Image Credit: Doen
The time came to update most of my wardrobe. Mainly because my old clothes don’t fit me same way anymore after pregnancy, even though I am back to my original weight. Weight… but not size.
And I am actually looking forward to a change. However, I am trying my best to do it in the most sustainable way possible. That means I am searching consignment stores and swapping options before I consider anything new to buy.
So, I went through my closet first and sorted out the clothes that still fit fine and were in great condition. This exercise gave me an idea of what I am missing in order to style my existing garments. A shopping card comes in really handy for this, and you can download one here for free. This is the tool I created after I took a personal stylists’ class. The shopping card provides a list of the minimum number of garments and accessories needed to carry a person through the entire season.
Then I started with online consignment stores and was able to score a couple of things there. Shopping consignment stores can be as challenging as it can be fun: you may find a unique and nice looking piece, and it either doesn’t fit you or the color doesn’t look good on you. It’s a game – sometimes you score garments easily, while you need to really hunt for others. I struggled to find a dress that had it all – style, fit, color. Therefore, my next step was to shop sustainable brands. Most of them are not well known yet, so I had to do my research. So, I thought I would be practical and save you lots of time in case you need to update your dresses. Thus, I documented my search along with some pictures of styles that I liked. I tried to include brands that carry a decent number of dresses in their collection, so you have a better variety of styles to choose from.
Affordable eco-friendly dresses. All are under $100. Great selection of summer mini and maxi dresses, office wear, sweatshirts and wrap dresses. They are based in Portland, and focus on soft natural fabrics that are ethically produced. They also source locally made accessories and jewelry.
Eco Vibe donates 1% of all sales to the Planet.
Price range: $20 – 89
Other products: tops, bottoms, tunics, sweaters, outerwear, vegan, sleep and lounge wear, leggings, accessories, fragrances.
This is a great source for dozens of stylish and feminine, sustainably made dresses with beautiful and sophisticated prints and patterns. A majority of the garments are manufactured in Los Angeles, CA. The rest are manufactured by their sustainable partners in the USA or abroad.
Price range: $118-468
Other products: tops, bottoms, jumpsuits, tees, wedding, petite, accessories.
Features several sustainable fashion brands – Indigenous Designs, Mata Traders, Amour Vert and Synergy Organic Clothing. Very affordable, sustainably made dresses. Most are under $100.
The dresses are sustainably made by fair trade cooperatives of India and Nepal, and in the USA.
Price Range: $42-148
Other products: tops, bottoms, denim, jewelry, accessories, shoes, men’s clothing.
A small collection of dresses but worth checking out. Their dresses are slick and minimal, yet statement making. Great for wearing in the city. Their dresses are made from alpaca fiber, silk and organic cotton.
The brand is based in Peru and partners with artisans from rural communities and small local entrepreneur workshops in Peru.
Price range: $189-199
Other products: tops, bottoms, outerwear, accessories.
Beautiful bohemian and vintage inspired collections. The dresses are handmade by Vietnamese women. Some dresses are made from surplus fabric to minimize the waste. “The family operated workshop is a women-led small business providing a fair living wage and a flexible family-friendly working environment.”
Price Range: $165-265
Other Products: Tops, Jumpsuits, Accessories, Handbags, Shoes, Home décor, cosmetics.
Lots of cute and affordable dresses. Many styles are perfect for teenagers to mid-twenties. All dresses are under $100. The company has dying, printing, and sewing factories in the US, EU, and Asia.
Price Range: $13 – 45
Other products: tops, bottoms, jackets, knitwear.
They have just two styles – tee shirt and tunic, and four prints. But if this is something you are looking for, check it out. Matter sources “heritage prints and styles while reinterpreting them in a modern manner”. The brand makes the unique rural artisians’ work accessible to the world while helping the rural craft to thrive.
Other products: pants, jumpsuits, outerwear, shorts, tops.
Dozens of minimal, timeless and simple dresses in a very subtle color palette. Their dresses serve like a blank canvas that inspires endless styling possibilities as they can be worn in many different ways and coordinate with a variety of pieces. Everlane is an ethical brand that focuses on quality that lasts and transparency. With your order you will receive a card listing the material and labor costs as well as their markup.
Price range: $25-150
Other products: Tops, bottoms, denim, cashmere, outerwear, shoes, accessories.
If you love oversized, practical and comfortable, yet elegant dresses, this is a great source for you! The brand believes in mindful consumption. That is why they focus on timeless, quality pieces that last, so we can buy less.
The brand cuts and sews their garments in a Nashville-based studio using only natural fibers.
Price range: $180-285
Other products: tops, bottoms, shoes, outerwear.
This one is my personal favorite. I love almost all of their beautiful collection of vintage inspired dresses. Very feminine and flowing silhouettes. Perfect for vacations and summer time leisure. They create wearable everyday dresses using luxe fabrics at affordable prices.
Whenever possible, Doen uses domestic production. If not available, they carefully select overseas manufacturers who share their commitment in India, Spain, and Peru.
Price range: $145-378
Other products: tops, bottoms, knitwear, kid’s apparel.
Arkins produces comfortable and quality pieces in the heart of Manhattan. They produce clothes in small batches, often to order to minimize waste.
Lots of styles suitable for the office.
Price range: $75-198
Other products: tops, bottoms, outerwear.
As I mentioned earlier, my personal favorite is Doen. Which one is yours?