How to create a zero waste capsule wardrobe

Filed in Blog by on June 21, 2016 0 Comments
FavoriteLoadingAdd article to favourites

tobi capsule wardrobe 4 myzerowasteBack in 2012, I set myself a challenge to wear just one dress for the entire week.

It was part of a move towards something I’d been wanting to create for ages – a capsule wardrobe.

Although the challenge went well, my capsule wardrobe creation didn’t!

In fact I’m still guilty of ‘too many clothes, nothing to wear’.

I frequently read inspiring blogs about people who successfully live with 30 items of clothing or less. And still I fail at my own.

Thankfully, Jessica from Tobi must have read my mind. She contacted me and said “The ever-so-chic French women of the world have been privy to the genius of a capsule wardrobe for decades, but the secret to a capsule wardrobe isn’t as difficult as it seems; it has less to do with fashion than it does practicality.” How could I resist getting her onboard to share her expertise with us?

Read on for her ideas and advice about a putting together a Summer Capsule Wardrobe:


A capsule wardrobe uses an essential core of versatile pieces that you can rotate throughout a season, creating varying outfits with just a few number of pieces.

To really make your money count, we’re suggesting a capsule wardrobe that spans at least the two major temperature states of where you live: spring/summer and winter/fall.

Building on what you already own, purchasing into a capsule wardrobe is easy and will save you more time and money in the long run!

Follow these steps to make sure that your spring/summer closet only has the most “versatile” clothes, depending on your own unique style:

Organize clothes into three piles:

  • What you wear often and love: these should fit you like a glove and be made of good material with lasting construction. You’re keeping these!
  • What you haven’t worn in a while: keep these in a separate box or bag. You can sift through this “maybe” pile after you’ve purchased into more of your capsule wardrobe to see if they have a home in your new closet.
  • No: Whether it’s unrepairable or just not your style any more, you’re getting rid of these so consider your options. Hand them down to someone who will appreciate them, donate them to a local center, or recycle them with community recycling. Americans throw away about 70 pounds of textiles per year– all of which can be reused!

Organize your “yes” pile into more piles!

The purpose of this is to find out where you’re lacking.

Remember to only keep the most versatile pieces within each of the following categories:

  • Tanks (vests or camisoles)
  • Tops
  • Tunics
  • Cardigans/Jackets
  • Sweaters
  • Bottoms
  • Dresses

Now the fun bit – shopping!

Now you’ve found the gaps in your wardrobe, it’s time to purchase them.

Here are some guidelines on choosing versatile clothing:

Types of versatile tank tops to look for: camis, relaxed fit cropped tank tops, flowy silhouettes.

tobi capsule wardrobe myzerowaste
Types of tops to look for: loose fitted crop tops, v-necks, billowed kimono sleeves, striped patterns, oversized fit.

tobi capsule wardrobe2 my zero waste

Types of tunics to look for: camisole style, draped or shift silhouette, simple t-shirt dresses.

tobi capsule wardrobe 3 myzerowaste
Types of essential jackets and cardigans: clean silhouetted blazer, lightweight trench, moto jacket, poncho style cardigan.

tobi capsule wardrobe 4 myzerowaste

Types of sweaters: striped, slouchy silhouette, cropped sweaters, denim shirts

tobi capsule wardrobe 5 myzerowaste
Types of bottoms: black denim, boyfriend jeans, blue wash denim, denim shorts, cropped pants in relaxed fit, culottes, wide leg or palazzo pants, trousers.

tobi capsule wardrobe 6 myzerowaste

tobi capsule wardrobe 7 myzerowaste

Types of dresses: relaxed fit in eyelet lace, comfortable bodycon, shift dresses, draped silhouettes, floral pattern/print, maxi dresses with slits.

tobi capsule wardrobe 8 myzerowaste

Putting it together

Now that you’ve selected the best of each you’re ready to start pairing! Let’s look at our list again and pull together some outfits.

    • Tanks
    • Tops
    • Tunics
    • Cardigans/Jackets
    • Sweaters
    • Bottoms
    • Dresses


Tanks – you can use your cami under a dress for added coverage, or simply for an extra layer! That relaxed fit cropped tank is good to go under a cardigan on chilly days or on its own – you decide! Flowy silhouettes are great with black denim, shorts, or your favorite jeans.

Tops – add your favorite top to a variety of outfits. For days when the sun can’t decide to stay in or come out throw your oversized fit top over your tank and don’t forget your cardigan for when those clouds stay out for good and the wind makes an appearance!

Tunics – talk about versatility; suitable for warm days with a pair of sandals and great for chillier days. Grab that cardigan and tunic, pair with jeans and you’re set. Tunics are also amazing cover-ups at the beach.

Cardigans/Jackets – dress it up, or dress it down and layer with your favorite cardigan or jacket for all occasions. Cardigans give us the power to own the day despite the weather and occasion – pair with your best skirt or layer up in your fitted jeans and you’re set. Wear your moto jacket with any dress for an edgy look – or with black denim on colder nights.

Sweaters – pair your best sweater with a dress, your favorite top, over your tunic or simply with a pair of jeans. Don’t forget about your denim shirt – that can also be worn with a dress, skirt, or jeans – denim-on-denim is completely acceptable!

Bottoms – remember that cropped tank? Match that with palazzo pants and you’ve got a comfortable yet sophisticated look. Not feeling the wide-leg pants but still want comfort? Grab your boyfriend jeans with a cardigan and flowy top for ultimate coziness.

Dresses – we’ve shared how to pair your cardigan and sweater with your dress, but what about that oversized tee? You can do that too – your bodycon can be turned into a mini skirt with that tee added. That floral print dress is also more versatile that you might think – denim over floral is a great pick – and, for when the AC is on full blast, grab your cardigan for easy added warmth.

What about you – how do you ensure your clothes works hard for you?

About the Author ()

Leave a Reply