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In preparing for our trip to Europe (currently writing this from our apartment in Florence), I had a lot of time to refine my capsule wardrobe.

Happily, I didn’t need to add much to it. In fact, a lot of the effort went into reducing it even further.

And, thanks to this trip, I’ll be culling even more items when we get home. Huzzah!

The one exception is the leather jacket I’ve been searching for for quite some time. My fingers are crossed that I’ll find an affordable one here or in Rome.

That said, I’ve realized how picky I’ve gotten about natural fibers in the past several years – and really, how picky I’ve always been – possibly part of being a highly sensitive person (HSP)?. I really can’t stand to wear fabrics that are uncomfortable. I’m very particular. Just ask my husband.

Aside from a minimal collection of activewear (which I change out of as soon as I can), I have very few synthetic pieces in my wardrobe because those tend to be the ones that cause the most discomfort.

Granted, you may not be as picky as I am. Really, “particular” is the word of choice that my closest people use to describe me. But there are good reasons still to make the switch to a capsule wardrobe that consists of mostly natural materials.

1. Sustainability

Synthetic clothing production is an energy, water and chemical intensive process. Most natural fibers require less intense processing methods.

While cotton is a natural fiber, conventional crops get sprayed with a lot of pesticides and it takes a lot of land and water to produce. So keep that in mind if sustainability is a large factor in your decision. Organic cotton is free of pesticides but still uses a lot of resources.

Natural fibers will also decompose once you’re done with them. Assuming you wear them out to the point that they can’t be sold or donated or repurposed into something else like rags.

2. Resale value

Natural clothing, especially well-made stuff, can often be resold when you’re done with it. I get almost all of my clothes secondhand and certain well-made brands have lasted me for years, even though I didn’t buy new.

As a frugal consumer, I love that if I decide I’m done with one of these items I can sell it and get a little money out of it. In some cases I’ve bought a something at a thrift store and turned around and sold it for more than I paid. Huzzah!

3. Comfort

Like I said, I’m particular. If I’m not in something super comfortable, I will change until I’m in something that is. And nine times out of ten, the clothes that bug me are synthetic.

These are the clothes that tend to make me too hot or itchy, or that I don’t wear often because they’re either too tight, too loose because they’ve stretched out.

If you think about it, it’s because it’s basically plastic clothing. This explains why I only wear my rain jacket if I absolutely have to. I’m glad it doesn’t rain often where we live.

Natural fabrics tend to be more breathable, soft and naturally warming/cooling.

So what are these magical natural materials?

  • Leather
  • Cotton
  • Linen (from flax)
  • Silk
  • Cashmere (from cashmere goats)
  • Merino wool (from sheep)
  • Hemp (here’s a little video on why hemp is a great option)

How to make the switch

It would be easy to go out and replace every synthetic piece in your wardrobe with brand-new clothing made from natural fibers. But I will never recommend that. Instead, I recommend making a list of the items you’d like to replace, or perhaps, ones you don’t have already but want, and begin there.

Shop used

I love ThredUp for finding high quality used clothing. Many of my favorite pieces (leather tote, surgical steel dangly earrings, Banana Republic blazer) came from there. As did several of the items in my kids’ wardrobes. Use this link to get a $10 credit on your first order.

Another great option is local thrift and consignment shops. I wore a lovely shirt today that I got consignment right before the trip. (And I got a huge discount because I had store credit for selling some of my clothes).

Buy new

Sometimes, I just buy new. Bonus if I can get a sweet discount.

I bought a brand-new cross body purse from a vendor in Florence just a few hours ago and am very pleased that I negotiated a fair price, even though that makes me very uncomfortable.

(I have to add that just an hour before I pretty much jumped down my husband’s throat because he had the nerve to tell me I bought a lot of purses. Um … oops. I was hangry. Sorry love.)

Aside from Italian street vendors, my latest clothing love has been prAna. A little over a month ago they reached out and asked if I’d be interested in trying some things from their hemp line and I enthusiastically said yes.

It was a no-brainer because I’ve loved everything I’ve ever gotten from them as it’s been super comfortable and very well-made.

Their Yarrow dress in black has become a must-have traveling piece. I like to use it as a jacket and it’s just the right weight to keep me warm on the plane without overheating. The fabric feels great and it’s super comfy.

It’s also been super versatile and I’ve been able to add it to several outfits from my capsule wardrobe.

Suffice it to say, I highly recommend looking into their hemp line for high quality, sustainable, super comfy clothes.

Try prAna, get 15% off

In addition to letting me try some of the hemp line, prAna also offered a discount for Tiny Apothecary readers. Yay! The discount code PHNN18 can be used when you shop prAna online to get 15% off.

Check out their hemp line.

Here are my hemp line goodies that I’m loving:

Shelton Top







Yarrow Dress (I prefer to wear it as a coat)