Staple wardrobe items facilitate transition toward ethical fashion choices

With the new year around the corner, there is no time like the present to begin making the transition toward more ethical and sustainable fashion choices.

You may think this is easier said than done. Many sustainable fashion brands sport expensive price tags, and the impending hole in your wallet just doesn’t seem worth it. We have become so wrapped up in the fast-fashion industry, which provides affordable, trendy clothing to the masses, that our mindset on fashion has completely changed.

Fast-fashion has made us crave an entirely new closet with the passing of each season. To keep up with these ever-changing trends, it’s necessary to sacrifice quality in order to purchase the least expensive items to fill our closets. Before we can make the shift to ethical fashion choices, we have to shift our mindsets back to a sophisticated fashion mindset.

The best way to save your wallet and the world is to let your closet revolve around staple items. With a plethora of basics, a few staple items and the right accessories, you can stop relying on fast-fashion to revamp your wardrobe every few months. The idea is to learn how to style your staple pieces so that each time you wear it, the entire outfit looks brand new.


Every wardrobe needs a solid pair of jeans. The “in” style of jeans changes faster than anyone can comprehend, so it’s important to have a few pairs of timeless jeans that look good on you and won’t go out of style.

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These jeans from DL1961 retail at $178. They’re eco-friendly and have a comfortable, elastic fit. Spending this much on a pair of jeans may seem reckless at first, but you can continue to style them differently and wear them for years. This way you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

Dress shoes

No wardrobe can be complete without a go-to pair of dress shoes for work, interviews, etc. Whether you dress in business professional attire every day or not, shoes are an imperative part of the look that you can’t spare. My favorite aspect of these shoes is that they can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on the occasion. Instead of the traditional trousers and blazer, pair them with jeans and a sweater for even more versatility.

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Nisolo sells both men’s and women’s handmade leather shoes that are fair trade and ethically manufactured. The company partners with local artisans in Peru to design and produce these shoes, providing fair wages and full-time employment. The shoes range from $84-278, but they are definitely made to last.

Basic tees

This might seem obvious, but every wardrobe needs some basic, loose tees. These t-shirts can be paired with nearly any other staple item to create an outfit for various occasions. You can pair a basic tee with some jeans for a relaxed day, or pair it with a sweater and trousers for a more professional setting. These tees can also be paired with blazers and suit jackets to make your look even more put together and professional.

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These tees from Alternative Apparel range in price from $28-38. They are relaxed fit and ready to be worn for any occasion. They are sold in a variety of colors, which offer even more versatility for your wardrobe to flourish. The company is eco-friendly and incorporated recycled and organic materials into their apparel. More than 70% of their garments are made through sustainable processes as well.


Outerwear will always be an essential for any look to be complete. It can come in many forms, from cardigans to ponchos to coats. This variety can mistakenly be translated to mean that we should acquire as many different types of outerwear as possible, but I believe it is much more beneficial to find the one or two types that suit you best and invest in them. Buy a few durable, stylish pieces and use them with any outfit.

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These are just two examples of extremely well-made pieces that can act as outerwear for any occasion. Both of these are from Indigenous and retail at around $200. They are ethically made by fair trade artisans and are composed of organic textiles. The pieces are excellent examples of pieces that can complete any look, from casual to professional and everything in between.

I’m a firm believer that everyone’s wardrobe is going to be different, because everyone’s style is different (and rightfully so). These items are some classics that anyone is likely to need at some point in his or her life. However, some staple items will differ. Those with a more business professional lifestyle may need to focus their staple items to match, and vice versa for those who find infrequent need for business professional clothing. Find what works for you and focus your wardrobe based on those preferences.

When the mindset of fast-fashion starts to disappear, spending a little more for an ethically produced sweater or pair of shoes won’t seem like such a blow to our wallets. This way, we can stop looking for the lowest price and start looking for the most ethical and sustainable choice.



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