OPINION: Gender-neutral capsule wardrobe for anyone, anytime

Capsule wardrobe includes ssential, gender-inclusive wardrobe pieces to invest in



Curating a capsule wardrobe is a great way to embrace sustainability with style.

ANNABELLE PEPIN, Evergreen columnist

Out with the old, in with the new – or not. 

Whether you are traveling, or just following the minimalist wave, a capsule wardrobe is the best way to invest in high-quality pieces that last for years in terms of style and material. This style of dressing benefits the environment through less consumption and provides less stress when getting dressed for the day. 

College students tend to buy fast fashion to keep up with trends at a cheap price, contributing to this consumerism culture and environmental issues. However, we can help end by creating a capsule wardrobe. 

Whatever looks good on you will never go out of style. 

So what is a capsule wardrobe? It is a small collection of clothes that all match each other and never go out of style, no matter when or where you are in life. 

“The epitome of a capsule wardrobe is having minimal options with the most usage,” Ginger Krumm, fashion student at Polimoda Fashion School in Florence, Italy, said. “If you know what looks good on you in terms of a color palette and style, that’s all you need.” 

The capsule wardrobes that I have seen cater more to women, but since clothes do not have a gender, this is for everyone. Anyone can be fashionable, comfortable and environmentally mindful when it comes to their wardrobe.


White button-up shirt

From the films in the 50s to the present, the white button-up is truly timeless. Both Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck wore this classic style in “Roman Holiday,” as did  Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc did in the show “Friends” years later. 

J.Crew, Free People and Anthropologie are just a few sustainable shops that can provide the look. Although these brands are on the more expensive side, with such a staple piece, the relationship between the price and the number of times it is worn is a very important thing to consider.

Tees & Tanks

Graphic tees and basics are important for people that want to balance personal expression with a wardrobe that matches. Personally, a classic band shirt is one of my favorites because they are a perfect addition to an outfit that needs a bit of spice.

Tank tops are amazing for underneath a stylish jacket or by themselves. Plain solid colors match anything, which is important for having a closet that goes together.

Tentree and thrift stores always have great options for graphics, whereas basics can be found at places like Madewell and Ética that focus on sustainability on top of flattering cuts and basics. 



If you read my previous fashion-focused article regarding denim, it has been made clear that denim trends are hard to identify. 

However, mid-rise jeans with a straight leg never have and never will go out of style. Marilyn Monroe wore them, as does Emma Chamberlain on her social media. Both of these fashion icons invested in the classic piece, and you should too.  

Levi’s is always a classic – in fact, some of the first jeans that were worn by both men and women were Levi’s 501s. Considering classics are the driving factors of a capsule wardrobe, these are my favorite jeans to recommend. 

Classic styles that last can also be found at Everlane or PAIGE, two environmentally mindful options that fit many body types. 



A statement like this one can be seen as edgy or classy (or both) depending on the way they are worn. Leather is always paired well with denim jeans and a t-shirt, or going for a classic little black dress moment. 

James Dean left his legacy not only in Hollywood but in the fashion world as well. His iconic look has been seen ever since then in nearly every decade (and for the future ones to come). 

Thrifting is always the way to go for authentic vintage leather, but for more modern ones, Stella McCartney makes a few amazing ones, as does AllSaints.

Once you buy one, you will have it forever. I have had the same leather jacket that belonged to my father for my entire life, and it is still in great condition. 


White Sneakers

Never in fashion history has there been a moment without white sneakers. They go with everything: Casual, slightly dressed up, lazy. 

It does not matter; they will match everything. I think the first shoes that I bought myself were white sneakers (and I have had them for almost six years). 

Nike has made strides to be more environmentally friendly, so shopping some of their newer lines can be supportive. One of my favorite sustainable brands from Europe is VEJA, which focuses on its contributions to the environmental health of our planet.

Black Boots

Black goes with everything, and so do boots. If you have a solid pair of boots on top of your white sneakers, you will be set for a semester full of fashion and ease. I tend to pair my black boots with a pair of light-wash jeans and a sweater or a t-shirt.

Doc. Martens has been seen as a classic since they were introduced to the fashion world in 1901 and have been dressed for nearly every clothing style, from preppy to grunge. Blundstone, Steve Madden and Jeffery Campbell Shoes all have different styles but have perfect classics for your black boot needs. 



Necklaces, earrings and rings have been a form of personal expression for as long as fashion exists. Wearing jewelry that highlights your personality is amazing to compliment a closet full of basics – my outfits never feel complete without some fun rings and earrings.  

Etsy has some of the cutest jewelry, and you can simultaneously show your support for small businesses. Shopping secondhand is another amazing way to get high-quality jewelry pieces that are potentially vintage while staying sustainable. 

Personal expression has always been a trend, so that should be continued. 

“I don’t mind paying extra on the clothes and especially jewelry that I trust and that I know I will wear. If it can withstand all of the spontaneous adventures and camping trips that I go on, it’s worth every dollar,” Cecilia Sevier, fashion sustainability activist, said. 

Having style does not always mean having more pieces. Knowing what you like and learning the mindset to shop mindfully is one step closer to the capsule wardrobe.