Building the perfect capsule wardrobe has been fashion’s conundrum for such a long time – that perfect 10 that will see you through night or day, rain or shine (or snow, depending on your location) and keep you looking chic and feeling good. For cruelty-free fashionistas, a good capsule wardrobe is doubly important: we’re sending a message with everything we wear. Your stylish shoes or killer handbag (that actually didn’t kill anyone!) scream loud and clear: it IS possible to be compassionate and chic. So going that extra mile to leave a lasting stylish impression is worth it! And so is creating the perfect compassionate capsule wardrobe, although that might take some work.
Here are the ten pieces that will get you well on your way:
The wear-them-forever jeans
Virtually all jeans are vegan (they’re made of cotton), but not all pairs are created equal: most of the jeans we buy and wear today are no friend of the environment. Click here to find out more about the environmental implications of denim. But all is not lost. We can still sport our favourite boyfriend, ripped or skinny pair if we just choose wisely.
Get it here: Nudie Jeans (click to find out why!), Kuyichi, Mud Jeans, Donna Ida
The little black (white/printed/colourful) dress
Many high-street chains and most online eco fashion retailers carry silk-free options that are, in many cases, also planet-friendly. Another hot tip is to check out markets – here in London we can choose from tons of pretty styles in places like Spitalfields and Camden.
Get it here: Modavanti, People Tree, Reve en Vert, Free People, Heidi Merrick. Outsider
The wool-less knit
A good cable knit sweater will look chic with jeans, a floaty skirt or a faux-leather jacket. The high street is the easiest place to find knits, but stay on the lookout for ethical-minded brands like White Stuff.
Get it here: H&M, ASOS, http://www.whitestuff.com/, Monsoon
The perfect heels
A good pair of heels is beyond necessary for any wardrobe…and us compassionistas are spoiled for choice as so many designers and fashion chains out there do vegan footwear these days – if you can afford to go a bit higher price-wise, many are also eco-friendly. Choose a heel that will give you a lift – but that you can still walk in. Wobbly is not a good look!
Get them here: OlsenHaus, Stella McCartney, Beyond Skin
The floaty, pleated skirt
This could be the hardest one to find – most good-quality pleated skirts are silk. Have a look around vintage shops and online – once you’ve found and fallen in love with yours, the pleated skirt will become a true staple in your closet.
Get it here: ASOS, Topshop, Mango, Free People
The carry-it-everywhere bag
A good handbag is everything – a trustworthy, quality bag will last you a lifetime, even if it’s not leather. How to put it to the test? Try carrying your entire world around in there for a day and see how it fares.
Get it here: Jill Milan, Urban Expressions, Stella McCartney, Matt and Nat, Freedom of Animals
The non-leather jacket
A biker jacket will look fantastic with a dress, skinny jeans and pretty much any pair of shoes. And most importantly, you’ll use it from October to April (or, in some unfortunate climates, even May). Now, that’s value for your money. Look out for quality faux, though – you don’t want unsightly rips in your eco-biker come November.
Get it here: Miss Selfridge, H&M, Free People
The chic trainers
Oh, the boho-casual wonderfulness of trainers with a summer dress. There’s nothing that says, “I’m stylish and I don’t even have to try” like a pair of beat-up old Converse with a flirty little dress. I’m not talking about pairing your runner shoes with your lace dress, but take that same dress and add the right trainers: voilá, wow-effect. The same pair can be worn with your skinny jeans, your maxi skirt and, for a cozy autumn look, your cable-knit sweater.
Get them here: Converse, Superga
The compassionista coat
Now, this is truly a tricky one, as SO many coats out there include wool. But there is an answer: Vaute Couture. This brand is a true pioneer in the art of vegan dressing – they were also the first 100% cruelty-free brand to show at New York Fashion Week, so sporting one of their coats gives you serious style cred.
Get it here: Vaute Couture
The must-have biker boots
Biker boots are a true style staple and contrary to popular belief, they look good on anyone. They bring your outfit that extra touch of edge, even if you’re just wearing jeans and a white t-shirt. Especially then.
Get them here: Compassion Couture, Cri de Coeur, MooShoes, Fashion-Conscience.com
Header photo from Freedom of Animals