What You Need to Phase into the Ethical Fashion Movement
What do I need to get started?
You will start by building a wardrobe of basic pieces.
You will have to start by building a wardrobe of basic pieces.
In the next installment of this series, I am going to tell you where to buy. But first, I am going to tell you what you need to start building a basic wardrobe. Right now, the pictures I include in this article are all pieces of clothing from Everlane, which is an ethical fashion brand with transparent pricing. Everlane partners with "some of the most ethical factories in the world." They also share the "true cost" of their products, so you know some CEOs aren't getting rich off of others too.
I included clothing from Everlane, because right now they are having their "choose what you pay" event. Basically, they give you three choices for pricing and you choose which one suits you. It's actually pretty brilliant. I also figured it's a great way to start building an ethical wardrobe while things are on sale. There's only three days left, so if you find something you love, buy it quick.
You will need six basic t-shirt tops and four sweater/sweatshirt tops.
First, you need t-shirts for the days you're running errands and also lounging around the house. But you also need something to keep you warm. Many of these can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on the occasion.
Your tops should be primarily neutral colors, but with a few pieces that "pop." That way you can wear the neutrals more often, but when you feel like you want something fun you still have colorful options too.
I suggest black, grey, your favorite color, and then some tops like you see to the left that have stripes (or some other pattern), but are still neutral. That way they can still be worn multiple times in a row and it's not completely obvious you're wearing the same thing multiple times.
For sweaters and sweatshirts, you will want two neutral colors and two "bright" fun colors. The same rules apply here as to your t-shirts. You want options, but you also don't want it to look like you're wearing the same thing all the time either. With basic, classic pieces, you can still wear these multiple times without it being obvious.
You will need four pairs of pants / bottoms.
For bottoms, you will want two pairs of jeans, one pair of lounge pants/leggings, and one pair of colorful pants to spice things up when you're bored. With the jeans, you want one light pair and one dark pair. Your leggings should be neutral - preferrably black.
Whatever color you pick for the bright "fun" pants, you will want something that can still be considered a neutral. Nothing too bright (although I am guilty of having bright red/orange jeans and green jeans). I would suggest, to get started, you stick with a color like the coral pants above or maybe even a tan/camel color.
If you can, opt for four dresses. If you can't afford to get four dresses right now, at least have one.
Dresses are a must. Especially in summer. You just cannot get away without having at least one dress in your wardrobe. I suggest four dresses, but if you want to skimp somewhere, you would skimp here (mostly because right now it's the middle of winter anyway).
With four dresses, you can have two neutral and two bright colored dresses. Again, if you choose a pattern with neutral elements you will be able to get away with wearing it more often.
Start thinking now about the pieces you would like in your own wardrobe to start with a very basic ethical wardrobe. Next week, I will give you the "where" to shop for ethical fashion. Some brands will be completely ethical, while others may not be completely transparent, but support policies and causes that I personally believe in.
Remember, phasing into the ethical fashion movement doesn't mean you have to give up everything. It just means you have to be smart about where you spend your money and why.