The answer to Parisian chic is the capsule wardrobe that focuses on simplicityINSTAGRAM / @MARALAFONTAN

The issue of fashion sustainability is not a secret anymore. It has practically become impossible to find an affordable clothing brand that is not involved in some major ecological scandal or isn’t exploiting workers in sweatshops. The list never ends. Zara, Nike, Adidas, Asos, Forever 21, Uniqlo, H&M are all under-paying their workers, making them work for 14-hours straight in inhumane conditions. Some are even exploiting Uighurs, fully conscious of taking part in crimes against humanity. But it would be foolish of us to assume that it only happens in far flung corners of the world, that labour law protects Western employees.

Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing were accused last year of paying their Leicester employees less than £3.50 an hour, knowing that the current minimum wage for workers aged 23 and over is £8.91 an hour. How have we not realised this before? Every new order is turning us into accomplices. So, what are we to do? Should we burn down the contents of our wardrobes? No, that would only widen the hole in the ozone layer. What we need to do is get our act together, look at ourselves in the mirror and wonder what kind of person we want to be? Do I want to do my bit to stop these brands from destroying our planet and violate human rights? Or do I want to be this militant fashion icon?

“Parisian women fascinate the world with their je-ne-sais-quoi”

The answer has been before our eyes for decades: the capsule wardrobe. But not just any capsule wardrobe, the Parisian capsule wardrobe. Parisian women fascinate the world with their je-ne-sais-quoi. We imagine them late for work in the morning, picking up a selection of clothes without even looking at them, spraying dry shampoo before arranging their hair in an inexplicably perfect messy bun, kissing their sleeping lover before running off along the Seine. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but all of this is a scam — take it from a French girl herself. First of all, no French man will spend the night, they’re not the romantic type. Second of all, looking effortlessly chic is an art, a technique mastered only by a handful. It is time to stop lying to ourselves. We’ll never be like them. But that doesn’t mean that we cannot learn from them.

Classic stripes are a staple of the Parisian wardrobeINSTAGRAM / @QUANTADUSOLEIL

The Parisian capsule wardrobe is the perfect answer to sustainable and ethical fashion. It has been consistent for the last 50 years, and it seems unbelievable that the same outfits have been turning heads for that long. So what is the Parisian wardrobe composed of? 10 items and not one more. The iconic beige trench coat, obviously; a white t-shirt; a black oversized blazer; blue mom jeans; black ballet flats; a pair of white trainers that are not going to get out of style (my personal favourites are the classic 2750 Superga); a white shirt; a striped jumper (another must); a Longchamp tote bag, and a silk scarf.

“You’re not getting out of your comfort zone, but it will undeniably be you. Every fold, every seam, every button will be you”

Believe me, that’s all you need. The secret is to overdress in simplicity. The silk scarf, whether it’s an iconic Hermes or one that you found in your grandma’s wardrobe, is going to give you just the touch of extra that you need. Wrap it around your hairband in a ponytail, or cover your hair with it, tie it around the handle of your bag or use it as a belt. Don’t worry, you’ll find hundreds of ways to wear it. Sure, it may not seem very extravagant or experimental. You’re not getting out of your comfort zone, but it will undeniably be you. Every fold, every seam, every button will be you.

For every step of the way, the same intemporal items will follow you around, and one day you’ll wake up to put on your striped jumper and think “I was wearing this for my first date with my boyfriend”, rather than looking back bitterly at your photos and wondering why you were wearing this horrible trendy dress that was so not “you”. With a Parisian-inspired capsule wardrobe, you’ll reduce the frenetic orders of cheap and bad quality clothes which hurt the environment and whose fabrication exploits workers. Instead, you’ll carefully choose a reduced number of clothes which will fit you and will look chic whether you’re 20, 50 or 75. You’ll never go out of style, I promise.