Plans For An Ethical Wardrobe

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Have you got what you would consider to be an ethical wardrobe? Or is 2020 the year you plan to address that issue?

Amongst all the other plans to reduce my impact, looking at my wardrobe is high up in the forefront of my consciousness. You see I had a baby 9 months ago and very little of my pre-pregnancy wardrobe fits – physically or in style and function. For example, I haven’t worn heels since the middle of my pregnancy and until I go back to work have no intention of wearing them either. Currently I’m breast feeding, so I live in a wardrobe of nursing vests under long sleeve stretchy tops with jeans or leggings so I can do ‘one-up-one-down’ while still keeping my tum covered.

I feel very ‘mum’. Not that that is a bad thing. I intend to mother the shit out of this little boy, but that doesn’t mean I have to be ‘mumsy’. I suppose I feel like I’ve lost my identity. My style. Or maybe it’s just changed?

Either way I’ve been pondering the direction in which I’d like to travel, in a clothing sense. I repeatedly come back to the concepts of capsule wardrobes and ethical fashion. Now I’m never going to be able to live with less that 30 garments (one issue – babies are messy, man!) But I do like the concept of my clothes being very deliberately chosen to mix and match together to give me maximal bang for my proverbial and literal buck, along with them having the most minimal impact possible.

Add to the mix that I sew. I’d say about 75% of my clothes are hand crafted (this doesn’t include outerwear or underwear, just clothes) and I plan to continue sewing. But not at the rate I had been. I did go through a phase of churning out lots of clothes for the sake of sewing, many of which I didn’t keep for one reason or another. But with our little boy taking up a lot of my time I just don’t have the time to sew all that frequently. I don’t have a dedicated sewing space and, if I do get a free half an hour, getting everything out takes so long that it’s about time to put it back away again. So that’s possibly going to have to simmer away in the background, playing less of a roll in the immediate direction I plan to take my wardrobe, along with knitting. I’m a beginner knitter, and the only thing I’ve made so far that I’ve kept is a knitted beanie hat. but I like the concept of being able to pick it up and do one row at at time if that’s all the time I get. And it’s portable. So I may add the occasional hand knitted jumper, though I don’t plan to rely on that by any means. Both will add to my wardrobe in a small way whilst fulfilling my urge to craft.

With all that preamble said, my general plans are:

  • Work towards a cohesive capsule wardrobe
  • Sew slowly and with intention
  • Knit along side sewing as a way to craft and create
  • Buy second hand
  • Make considered purchases from ethical fashion stores
  • Buy it once. Buy it well.

Which has led to a number of questions. (1) How does one know that ethical fashion is truly ethical and avoid greenwashing?

(2) What are the best ethical fashion brands?

(3) particularly given I’m breastfeeding at the moment and will need to replace my bras in the not too distant future, what are the best ethical underwear brands?

(4) Are there any thrifting / second hand places to shop that I don’t know about? I mainly use eBay.

(5) I need to research ethically sourced materials for sewing and knitting.

Can you help with any of my questions? I’d like to get a conversation started so if you have any experience of these sorts of things I’d really appreciate your input! Please pitch in with a comment 💕

I’ve started a Pinterest page (search Our Simpler Home under the people tab of the Pinterest and join me!) for all my inspiration as I go, not just for planning my wardrobe, but everything low impact sustainable, and conscious living centred. One of my boards is for ethical fashion inspiration though. If you’re interested in seeing what I’m pinning then check it out.

Until next time,

S