A step by step guide on how to start shopping ethically with my thoughts after 7 years of being a conscious consumer, AND a quick list of my favorite ethical brands.
This post was written by Betty Kary for StyleWise. As a way of creating a more robust resource, I've added my own "notes from a thrift shop manager" under Betty's tips (with her permission).
As a young student with a life-long and growing passion for fashion and a deep concern for the well-being of our planet, I fell quite naturally into thrift shopping. I just love the idea of creating unique and inexpensive outfits all the while consuming in a responsible and ethical manner. And if I may say so myself, I pull it off quite well. I guess you can say it’s because passion, motivation, and a little creativity pay off! I try to use my successes to inspire others to get into thrift shopping as well, and even though I may succeed in sparking interest, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told:
“Damn Betty, I love that sweater! You have to take me thrift shopping with you, I tried to go once but I never find anything nice like that. I just don’t know where to start.”
So for all those of you who feel the same, or even those of you who had never paid mind to it before, I put together a little “how to” guide to get you started!
1. Research local thrift stores.
Get to know the options you have in your neighborhood, and be sure to read any available reviews. If a store is unclean or if people have had bad experiences, needless to say how important it is to know ahead of time in order to avoid any problems.
Also, you can look into what sales some stores may be having soon, ‘cause yep, even if their prices are already super cheap, thrift stores like any other store often need to make room for “new” items coming in and therefore offer sales. For example, once every few weeks, the Value Village hosts 50% off sales, and may I just say, its damn worth it! I once got 12 great pieces for only 35 bucks.
Notes from Leah:
Don't be afraid to try a hole-in-the-wall at least once. Smaller, local shops can get passed over in favor of larger corporate stores that get more traffic if you only pay attention to Yelp reviews. When you find a shop you like, ask if they have an email newsletter or another communications method. That way sales will be delivered to you digitally!
2. Get to know the store layout.
Once you’ve picked out a shop to check out, get to know its layout. Some stores are organized differently. On top of being divided by gender, some spots organize by type of garment, color, size, etc. If the store you’re visiting has no system of organization whatsoever (which I doubt), I suggest you turn around and walk out of there. It's likely not worth your time!
Notes from Leah:
There's no perfect way to organize a thrift store, so don't get discouraged if you enter a shop that's organized in a way that isn't preferable to you. Use it as an opportunity to explore a wider range of sizes and styles. If you leave unhappy, at least you've gotten to know your taste a bit better!
3. Scan the racks.
I imagine you’ve all been to TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Winners before. You know the drill: you pick a rack and pass your hand through the hangers, visually scanning for attractive colors, patterns, fabrics - anything that might tickle your fancy. I wouldn’t bother looking at every garment one by one or you’ll lose interest too quickly or end up spending hours wasting your time.
4. Check for size and imperfections.
Once a little treasure catches your eye and you pull it off the rack, make sure you check it all up and down. You want to check if the size is appropriate for you, and to look out for imperfections.
You’re checking for things like missing buttons, busted zippers, stains, or damaged fabric. Most of the time whatever a shop will put on the rack is in decent condition, but a few times I've fallen in love with a piece only to have my heart broken having to put it back because of wrong sizing or a flaw of some sort. In some cases though, if I really love the piece, I’ll try to see if I can fix it myself. Sometimes all it takes is a little stitch-up and its good as “new”!
Notes from Leah:
If you're looking for things like food and sweat stains, try to take the item to a window to view it in natural light. Additionally, I often find that viewing an item on a flat surface versus vertically helps illuminate condition issues better.
5. Try it on.
You’re all big boys and girls here, you’ve been shopping before! You know it’s always safer to try on a garment before buying it, just to be sure.
Notes from Leah:
I've learned my lesson the hard way. Always try things on, even if it costs $2. There's no sense buying something that's a poor fit.
6. Keep an open mind.
I can’t stress this enough! In thrift shops, it’s always best to separate your mind from all the preconceived trends you’ve been force-fed by multinational corporations. When you open your mind to what you like, you’ll be able to unleash your creativity and perhaps acquaint yourself with a whole new style you had no idea you had resting within you!
If you really do love the trends and street style going on around you, it’s also a lot of fun to pair old treasures with new items, and build trendy outfits with reused or upcycled goodies.
Notes from Leah:
If you're having trouble honing your personal style, I suggest reading A Life Less Throwaway.
7. Don’t get discouraged.
If you don’t find anything you like within 20 minutes or even on your first trip, don’t just give up! I’ve had shopping trips where I walked out with nothing, and others where I walked out with an overflowing basket, and trust me, the latter happens much more often!
Notes from Leah:
Sometimes we shop to ease boredom or anxiety, and that makes it easier to impulse buy things we don't really want. But it's a good idea to get comfortable with leaving a store empty-handed. Set a loose shopping list in your head (ex. black knit tee, wool cardigan) to help focus your shopping.
8. Wash thoroughly.
This is an obvious one. Anything you buy from any store needs to be properly washed before you wear it, and even more so when it comes from a thrift store. These garments have been worn and tried on by who knows how many, and who knows where they come from. It's therefore always important to check them for bugs of any kind (in my countless experiences I have never had this problem), and to wash your new finds thoroughly as prescribed on the care label.
Notes from Leah:
Nine times out of ten, the donor has washed their clothing before donating it, so you're not likely to get an infection from a thrifted clothing item. Still, as Betty suggests, some items were improperly stored in damp environments or are musty from years tucked away in a closet. It's always nice to freshen things before wearing them. If you notice moth holes, avoid the item unless you're prepared to treat the garment and wash it effectively.
There you go, that’s it! Now you got pretty much everything you need to know to get out there and start diggin’ for treasure! Feel free to snap a cute pic of yourself and DM to my Instagram blog. I’d be happy to feature your thrifted outfits!
Keep on keepin’ on!
This post contains affiliate links
If you currently like or have ever liked shopping for vintage clothing, you can see the signs everywhere...
Square toed mules, woven oxfords, overalls, prairie dresses: ethical fashion has a passionate love affair with vintage silhouettes, patterns, and colors.
It seems that every fashion brand, "ethical" and otherwise, woke up this year and decided old is in. There's something to be said, of course, for reviving old favorites with updated elements and new materials, especially when the brand produces thoughtfully. And it's awfully fun to see the styles I wore as a kid come back into fashion. But it starts to feel needlessly wasteful to buy much of anything new when department and direct-to-consumer stores are carrying essentially the same clothing as the local thrift shop. There are legitimate reasons to buy new, especially when it comes to sizing needs, but if you're shopping for pleasure rather than necessity, it pays to shop secondhand first.
Yes, you can shop the literal ethical fashion item you want secondhand in some cases, but I think it's worth it to broaden your horizons. Instead of thinking in terms of exact items, sometimes it's beneficial to expand your search to true vintage items.
Right now, most products I'm seeing are highly reminiscent of 90s and early 2000s styles, so always use those decade markers in your searches.
While there's plenty to be found on popular resale sites like Poshmark, I highly recommend EBAY and ETSY to find affordable vintage fashion. Head over to the site of your choice then use search terms like the ones I share below to narrow down your selection.
What's On My List?
I just bought a beautiful Irish wool sweater reminiscent of chunky knits from Babaa and L'envers and some chambray coveralls like the ones they sell at Muumuu.
Cheap Secondhand Dupes for Your Favorite Ethical Brands (and Where to Find Them)
If you like REFORMATION DRESSES...
☀ Use search terms:
All That Jazz, Ditzy Floral, 90s Dress
If you like MATA TRADERS DRESSES...
☀ Use search terms:
90s Cotton Dress, 80s Cotton Dress, Cotton Day Dress, Vintage Cotton Dress
If you like EVERLANE SHOES...
☀ Use search terms:
Square Toe, Mules, 90s Ankle Boot, Kilty Loafers, Glove Flats
If you like EVERLANE DENIM...
☀ Use search terms:
Mom Jeans, 90s Jeans, Vintage Lee Jeans (avoid Levi's unless you want to pay an arm and a leg)
☀ Use search terms:
Ralph Lauren Jeans, Culottes, Gaucho Pants, 1970s Jeans, Bellbottoms, Cropped Flares
If you like WOVEN SHOES (like the ones at NISOLO SHOES)...
☀ Use search terms:
Woven Flats, Woven Mules, Huarache Sandals
If you like ELIZABETH SUZANN...
☀ Use search terms:
Linen Crop Top, Linen Circle Skirt, Linen Full Skirt, Linen Trousers, Vintage Eileen Fisher
If you like GEOMETRIC AND ABSTRACT PRINTS (like the ones at MATTER)...
☀ Use search terms:
1980s Dress, 1970s Dress, Mod, Retro Print, 1980s Geometric Print, Triangle Print
If you like CHRISTIE DAWN...
☀ Use search terms:
1970s Dress, Boho Dress, Hippie Dress, Gunne Sax, 1960s Dress, Vintage Wool, 90s grunge maxi dress
☀ Use search terms:
Irish Wool Sweater, Carraig Donn Cardigan, Vintage Wool Cardigan, Vintage Cashmere Cardigan
If you like COVERALLS (like the ones at MUUMUU and BACK BEAT RAGS)...
☀ Use search terms:
Vintage Coveralls, Vintage Button Down Jumpsuit, Cotton Coveralls, Linen Coveralls
There are hundreds of ways to frame your search, so keep trying until you find the magic, one of a kind item that ticks all the boxes.
Ethical fashion, it should be said, isn't ultimately about the best way to make cheap clothing with relatively responsible, humane working conditions. In the long run, it's about psychologically and financially reorienting social structures to create slower paced, less resource intensive, less mentally taxing consumerism.
That being said, it is very easy for those of us working in the ethical fashion industry, especially those of us who "influence," to lose some perspective on what constitutes affordability for people who, either do to chronic income limitations or culturally ingrained ideas about "fair" price points (I fell into both categories), have difficulty with initial buy-in. In reality, the number one way to be an "ethical consumer" is to simply stop shopping so much. But that is tied up in a lot of personal needs and decisions, and I'm not here to tell you what's best for you and your loved ones.
While I've finally gotten to a point of knowing what suits me on the ethical market well enough to "splurge" on items that cost over $100, it took a very long time to feel comfortable doing so, and to reorient my budget enough to be able to. So today I'm sharing 11 brands and businesses that routinely carry responsibly, ethically made clothing that costs less than $50. You may not be able to fill out your whole wardrobe with these items, but you can at least rely on them for building blocks.
There has been a real sea change in the way ethical influencers approach consumerism in the last year, as more and more of us, particularly those of us with white and historic financial privilege, have been forced to confront entrenched, systemic and policy-driven issues that create massive access and income inequality. There is no doubt that real change occurs at the policy level driven by better coalition building at the individual and community level, but I continue to believe that small changes do something, even if the sum of those changes is more about fostering a change of heart. Changed hearts are the key to sustaining equitable societies!
Companies/items were chosen based on their commitment to fair and improving labor conditions and use of natural and/or organic fibers. This post contains affiliate links.
11 Ethical & Sustainable Fashion Companies With Items Under $5
Contains affiliate links
Coats are expensive. Ethical coats even more so.
Which is why 80% of my coats were purchased secondhand for under $30. There's no shame in that. In fact, it's a really pragmatic choice not just because of price point, but because there is an overabundance of beautiful, natural fiber coats on the secondhand market. I picked up a couple extras this season just because they came into the shop where I work and were too good to pass up (that may be one of the reasons our point of sale software named me the best customer of 2017! Oops).
The current "ethical influencer" space is populated by looks featuring all new goods, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that. But I think it can imply that to be an "ethical person" you have to have new things. Not only is this untrue, it inadvertently locks people out of pursuing this lifestyle due to price, size, and accessibility limitations. I need to remind myself of this as much as anyone else. I am always, always tempted to buy every new, beautiful thing. But the things I love and wear often are often secondhand.
Without further ado, my 5 Beautiful, Mostly Secondhand Coats
Ethical Details: Coat - Thrifted; Scarf,
This thrifted coat by Herman Kay is just fun. The shell is a wool/nylon blend, which keeps me warm in 35-45 degree weather and the red cuffs and accents make me happy. After reading this post about the benefits of owning a silly winter coat, I decided to throw caution to the wind. Why should outerwear be as dreary as the weather?
A note: I intentionally purchase coats slightly bigger than I need so that I have ample room for sweaters and general coziness. This also gives me for flexibility when searching for items at thrift stores, because I can expand the hunt to a range of sizes.
The newest addition to the cozy coat family, this Pendleton wool coat reminded me of Everlane's new cocoon coat, except it's (presumably) much better quality. The shell is thick, 100% wool that's soft and smooth to the touch. It's actually probably two sizes too large - and the sleeves are a bit long - but I like the way it drapes as a result.
I've been meaning to put together a post on how the best way to shop for Everlane dupes is to shop vintage. I mean, this coat has almost the same lines as Everlane's coat, except it's more practical and luxurious. Plus, I only paid $30 for it.
The OG coat in the bunch, this was one of those thrift shop miracles. I went thrift shopping with my mom at Valley Thrift in Ohio (I LOVE that place) a couple years ago on the hunt for a navy toggle coat. And there it was! This one has a 100% wool shell and 90% wool lining, so it's quite warm. I would say the wool quality is inferior to the Pendleton coat, but that's to be expected.
I used Christmas money to buy this coat at a cute consignment shop in downtown Charleston, West Virginia (you should visit!). It's lighter weight than other coats in my collection, but it's flannel lined, so I find it perfect for late fall and early spring. Even though this was originally from Target, I've had it for two years and the quality is great. (I also have fond memories wearing it to the Women's March in 2017).
Last but not least, the one new item in my coat wardrobe. Everlane sent this to me for review last fall and it's a workhorse for snow days and super cold winter days since it's water resistant and extremely cozy. This year they released a recycled poly version.
What To Look For When Buying Winter Coats Secondhand
❅ Stick to naturally derived fibers like cotton, wool, and other animal fibers for greatest warmth and quality (acrylics and nylons DO NOT cut it in truly cold weather - since you're buying secondhand, you won't contribute to demand for new, animal-derived textiles) OR technical poly-fill like Primaloft.
❅ Check for moth holes, stains, tears, and other condition issues. Do a sniff test to make sure there isn't serious mold or smoke contamination.
❅ Go in with a plan. Do some online window shopping at stores you like to narrow down the cuts, colors, and styles you're attracted to.
❅ Be flexible when shopping at physical stores. Try on multiple sizes and give items that look boring on the hanger a chance. Sometimes things look magical on.
❅ Make sure you can layer sweaters and scarves under it.
❅ Create a flexible budget and stick to it.
❅ Have fun!
The Benefits of Deadstock & Recycled Fabric
Deadstock refers to fabric produced for a collection that was never used due to a flaw in the fabric or overproduction by the textile mill.
Recycled refers to fabric upcycled from garments that had a previous life.
Producing new items with deadstock or recycled fabrics can be extraordinarily sustainable for a couple of reasons. For one, the majority of water required for garment production is used to convert raw fiber into workable fabric and during the dye process. Upcycled textiles require very little water use unless the designer opts to re-dye this fabric for their collection. Not to mention that finished textiles repurposed for secondary collections are, by definition, secondhand. Making use of preexisting fabrics not only reduces required resources, it theoretically keeps fabric out of landfills by giving them a new life.
Is Deadstock Greenwashing?
I use the term theoretically because if you google "deadstock fabric," you'll see that there is some debate around the environmental efficiency of using deadstock.
One brand owner claims that most mills operating "overseas" in garment sectors like Cambodia and Bangladesh actually overproduce intentionally to appeal to different markets, which means that using something labeled deadstock from these markets is a form of greenwashing since even the apparent "overstock" was always intended to be used in garment production. But a garment industry expert interviewed for Eluxe Magazine describes a scenario in which an independent designer changed her mind about a fabric run, which left the mill responsible for selling off fabric for which they originally had a buyer. In this case, the fabric would be considered true deadstock since it was doomed to sit in a warehouse until the mill could find a buyer.
Meanwhile, my pal Whitney at Fashionista nuances the discussion by pointing out that higher end fabrics sourced by US-based brands like Reformation were probably never likely to be tossed into landfills and thus the argument that deadstock is the most sustainable option is based on a misleading narrative. That being said, it's still a good choice for smaller scale and indie brands that want to choose a more sustainable option and don't mind producing in limited runs.
It seems to me that, even if international mills are producing some overstock to be sold at bargain bin prices, deadstock isn't exactly a lucrative business when compared to first-round production. Because the fabric available in this market isn't normally traceable, you can't just order more of it to meet demand. To me, this seems to imply that we can trust that most deadstock is a true secondhand product and not a conspiracy.
There are still ecological limitations with deadstock fabric. Since it can be difficult to get accurate information on the fabric content, companies simply can't ensure that the fabric is naturally derived and biodegradable. And with companies that source vintage deadstock, you're much more likely to end up with a finished product made out of microfiber-shedding polyester.
All that to say, sourcing anything at all from the secondhand market is a GREAT idea despite its limitations. When thrifting just doesn't do it for you, turn to these brands that use deadstock or recycled fabrics for their collections.
Further clarification courtesy of Rachel Faller, founder of Tonle:
I wanted to add to this that there are really several categories of pre-consumer textile waste. Deadstock is of course a big part of this, and perhaps the most contentious as you point out - but there are also offcuts and items that fail quality control during the process of production. While deadstock is sometimes planned into the production by mills, the other two are more clearly a kind of waste and a little less easy to recycle to the average designer or factory. At tonlé, the majority of our scraps are the later two categories and we see this as being very different from deadstock. Many of our materials are also post-consumer recycled. Thanks again for bringing this up and discussing the nuances here!
9 Sustainable Fashion Brands That Use Recycled and Deadstock Fabrics
1 | Fauxgerty
Sizes XXS-XL. Sourcing primarily American made vintage deadstock, Fauxgerty makes West-coast inspired classics for women.
Featured Item: The Sasha
Sizes PS-3X. The Renew collection features new designs made from old Eileen Fisher designs plus gently used clothing, proving that brands can be committed to circularity.
Featured Item: Striped Pullover (one of a kind)
3 | Reformation
Sizes XS-XL. Using deadstock and upcycled textiles throughout its entire line, Reformation is sexy, spirited, and vintage inspired.
Featured Item: Cashmere Boxy Sweater
4 | Tonle
Sizes XS-XL. Tonle strives to have zero waste production, with many of their designs created to make use of fabric scraps left over from pattern cutting. Case in point: this jacket.
Featured Item: Palm and Wine Jacket
5 | Dorsu
Sizes XS-XL. Using factory remnants from Cambodia's garment factory, Dorsu produces a smart collection of contemporary, casual basics.
Featured Item: Slouch Pant
6 | Christy Dawn
Sizes XS-XL. The dreamiest of the bunch, Christy Dawn prioritizes vintage deadstock to produce their feminine, vintage-inspired dresses and jumpsuits. They even use recycled leather in their boots.
Featured Item: Basil Dress
7 | Neo-Thread
Sizes vary. Upcycling all the way! Modern silhouettes and embroidered clothing made from vintage and thrifted clothing.
Featured Item: Celestial Jean Bomber (one of a kind)
8 | Liz Alig
Sizes XS-XL. Using a combination of recycled materials and upcycled textiles, Liz Alig offers offbeat cotton clothing for women.
Featured Item: Dilsi Overalls
9 | Re/Done
Sizes vary. Vintage denim turned into...denim, but in a cool way. Re/Done modernizes silhouettes to bring new life to old jeans.
Featured Item: Academy Fit, size 27 (one of a kind - shop by size and style on the website)
Sponsored collaboration with
When you first start getting into the zero waste movement, it can feel a bit counterintuitive to be buying more stuff in the name of ultimately using
But that's a misunderstanding of the end goal. Yes, it's a good idea to forego non-essential storage and packaging, but it's not really practical to, say, buy a bunch of tomatoes at the store without a bag or store half an avocado in the fridge unwrapped. Packaging exists in many iterations because it's practical and helps food keep for longer, and its convenience makes it possible for busy, stressed out human beings to live their lives with just a little bit less chaos.
So choosing sustainable, user-friendly packaging and storage is not only, in many cases, a necessity, it allows more people to opt in to a lifestyle that can often feel tedious and insurmountably difficult.
I have been grateful to partner with
this year because doing so has helped me work through some of these difficulties and questions myself. I grew up in a household that advocated for recycling but didn't really consider that there were alternatives to single use plastic. So it's a learning curve to reach for the sustainable or renewable thing instead of the plastic bag and the pre-packaged food.
EarthHero has cultivated a strong educational and accessibility component through their marketplace of ethical, sustainable, and zero waste goods
, and this Holiday season they're offering a number of Gift Boxes that can function as starter kits for anyone looking to build out their zero waste supplies or other sustainable goods...
EarthHero provided a complimentary, custom version of their
, which retails for $50 (they sent items they had more stock in so that they wouldn't sell out of the intended products).
What's in The Box
Reusable grocery bags, a bamboo on-the-go utensil kit, versatile food storage, and more. The gift box offered on the site includes a reusable silicone Stasher Bag, reusable straw and brush, and bamboo toothbrushes. These are little things that make a big impact when you incorporate them into your life. And they're really practical, which means your friend or *cough cough* mom who isn't really "into gifts" could actually experience the thrill that comes with receiving something meaningful and useful. And they're totally gender neutral, as well.
If you're not looking for Zero Waste kits this season, EarthHero has also put together New Baby, New Home, and Spa kits full of eco-friendly and ethical goods.
The Impacts of Holiday Shopping
I am strongly against shaming anyone for the lifestyle decisions they make out of a sense of either necessity or flourishing. But the numbers around Holiday shopping are staggering. The costs to actually produce highly desirable gift items like electronics and clothing have been frequently discussed on this blog, but even in terms of shipping and packaging - the
between Thanksgiving and the New Year - we are pushing resources and waste management to the brink while simultaneously contributing to climate change through demand for faster and faster shipping times.
One way we can reduce this, of course, is by buying less. But we can also choose slower shipping methods, ask that multiple items be shipped in one package, and advocate for companies to buy carbon offsets.
EarthHero uses plastic free packaging and carbon neutral shipping practices through a partnership with the Carbon Fund.
In a social and political environment that is often quick to judge and slow to forgive the iniquities of ethical lifestyles that haven't yet achieved perfection, I think it's really important that we intentionally advocate
every single day
for inclusion and accessibility. Whether you're reaching out to a friend, buying for a parent, or splurging (just a little) on yourself, choose gifts that celebrate what we can do together, what we owe to each other, and the joy we can foster through kind and accountable relationships. Products are not the problem. It's how we choose to use them.
P.S. EarthHero is running a sale through Cyber Monday. 20% off with code, GIVEBACKFRIDAY.
Contains affiliate links
HEADS UP: Check the comments for MORE sales submitted by readers. And don't miss my
. Scroll down for Cyber Monday Sales.
A constantly updating list of...
Ethical Black Friday Weekend & Cyber Monday Sales
$60 OFF any order over $250 with code: THANKYOU60
$150 OFF any order over $500 with code: THANKYOU150 + FREE SHIPPING in the US!
Po-Zu Shoes: 40% off with code, BETHECHANGE
ABLE Clothing & Accessories: 30% off with code, ABLE30
LUR Apparel: 30% off with code, GET30
30% Off Sitewide and Free Shipping on orders $50+
Purchase any 3 Month or longer Premium Artisan Box Subscription from GlobeIn, and receive a Mystery Box free
20% off with code, SALEWITHSOUL20
30% off orders over $250 with code, SALEWITHSOUL30
40% of orders over $500 with code, SALEWITHSOUL40
Au Naturale Cosmetics: 70% off all items in Sale
Encircled: 20% OFF select regular priced items + FREE shipping to US and Canada on orders over $75 with code, FRIDAY18
Ash & Rose: 15% off sitewide
Indigenous: BOGO 1/2 off select items at this link
Tamga Designs: 25% off + 25% to a reforestation charity
Credo Beauty: $100 gift with purchase of $125 or more
GUNAS New York: 40% off sitewide
Nest Bedding: 5% off any purchase
The Body Shop: 40% off, excludes gifts
Modern Vice Shoes: 50% off with code, MVB50, excludes sample sale
Raven & Lily: graduated sales 15-30% off
Soul Flower: 40% off with code, GOODVIBES
25% off orders under $100 with code, FRIDAY25
30% off orders over $100 with code, FRIDAY30
$15 off your next purchase with any Home Goods order
Sudara: 40% off pants and tops with code, LETSGO40
Sandgrens Clogs: 50% off select styles at this link
Faherty: 25% off everything with code, SUNANDWAVE
Nordstrom: up to 60% off select styles (check for sustainable brands!)
Grana: select items on sale via this link
Hackwith Design House: 30% off sitewide with code, PUMPKINPIE
Artemis Design Co. Shoes: 15% off with code, FLYINGCARPETSHOECLUB + free gift with purchase
Alternative Apparel: 30% off with code, THANKS30
Swap.com: 40% off select items with this link
Krochet Kids: 30% off with code, GIVEGOOD
Fair Indigo: 15% off sitewide
Under the Canopy: up to 40% off via this link
Nisolo: select offers with details on the website
Re/Done: select items on sale through this link
LA Relaxed: up to 45% off with code, RELAX45
Fortress of Inca: 10% off with code, thankya
Christy Dawn: 30% off with code, THANKFUL30
People Tree: 30% off everything excluding sale
Round + Square: 25% off everything
Ethica: 20% off the Miakoda collection with code, THANKS18
Indosole: 25% off sitewide
Bourgeois Boheme Vegan Shoes: 30% off with code, GREENFRIDAY
Kowtow Clothing: 20% off with code, ENJOY20, excluding swim and special edition
Beaumont Organic: extra 20% off sale with code, GREENFRIDAY20
NeoThread: 25% off orders over $75 with code, BLACKFRIDAY25
Nicora Shoes: Going out of business sale :(
Joon & Co: 40% off everything with code, turkeytime
In stores and online, all jewelry and ornaments BOGO 50% off
Free shipping on orders over $75 online
LACAUSA: 25% off site-wide with code GRACIAS25 through 11/25
Everlane: Black Friday Fund with $13 from every purchased donated to the Surfrider Foundation to clean up beach and ocean plastic
Green Kid Crafts: 70% off new subscriptions
Reformation: 30% off everything through 11/26
Nourish Organic Skincare: 50% off sitewide through Cyber Monday
Anchal Project: 30% off sitewide with code, GIVEBETTER30 through 11/26
MZ Fair Trade: 40% off sitewide through 11/26
Pela Case: special deals on their Amazon store
LL Bean: 25% off Bean boots (made in USA) with code, BOOT25
Mata Traders: 30% off through 11/27
Nisolo: extra 15% off with code, EXTRA15
Elegantees: 30% off with code, FABRIC
Schmidt's Deodorant: 30% off with code, 30NOW
Vetta Capsule: Sample sale, $20-30 per item
: Join over one hundred ethical brands to shop in support of RAINN, an organization fighting child sexual abuse, through a custom storefront provided by DoneGood.
Starts Cyber Monday:
GlobeIn: Buy 3 Artisan Boxes from GlobeIn and get 1 Free
Ash & Rose: 30% off sale items
Ten Thousand Villages: All orders $50 and over get 20% off and free shipping
Nest Bedding: 15% off sitewide one day only
The Body Shop: 50% off select items via this link + free shipping
Synergy Organic Clothing: 40% off everything with code, GRATEFUL
Alternative Apparel: 40% off sitewide
P.S. Just in case you're wondering, my feelings on Black Friday are complicated. I don't like the "retail theater" that obligates brands to offer enticing sales or else become invisible during a frenzied week(end) of sales, but I do think that this season offers opportunities for people who aren't always able to afford items at full price, including my family and friends, to partake in the consumer economy in a more financially responsible way and stock up on gifts for the Holiday season at more accessible price points. I think the best long term strategy may be to offer extended sales throughout the whole month, as many sustainable brands have done this year. This takes the adrenaline and anxiety out of purchasing but still provides an opportunity for discounts.
This post was co-sponsored by brands I reached out to and contains affiliate links
I decided to take the month of December off, though we'll see how long I can rein in my workaholic tendencies to make that happen. In any case, I thought I would try to offer the most useful, most epic, most thorough ethical wishlist of all time - for StyleWise anyway - to make up for my absence.
Items in this list were selected based on metrics of fair labor, eco-friendliness, quality, and aesthetic. I selected products at a variety of price points, and offer "Shop All" links to help you peruse other items in each brand's line. I built it out with an idea that there would be something for everyone, and I hope that's the case!
Happy Holidays and happy shopping!
The Ultimate Sustainable and Ethical Holiday Gift Guide
For the Techie
For the Home Entertainer
For the Jewelry Collector
For the Traveler
✸ Women's Empowerment (Equality Now): Round + Square // Girl Power Tee | Shop All
✸ Pollinator Conservation: Xerces Society // Gift Membership
✸ Ethical Garment Production: Clean Clothes Campaign // Donate
For the Crafter
For the Subscription Box Lover
✸ Causebox // Curated box of home goods and accessories
✸ GlobeIn // Seasonal and theme boxes
✸ Darn Good Yarn // Crafting boxes
✸ Green Kid Crafts // Learning Kits