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The Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe for Reducing Waste

The Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe for Reducing Waste

Building a smaller, more minimalist wardrobe has many benefits. If you would like to explore a capsule wardrobe for yourself, in this guest article from we look at some of the benefits of a capsule wardrobe for reducing waste in the environment.


Over the last few years, there have been more and more ways people can reduce the amount of waste they have. From finding ways to use less water and less plastic and releasing pollution into the air, there are tons of ways to reduce your waste.

One of the most popular and fun ways to reduce waste is to invest in a capsule wardrobe. Susie Faux coined the term capsule wardrobe in the 1970s, so it’s relatively new. While the concept wasn’t initially developed in an effort to be part of a zero-waste lifestyle, people looking to be more conscious consumers and reduce their waste are switching to a capsule wardrobe.

If you’re looking for new ways to reduce your waste, think about the benefits of capsule wardrobes for reducing waste.

The benefits of a capsule wardrobe for reducing waste

1. You’re Limiting The Number of Clothes You Purchase

A capsule wardrobe focuses on having only a few pieces that you can build upon. Most capsule wardrobes only have between 30 and 50 pieces total, including shoes and accessories. You can create dozens of outfits with these pieces without purchasing more clothing.

Fast fashion is one of the most detrimental industries on Earth. While these pieces are cheap and easier to come by, the waste these companies create is far higher than sustainable brands and smaller collections. For example, it is estimated that 15% of the fabric is wasted in clothing manufacturing in fast fashion.

Reducing the number of garments you’re buying limits the amount of waste you’re contributing to by ordering clothing from fast fashion. You’ll help reduce the resources needed to create these garments and any waste that fast fashion causes.

Limiting how much you buy still helps reduce waste, even from higher-end brands, even if you aren’t ordering from fast fashion websites.

Further reading: How to stop buying clothes you don’t need.

2. Your Clothes Last Longer

One of the primary constructs of a capsule wardrobe is choosing versatile pieces and higher quality than standard pieces. While you’ll be spending more money on individual pieces of clothing, when you purchase items of high quality, they’ll last far longer than cheaper brands.

High-quality clothing pieces can last for decades if you properly care for them. The longer your clothes last, the less often you need to replace pieces. By not constantly purchasing clothing, you’re helping reduce waste from companies producing the clothes.

Most companies that produce high-quality pieces don’t do it excessively. Only making a minimal amount of specific garments means these companies are creating less waste when creating their pieces.

Plus, you’ll be able to reduce your clothing waste by not throwing away clothing constantly. So much used and torn clothing ends up in landfills, so purchasing high-quality pieces will help keep your wardrobe intact for longer and reduce your overall waste.

3. It Makes You More Intentional About Your Clothing Purchases

Switching to a capsule wardrobe requires you to be more intentional about your clothing purchases. You will be thinking more about what pieces you want to buy and when you buy them.

Having a capsule wardrobe helps you be less impulsive when buying clothes, helping reduce waste in several capacities. You will be throwing away less clothing and not over-purchasing, requiring clothing manufacturers to waste resources on producing the garments you ordered.

4. You Can Purchase Items From Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable Companies

Purchasing from environmentally friendly and sustainable companies helps you reduce your waste. Avoiding fast fashion is the critical part of these benefits. It can feel challenging to know what companies produce small collections, only make clothes when ordered, or have environmentally friendly practices.

Capsule wardrobes with pieces mostly or entirely from sustainable companies are less wasteful. Some of the best environmentally friendly companies you can purchase items for your capsule wardrobe are:

  • Pact
  • Patagonia
  • Tentree
  • Reformation
  • Kotn

Not only will you get beautiful and high-quality pieces from sustainable companies, but you’ll also reduce your waste and feel good about how they source the materials needed to make your clothes.

5. It’s Easier To Recycle or Donate Items

How often have you been guilty of throwing away old clothing instead of recycling or donating it? A lot of us have, but with a capsule wardrobe, you’ll be far less likely to do this because it’s easier to recycle and donate your used clothing items.

First, decluttering your clothes will be easier because you’ll have a lot less clothing to go through. Having fewer clothing items to go through will make it far less overwhelming and easier for you to commit to donating or recycling your older items.

Another reason it’ll be easier to donate or recycle is that since they’re high-quality and better-taken care of, you’ll feel better about donating them rather than tossing them in the trash. When you feel better about donating items, you’ll be more likely to commit to doing it.

6. You’ll Do Fewer Loads of Laundry

This benefit isn’t always true for all capsule wardrobes, but you’ll be doing far less laundry with a capsule wardrobe in many cases. Since you’ll be purchasing higher quality clothing, many of these items might require you to dry clean instead of washing them like you usually would in your washing machine.

When you pay for dry cleaning services, you’re reducing your water waste drastically. Dry cleaning doesn’t use any water to clean your clothes.

By using dry cleaning services, you’ll not only use less water in your house, but it can also help extend the lifespan of your clothing. As we mentioned earlier, the longer your clothing in your capsule wardrobe lasts, the less fashion waste you’ll have because you won’t purchase or throw out clothing constantly.

The benefits of a capsule wardrobe for reducing waste


Capsule wardrobes are elegant and allow you to build a great wardrobe with minimal pieces. The best part is that even though they’re fun to create, they’re lovely for reducing waste from fast fashion. If you’ve been thinking about ways to lower your waste, these six benefits are just a few reasons you should try a capsule wardrobe.


Nicolle Portilla is RTS’s and Zero Waste’s Marketing Manager, and has been a valued member of the team since July 2018. She is responsible for content creation on all platforms, leveraging creative software, industry trends and research, and social media strategy to build upon the company’s online presence. Additionally, Nicolle contributes to the RTS blog, which serves to educate clients and industry players about our technology and sustainability efforts, and is responsible for the creation and dissemination of our internal and external newsletters.

Prior to taking on the role of Marketing Manager, Nicolle served on the Sustainability team for nearly three years, assisting clients in achieving their sustainability goals through external communications and event organizing. Preceding Nicolle’s time on the RTS team is her work with Clean Water Action, where she promoted clean water initiatives. Nicolle graduated from Stony Brook University in 2018 with a B.A. in Sustainability.


Here are some more articles and resources to help you declutter clothes and build your own smaller, capsule wardrobe: