Sustainably Chic

Conscious Lists

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe and Sustainable Brands that Help

Conscious ListsNatalie Kay

pt. 1

Susie Faux, a London boutique owner, coined the term 'Capsule Wardrobe' in the 1970s. The simplified wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items {meant to last through trends} which can be paired with seasonal pieces. Today, you typically find capsule wardrobes containing less than 40 pieces. The number still seems big, but go hang out in your closet for a bit and you will find - it is a lot smaller than you think.

Some of y’all might be laughing at me for even talking about this because who am I to give tips on a capsule wardrobe… I have like way too many clothes for that. It’s true. I have more clothing than the average capsule size, but I’ve created mini capsules within my bigger collection of clothes. I really like having a big closet, and I hold on to clothes like they are my friends. I will say, I’m very cautious about what I add into it, and I try to keep my new items to a minimum. However, I know many of you really love the idea of a capsule wardrobe and it helps simplify your life. I’m just going to give you a few tricks I’ve learned over the years and a list of brands that make building the perfect capsule wardrobe easy and fair.

Simple Capsule Wardrobe Break Down

This will be a bit different for everyone, but for example, in a 40-piece wardrobe it could be:

  • 10 tops

  • 10 bottoms

  • 10 outerwear pieces

  • 5 dresses

  • 5 pairs of shoes

If you really want to size-down to include accessories within the 40, go with less bottoms and outwear pieces. When building my seasonal wardrobes, I never include the accessories, but I know some people do!

Try to work mostly with neutral colors so tops and bottoms can be easily matched. Find a few accent colors and a couple prints for a little bit of a pop. If you are having trouble narrowing your closet down, you can create capsule wardrobes by season.

Start With What You Have

Don’t immediately go out and buy something. You probably can already make a decent capsule wardrobe and then add from there. (oh & don’t get rid of things either just because they don’t fit into the new capsule… you may still have use for those pieces in the future)

Need to find something new to add in?

Shop Businesses that Make Versatile Pieces

Here are a few brands I love to direct people to when they ask about capsule wardrobes. Plus, these brands are all ethical and hold sustainability at their core.

Shop at the Beginning of Each Season

Only allowing yourself to go shopping 4 times a year will help curb some of those impulse purchases. It also helps you to really think about your next purchase so you are 100% sure it’s something that will benefit your closet. I sit on an idea of a new piece for months, and a lot of the time, I don’t ever end up purchasing it.

Look for Pieces You can Wear Multiple Ways

I love dresses you can change with a single tie, or garments with no ‘wrong side’ of the fabric. I have several blouses and dresses I can wear with buttons on the back or front which helps create all new looks. Encircled is probably the best brand for versatile pieces.

I hope you have found this somewhat helpful. I’ll be discussing this topic on Instagram and will make sure to add any of your tips to the post!!

I plan to create a Fall Capsule Wardrobe from my own closet in the next few weeks for part two of this series so stay tuned :)

The Best Sustainable Sandals & Flip Flops for Summer

Conscious ListsNatalie Kay

It’s been years since I’ve made a list about sandals, which is overdue for a Florida girl. I can get away with wearing sandals all year long, but I’m sure many of you have more colorful climates and only get to bring them out for 3-6 months out of the year. Here’s a little list of my favorites - some that are just on my wish list, but a few I actually own and wear quite a bit. Plus, some of these are pretty affordable, too!

Carla, Cano $79.95

Carla, Cano $79.95

Gisela Sandal, ABLE $88

Gisela Sandal, ABLE $88

Iris Sandals, Made Trade $84

Iris Sandals, Made Trade $84

Morgan, Oka-B $40

Morgan, Oka-B $40

Kai Pom Slip-On, Ocelot Market $159

Kai Pom Slip-On, Ocelot Market $159

Corsica Sandal, Reformation $128

Corsica Sandal, Reformation $128

The Day Crossover, Everlane $88

The Day Crossover, Everlane $88

Ecuador Huarache Sandal, Nisolo $118

Ecuador Huarache Sandal, Nisolo $118

Raffia Desert Sandal, Accompany $162

Raffia Desert Sandal, Accompany $162

A Guide to Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Clothing for Children

Conscious ListsNatalie Kay

Elliott is about to turn a year old, and I finally feel as if I’m qualified to be writing this post - or maybe I should say, I’m interested at this point in my life to write this kind of post. I’m thinking more about what he has in his closet, before what I have. Growing up, my mom would always joke that she never went shopping for herself because she was always shopping for my brother and I.

Well, okay.. now, I see where she is coming from.

All I do is think about that little booger, and I’m sure, if you’re a mom, you are the same way.

You want the very best for them, and {if you came here} you probably want to make sure their clothing respects the planet, too.


Second-Hand Clothing

The very first thing I do, when shopping for Elliott, is buy 2nd-hand. I love going to Once Upon a Child, and other pre-loved stores for kids. I usually always find what I’m looking for, and you can’t beat the prices. Plus, you can sell the clothing back after it’s been worn. Kids grow too quick to have a brand new wardrobe every few months.

Online swapping sites like Swap Society also have a great selection of used clothing. You can read more about how their system works here.

However, I’m a firm believer in supporting the makers within the fashion industry. I don’t think it’s sustainable to always buy second-hand - lots of us would lose our jobs.

buy-back programs

There are some online stores and brands who offer new product, and buy it back after you are finished to resell on their site.

Mini-Cycle offers a variety of baby brands, and will take back anything you purchase from them. Their closed-loop system allows you to keep recycling clothing through a trading system. See how it works here.

Little Lentil Clothing is an organic line who also takes back clothing to sell in their Loved Again section. Read more about their send-back program here and how you can save 15%.


organic clothing brands

While Elliott wears mostly 2nd-hand, there are a few organic brands I love to support. Not only are they creating a more sustainable industry for childrenswear, but they are dressing our little ones in fabrics that are safe for their skin!

I mentioned Little Lentil Clothing clothing above - their organic separates are really great for mixing and matching. Mini + Meep creates the CUTEST illustrations for their onesies, some even mama can wear. Soul Flower is for the peace & love child, and Fresh Little Love helps you build a capsule wardrobe through a subscription service so you don’t have to think about what to get! A few other online stores who carry multiple organic brands are EarthHero & Green Roost.


I’m constantly updating my Brands to Love page, so be sure to check out the Kiddos section from time to time!!

Enjoy those little ones <3

7 Ethical & Sustainable Jewelry Brands for the Minimalist

Conscious ListsNatalie Kay

Rebecca Mir Grady

Ethically Made Fine Jewelry

I love simplicity when it comes to jewelry. I want to be able to wear it everyday and with anything in my closet. It needs to be light, but with enough charm to be noticeable. I find Rebecca Mir Grady does this beautifully. Rings are petite, necklaces aren’t over the top and bracelets are exactly what stacking should look like. 


Little by Little Jewelry

Timeless, Transparent, Inspired by Beauty Found In Food. 

Founded by jewelry designer Annabel Cox, and food editor, cookery book writer & photographer Georgina Fuggle, Little by Little Jewellery is a merge of their love for graphics and food. All pieces are ethically-made in Lima, Peru, and partial profits are donated to Action Against Hunger.


Charmed by a Cause

Ethically Crafted Fine Jewelry Designed for the Altruistic

Their name suits them perfectly. Charmed by a Cause donates 20% of the purchase price to a cause YOU want to support. They are so transparent in the dollar amount that you see exactly how much goes to your cause of choice.


Siku Jewelry

Recycled Metals, Ethical for Ice

All of Siku Jewelry pieces are made right here in the US with 100% recycled and refined metals from the jewelry industry {never from a mine!}. Even the packaging and business cards are thoughtful and made from recycled paper. 


Puck Wanderlust

Mindfully Made for the Modern Wanderer

Created by two London girls - Ranelle & Hannah, Puck Wanderlust is bringing us the finest stone and artisan quality jewelry made with the planet in mind. All designs are created in England, and then ethically made in India. PUCK is a mischievous fairy in English folklore  & WANDERLUST is a strong desire for adventure. 


Tribe Alive 

About Women. Intentionally Designed. Ethically Manufactured. Artisan Made. 

Handmade in Honduras, this 18kt gold-plated brass necklace makes a statement without being too dramatic. It’s modern, geometric design works perfect for a minimalist. Their entire new collection of jewelry is absolutely beautiful and is inspired by Tribe Alive’s love of clean lines.


One Happy Leaf

Eco Jewelry that Plants Trees

One Happy Leaf is more than a jewelry line, it's a collection that fights to protect our Earth & the beings that live on it. Using quality eco-friendly bamboo, each piece is lovingly designed & created by Anna Anagno - an environmental scientist by education {so, naturally, she knows her stuff!}. Plus, for each piece sold, a tree is planted.

use code sustainablychic15 for 15% off


aid through trade

Empowering Women Artisans in Nepal Through Fair Trade

I lied when I made this post ‘7’ brands because I couldn’t not add Aid Through Trade! They are the creators of the Original Roll-On Bracelet, and the are the only bracelets I can wear all day without them flying off my baby wrists. Truly my favorites!!

use code SUSTAINABLYCHIC for 30% off through 6/30/19

5 Ways to Be a Better Earth Advocate in 2019

Conscious ListsNatalie Kay

This post is short & sweet, but something I needed to put down in words to remind myself and anyone else who struggles with being green. In a world of constant go-go-go and disposable everything, feeling like you are making a difference can be tough. I’m super hard on myself, and I know I can do better - but some days, I feel like giving up. I hope these 5 ‘rules’ I’m giving myself for the year will help inspire you to keep fighting the good fight, too!

  1. Lead by example.

    One of the best ways to encourage others are through your own actions. Rather than using words, showing people how you live is much more inspiring than telling them how they should change. After all, no one likes to hear they are wrong, and making others feel guilty is counterproductive.

  2. Celebrate the small steps.

    Even if it’s as small as bringing a reusable straw with you to the coffee shop every morning! Everything counts, and those little changes add up in the end. I go for one eco-swap a month and try to perfect it - for example, you can replace your paper napkins for cloth. Easy, peasy.

  3. Include everyone.

    We all have different lifestyles, diets, religions, bank accounts… do I need to go on? Sustainability doesn’t have a cookie cutter mold for everyone, and what works for you, might not work well for someone else. Be respectful, compassionate and understanding of their journey, too.

  4. Remain positive.

    This one is the toughest of them all for me. There will always be someone who thinks you aren’t doing enough, which can be a low blow to morale. You know what works best for you! Don’t sweat the small stuff or beat yourself up over breaking some rules. & stay off those online debates… :P

  5. Always leave room for changes.

    With busy schedules and the introductions of new products, a ‘green’ life is an ever changing journey. You have to be flexible, and willing to adapt based off your immediate surroundings and comfort level. Being set in your ways makes it hard to progress, and none of us have it down pact, yet.

Wishing everyone a happy new year & I look forward to continuing this eco journey with you <3