less than normal!
Well done you!
If you’re looking for the Villa dress it’s also on sale here: http://www.sierratradingpost.com/icebreaker-superfine-200-villa-dress-merino-wool-v-neck-short-sleeve-for-women~p~4476h/?colorFamily=07&merch=prod-rec-prod4476H
(so tempted… no, I’m done shopping!)
I have bought icebreaker from STP. I love merino for travel. I’ve found that icebreaker runs really small, esp on my bust.
Grechen – thanks for this post. I love your choices, and whether you call it a capsule or not, I enjoy looking at a small, cohesive group of clothes. More, please (not clothes, but posts) – will eagerly await the lighter layers.
I was just having another look at this post and I love the way you have shown a sustainable season-specific wardrobe. Great to see a couple of New Zealand brands (Icebreaker & Kowtow) in there!!
I wear Icebreaker for cooler weather biking and running and haven’t had any problems with wear. I also own a couple of their lighter weight every day wear and one got small holes on the wrist but the other is fine. I haven’t sampled Kowtow yet but will definitely be popping in to check them out.
I’m really keen to see your architectural, edgy version as this is my style preference.
Grechen Reiter says
just did a review of my kowtow dress this morning 🙂
to me, they are sort of my sustainable version of james perse; i see that i could pretty much create an entire wardrobe with their pieces, they speak to me that much.
i’ll have another wardrobe for you guys next week!!
I know that a capsule wardrobe works better in theory for me, but I still get all “jiggly” inside because they look so cool on Pinterest! Haha.
I have been searching for a gray oversized sweater like the one by Yala..Viscose (from bamboo) and spandex…what do you think? I know it looks good, but pilling? Washing!?
Grechen Reiter says
i’ve not experienced pilling with my viscose/spandex pieces (I can’t recall anyway), usually only with poly blends…
viscose/rayon wears and washes really well in my opinion.