life·13 min read

Sustainable Clothes and Accessories to Add to Your Wardrobe ASAP

how to make your wardrobe way more sustainable
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Rothy's
Sep 7, 2022

This post was originally published in August 2021 and has been updated.

Products you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

We’ve all been there: standing in front of our closets, looking at the things we haven’t worn in a year (or years). Clothes stop fitting, items go out of style, things get worn out, rinse and repeat. 

Now let’s talk about sustainability. You’ve heard of eco-friendly swaps you can make in your kitchen. And cleaning products that are way more gentle on the planet. But what about your closet? 

There are a ton of (stylish) options to make your wardrobe more earth-friendly. We rounded up our fave pieces from brands that use recyclable materials and work to save water and reduce waste.

Psst…this is part of our Relatable Fashion Week series. For more of our picks for all things sustainable clothing, click here. We’ve got recs for wardrobe staples that’ll last for years and helpful tips for ways you can increase the longevity of your clothes. Plus, the deets on all the ins and outs of clothing rental programs.

A soft crew neck that comes in a million colors…

Consider this the one sweatshirt you’ll want to wear every day as you WFH. The French terry is ethically made from a family-owned mill in Los Angeles. Oh, and it’s pill-resistant and won’t awkwardly stretch. Not to mention it’s a home run in the cozy department. Score. ($88, Softwear)

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A crossbody bag made from recycled plastic…

This little bag is lightweight, washable, and comes with a detachable, adjustable belt. You can wear it four different ways and will have enough room for small essentials like keys, hand sanitizer, and lip balm. The knit is made of Rothy’s signature thread that comes from single-use plastic bottles. Putting ocean-bound marine plastic to good use? That’s a win. ($165, Rothy’s)

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A ribbed, pointelle sleep set that’s made from organic cotton…

These pajamas are soft, lightweight, and save 32 gallons of water. And thanks to the chic silhouette, you’ll want to wear them outside your house too. They come in three colors, but we’re eyeing the adorable rosy shade. Cozy on up. ($40, Pact)

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An e-commerce site where you can shop pre-owned items at a discount…

ThredUP is all about promoting sustainable fashion. Tons of clothing is sent straight to landfills instead of being recycled. So to help you shop secondhand, thredUP decided to modernize the traditional thrifting experience. Everything is online, where you can browse items by category. And even sell pieces of your own. Get ready to add to cart. (Prices vary, thredUP)

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A comfy sneaker that you’ll wanna wear all day long...

That’s right. And with every pair sold, ten trees get planted in the Brazilian rainforest. Not to mention they just launched a bamboo slip-on that has three times fewer carbon emissions than the industry standard. Their best-selling canvas series comes in a wide array of colors to cover you from spring, to summer, to fall. They’re so comfortable that they were voted a Skimm Fave product for 2020. And for a limited amount of time, you’ll receive 20% off.* ($79+, Cariuma)

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An organic cotton tee for everyday wear…

Because you’re gonna need one (or two or three) of these all year round. This classic crew neck is made of a thicker fabric, and has a slightly cropped length which means you can rock high-waisted bottoms with ease. Plus, it’s GOTS certified, which means every step of production is monitored to ensure the piece is 100% organic. And it’s better for the soil, water, and workers too. Look good, feel amazing. ($30, Everlane)

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Classic black leggings that are made from recycled water bottles…

Gather round: Girlfriend Collective’s compressive leggings are a best-seller for a reason. They’re squat-proof, high-rise, and literally feel like a second skin. (We know, because we wear and love ’em all the time.) They’re stretchy and comfortable. And when you feel like they’ve seen better days, you can recycle them with ReGirlfriend. ($78, Girlfriend Collective)

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Cloud-like socks that can withstand intense movement…

Made from discarded fabric scraps and recycled cotton and polyester, this sweat-wicking pair is ultra-durable so they’ll last with every wash. They have a terry looped padded footbed and elastic arch support for the coziest feel. Plus, they’re made from 100% clean materials, ship in completely recyclable packaging, and don’t contribute to water waste during production. We’re gonna need a pair ASAP. ($12, Arvin Goods)

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An eco-friendly puffer jacket…

Commutes, snow days, dog walks, you name it. A classic puffer is a must-have. This one has a chic wide-funnel collar and an attached hood. It hits at the upper thigh for added warmth and has a slim fit. Plus, its sustainable filler is made from 100% recycled bottles so it’s also cruelty-free. It’ll keep you comfortable without any added bulk. And just when ya thought it couldn’t get any better? It's also machine washable. Add to cart…and get 25% your next order with the code INSIDER25 at checkout. ($149, Bernardo)

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A machine-washable blouse with pockets…

Been living in sweats the past few months? Same. If you’ve been searching for something new to wear when you step outside this fall...look no further. This one comes in a cozy pumpkin spice colored and has a structured look without feeling too constraining. And since every part is made from a recycled fabric, you can feel good about what you’re doing for planet Earth too. ($120, Paneros)

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Organic cotton underwear that’ll feel like heaven...

Reminder: Cotton underwear is actually better for you down there. Not to mention it’s also super comfy. This pair from Pact is made from 95% organic cotton, which saves about 5 gallons of water in the production process. No pollution, no problem. ($14, Pact)

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A shoe insole for when you need extra support…

The insoles can help with hip and spinal alignment. And therefore better support may relieve back and neck pain. Instead of using unsustainable gels, foams, and plastics, Fulton uses plant-based materials like cork and cactus leather. Plus, the machines run on renewable energy and the cork itself is hand-grown. Win for your feet, win for the environment. ($38, Fulton)

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Backpacks with slight defects that you can score for less…

Some have subtle glue stains. Others have tiny water marks. Day Owl calls them ‘misfits,’ but they’re still 100% worthy of love. And at a reduced price, your wallet will love ’em too. And to be clear, there are no structural defects. These backpacks are still 100% durable. Any issue is cosmetic only. ($99, Day Owl)

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A cozy, carbon-neutral slip-on loafer from Allbirds…

This shoe is the perfect hybrid between a slipper and a sneaker. It’s made of super-soft merino wool and has a bouncy sugarcane sole. They’re perfect for wearing around the house or for quick errands. Did we mention that they’d also make a great travel companion? ($105, Allbirds)

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Pre-owned designer handbags so you can spend less…

And give items a renewed purpose. The entire collection has been carefully vetted by a team of luxury experts. And no item is accepted in poor condition. With up to 80% off their retail price, your wallet will thank you in the long run. Psst...you can purchase jewelry too. (Prices vary, Gemma by WP Diamonds)

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High-rise jeans that are perfect for your next night out…

This Reformation pair has a zipper fly and a raw hem. Which means if you need to make a quick alteration at home by chopping the hem off, it’s a breeze. And if skinny jeans aren’t your vibe, no sweat. This pair is fitted throughout the hip with a wide leg that hits right at the ankle.  Reformation focuses on producing clothing that’s good for Mother Nature. Everything is made from low-impact materials, rescued deadstock fabrics, and repurposed vintage clothing. (Even their packaging is sustainable.) They also make clothes in small batches, to cut waste from items that aren’t selling. They’re 100% carbon neutral, and they track how much water, carbon dioxide, and waste they save in making pieces. And once you’re done with something, you can sell back your clothes or donate them. ($128, Reformation)

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A classic zip-around leather wallet that’ll fit nicely in your purse…

In 2020, Cuyana promised to use 100% sustainably-certified materials by the end of this year. Their pieces are designed with sustainably-made materials — many of which are reused and recycled. And we’re 100% here for that. So while all your credit cards, cash, and change will have a safe place to call home, you’ll be helping to reduce the reliance on fast fashion. ($148+, Cuyana)

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A soft striped tee with a zero-waste production process…

That’s right. This T-shirt is made in California at factories that have fair wages, safe work environments, and no unnecessary waste production. It has a classic boat neckline and ¾ length sleeves. And it comes in 9 different stripey colorways. For every shirt you buy, Amour Vert will also plant a tree through their partner, American Forests. Since opening their doors in 2010, they’ve planted over 350,000 trees. Which means 12 billion gallons water replenished, almost 150,00 tons of CO2 sequestered, and over 1,700 acres of reforested land. Conscious consumption has never felt so good. Psst..shop the entire zero-waste collection. ($17+, Amour Vert)

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A V-neck swimsuit supportive enough to wear as a body suit…

It’s the perfect option for active beach days, when you need a bit more support. And then throwing on with a pair of shorts and wearing to dinner after. The cups are lined for full coverage, but are removable if you find them annoying. So you can splash in the waves or play a game of volleyball without having to worry about anything slipping out. Plus, all of Boden’s new season swimwear (kiddos included) is made from 100% recycled fabric. Phew. ($98+, Boden)

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*This denotes a sponsored section.


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