The basis of any outfit starts with a simple basic. You know, the plain white tee that’s starting to look more yellow, the socks with the holes in the toes, the t-shirt dress than can be utilized for any occasion. Basics are at the core of ever outfit.
And even though it’s tough to make an outfit without these pieces, they’re often overlooked in quality. Which is odd. Basics are something we should being investing in as we’ll most likely wear them the most and want them to last for a very long time.
There are a couple factors that I take in to account when purchasing basics. Since I try to purchase only clothing pieces that I know will last a long time I take into account the materials, quality, production and of course, the price tag. Since this post is all about finding ethical basics on a budget. And I’m a huge budget gal.
So let’s break this down, shall we?
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These materials are made from wood pulp, which doesn’t sound very appealing but any material sourced from nature or plants is always a good thing. The perks of this material is that it is biodegradable and a super light and breathable fabric making it perfect to use as the base of any outfit.
While Tencel isn’t 100% sustainable (what is, really?) it uses more than an ideal amount of energy. However, it is still a better option than synthetic materials. (source)
The obsession with hemp may be new but the use of hemp for clothing isn’t. In fact, hemp has been used to make clothing for hundreds of years.
Hemp produces one of the most sustainable fabrics, it grows quickly and doesn’t require any pesticides in the growing process. It’s also hypo-allergenic and a light fabric suited for layering and warm weather. (source)
3. Organic Cotton –
I think this is the material most people think of first when it comes to sustainable fashion. But cotton is used in most clothing, sustainable and not.
The difference is looking for organic cotton. Cotton that is grown without the use of chemicals and pesticides, making them healthier for both you and the environment.
Organic cotton is also incredibly soft and moisture-wicking. (source)
4. Linen –
Another sustainable staple. Linen is derived from flax plants and because of this, it is able to be used entirely ensuring nothing goes to waste. It’s also more water-resistant than cotton. (source)
It is even said to be one of the oldest textiles dating back a couple of thousand years. (source)
This is up to everyone’s own preference but it is where the “ethical” part comes in. When making purchases it’s always important to take into consideration, how, your new item was produced?
Were the people who made your clothing treated and paid properly? Were their well-being and the well-being of the planet made a top priority?
The better these employees are treated, the better quality your clothing will be, naturally.
The biggest hold-up when it comes to ethical and sustainable fashion is the price tag. And I won’t lie, it’s the reason I waited so long to hop on the slow fashion train myself.
But it’s time to start thinking about our clothes a little bit differently. Clothing should not be disposable. We should purchase well-made items that will last us years and year.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a fashionista. Hands down. Style is very important to me. But that doesn’t mean we need to be buying the latest trend every month just to be in “style”.
Style is a very personal thing and different for each individual. You can show your style in lots of different and simple ways.
Try and shift your thinking into buying items that last. Not buying the same white t-shirt from the mall every other month because it keeps falling apart.
This will save you money in the long run. Especially when it comes to your basic items. AKA the items you’ll be wearing the most often.
The truth of it all:
There is no one brand that does sustainability 100%. It’s not as simple as that. There are so many factors that go into making a single item of clothing.
Such as what materials will they use? Where will they grow it? How fast does it grow? Are their workers treated and paid fairly? How will they dye the clothing? What about chemicals (or lack thereof)? What about the design process? How can they make the fabric durable to ensure it lasts a long time? The list goes on and on and on.
It’s easy for one factor to be done imperfectly from time to time. As I said, no brand is perfect. As long as they’re trying, they deserve to be celebrated and supported.
So you see that for something called a “basic” it’s not so basic at all.
Where to find ethically made basics:
1. Everlane – $$-$$$
A cornerstone in the slow fashion industry. Everlane sells way more than just basics but their basics are truly something noteworthy.
From basic tee’s, button-downs, t-shirt dresses, bodysuits and undergarments! Everlane is truly your one-stop-shop for all your ethical basic needs.
Everlanes products are produced in the utmost of ethical factories and made from sustainable fabrics such as linen, organic cotton and cashmere.
2. Organic basics – $$
Basics is in their name so it’s no secret that if you’re on the hunt for basics, this is a great place to start.
Organic basics focus is mainly on undergarments from bras and underwear to t-shirts, tank tops and socks! They even sell some of the most gorgeous leggings.
Organic basics is, of course, made from organic cotton. Which as I mentioned above is a very sustainable fabric and grown without the use of pesticides. Their cotton is even GOTS certified which basically means the cotton is grown and sourced by humans that are treated by humans. (source)
3. Mate the Label – $$
Mate the Label has your t-shirt, tank top and pj needs met! They’re all made with organic yarns and dyes and produced ethically. Mate also ships their products’ plastic-free and even has a take back program where you can send your old garments to be made into new products!
4. LA Relaxed – $$-$$$
LA Relaxed is one of my favourite tried and true brands. They offer t-shirts, tanks, and basic dresses that are so easy to dress up or down. Their clothing is made sustainably from natural materials and is produced ethically right in LA!
5. Kotn – $$
Kotn is another brand that has all your basics and wardrobe staples and more! Made ethically from sustainably sourced Egyptian cotton, their clothing is some of the softest you’ll ever feel!
I really hope this post can serve you as a corner piece of information on the subject. Of course, this subject is a HUGE one and there’s no way I could stuff it all into one post.
So use this post as a foundation and go out and shop for all your ethical basics needs!
Did you research Pact apparel or Madewell? I’m curious about how they compare with Everlane.
Caity Rose says
I haven’t looked into them yet but it’s definitely on my to-do list!
What’s your take on Fordays? I’m thinking about signing up.
Caity Rose says
I haven’t looked into it too much yet but it sounds amazing! I’ll add it to the list of things to properly research 🙂