What Is A Capsule Wardrobe?

So, what is this capsule thing you keep hearing about? It’s pretty simple. Get rid of all your clothes. Buy an entirely new wardrobe of less than 25 items made exclusively of expensive brands. Forget patterns or colors. Your outfits must be bland. Never shop. Wear the same thing over and over. Lots of rules. All restrictions. No fun. Period.

Just kidding.

But to be honest, anyone who says “they could never” create a capsule wardrobe mentions one or two or three of the above items as reasons for why “having a minimal wardrobe could never work.” If you’re looking for a way to have less clutter, having a capsule wardrobe can certainly assist.  But that’s not the entire point.

We weren’t born with an inherent need to buy a jacket from H&M or shoes from DSW. Yet, these are the messages that bombard us on a daily basis and the expectations set by so many in our culture. Buy that! Look like this! Wear this! Feel like that!

For some reason, when we follow along and purchase the things we are tempted to buy we never feel fully satisfied. It’s kind of like having one Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and thinking it will hold you over until dinner time. The quick euphoric purchase somehow always leaves us wanting more and feeling a little less. After all, there’s never any end goal, only a never ending supply of things we can’t seem to afford.

So what is a Capsule Wardrobe, really?

A capsule wardrobe is "an eco-conscious, sanity-saving solution to your endless search for what to wear." Like the name suggests, it's a minimal, interchangeable wardrobe with a finite number made up of clothes you actually love to wear. The concept is that when you shop you can work toward something: a finish line. You can start regaining control of your shopping habits and have sense of freedom from your closet. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from exhaustion. Freedom from comparison. Freedom from the fear of missing out. Freedom from perfectionism. Having freedom from your wardrobe comes from knowing you’re already enough--not from buying more clothes or more stuff.

There are no rules.

In fact, the number of clothes doesn't matter. There’s nothing inherently wrong with owning clothes. Clothes play an important role in our lives. However, this idea that by having more, we’ll gain more must be put to rest. Especially, when studies have proven that the more we buy the less whole we become.

Already having anxiety about losing that sweater your mom gave you? Or those red heels you love? By all means, if these things are meaningful to you then hold onto them, tightly.

Having a capsule wardrobe is not about removing the things you love, it’s about making space for the things you do. 

We all want to have more freedom, more time and more money. The real question is, are we all willing to make a change? It’s up to you to determine if what you’re holding onto, is really holding onto you.

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The Emotional Relationship With Your Clothes

What is normal? And you would know if your clothes were affecting you, right? Not exactly.

Let’s say that a store has just released an entirely new collection of clothes for the season. You’re excited to shop because you want to add some new looks into your wardrobe. But then slowly the store begins to turn each new seasonal release into a new monthly release. Each month turns into a weekly release. Before you know it, the same store you once shopped at on occasion, continues to release an entirely new collection of clothes week by week. 

Now, let’s say you decide to shop at a local boutique. The first time you go in everything looks fresh, brand new. But then when you go back the following week, the same collection of items are still hanging on the rack. You quickly notice that nothing has changed. You might even feel “kind of bored” by the same collection. There’s no fast rush from seeing new items or quick “good deal.”  

Because you’ve become so accustom to the endless, weekly promotional shopping cycle it’s now become the new norm. But here’s the thing... it’s not normal to release or buy new clothes every week. Heck, it’s not normal to release or buy new clothes every month. And it’s definitely not normal to always feel like you’re “getting a good deal.”

This hasn’t always been the case. In fact, it’s drastically changed over the last 5-10 years.

Did you know that in 1930 the average woman had just 36 items of clothing in her closet? Today, that number has exponentially grown to 120! The fashion industry has slowly shaped the way we think about our closets and helped us form opinions about our own personal style. 

Cladwell is here to help you slow it down, breathe, and address the unhealthy, emotional relationship with your clothes. 

Creating a capsule gives you a new heightened sense of awareness to break free from the impulse buys. Making the unconscious, conscious teaches you that when you shop, to shop intentionally so that you are in control of your wardrobe not the other way around.

Last but not least, it gives you a new found perspective that freedom, meaning and joy come from knowing you’re already enough--not from buying more clothes or more stuff.

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Cladwell's Clothing Philosophy

Some people start companies with a really clear vision and mission, and then execute it flawlessly.

That is not our story. 

When we started Cladwell we just wanted to make a cool startup so we could get rich and people would like us. But over time, we stumbled our way into some convictions about a better way of relating to clothing.

We’re still on a journey to execute it, but here is our clothing philosophy:


We believe that all humans should wear clothes that are ethical, authentic, and quality (over quantity.)



We start at ethics, because one-hundred years from now, very few people will remember our style. However, people will remember (or even feel the impact of) whether we improved the earth or enslaved other humans. We believe that dressing sustainably and 100% sweatshop free is more important than personal expression.  That is why it is our conviction that every item of clothing that we buy or recommend is sustainable and sweatshop free. Sometimes you can’t find an item that is ethical. In that instance we believe the best option is to buy second-hand. If that doesn’t work, we think it is better to go without that item. We will be remembered by what we did for others, not what we look like.



Every human is unique, and our clothes should communicate that inherent uniqueness to the world. Our clothes can communicate our values, tribe, and personality to others. We think the most beautiful world is one where people don’t just blindly follow the hottest trend, but instead look inside themselves and curate their wardrobe to match their unique build, coloring, surroundings, and preferences. Much our society has lost this skill (as a result of the industrialized fashion system) - so it is our job to build tools and content to help us reclaim this distinctly human form of expression.


QUALITY (over quantity)

We believe it is better to have a handful of quality items than a closet full of cheap garments. Why? Because it saves money in the long run, and is more satisfying. Buying quality saves money because they last longer. Historically, clothes lasted years. It is only in recent history that clothes have been “consumerized” into being more disposable. From a cost-per-wear perspective, it is always better to buy quality. Buying a handful of quality items is also more satisfying. Great clothes are a daily reminder of our inherent value. The truth is that you and I are worth more than a $4 disposable t-shirt. We are worthy of being covered in garments of value. When you buy less quantity, you buy only what you love - and this feels significantly better. 

*Note: When we say “quality” we’re not saying name brand or designer clothing. Quality clothing is built with care - focusing on beauty and durability.


Our challenge to you is this: try it out.

Most of us live our lives reactively filtering clothes as they’re hurled at us from marketers. There is a better way that is deeply fulfilling, far more beautiful - and honestly - the right thing to do.

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We Made A Huge Mistake: The Cladwell Story

Hey. I’m Blake, and I’m really glad you’re here checking us out.

Cladwell was born out of my friend Tim and I’s frustration with the perpetual treadmill of fashion. It felt like as soon as we started to feel ok about our clothes, there was something new we “had to own”. There was no finish line - and that was frustrating. So I reached out to my fashion-guru friend, Chris.

Chris showed us that if we bought the right clothes--timeless and high quality--we could actually cross the finish line. He was so helpful, and kind, that we pitched him on starting a business together.

So the three of us quit our jobs with nothing more than a Powerpoint presentation and started on the hardest journey that we’d ever traveled. Come to find out, there were a lot of people who were also frustrated with perpetual shopping, and we found our way to an audience of over a quarter million people. 

But then, we made a huge mistake.

We read a book: Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline. Ms. Cline painted a horrifying picture of an industrial fashion system called “fast fashion.” Fast fashion is the trend of making low-quality clothing for cheap - then encouraging people to buy new trends every week. The problem? It is horrible for the environment (#2 most polluting industry on earth), the workers (1 in 6 people on earth work in garments - typically in unsafe working conditions, forced conditions, and sometimes as children), and it is even bad for us (shopping therapy is a new term - using clothing to medicate our pain).

We looked at our service, and realized that we were only halfway there. Although we promoted intentionality, we didn’t care about who made the clothes. As we talked with Ms. Cline and other thought-leaders, we found out that there was a new opportunity: Guiding people to a simpler--and better--wardrobe from manufacturing to Goodwill. So we embraced the challenge:

No more shadows
Your clothes can be 100% sustainable and slave free.

No more trends
You can have your own unique, authentic and timeless style.

No more consumerism
You can buy a small number of quality pieces.

Will we succeed and change the fashion industry forever? Freeing people to live intentional lives out from the thumb of the oppressive fashion regime? Or will we fold as yet another startup, with big ideals but not enough traction? Only time will tell, but one thing we know:

The cause is worthy of our highest effort.

Thanks for reading this far. I hope you join us.


Blake Smith, CEO

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