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Creating Your Fall Eco-Minimalist Wardrobe

Being an eco-minimalist style maven means not only choosing materials that are fairly traded and sweatshop free, but also choosing well made apparel that needn't be replaced often, as well as retooling what you already own.
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The arrival of cooler temps often signal a reassessment of our wardrobe from light, breezy pieces to keep cool in, to heavier, cozier items that insulate better. Being an eco-minimalist style maven means not only choosing materials that are fairly traded and sweatshop free, but also choosing well made apparel that needn't be replaced often, as well as retooling what you already own.

Minimalist-style blogger Caroline Rector, who coined the term "capsule wardrobe" posts photos of her seasonally changing 37-piece wardrobe on her blog "Un-Fancy". Every 3 months, she refreshes her minimalist wardrobe, and in doing so provides a wealth of mix and match styles to take her through the next season.

Rector explains her reasoning behind the 37-piece capsule wardrobe:

"To me, a capsule wardrobe represents more time and energy for what really matters (less time spent deciding what to wear/less time spent shopping/less time doing laundry or caring for clothes) more money for our dreams and helping others (less money spent on clothes that never get worn) and more contentment and happiness."

A capsule wardrobe can easily accommodate various styles and colors and both casual wear and office wear. If 37 pieces of clothing sound a bit constraining to you, here are some examples of just how varied a capsule wardrobe can be.

The majority of pieces that anchor the capsule wardrobe include loose tops and tanks in neutral colors, comfortable and stylish jeans and twill pants, soft sweater coats and vests, and classic footwear such as oxford shoes, riding boots, and pumps.

Accessories, (not included in the 37 piece count), provide extra pizzazz, color, and sparkle. Universally appealing shades like blush and nude, classic cuts with nautical stripes and boat necklines, chambray, washed denim, and charcoal knits provide the blank canvas. Just think: there's a reason the crisp, white shirt never goes out of style.

Shoes are one element of a capsule wardrobe that are most likely to wear out quickly, so more consideration should be put toward purchasing durable styles that can handle your particular climate and style needs, for example: a boot that looks rugged enough for the elements, but stylish enough for the office.

At least one comfortable, quality pair of heels or dress boots that can take you from day to night in comfort is also essential to a minimalist wardrobe. Ssh-oes are the fusion of science and fashion. Developed by designer Mary Arnett, whose background includes biotechnology and research and development, Ssh-oes promise to never make that ominous and often annoying "click-click" every time you step. They also boast memory foam padding and special lycra linings that provide all day comfort to your feet.

Arnett, says her interest in designing Ssh-oes was based on her desire to create "graceful silence" and woman-friendly footwear.

"The footwear industry is surprisingly male dominated so you have men designing heels for women without experiencing the fit, feel, and consequences of wearing that heel themselves ...The heel market has been stagnant for decades without any new innovation and improvements for women. There's cool technology in sneakers and safety boots coming out all time but nothing new in heels.

As a practical working woman, I wanted to create my version of the perfect heel that I could wear to work or a night out without the pain and annoying "click-y" noise.

...It's the elephant in the room that everyone hears but no one did anything about until now. We offer many styles in 2 inch which is hard to find since so many designers focus on higher, not walker friendly 4 inch stiletto heels."

A timeless pair of sneakers or low-key slip-ons can be worn for business casual days, as well as kicking around town running errands. Many of this season's sneaker styles come in neutrals like dusky grey, burnt umber, and tone on tone Ikat patterns that blend chic looks with tennis shoe squish.

No minimalist capsule wardrobe is complete without a few key accessories to bring out the versatility of your anchor basics. At this time of the year, woolen winter accessories and infinity scarves often upstage statement jewelry.

The right scarf or wrap can change the look of an outfit in seconds. Even a beginner DIY style maven can sew a basic fabric infinity scarf in only 5 minutes with this simple pattern. Other updated knit scarf styles this fall include triangular and asymmetric stoles that can be worn in multiple ways. The angular cut of these new styles leans toward a more drapey silhouette, and away from the bulky, overpowering, "swarm of yarn" look of previous seasons.

A little planning can minimize any impulse buys during the season and make the most of your eco-minimalist capsule wardrobe. Rector created this downloadable wardrobe planner to help readers narrow down their favorite styles based on current needs, available items, and budget.

If budget is a significant constraint when designing your capsule wardrobe, frequent thrift stores, consignment shops, or plan a clothing swap with your close friends to exchange items that still have life in them, but have worn their owner's welcome.

Now go spend the time you save not shopping for 3 months on friends, family, and fall fun!