Our Editors' Ethical Capsule Wardrobes
As we start to pepper in small safe social gatherings once again, I’m feeling a tad uninspired when it comes to my style. So I asked my coworkers, what are you wearing these days? And on a scale of sweatpants to Met Gala, it seems like our wardrobes lie somewhere in between. (Okay, honestly, we’re still on the sweatpants end of the spectrum.)
Some of us are going for fit, while others still are opting for flow. No matter what, though, we’re all looking for pieces that are comfortable and versatile for wearing all day at home, or out and about when it’s safe to do so.
So here it is: the Fall 2021 edition of our editors’ dream mini capsule wardrobe. The rules are that no capsule can exceed $500 (and only non-sale prices are counted) and that each collection had to complete at least one outfit. Plus, each piece had to be made using sustainable materials and ethical practices—or acquired secondhand if not.
Read on to get a taste of our team’s personal style! Let us know in the comments below which capsule you’re dreaming about—or if you have a dream capsule piece of your own.
I know I’m not alone in this: Nothing has worked quite as hard as the buttons on my pants these past few months. They’re starting to feel the strain and I (*deep inhale*) am too (*zips up*). I need a little extra breathing room these days. Is it the pandemic? Stress? Just getting older? It doesn’t matter—I just need to size up on some things.
So cottony, loose garments are what I’m drawn to right now (I am not pregnant, just growing in different ways). This season, for me, is about wearing what I want—not necessarily the ambers and browns that autumn often calls for. And, I’m wearing only things that balance my physical with my emotional comfort—Is my bladder being squeezed? Do I feel good about what I’m wearing, not for anyone else, but for myself? Do I have pockets? These are the important questions.
This dress from Richer Poorer is in my IRL heavy rotation (so so soft and cozy), and I love my pink Vejas enough to dedicate over a third of my capsule budget to these Crayola-inspired ones. I’ve also added cargo pants from Quince, because all I want is a ‘90s reckoning and (yep) pockets. And can we talk about the blue on this Back Beat Co jumpsuit?? It’s so bold and happy and not a waistband in sight. Finally, the stripey shirt from Summersalt is a dream layering piece—it’s interesting without being overwhelming, and I’d wear it under my dresses, jumpsuits, and all the layers of coffee I’d spill on it. A good multipurpose piece! 😂
Total | $500.12 (but it can be less depending on exchange rates, I swear!)
Though there’s rarely any snowfall to seek warm shelter from in Los Angeles, I still associate the end of the year with cozy comfort. (Blame my being raised on the East Coast and having a late-October birthday.)
This season, I’m drawn to colors that remind me of the earth and make me feel connected to it; the brown oversized cotton cardigan and mustard-yellow corduroys are giving me Charlie Brown vibes and I humbly accept. After a year of donning sweatpants and going braless, I’m also looking to counter these loose silhouettes with more form-fitting ones, like these bodysuits from Reformation and Pact: a long-sleeved and a short for versatility (and tentative temperature changes). I want outfits that I can wear to a holiday hang (pandemic-permitting 😔) but can just as easily curl up on the couch in. This stretchy, thick-ribbed skirt from KOTN fits the bill.
Round it out with a chunky (vegan) loafer—because it’s as close to a weather-resistant boot as I can get in a city that doesn’t need one—and I’m a happy Halloween baby! The only thing I couldn’t fit within this budget is a much-needed beanie, so maybe I’ll learn to knit.
1. Dedicated. Big Check Cardigan | $129
2. Jan N June Hedda Mom Pants | $109.18
3. Reformation Gaia Bodysuit | $68
4. Pact Tank Bodysuit | $35
5. KOTN Ribbed Pencil Skirt | $48
6. Matt & Nat Itza Vegan Oxford | $110
Total | $499.18
I have a confession to make. I don’t care about my fashion. There, I said it.
Look, I love finding new brands that catch my eye and watching my colleagues transition from shirt dresses to sweater vests. But I have to be honest: It’s just not my thing. Most pieces feel uncomfortable between chafing, odd sizing (I’m only 5’) or my plantar fasciitis. With that in mind, here’s what I’m actually wearing this season.
I am a broken record when it comes to LEZÉ the Label and its super-soft clothing made out of recycled fishnets (I can see my colleagues are rolling their eyes). Its cozy turtleneck embodies both autumn and elegance to me, especially when paired with Ana Luisa hoops. Because Santa Barbara is quite warm year-round, I’m also including a fall-inspired tank top for hotter days.
Okay, I have another confession: I don’t wear jeans—I wear jeggings! But these Warp + Weft jeans have me rethinking things. Now that I’ve had them tailored to my height, they’re perfectly comfy, stretchy, and back in style with a cute flare. And even though these mules fall under “fast fashion,” Target’s shoes feel the least painful for my foot condition. Because living sustainably is the name of the game, I’m hoping to score them secondhand and wear them into the ground.
Lastly, I wear the same jewelry everyday—a few rings, heirloom gold earrings, and this Dolcetti bracelet that I got ~zapped~ on when we lived in Jersey City. It’s delicate, gorgeous, and makes me smile every time I see it. And because I am nothing if not a walking billboard, I love this Ban Billionaires hat from my best friend’s Etsy. It gives back, supports my people, and shades both capitalism—and me from the sun. Can’t think of anything better to rock this fall. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
1. LEZÉ the Label Maya Turtleneck | $95
2. Ana Luisa Scarlett Medium Hoops | $75
3. ADAY Take-Off Satin Tank Top | $85
4. Warp + Weft Mia High Rise Flare Jeans | $98
5. Universal Thread Tobi Heeled Mules | $29.99
6. West Village Tribe Herkimer Diamond Dolcetti | $86
7. Kuszy Ban Billionaires Hat | $25
Total | $493.99
For the past 18 months, my wardrobe has revolved around only one question: “Is it comfortable?” But now that I’m beginning to see more people and get outside my home, I’m guessing I should retire my rotation of yoga pants for something a bit more, well, put together.
Still, comfort is queen when it comes to clothing these days. With everything that’s going on in the world, a cozy outfit is the one thing I can control. And so, I’m sticking with that theme for my fall fashion mood board.
First, baggy pants. I served my time wearing tight skinny jeans, so I’m thrilled that wide-leg pants are back in style. These jeans from AGOLDE are 100% organic cotton and offer a loose, vintage-inspired fit. They pair perfectly with a chunky sneaker (because, again, comfort).
Another fall staple that practically screams comfort: cardigans. The one from Naadam is ethically and sustainably made with 100% Mongolian wool.
Finally, no outfit is complete without jewelry or accessories to tie it all together—the good news is, J. Hannah sells both. While the jewelry pieces are a bit more of an investment (someone notify my partner, pls), this new polish color—Compost—is perfect for darker days ahead. It’s also nontoxic, cruelty-free, and made in the USA. For a simple and affordable jewelry piece, I’m wearing the mini paperclip chain necklace from GLDN. It’s handmade in Washington with recycled gold and silver.
Total | $467
Social & Community Lead
Fall is the superior season, nobody can change my mind. While fall in Los Angeles still means mid-’80s, the crisp overcast mornings and cooler evenings got me lookin’ like this meme, and they’re cool enough (by LA standards) to warrant sweater vests, menswear-inspired trousers, and loafers aplenty. I’ll pass on the pumpkin spice, but I will indulge in taper candles burning all day long, chunky knits, simmer pots on the stove, and of course, a decorative pumpkin or two.
To accommodate LA’s fluctuating “fall” temperatures, I’m layering up. This vintage crew tee from For Days is the perfect base layer. I wear white tees most days, but the slightly oversized cut of this one makes it perfect to wear under a sweater vest—my favorite fall trend. They’re super easy to come by in thrift stores and on Etsy/Depop, too! I love this grey v-neck (though my younger self would probably cringe at the thought of wearing v-neck anything).
I’m keeping the ‘90s prep look going by pairing my vest with a mini skirt, white ankle socks, and loafers. Reformation is a go-to for mini skirts, and this one is no exception! I already own these loafers, wear them almost daily, and can confirm that they go with everything, so of course they snuck into my capsule wardrobe. I’m harking back to the days of my youth with colorful hair clips and a fun bag to match.
1. For Days Vintage Crew | $28
2. Etsy Sweater Vest | $30+
3. Reformation Benson Skirt | $128
4. Girlfriend Quarter Crew Sock | $14
5. Vagabond Alex Loafer | $160
6. Chunks Cecile Clips | $10
7. HVISK Amble Croc Bag | €89 ($95 USD as of publish)
Total | $465
Emily Torres is the Managing Editor at The Good Trade. She’s a Los Angeles transplant who was born and raised in Indiana, where she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her reading or writing, caring for her rabbits, or practicing at the yoga studio.