Welcome to my Peace by Piece series where I use individual outfits to break down the good, the bad and the ugly of fashion’s impact on the environment and our communities.
Fashion is one of the most significant contributors to environmental destruction and carries the weight of labor inequities around the globe. It’s also a really important part of our everyday lives. Not only is it a great form of expression, but we also need to get dressed every darn day.
Fashion matters. Fashion has power. Let’s use fashion to do good for our planet and our people.
Welcome to another pretty boring outfit from my closet. I won’t be winning any fashion (or modeling awards) for this getup, but I’m going to tell you all about why I chose to invest in these items for my wardrobe.
Secondhand Designer On A Budget
This sweater is from Henri Bendel, a designer brand that would normally be out of my budget (and no longer is in business). I purchased this sweater secondhand at a steep discount to the retail price from thredUP a while back. I knew it would be a simple, classic piece that would last for ages in my closet and match a ton of items I already owned.
Buying secondhand is an awesome way to access the quality and longevity of high-end brands that many of us could never afford if not for secondhand markets. Not only do we get the “rush” of wearing “fancy brands”, but we also can rely on fewer pieces relative to churning through fast-fashion pieces that fall apart after just a few wears.
Purchasing high-quality clothing, whether new or secondhand, helps ensure clothing has a long life and dramatically reduces the waste that piles into landfills.
Joggers For 30 Wears
My husband purchased these pants for me as a gift. He purchased them from Athleta, a B Corporation owned by Gap, Inc. I have mixed feelings about Athleta. As a B Corporation, the company has committed to the highest standards for social and environmental standards. However, Athleta’s parent company doesn’t have the most sustainable track record, despite making an effort with thredUP recently to clean up their act.
Regardless of the brand, just about any item is your closet is a pretty good purchase if you can wear it at least 30 times. I have already worn these pants at least 8 or 10 times and have only had them for a few months. Certainly, they will accrue more than 30 wears.
When purchasing new clothing for your closet, if you know you will wear the piece at least 30 times (and it will last for 30 wears), bypass guilt about who made it. It might not be the “perfectly ethical and eco-friendly piece”. However, wearing clothes that last, and thereby reducing our consumption, is just about the best way to live a more eco-friendly and sustainable life. The most sustainable action we can take is to not buy the things we don’t need.
Bucketfeet Shoes For Years
I own two pairs of Bucketfeet shoes and have had them for so long I’m not even sure when I bought them. I do, however, remember when the first Bucketfeet store opened in Chicago, my stomping grounds at the time, and I took my family to this new store to show them the brand I loved so much! These Bucketfeet shoes done an abstract illustration of the Chicago skyline. Pretty sweet, huh?
Bucketfeet uses a simple slip-on shoe as a blank canvas for independent artists to design a wide array of different shoes. Available designs are always changing, so it’s pretty neat to get a really unique pair of shoes. When I wear them, so many people comment on much they like them. For a ‘not fashionista’, this is kind of a big deal.
Like my pants, I’m not sure Bucketfeet shoes are particularly “eco-friendly”, though their site and the site of their parent company tout many aspects of the production process that are better than standard shoe production methods. However, my Bucketfeet shoes meet my eco-friendly wardrobe standards if for no other reason than they have lasted so long and I’ve worn them so many times. I bet my first pair is at least eight years and still going strong.
We have so many factors to weigh when shopping for new clothes and shoes. We consider price, quality, aesthetic, fair labor practices, eco-friendly production processes and more. If we wear something on repeat and it lasts a long time, we are way ahead of the fast-fashion debacle that led to our current environmental fashion disaster in the first place.
That’s a wrap on today’s Peace by Piece outfit. I know we can’t fix the planet solely through our consumption choices. However, individual actions send a message to brands, the market, government officials, and our friends and neighbors who see each of us exhibit our priorities and values in our everyday lives. Individual actions are the cornerstones of larger initiatives and policy changes that change the system for everyone.
What values are you portraying through your fashion choices?