Waste-Free Fashion?

I’ve never been what you’d call “trendy”. This year, I’ve begun building “capsule wardrobes” and learning to make fabulous outfits with fewer clothing articles. This has drastically increased my fashion savvy (I finally learned what a “cardigan” was!).

The thing is, Project 333 (and really most capsule wardrobe planning) is a zero waster’s dream. And while I’ve adopted this habit, I’ve also got a few zero waste tweaks that I’ve added in!

What is a Capsule Wardrobe? 

A capsule wardrobe is a limited number of clothes that are selected to work with each other to create as many combinations as possible. The actual number doesn’t really matter, but most will fall between 30 and 40 items. Emphasis is put on quality, personal taste, proper fit, and coordinating colors.

Some capsule wardrobe projects will suggest avoiding buying more clothes within a 30 day to 3 month time frame, which helps shopaholics from running into further trouble. Since you’re buying with the whole plan in mind, impulse purchases are reigned in. For example, a patterned shirt that looks cute on its own is passed on if it doesn’t go with anything in the wardrobe.

And, if you live in a four season climate like I do, you don’t have to have 4 40-item wardrobes. You can transfer items that can pass between seasons – or not if you prefer.

My experience with this so far has been amazing! Building with an entire plan in mind meant fewer purchasing mistakes and I’ve finally got a closet that is a pleasure. I’m not so terrified of pictures capturing my unfortunate fashion faux pas for posterity either. I genuinely look passable.


“Refusing what you do not need” and “reducing what you do need” are the first two R’s in Bea Johnson’s approach to Zero Waste. They are also fundamental to the minimalist philosophy.

Buying Used

Re-use is an important part of the zero waste movement and thrift stores and clothing swaps have been personal life-savers in the past. Unfortunately, my new home doesn’t seem to have either in the area. So, I shop thrift stores when I go visiting, but at home, I’ve been using a site called ThredUp. Most of the packaging is recyclable and the clothes are both on trend and once-loved. I love how the site’s curators help me to keep somewhat up to date!

These pieces were bought to flesh out my running / workout capsule. I got these previously loved and cheap from ThredUp.

Beside the sticker, the waste is either recyclable or compostable. I may also be able to use the tissue paper for gift wrap.


Once I’m finished with still usable items, I’ll send them back to a thrift store. I will try to down cycle pieces that are stained or irreparable. One possibility I’m looking forward to trying is making t-shirt shopping bags.

I tend to buy organic cotton socks and when these become unusable, I’m going to cut the elastic off and try to compost the rest.

Areas To Address

Bras? Not sure I will replace them when they finally fail.

Underwear and intimates? I must admit I tend to buy these new and cheaply, but I will look into greener options in the future.

A Year Later…

I’ve become very specific in what I’m looking for to flesh out my capsules and a little aggravated by the selection in thrift and online stores at times. Though this is still my preference.

To save on aggravation, I’ve learned that you can get very specific, and search used, on ebay. So this will be the route that I’ll be turning to in the future instead of giving up and buying new, a recent habit I’ve developed.

I will put a cap on the new items I can buy each year. For 2017, I’ve bought a vegan themed t-shirt, maternity pants, a fleece jacket, a plain maroon t-shirt, and a pair of workout leggings. I was thinking that 5 was a good number cap, but looking at this list, I guess I’m done buying new for the whole year! Ooops! I guess I know my challenge better.

How About You? 

Has your zero waste lifestyle affected your wardrobe? Has it changed how you get, keep, and dispose of your clothing? Have you heard of capsule wardrobes? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, keep that talk walking!

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