Sustainable + Ethical options for ALL

By now I know readers of this blog know I value a variety of things when shopping for my kid's clothing and my own. Style, trends, quality, price point, manufacturing, and keeping things minimal all matter, and often they're not all possible in one garment. Sustainability and ethical options are always a top priority and I share those garments often in my Instagram feed but I realize buying brands that are made ethically are not always possible and it can create a growing pressure on parents. The ability to compare ourselves to others is highlighted on social media and I know that's a risk every time I share a new ethically made brand or thrifted treasure. In an effort to help all of us on a pressure-free journey towards sustainable and ethical shopping, I thought I'd provide as many ways as I can think of towards that goal. Some of these options won't work for your budget or schedule and THATS OKAY. Hear me reader, I know we're all doing our best. I've included as many options as possible because I think we can all take steps towards sustainability in our wardrobes, but what one does might not work for another and we can be satisfied with our efforts at the end of the day. I hope this list encourages you and inspires you in ways maybe you haven't thought of, and that you don't feel pressure of judgement from my ideas. 

photo from a recent trip to Villagae des Valeurs, credit: Neal Hardie

Sustainable + Ethical Options for ALL

1. Shop less. Use the clothes you have. Quite simple, but we all have felt the tug to buy a new piece of clothing when we don't need it at all. I buy new clothing (new and used) often, so I'm preaching to myself here! The best way to buy sustainable and ethical is to not to buy at all. 

2. Care well for your clothing. Similar to not buying at all, but with the focus more on keeping your clothing wearable. This includes washing well, using good stain remover quickly so stains don't set in and ruin a garment, hanging most things to dry to prolong their life (the dryer really is hard on clothing!), not washing clothes unless they're dirty (all washing is taxing on a garment), replacing fallen buttons and mending small rips, and repurposing old pieces (I've done this by making shorts from pants, hemming dresses to make shirts, distressing my own jeans, etc).

3. Accept hand-me-downs, participate in stuff swaps. I love a good stuff swap and am planning one for a few weeks from now! Donating old clothing is always wise but it's even more fun to see a friend make use of your castaways. Also don't feel any shame in accepting hand-me-downs! I've loved receiving clothing and furniture (even our TV!) from generous friends and family who were finished with them. 

4. Buy Used. Thrifting is a serious passion for me! My schedule is very flexible and my kids even love joining me, so I don't have trouble visiting a thrift store for 30 minutes on a Saturday of 15 minutes during the week. I have found some of my favourite garments at thrift stores! I love that it prolongs the life of a garment and costs significantly less than buying new. I'm always asked where I go thrifting and I'm happy to share. My mainstay is Village des Valeurs (Value Village) because their stores are so clean and well organized. I also visit Renaissance and Armee du Salut, but have less luck at those places for kids clothing. Aside from thrift stores I'll sometimes buy things on Marketplace, Kijiji, Craigslist, or Varage Sale, and my new favourite kid's clothing site, Boutique Mini-Cycle. (see below)

5. Boutique Mini-Cycle. I love this site! They sell new and used high quality kid's clothing and they guarantee to buy back everything you buy from them. I've sold many of our higher end pieces to Boutique Mini-Cycle recently, so head over and check our their pre-loved section! See more about them here.

6. Buy ethical at the end of season when sales are big. Timing purchases for end of season can save enough to make ethical and sustainable brands possible for some budgets. Some of my favourite ethical shops that have amazing end of season sales are Lou Wolf and Les Petits Voyous.

7. Ask for ethical and sustainable clothing as gifts. Often our kid's grandparents will ask for some gift ideas for the kids and I'll often include ethical brands that might not work for our budget that month. My parents have bought the girls dresses that are ethically made for Christmas or birthdays, for example.

8. Make fast fashion slower. This one is really important as I assume most of us are not ready to never again shop at Old Navy, Gap, Zara, or HM. Yes these brands are fast fashion and unethical, but sometimes it's what we can afford and the ease of online shopping wins out. How can you slow down these purchases? Commit to keeping and re-purposing these pieces for several years, buy fewer pieces (yay, capsule wardrobes!), choose eco-friendly materials like denim and cotton instead of synthetic ones that don't biodegrade, give these pieces away to friends or charities when you're finished, etc. 

9. Consider cost per wear. When looking at the price tags of ethical clothing it's easy to be discouraged. If you're buying quality pieces though, they should last for a very long time (most ethical pieces are also very well made, unlike fast fashion which is mass produces and not built to last). For girls, I especially love skirts and dresses because they seem to last for two years per sister. Anything I know they'll wear for a long time and can be handed down is more justifiable financially. This means I'll more likely buy ethical clothing for my oldest daughter because she can hand everything down to her sister. Little sister gets fewer ethical pieces if she needs something new as cost-per-wear will be higher. 

10. Buy timeless styles + neutrals. Speaking of handing down pieces to other siblings, a sure fire way to keep your clothing for a long time it so make sure it works for both boys and girls and is outside of trends. Neutrals match everything and never go out of style, same with basic stripes. Oli wears quite a lot of Lily's old clothing (sweat pants, sweat shirts, skinny jeans, t-shirts) and in turn, he's handed all of those items down further to Chloe. 

Have I missed anything? I hope this was helpful!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy reading your blog! I feel like we share a lot of the same values and despite living in a different country I totally feel like we would get on if we lived close by. Have a lovely weekend.

    P.S. if your family is ever planning a trip to Portugal let me know.