Is shopping sustainably, sustainable?

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I guess I’m sort of an everything in moderation sort of person. As much as I’d like to jump in whole heartedly into whatever I’m trying to do, certain changes just don’t happen that fast and sometimes there are other factors involved.

The shirt I’m wearing in the photo is from Amour Vert, a sustainable brand made in the United States.

I’ve been looking more and more into ethical and sustainable fashion brands. I really want to transition my wardrobe over to being more of these clothes, but I know it may never be all ethical brands.

For instance, right now I really want a pair of yellow pants. I have a couple of ideas of how to wear them and I think they would be fun for the spring and summer. But in a couple of years am I still going to want to wear yellow pants? Maybe, but maybe not.

With trendy items or items that may only last a year or so in my closet, I have trouble with the idea of spending so much money on these items. Ethical and sustainable fashion brands tend to cost more due to the materials they use and wages they pay. I guess from an ethical standpoint I shouldn’t worry about these fleeting wants and focus on pieces that are going to stand the test of time. However, I really don’t want to get bored with my clothes as fashion is something that brings me joy.


Related: Easy ways to live more sustainably


Sustainable closets tend to be more minimal, and I’m fine with downsizing and shopping less. I just still want to have a bit of variety.

I guess I just worry that others will find it hypocritical if I shop ethically made for some things, and at the average store for others.

I watched a YouTube video by Carrie Dayton a little while back. Carrie tries to shop secondhand and limit her consumption of fast fashion. Carrie has occasionally done videos about average brands though. The video I watched was about how she received criticism for still shopping for new items from time to time even though she’s supposed to be part of the “thrifting community”. She made the point that with a lot of the ethical and eco-friendly communities (including zero-waste and plant-based) it seems like you’re only allowed to be all-in or not at all. Carrie’s point was that anything you are doing that positively effects the world is good, so we shouldn’t criticize each other for at least trying.

I think if you buy an item you absolutely love, and get a lot of use out of, then it’s sustainable, no matter where it came from. A lot of items in my closet have gotten a lot of use and are worn year after year, even the stuff that’s typically considered low quality.

I still probably won’t be shopping at Forever 21 anymore though…

The moral of the story is: you may start to see some ethical brands popping up here, and you’ll probably continue to see some of my old favorites like Old Navy and Target, and hopefully, that’s okay.


Is it okay to only shop sustainably sometimes?

winter to spring transition outfit with a striped sweater and medium wash jeans

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  1. 4.10.19
    Anon said:

    What a great article!!

    • 4.10.19
      Emily said:

      Thank you!

  2. 4.10.19
    page said:

    loved reading this and getting your take on the subject! i totally agree with you about how certain items become sustainable if you wear them enough! thank you for sharing 🙂 x

    • 4.10.19
      Emily said:

      Thank you!!

    • 4.14.19
      Tara said:

      Fast fashion is something else. It’s like I buy a pair of jeans and they’re falling apart a few months later. Great read

      • 4.16.19
        Emily said:

        So true. I’ve had a few fast fashion pieces that actually stood the test of time, but you’re right, most things fall apart in no time.

  3. 4.11.19
    Elishah said:

    I’m right there with you! I’m struggling with this as a makeup artist. I want to be more green yet so many natural companies use plastic or the companies that aren’t as natural use glass. So I’m trying to do everything in moderation.

    • 4.12.19
      Emily said:

      I struggle with this too! I wish there were more natural makeup brands readily available but I find them hard to find!

  4. 4.12.19

    I struggle with this too. I want to commit to shopping more ethically without having to worry that people will judge me if I slip up! This post was so helpful and I love your attitude! I think my approach will be similar. Thank you!

    • 4.12.19
      Emily said:

      Thank you! That’s nice to hear!

  5. 4.13.19
    Angelina said:

    Love this article!

    • 4.13.19
      Emily said:

      Thank you!

  6. 4.14.19

    Great Article!

    • 4.16.19
      Emily said:


  7. 8.2.19

    I like wearing clothing that lasts because in the long run I save money.

    • 8.5.19
      Emily said:

      You really do. It’s the cost per wear idea!