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The Ethical Outerwear Guide: How To Choose Conscious Pieces

7 mins read. Published on 14 Jun 23, Updated on 14 Jun 23.
The Ethical Outerwear Guide: How To Choose Conscious Pieces

In today's fast-fashion world, it's easy to get caught up in the latest trends and forget about the impact our choices have on the environment and the people who make our clothes. However, making conscious choices when it comes to what we wear doesn't mean sacrificing style or quality. This is especially true when it comes to outerwear, where functionality and durability are often as important as aesthetics.

In this Ethical Outerwear Guide, we will explore how to choose conscious pieces that not only look good but also align with your values. We will cover everything from eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes to fair trade practices and the social impact of our choices. So whether you're in the market for a new parka or a lightweight jacket, this guide will help you make an informed decision and contribute to a better fashion industry.

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How To Choose Ethical Outerwear

When it comes to choosing ethical outerwear, there are a few key factors to consider. Firstly, look for brands that use sustainable materials, such as recycled or organic fabrics. These materials have a lower impact on the environment and can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your wardrobe. Another important factor to consider is the manufacturing process. Be sure to research the brands you are interested in and look for information on their production methods. Brands that prioritize fair labor practices, safe working conditions and a transparent supply chain are great options for conscious consumers. Lastly, consider the durability of the outerwear you're interested in. Investing in high-quality pieces that are built to last not only reduces waste but also helps save you money in the long run. Look for brands that offer repair services and extend the life of their products.

Additional Tips

If you're looking to take your ethical outerwear game to the next level, there are a few extra things you can do. Firstly, consider buying secondhand. Not only is this a more sustainable option, but it can also save you money. You might be surprised at the quality and variety of outerwear you can find in vintage or thrift stores. Another tip is to consider the seasonality of your purchases. By investing in versatile pieces that can be worn year-round, you're less likely to fall into the trap of fast fashion and impulse buying. Overall, choosing ethical outerwear is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment while still looking chic and stylish. By prioritizing sustainability and conscious consumption, we can all do our part to create a better future for ourselves and the planet.

Sustainable Materials To Look For

When it comes to sustainable outerwear, it's essential to look for quality materials that have minimal environmental impact. Here are some sustainable materials to look for when shopping:

Recycled Fabrics

Recycled polyester, nylon, and other materials are easy to find and have a lower environmental impact compared to their traditional alternatives. Because they're made from recycled materials, they keep fabric waste out of landfills.

Organic Cotton

Organic cotton is grown without harmful chemicals, making it less harmful to the environment and people involved in cotton production. Look for outerwear made from organic cotton to reduce your impact.


Hemp is a versatile and durable material that grows quickly and requires few pesticides or fertilizers. Clothing made from hemp is also biodegradable, so it won't contribute to pollution at the end of its life.


Tencel® is a type of sustainable rayon made from eucalyptus trees. The production process is closed-loop, meaning that water and chemicals are recycled and reused, reducing waste. When shopping for ethical outerwear, it's important to prioritize sustainability and look for materials that are environmentally friendly. By choosing sustainable options, you can reduce your impact and support brands that prioritize social and environmental responsibility.

Taking Care Of Your Outerwear

Invest In Durable Pieces

One of the best ways to take care of your outerwear is by investing in high-quality pieces that are made to last. Look for pieces that are well-constructed, with reinforced stitching and durable fabrics. This will ensure that your outerwear can withstand the wear and tear of everyday use and continue to look great for years to come.

Choose Natural Materials

When it comes to caring for your outerwear, choosing natural materials is key. Natural materials like wool, cotton, and leather are easier to care for and are more durable than synthetic fabrics. They also tend to be more sustainable in the long run, as they can be repaired and maintained over time rather than ending up in a landfill.

Follow Care Instructions

It's important to follow the care instructions on your outerwear to ensure that it stays looking its best. This may include hand-washing or dry-cleaning certain items, avoiding harsh detergents or bleach, and taking care not to wring or stretch your garments too much. By following care instructions, you can help prolong the life of your outerwear while also reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Overall, taking care of your outerwear is an important part of sustainable and conscious shopping. By investing in high-quality, natural materials and following care instructions, you can help reduce waste and ensure that your outerwear continues to look great for years to come.

Brands to Keep in Mind

When it comes to ethical outerwear, there are a few brands that stand out. Patagonia is known for its commitment to sustainability and ethical production. They use materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester, and have a robust repair program that ensures their products last for years. Another great brand is Nudie Jeans, which uses organic cotton and recycled fibers in their denim jackets. For those looking for more high-end options, Stella McCartney offers a range of ethically made jackets and coats. The brand uses innovative materials like vegetarian leather and recycled polyester, and is committed to minimizing their environmental impact. Another designer brand to keep in mind is Vivienne Westwood, who has been a vocal advocate for sustainable fashion. Her outerwear pieces often use environmentally friendly materials, like wool from ethically raised sheep. If you're looking for more affordable brands, then Everlane is a great option. The brand is committed to transparency in their production process and uses materials like recycled polyester and sustainably sourced wool. Outerknown, founded by surfer Kelly Slater, is another affordable option that focuses on eco-friendly materials and ethical production.

Other Notable Brands

- Outerknown - Everlane - Eileen Fisher - Reformation - Amour Vert Overall, there are plenty of great options when it comes to ethical outerwear. By supporting brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical production, we can help create a more sustainable fashion industry.

Sizing And Fit Guide

When it comes to choosing ethical outerwear, size and fit are important factors to consider. Not only do you want outerwear that fits well and flatters your figure, but you also want pieces that will last for years to come. Here are some tips for finding the right size and fit for your ethical outerwear:

Know Your Measurements

The first step to finding the right size and fit for your ethical outerwear is to know your measurements. Take accurate measurements of your bust, waist, and hips, as well as your shoulder width and arm length. This information will help you choose the right size and ensure that your outerwear fits well.

Read Size Charts Carefully

Different brands may have different size charts, so it's important to read each size chart carefully before making a purchase. Don't assume that a size medium in one brand will be the same as a size medium in another brand. Look for sizing information that includes measurements to ensure the best fit.

Consider Layering

If you plan on wearing layers under your ethical outerwear, consider sizing up to accommodate the extra layers. This will ensure that your outerwear doesn't feel too tight or constricting when you're wearing it over bulkier clothing.

Try Before You Buy

If possible, try on ethical outerwear before making a purchase. This will give you a better idea of how the piece fits and feels on your body. If you're buying online, check the return policy to ensure that you can return or exchange the item if it doesn't fit well. By taking the time to consider size and fit when choosing ethical outerwear, you'll be able to find pieces that not only look good but also have a positive impact on the environment. Remember to choose quality pieces that will last for years to come, and consider buying secondhand or vintage to reduce your impact on the planet.

The Importance Of Ethical Production

As an eco-conscious consumer, it is important to consider the ethics behind the production of the clothing you buy, especially outerwear. Ethical production refers to practices that prioritize the well-being and fair treatment of workers, as well as the environmental impact of the production process.

Worker Welfare

Worker welfare is a vital aspect of ethical production. When choosing outerwear, consider the company's labor practices. Do they pay their workers fair wages? Do they provide safe and healthy working conditions? Are their workers given reasonable working hours? Asking these questions can help you make an informed decision and support companies that prioritize their workers' welfare.

Environmental Impact

The fashion industry is notorious for its negative impact on the environment. From pollution to waste, unethical fashion production can have severe consequences on our planet. It is essential to choose outerwear brands that prioritize sustainable practices, such as using eco-friendly materials, minimizing waste, and reducing carbon emissions.

Choosing ethical outerwear is not only better for the environment and workers, but it is also an investment in the longevity of your wardrobe. Sustainable outerwear is often made with higher quality materials and construction, making it more durable and long-lasting than fast fashion alternatives. Overall, conscious consumption is key to creating a more sustainable future for the fashion industry.

Investing In Quality

When considering sustainable and conscious outerwear, investing in quality is one of the most important factors. Buying high-quality pieces that are made to last will not only save you money in the long run, but it will also drastically reduce your impact on the environment. Cheaply-made fast fashion garments often end up in landfills after just a few wears, contributing to the enormous amount of textile waste in the world.


Investing in quality means choosing sustainable materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and natural fibers like wool and linen. These materials are not only better for the environment, but they are also often more durable and long-lasting than their conventional counterparts.

Production Processes

When investing in quality, it's also important to consider the production processes. Look for brands that prioritize ethical and sustainable production, such as fair wages for workers, safe working conditions, and low environmental impact. Brands that use renewable energy sources and minimize their use of water and chemicals in production are also great choices. Overall, investing in quality is essential to building a sustainable and conscious wardrobe, especially when it comes to outerwear. By choosing durable and high-quality pieces made with ethical and sustainable materials and production processes, we can reduce our impact on the environment and support brands that prioritize sustainability.

Making The Transition To An Ethical Wardrobe

Switching to an ethical wardrobe can seem daunting, but it's a necessary step in creating a sustainable future. One of the first and most important steps is to educate yourself on the ethics and sustainability of fashion brands. Research which brands are committed to fair labor practices, use eco-friendly materials, and prioritize transparency in their production process. This will help you make informed decisions when purchasing new clothing items.

Start With Small Changes

A good way to start making the transition to an ethical wardrobe is to focus on small changes. Start by evaluating your current wardrobe and identifying which items you can replace with more sustainable options over time. Also, consider buying secondhand or upcycling clothes instead of always shop new. Choosing clothes that are versatile and can be styled in different ways can also help reduce the need for constant new purchases.

Invest In Quality

Investing in high-quality, timeless pieces may seem like a more expensive option at first, but ultimately, it can be more sustainable and cost-effective in the long run. By choosing well-made, durable clothing items, you'll be able to wear and enjoy them for years to come, instead of constantly replacing cheap, fast-fashion items that quickly fall apart.

Making the transition to an ethical wardrobe is not a quick or easy process, but it's a worthwhile one that can have a significant impact on our planet. By making conscious choices when it comes to our clothing, we can work towards a more sustainable and just future.

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