posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on Eco-Friendly Office Attire: A Style Guide

On Tuesday, I talked a little bit about what you should or shouldn’t wear to work.  Now Rachel Mlinarchik takes it one step further and talks about how to wear eco-friendly fashion to work. Rachel is the voice behind Fair Vanity, a style blog that empowers its readers to live a fabulous, fun, stylish life that is also fair and kind. Each item featured on Fair Vanity was designed or supplied by someone who has made a conscious effort to be kind to the earth or the people on this earth…or both! Fair Vanity is charting a new way for compassionate women who love fashion but don’t want to compromise their values or their style when they shop. Rachel will be a semi-regular blogger here, so stay tuned for her great eco-friendly style tips!

We all want to be more eco-conscious in our choices when shopping for office attire, but let’s face it– in a sea of “made in China” tags, it’s tough to find high-quality, stylish pieces that are kind to the earth and the people on the earth. Never fear, my fair friends! Being eco-friendly doesn’t mean you need to waltz into the office wearing a hemp scarf and an organic jersey skirt made of the same material as your yoga pants.

When I begin the hunt for a new addition to my wardrobe, I keep an eye out for what I call the Fair Elements of Style. Today, for example, I’ve put together a few looks comprised of items that reflect one or more of the following qualities:

Fair Trade
Organic
Made in the USA
Recycling/Upcycling
Second-Hand
Vegan
Vintage

Look #1: A Day at the Office
You can’t go wrong when you combine navy, cream and camel. They are similar to grey and black in terms of versatility, but a little less severe. Timeless and elegant, these colors will never go out of style, so separates in these colors make sensible, long-term investment pieces.

  1. Bangles are fair trade and made from recycled Ankole cow horn and recycled brass wire from Connected Fair Trade.
  2. Pencil skirt is made in the USA by Three Dots.
  3. Necklace is vintage Monet from Etsy.
  4. Shirt is 100% silk and made in the USA by Carrie Parry. For each garment purchased, a tree is purchase through Trees for the Future. Read more about Carrie Parry’s extensive sustainability policies here.
  5. Pumps are 100% vegan by Stella McCartney (and deeply discounted right now).

 

Look#2: After-hours Event
These jewel-toned shift dresses are classic staples that can easily take you from lunch meetings to an evening event. Any piece of clothing that can do double-duty in this way is a style win and an eco win in my book. Create a conservative, casual style by adding flats and a cardigan or blazer to these classic shifts, or dress them up for evening by adding statement jewelry and black patent spike heels.

  1. Gold necklace is vintage Monet from Etsy.
  2. Black necklace is vintage Napier from Etsy.
  3. Dresses are made in the USA by Nanette Lepore. Yellow dress w/ tie detail (on sale!) available here; Jade and violet dresses w/ bracelet sleeves available here.
  4. Ring is hand-crafted from recycled 14k gold and available on Etsy
  5. Earrings are vintage onyx and rose gold (circa 1870-1880) from Etsy.
  6. Shoes are vegan by Stella McCartney from Ebay

 

As you can see from the looks above, Etsy and Ebay are go-to resources for me, especially when it comes to finding vintage and used shoes and jewelry. However, I’ve had many readers tell me that they find these sites much too overwhelming in terms of choices.

The trick to finding what you want and need on huge web sites like these is to know exactly what you’re looking for. For example, searching for “Stella McCartney black patent heels size 7″ on Ebay  is going to get you much better results than”black heels.” And on Etsy, you can filter your results to include only vintage items, making it easier to guarantee you are reusing and recycling through your purchases.

My last piece of advice is not limited to shopping for work attire, but can applied across the board to any clothing purchases you make in the future: no matter how good of a deal it is, or how on-trend it is, if you don’t love it–and I mean absolutely LOVE it–don’t buy it. I know we hear this all the time, but it bears repeating. Every piece you purchase should fit you well and make you feel confident when wearing it. If these criteria have not been met, you might wear it once, but your hard-earned money will be wasted, and the item will end up in the back of your closet or worse yet, adding to the tons of clothing that we throw away each year.

Today I’ve shared just a few of the many options out there for all of you stylish Eco Women who are looking to expand your wardrobes fairly and kindly. For more fair fashion inspiration, I encourage you to stop in and visit with me at www.myfairvanity.com every once in a while.

xo

Rachel

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