The lady behind Brisbane’s The New Garde is an inspiration for all ethical consumers, opting for a capsule wardrobe and encouraging others to do the same. In her business, Jodie Hilton helps new fashion labels with everything from design and procurement to ethical production and sustainability. It’s an all-in-one service to get more well-made brands on the shelves. Below, Jodie explains her wardrobe, what’s inspired her to downsize and how you can do the same.

Jodie Hilton

Explain your wardrobe

My wardrobe is a capsule collection existing of only 13 pieces.

I haven’t bought any clothes from any store in almost 3 years! This has been developed from a personal challenge that I set myself, to see how long I could go without making a purchase. Essentially abstinence from consuming. I had already invested in good pieces that will last, which can be layered and assembled in a multitude of ways. These pieces are made well and wash well. I always find great quality unique pieces from Camargue and Samantha Ogilvie.

The initial fed-up-ness came from three main of factors that are more about efficiency than minimalism:

  1. I can’t stand wasting time on endless outfit changes. I’m very time poor and think it’s ridiculous to be late to an appointment simply because I can’t find the right pair of skinny jeans… therefore.. I only have one pair of skinny jeans 🙂
  2. I grew tired of browsing for the right outfit and ultimately didn’t have time to shop (both online and in store). At one point I had ‘sale’ fatigue. I released that there’s always a sale and that maybe I was falling into a fashion honey trap.
  3. I cared more about being consistent with my style as a form of trust and stability while introducing a sense of actual effortless dressing – much like how we perceive the likes of Batman or even better: Steve Jobs. All he ever wore was a black turtle neck and blue jeans with sneakers. I wonder if we would have trusted his ability to be a visionary if he constantly reinvented his style all the time?

What is the most versatile piece of clothing in your wardrobe?

Every piece. I’m happy to say I use 100% of my wardrobe, but my favourite is an oversize white shirt dress. I style it as a dress with heels or for a casual look I go for a jeans and white shirt vibe.

What is the oldest thing in your wardrobe?

An Yves Saint Laurent blazer. I think it’s possibly older than me!

What is your most loved accessory?

I have many one-off accessories passed down from family. I’ll take 80’s clip on earrings any day! Although I do have a late contender – blue earrings from Concrete Jellyfish and I’ve got my eye on some more from them!

At what age do you think you cemented your style?

My style changes depending which decade I’m in, and what stage of life I’m at. I do feel that the 80’s has left a lasting impression on me. Shoulder pads and high waisted pants! Love!

I think during the 90’s I really felt the ability to express my own style for the first time. I’m talking oversized logo T-shirts, ripped denim, sneakers.

What’s your number one tip for building a sustainable wardrobe?

Buy well-made clothes and accessorise like you mean it! Garments may not necessarily be natural fibres – but it might be a garment that lasts forever and takes minimal washing (if you’re wondering about my thoughts on bamboo – the jury is out with me). If you build your wardrobe like a designer builds a collection you should be able to utilise items in multiple looks through the season instead of doubling up on the same styles.

Got expensive taste but an empty wallet? Look into Facebook Buy Swap and Sell groups.

Special occasion and can’t be caught dead in the same outfit? Rent it from Lana or One Night Stand Boutique.

Can’t help but gush rainbows over the latest handbag from Chloe? – Buy it! You’ve worked hard on downsizing your wardrobe. You can revive any outfit with the right accessories.