Have you ever stopped to look at the clothing sold in stores today? Not just the style of clothing but the construction, materials, and durability. If you haven’t, next time you’re shopping for clothes take a minute to examine them.
I started paying attention to this a few years ago when I started my Eco-Friendly Journey.
I am not one to shop for clothing often or pay attention to the latest trends, but I noticed that most of my clothes were from before I got married, so it was time for a refresh.
I soon realized that most of the shops I used to purchase clothes from only carried synthetic materials. Sure they look nice but how could I purchase synthetic clothing knowing that it’s hurting the environment? Needless to say, I came home empty-handed.
We live in a fake, throwaway world. Most items of clothing are synthetic, thin, and cheaply made, even from expensive shops or brands.
When you live an Eco-Friendly lifestyle, you come to realize the failures of the fashion industry.
Every time we make a purchase, we are telling a brand or a shop that they are doing well. It’s so important to purchase quality items made from real materials so that brands and shops will continue to make and sell them.
If we buy crap they will continue to make crap.
Polyester is King, Acrylic is Queen
Almost all items of clothing are made from these two materials.
The problem is that these materials are plastic. When we wash them we are contributing to the micro-plastic pandemic that is plaguing our Oceans and waterways.
Also read: Do you need to be vegan to save the world?
They also don’t allow our bodies to breathe properly which causes us to over-heat, which causes us to sweat which causes the clothing to smell because plastics hold smells and stain easily.
More than that our bodies absorb the chemicals that are in these articles of clothing, which can cause health problems down the line.
I have seen that some companies have started using recycled polyester and I have mixed feelings about this.
While it’s great that they are recycling/reusing these plastic materials, you’ll still need to wash them at some point. Because of this, personally, I don’t purchase recycled poly clothing, but I won’t have hard feelings if you do. A lot of it is about what you’re comfortable with.
Saying No to Synthetics
It’s harder than you’d think to find quality items of clothing, but it’s not impossible. Cotton, Wool, Modal, Tencel, Bamboo, Leather, and Silk are quality items to purchase.
Modal and Tencel are man-made materials but they are derived from natural products. Both are made from wood pulp.
Natural materials leave synthetic materials in the dust as far as comfort and quality go, but beware, just because something is made of a natural material doesn’t mean it’s a quality item.
I’ve seen some Cashmere sweaters that are terribly thin. If you’re spending good money on quality material, make sure it’s actually worth it. A thin cashmere sweater isn’t going to last very long and it won’t keep you as warm as a thicker sweater will.
Also Read: Wool an eco-conscious choice
Purchasing quality without the high price tag
Who doesn’t like to find a good deal? I never pay full price for clothing. Instead, I wait for deals and browse shops that I know carry quality items at a discounted price.
I do have to say that finding quality clothing for women is almost impossible. My husband can find quality clothes all the time, but a lot of women’s clothing is synthetic and I think it’s because women will pay full price for items that look good, over the quality of materials. Men typically won’t.
My Favorite brands include Pendleton, Filson, Wolverine 1000 Mile, and Red Wing. Yes, these are expensive brands, but they make quality items that will last forever with proper care of course.
Other quality brands to look out for are Darn Tough, Tentree, United by Blue, Farm to Feet, and Toad&co.
Filson – Founded in 1897 in Seattle Washington specializing in high-quality, durable men’s clothing. They are just getting into making Women’s clothing and I’m sad to say that they have fallen into that women trap. A lot of synthetics for women and real materials for men. If you’re a man or are shopping for a man, their clothes are some of the best. They do have some quality items for women, you just have to look at the tags.
Pendleton – Founded in 1863 in Oregon. They make some of the highest quality wool clothing. Wool is their main product offering, but they do sell some mixed blends. They have a wide variety of women’s clothing along with men’s.
Wolverine 1000-mile boots and Redwing Heritage – Leather boots and shoes are incredible, seriously. What I love about these brands is that their shoes will last forever. Most of them are resole-able so you can keep wearing them for years.
I wasn’t really a boot girl but one day my husband found an incredible deal on some 1000 boots from Wolverine and I was forever changed. Okay, that sounds dramatic but seriously they are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. They are fully leather with a leather insole. There is no cushion which would make you think that they wouldn’t be comfortable at all, but it’s like walking barefoot. They are incredibly comfortable and will last forever.
So yeah the brands I’ve mentioned are expensive… They are worth the price tag, but it’s so hard to pay full price for anything, so I do most of my shopping at Sierra Trading Post – It’s the best shop in the TJ Maxx family IMO. They carry Pendleton, Red Wing, Filson, and all the other brands I mentioned above at discounted prices! They also carry a lot of other brands that use organic cotton and other natural materials. They have sales all the time as well, so you can get some really great deals!
Nordstrom Rack is another great shop to find great deals on clothing and shoes. I’ve found more leather bags and shoes here than clothing but it’s worth looking at because you never know when they’ll have quality clothing.
Thrift shops are another great place to find quality clothing. You never know what you’ll find, plus this keeps items from ending up in a landfill.
It does take more time and effort to find quality, Eco-Friendly items but it’s so worth it for a few reasons. One: You are supporting the efforts of brands and shops that are actively selling real clothing.
Two: Your body benefits because it’s able to breathe and it’s not absorbing chemicals from synthetic materials.
Three: The Earth benefits because the more real materials we purchase, the fewer plastics are used and thrown out which makes for a clean and happy environment.