Building A Seasonal Capsule Wardrobe

Encapsulate– a verb described to express the essential features of something succinctly.
With today’s current climate crisis, it is essential that consumers “encapsulate” a wardrobe that is of course expressive, but more importantly organized to its respective essentials. If you curate your closet to the proper essentials, collected from the correct sources, you can create a timeless wardrobe that limits climate-damaging consumption. And the good news? It’s easier than you might think! Here is a guide of sustainable, timeless & staple  items to start your capsule wardrobe. 


Plain White Tee

Everyone needs a plain, white, t-shirt. The epitome of buildable, the white tee can be layered, accessorized, dressed-up, dressed-down, and everything else in between. A white graphic tee also holds a plethora of opportunities– any graphic tee goes with any denim pant combination (and let’s be honest a graphic tee always gets better with age). Here at Tiller, we all swear by the classic bathing suit/white-tee combo that not only flatters any beach-goer, but also protects the shoulders from the sun after some time in just a bathing suit. 

Classic Blue Denim

Along with the typical (and I know, predictable) white tee-shirt, no capsule wardrobe is complete without flattering blue jeans/shorts. Especially in the Summer, a classic pair of denim shorts can act as a cover-up. Before I list some great sustainable brands and their flattering denim, I must suggest that Goodwill is a great place to shop for a typical blue jean. You have the variety of every wash, every fit, and every length (all at a great price!). I have looked in the women’s section, the men’s section, and even the children’s section to find great pieces that I can customize with just a few adjustments. There are many “hacks” on Pinterest, Tiktok, and Youtube to fit into jeans with a larger waist band, so all you need is the denim! New sustainable denim tends to be a bit more expensive too, but if I am going to splurge on a pair, I love Everlane’s!

Goodwill Locator  (thrifted Levi’s jean shorts paired with old Tiller Swim top)

Buildable Basics

Now that we have  the white tee-shirt and the denim, the next step is to bundle. Depending on the weather and occasion, a classic tee/denim set can be dressed up or dressed down. You may want to dress up your staple tee with a structured pair of trousers, or pair your jeans with a blazer. See below for some ideas of elevated basics.

An oversized linen button-down can be styled in so many ways and worn for a myriad of summer occasions. Wear as a beach cover-up over a swimsuit, tucked into jeans for a casual day look or unbuttoned over an outfit for an extra layer on a summer night!

Shirt jackets are here to stay! Dress up or down, all year round.
A good blazer can change any look and can be pair with so many pieces you already own. There are a surplus of blazers on the secondhand market which allows you to find high quality and designer pieces that will last a lifetime.
Linen shorts are a summer staple, especially when you want to opt for something lighter than denim or heavier pant materials.
A crew neck sweater is a year round MUST have, and since they have been around forever, you can find a variety of styles and details to fit your style. Buy new from some great sustainable brands (like the Marine Layer option below) or go for a hunt thrifting. The best part? Most vintage crew neck knits are essentially unisex which increases your chances of finding something that fits your style.
Trousers in neutral colors are the perfect way to elevate your simple tees & tanks for a more sophisticated look. They can be dress up with heels or dressed down with sneakers. You can't go wrong! 
A classic & comfortable crew neck is a go-to year round. Wear tied around your shoulders on a chilly summer night, or layered under a blazer or with trousers in the colder months for a chic and effortless look. And you can never say no to organic cotton cozies :) 


Best way to finish off a look? I think the links below speak for themselves. 

We love a scarf around here! It is one of the pieces you'll be sure to find in an array of colors, prints and materials at any thrift or secondhand shop. Scarves can be used to bring color into more basic pieces and there are endless ways to wear them. Check out a few ideas for scarf hair inspo below. 
Inspiration for Hair Scarfs:
Jewelry can help to finish off any look, whether it's day to day or a special occasion. We love Mejuri for their ethical & high quality selection, especially for everyday wear. Thrifting and looking secondhand for jewelry is a great way to find more unique pieces and potentially score some deals on high quality metals & stones.
Wearing a hat is a great way to make a look more casual. Play around with outfits you may not necessarily wear with a trucker and try to make it work! Below is one of our organic cotton/recycled mesh trucker hats in a sand color that pairs easily with any fit.

This is just the start– as you get more comfortable and expressive with your capsule wardrobe, you will discover that all along you really only need a few base pieces, and a few accessories to take one outfit to all seasons. Just remember the motive is to be sustainable!


by Kathleen Tiernan | August 2, 2022

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