Living sustainably is such a multifaceted lifestyle that is going to look different for every one of us. When it comes to fashion, buying sustainable brands can seem cost prohibitive, but regardless what brands or stores you support, buying long lasting clothes is so important and truly the most sustainable path.
The thing is, quality over time really matters, but wherever and whatever you buy – buy with the intention of wearing an item for years and years to come.
Now that I’m fairly back into my wardrobe (partly in size but also in lifestyle), it’s been a joy to rediscover some pieces and love that pieces I loved before. Items that stand the test of time in terms of style but also just sturdiness really are the absolute best!
Eric Javits Hat (use my code LUCISMORSELS10OFF for $10 off) | Ron White Shoes | Rag & Bone Crossbody (similar black crossbody)
CELINE Sunnies | LAGOS Stacking Ring, Cross X Ring, + Rope Bracelet
L.L. Bean Cape (see more cape outfit ideas)
Learning to Buy Long-Lasting Clothes
I was traveling to Portland, Oregon ago and met a woman who worked for a shoe company. Surprisingly, to her, I’d heard of the brand (because Nordstrom carried it and we know I have lots of reasons for shopping at Nordstrom).
We got to talking about the difficulties of getting enough sales for the brand because it was more expensive but not a designer brand.
I knew exactly what she meant. My mom instilled the idea of buying fewer pieces at higher quality years ago. It’s why I continue to wear the same pieces year and year – and the clothing hasn’t fallen apart!
It’s hard to make the jump from getting a bargain on a piece of clothing to buying long-lasting clothes that are likely more expensive. This is especially the case if the item is by a brand with whom you aren’t familiar. I get it!
Now that I’ve really pared down my closet; sold and donated undergarments, shoes, and outerwear; recycling clothing items that might not have any life; and worked to buy primarily from sustainable clothing brands, I’ve been able to buy more quality, long lasting clothing without qualms.
And please know that around here, something sustainably made that won’t last through a lot of wear isn’t going to get a mention. I care more about the longevity of an article than anything else!
It’s also been wonderful to always have something to wear. Rarely do I go searching in my closet for something to wear. I know what’s in there and what will work best for my day. It’s so different to think that fewer options gives you more choices, but it’s absolutely the case.
What to Invest in First in Your Wardrobe
For ALL purchases, not just clothes, I’m a big fan of doing it piecemeal, replacing an item as it’s life has run its course, not just when you want to start.
When it comes to buying long lasting clothing, I’d encourage you to start on pieces you wear the most. For me, it’s no surprise that it’s jeans. I want to wear a pair of jeans nearly everyday. I want them to fit well and last through my daily life (toddler mom, blogger, and all)!
Next, are shoes. I’ve been battling a lot of tightness, so it’s important to me what support a pair of shoes offers – sadly at times! While I may love a pair of shoes, if I know I won’t be able to wear them how I want and as much as I want (I’m not an idle person), then I can’t bring myself to even try them on or order them “just to see!”
Check this list of sustainable shoe brands to see if you can find something sustainable and that meets all your needs!
And now I’m slowly working on tops and accessories. Truthfully, I think I might start looking into belts. I have a few older ones that I really like the style of, but they’re showing wear and/or don’t fit just right. So I’ll keep my eyes open until I find that right ones.
Another way to go about it is to think about basic necessities for each season and ensure you have those before all else. These summer capsule wardrobe staples are a good idea for getting started!
Sustainable Fashion Shopping
When it does come to buying new clothes, I’m trying to educate myself about various materials and processes that are better for the planet and better for the people involved in making it. A few helpful terms…
What is organic cotton and why is it better?, Also, if companies are carbon neutral or climate neutral, that means they’re making efforts to have less of an impact on the environment while producing their products.
And more generally speaking, there are independent platforms that “grade” companies based on a variety of things. Learn what a B Corp is, and you’ll want to check out MADESAFE (a brief intro here), LWG leather, OEKO-TEX, and Positive Luxury!
Here is a list of where I do a lot of my sustainable shopping (clothes, beauty, and home)!
And this even stretches to your undergarments and sleep/loungewear. These are my favorite women’s pajama sets! I have them for every season.