Things I’m Loving: Ethical Fashion Basics

12.06.18

Hi loves! Thank you all for the sweet support and kind words about this year’s holiday gift guide. I am so glad many of you find this helpful because I put a huge amount of time, thought, and effort into it. It feels good to know it is appreciated!

While there are some fashion and beauty gift ideas in the guide, I thought it would be worth sharing what I consider the staples and must-haves of my personal wardrobe now that I have transitioned to a mostly ethical/sustainable wardrobe and have significantly altered my consumer habits. I thought sharing these basics now might be especially useful in case you share the common goal of becoming a more mindful consumer and embracing sustainable fashion, because you could (and probably should) add some of these items to your own personal holiday lists.

In particular I realize that there is often sticker shock associated with the value of ethical and sustainable garments and this can be a deterrent to making this transition. To this I say:
1. Please PLEASE read Overdressed by Elizabeth Cline as soon as possible. This will provide you an enormous amount of knowledge on topics related to how we can change the fashion industry, and help you to understand what you should be looking for when you research companies’ supply chains, manufacturing processes, and treatment of workers.
2. Cheap prices are both a cause of and a symptom of the fast fashion epidemic, which is both an environmental and humanitarian problem.
3. Cheap clothes are costing someone, somewhere. If the price is cheap to you, it is almost certainly hurting someone else.
4. Consider well made garments investment pieces. Buy better, not more. Clothing should not be disposable. This mental shift will make all the difference in what I realize can be a challenging transition.
5. If you don’t need a thing, don’t buy that thing! Save these ideas for when you actually need them. Curb your consumption by asking yourself if you actually need an item versus just want it because it’s like, super cute (I get it, this impulse is REAL). Examining need vs. want will help make this transition feel more natural.

Without further ado, here are 15 items that I think are an excellent foundation for building an ethical wardrobe.

Organic Stretch Cotton Leggings
Black Ankle Boots
Favorite Skinny Jeans
Favorite Plain T-shirt
Midi Knit Dress
Wrapped Onyx Necklace
Lightweight Denim Shirt
White Skinny Jeans
Embellished Suede Wedge Heels
Snazzy Gold Flats
Denim Jacket
Cuffed Sleeve Knit Dress
Pretty White Studs
Tie Back Tank Dress
Interchangable Ribbon Sandals
01/15
Organic Stretch Cotton Leggings/Pact

These leggings are my JAM. I basically live in them October-April. I have a few pairs (two black, one charcoal) and they keep my lower half warm, cozy, and looking cute in these colder months. Not only are they excellent quality, they are Fair Trade certified, and made with organic cotton.

Black Ankle Boots/Poppy Barley

These boots are simply incredible. I bought them a few months ago with my fingers crossed that they would become the investment piece I was hoping for. They have already exceeded my hopes. They are cute, sexy, and comfortable. I wear them to work, out with friends, out for date nights, and while traveling. I couldn’t love them more.

Favorite Skinny Jeans/Warp + Weft

I’m thrilled to have found a denim company with high quality stretch fabric, careful attention to making their denim more eco-friendly, and inclusive sizing to boot. Their kids jeans are also excellent and they have become my new go-to source for jeans I love.

Favorite Plain T-shirt/Krochet Kids

I never used to be much of a white t-shirt girl, but since discovering this tee from Krochet Kids that has changed. Now this t-shirt with jeans, some cute shoes and jewelry is one of my very favorite outfits. This is definitely a staple worth stocking up on.

Midi Knit Dress/Amour Vert

Okay, so this dress is pretty new to me but from the moment I tried it on, I knew it was going to become a staple in the most major way. It checks all the boxes for me – it is cute and sexy, comfortable in the way that it is basically secret pajamas, and is equally at home in a work or night out setting. Paired with the black ankle boots above, I think this is going to be my uniform going forward.

Wrapped Onyx Necklace/Erin McDermott

I’m incredibly lucky to have such an extensive collection of Erin’s jewelry and have a wide variety to choose from each day when I’m getting ready. That said, this wrapped black onyx necklace is the piece I wear most often. It goes with so many things in my closet and the length is just perfect.

Lightweight Denim Shirt/FashionABLE

Okay, so I don’t own this exact shirt. I have a chambray shirt in a nearly identical style from a retailer I would no longer buy from. But part of having a sustainable wardrobe is absolutely buying less and making use of what you already own. It would be nonsensical to throw out a shirt I otherwise love just because it isn’t an item I would buy now. I have mended my existing shirt twice and will make it last for as long as I can. When it finally bites the dust, this will be my replacement option.

White Skinny Jeans/Warp + Weft

In my mind, three pairs of jeans are essential – one blue, one white, and one black. With that combo, I can make it through a lot of the week. These white jeans are beautiful and so comfortable – another win from Warp + Weft.

Embellished Suede Wedge Heels/M. Gemi

Apparently the older I get, the less time my feet and knees can tolerate stiletto-style heels. Thankfully, well made wedges don’t bother me at all and these gorgeous suede wedges have been my go-to dress shoe for a while now. I can easily wear they all day long at work, but also turn to them often for a night out. They are simply beautiful.

Snazzy Gold Flats/Poppy Barley

Given the aforementioned physical wear and tear, heels for me are mostly reserved for periods of short wear these days. In addition to the wedges above, I’ve been slowly acquiring a few pairs of nice flats that work well with lots of outfits. These snazzy gold flats absolutely fit the bill. While the pair I have is a slightly different style than those pictured here, I really love the beautiful gold leather and appreciate the excellent craftsmanship.

Denim Jacket/FashionABLE

Okay, so I don’t actually own this denim jacket because I am a slightly crazy person who is hoping to sew my own BUT I think this jacket is exactly what I would buy if I were in the market for one. (Or if mine fails and I end up needing one.) I love the look of the slightly tailored fit and just the right amount of distressing on the denim.

Cuffed Sleeve Knit Dress/Amour Vert

I’ve owned this dress for something like a year and a half now and I cannot get over how much I love it. It is seriously one of the most comfortable items I own and like so many things I love, can work for just about any situation. I wear it to work most often but its comfortable enough for lounging and I would totally wear it out as well. Mine is a hunter green that is sadly no longer available but there are four other lovely colorways to choose from.

Pretty White Studs/Erin McDermott

These gorgeous white studs are one of my most frequently worn items. They are simple, elegant, and go with practically everything.

Tie Back Tank Dress/Elegantees

This dress is clearly more suited from warm weather months, but I had to share it because I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I wear it often anytime it is warm enough to do so. It is comfortable, sexy, and packs incredibly well. Even better, that lovely lace up back is just high enough that you can wear a strapless bra and it doesn’t show. (At least I have found this to be true, I suppose it may vary on different bodies.)

Interchangable Ribbon Sandals/Sseko Designs

There is so much to love about these ribbon sandals. The ability to change out the straps whenever you like, and to tie them into all manner of styles means that this is a single wardrobe item with huge impact. I especially love them for traveling because they are comfortable and allow me to maximize packing space since they are more like multiple pairs of sandals in one.

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  • Organic Stretch Cotton Leggings
    Organic Stretch Cotton Leggings/Pact

    These leggings are my JAM. I basically live in them October-April. I have a few pairs (two black, one charcoal) and they keep my lower half warm, cozy, and looking cute in these colder months. Not only are they excellent quality, they are Fair Trade certified, and made with organic cotton.

  • Black Ankle Boots
    Black Ankle Boots/Poppy Barley

    These boots are simply incredible. I bought them a few months ago with my fingers crossed that they would become the investment piece I was hoping for. They have already exceeded my hopes. They are cute, sexy, and comfortable. I wear them to work, out with friends, out for date nights, and while traveling. I couldn’t love them more.

  • Favorite Skinny Jeans
    Favorite Skinny Jeans/Warp + Weft

    I’m thrilled to have found a denim company with high quality stretch fabric, careful attention to making their denim more eco-friendly, and inclusive sizing to boot. Their kids jeans are also excellent and they have become my new go-to source for jeans I love.

  • Favorite Plain T-shirt
    Favorite Plain T-shirt/Krochet Kids

    I never used to be much of a white t-shirt girl, but since discovering this tee from Krochet Kids that has changed. Now this t-shirt with jeans, some cute shoes and jewelry is one of my very favorite outfits. This is definitely a staple worth stocking up on.

  • Midi Knit Dress
    Midi Knit Dress/Amour Vert

    Okay, so this dress is pretty new to me but from the moment I tried it on, I knew it was going to become a staple in the most major way. It checks all the boxes for me – it is cute and sexy, comfortable in the way that it is basically secret pajamas, and is equally at home in a work or night out setting. Paired with the black ankle boots above, I think this is going to be my uniform going forward.

  • Wrapped Onyx Necklace
    Wrapped Onyx Necklace/Erin McDermott

    I’m incredibly lucky to have such an extensive collection of Erin’s jewelry and have a wide variety to choose from each day when I’m getting ready. That said, this wrapped black onyx necklace is the piece I wear most often. It goes with so many things in my closet and the length is just perfect.

  • Lightweight Denim Shirt
    Lightweight Denim Shirt/FashionABLE

    Okay, so I don’t own this exact shirt. I have a chambray shirt in a nearly identical style from a retailer I would no longer buy from. But part of having a sustainable wardrobe is absolutely buying less and making use of what you already own. It would be nonsensical to throw out a shirt I otherwise love just because it isn’t an item I would buy now. I have mended my existing shirt twice and will make it last for as long as I can. When it finally bites the dust, this will be my replacement option.

  • White Skinny Jeans
    White Skinny Jeans/Warp + Weft

    In my mind, three pairs of jeans are essential – one blue, one white, and one black. With that combo, I can make it through a lot of the week. These white jeans are beautiful and so comfortable – another win from Warp + Weft.

  • Embellished Suede Wedge Heels
    Embellished Suede Wedge Heels/M. Gemi

    Apparently the older I get, the less time my feet and knees can tolerate stiletto-style heels. Thankfully, well made wedges don’t bother me at all and these gorgeous suede wedges have been my go-to dress shoe for a while now. I can easily wear they all day long at work, but also turn to them often for a night out. They are simply beautiful.

  • Snazzy Gold Flats
    Snazzy Gold Flats/Poppy Barley

    Given the aforementioned physical wear and tear, heels for me are mostly reserved for periods of short wear these days. In addition to the wedges above, I’ve been slowly acquiring a few pairs of nice flats that work well with lots of outfits. These snazzy gold flats absolutely fit the bill. While the pair I have is a slightly different style than those pictured here, I really love the beautiful gold leather and appreciate the excellent craftsmanship.

  • Denim Jacket
    Denim Jacket/FashionABLE

    Okay, so I don’t actually own this denim jacket because I am a slightly crazy person who is hoping to sew my own BUT I think this jacket is exactly what I would buy if I were in the market for one. (Or if mine fails and I end up needing one.) I love the look of the slightly tailored fit and just the right amount of distressing on the denim.

  • Cuffed Sleeve Knit Dress
    Cuffed Sleeve Knit Dress/Amour Vert

    I’ve owned this dress for something like a year and a half now and I cannot get over how much I love it. It is seriously one of the most comfortable items I own and like so many things I love, can work for just about any situation. I wear it to work most often but its comfortable enough for lounging and I would totally wear it out as well. Mine is a hunter green that is sadly no longer available but there are four other lovely colorways to choose from.

  • Pretty White Studs
    Pretty White Studs/Erin McDermott

    These gorgeous white studs are one of my most frequently worn items. They are simple, elegant, and go with practically everything.

  • Tie Back Tank Dress
    Tie Back Tank Dress/Elegantees

    This dress is clearly more suited from warm weather months, but I had to share it because I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I wear it often anytime it is warm enough to do so. It is comfortable, sexy, and packs incredibly well. Even better, that lovely lace up back is just high enough that you can wear a strapless bra and it doesn’t show. (At least I have found this to be true, I suppose it may vary on different bodies.)

  • Interchangable Ribbon Sandals
    Interchangable Ribbon Sandals/Sseko Designs

    There is so much to love about these ribbon sandals. The ability to change out the straps whenever you like, and to tie them into all manner of styles means that this is a single wardrobe item with huge impact. I especially love them for traveling because they are comfortable and allow me to maximize packing space since they are more like multiple pairs of sandals in one.

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