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We Need To Talk About… Making Smarter, More Sustainable Fashion Choices

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How often are you seduced by the sale?? Oh boy, I used to LIVE for a sale! I would proudly proclaim my fabulous, affordable, fashion find regardless of where it came from. Frankly, I probably didn’t even know where it came from. But the reality is… those “fabulous finds” were likely thrown out or donated only a few short months later, when they started to fall apart in the wash, balled up, or lost color. Not only were these purchases a waste of money since they only lasted a short time, but they are also horrible for the environment.

No joke, the other day I received a pair of pants from a popular retailer, opened the plastic bag, and was overwhelmed by a pungent chemical smell. It was truly disgusting! Despite that scent, I tried the pants on anyway and wore them around the house for a couple of hours. That’s when I started to get super itchy around my knees. I took the pants off and noticed red bumps all over my legs! What the heck were those pants made of? I’m not sure I want to know. It’s possible that even some of your favorite “reputable” brands may not be using environmentally-friendly fabrics and processes.

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A Shift for Team Busbee

I shared my thoughts with Team Busbee back in 2020. After a lengthy discussion and collective agreement, we made a conscious shift toward wearing and recommending brands that are not “fast fashion”…meaning they don’t fall apart after a few washes and are made of high-quality, non-toxic fabrics. (No rashes!)

Making a shift towards sustainable fashion can seem overwhelming at first, but when you make small changes over time, it will feel much more manageable. And, you know what? It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s just like clean eating or clean beauty… it’s never 100%, you just do your best. Simply reading the fine print and understanding fabrics and the brand behind the garments can help you make smarter, safer choices.

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The Price of Fast Fashion

There is an exciting movement in fashion right now.  A shift toward sustainability. Designers and fashion houses are now paying attention to the clothing they’re putting out there, the fabrics they use, working conditions, and how fashion is affecting our planet.

We DO have a long way to go, however. The fashion industry is reportedly responsible for 10% of all carbon emissions, is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply, and pollutes oceans with micro-plastics. Not to mention clothing is overflowing in our landfills.

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Fashion Transformation

The best fashion trend I’ve seen in a long time is a shift towards sustainability. Capsule or forever wardrobes are more and more popular. There is also a notable ‘minimalist’ movement.

In 2020, I looked at my closet and decided I was tired of buying pieces that fell apart after two or three washes, tired of donating clothing I only wore for one season, and tired of all the waste that low-quality pieces were creating. That’s when we (Team BUSBEE) made a very conscious shift toward wearing and recommending brands that are not “fast fashion.” You may have even noticed the shift? While it’s sometimes tempting to promote the latest social media ‘must-have’… it simply doesn’t align with our values anymore. We recommend high-quality pieces that will last for years, using more sustainable fabrics and manufacturing practices.

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Feel Good In Your Clothes

If you are a long-term reader, you’ve heard me talking about Wardrobe Basics before. These basics are the foundation of your wardrobe, which make getting dressed every day so much easier. (We give our basics checklists free when you sign up for our newsletter here.) Instead of checking the boxes off your wardrobe basics list quickly with cheap, low-quality, fast-fashion pieces…you can take your time and invest in high-quality pieces.

The benefits are SO amazing. You will wear those pieces for years and years. You will save time and money because you don’t have to buy, buy, buy every season… And, of course,  you can also help protect the planet.

Making this shift might seem overwhelming at first, but you can start small. At first, maybe you just get curious. Ask yourself… what is this brand? What are their values? Where do they manufacture the clothing? Do they have any messaging about sustainability online?

I believe that even small changes can make a major impact!

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Breaking The Cycle

Here’s a startling stat: experts say the average American consumer generates about 75 pounds of textile waste per year! We are not going to solve this issue overnight. But for now, we can try to break the cycle by educating ourselves, investing in higher-quality pieces, and supporting organizations and brands committed to sustainability in fashion.

Below, we’re sharing some of our favorite brands committed to or moving towards more sustainable practices.

Rails Eco Collection
Ba&sh
Express Conscious Edit
Reformation
DL1961
Veja
Mara Hoffman
Everlane
Vitamin A
Mango

Do you know an incredible, sustainable brand we need to highlight? Please let me know. Team Busbee is committed to this effort…a different kind of fashion transformation.

If you’d like to read more from our, We Need to Talk About Series, you can find additional thought-provoking topics here.

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Thanks for stopping by!
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How To Manifest Anything, Fashion blogger Erin Busbee of Busbee Style wearing an orange and blue Staud Ina dress with white sunglasses walking around in Telluride, Colorado
Erin Busbee
After a decade in TV news, a desire to help women "look pretty" sparked a career pivot. I started my own wardrobe consulting business, styling "real" women for many years. In 2014, I changed direction again, using my TV background and styling expertise to launch this website and my YouTube channel. We are now a community of well over 1 million dynamic, vibrant, amazing women over 40... who know that age isn't something you need to hide from. For us, life is just getting started!!
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10 thoughts on “We Need To Talk About… Making Smarter, More Sustainable Fashion Choices

  1. Erin,
    I am a HUGE fan of your philosophy and style. My only problem is that at age 68 & semi disabled the prices are too high on a fixed income. Any suggestions? Plus, my daughter finds my choices in clothing unacceptable for my age. I love long blazers, white ribbon/fabric self ties on tops and pants. I’m not much of a skirt wearer. Since my neurological dysfunction diagnosis 5 years ago, I was house/bed bound & just a year ago began somewhat living again. I had to stop working, suffer severe depression, falls with at last count 10 concussions. I am still very limited. Suggestions for someone in my situation?
    Thanks so much!
    Rhonda

    1. I am so sorry that you have been living in so much pain, Rhonda… What a strong, perseverant, and amazing woman you are. Thank you for trusting us enough to share your story.

      I’m sure your daughter wants the best for you, but what matters most is what YOU love to wear…what YOU feel your best in.

      Sustainable fashion does often cost a bit more. However, I am seeing more and more brands start to think about and adopt sustainable practices. A few of my favorite lower-cost brands doing this are Express (https://rstyle.me/+S0BxSXxP8UcCTbB0_Z7Uww) and Mango (https://rstyle.me/+uscBA8vph4TkK-3v_PZPDQ). Both brands also have frequent sales. Possibly even more important than buying from sustainable retailers is just taking extra time to really think through purchases…will this be something you want to wear for years or is this something that will only last a season and then be put in the donate pile? Build a closet full of pieces you love instead of fast fashion one season wonders. Hope this helps and thank you so much for being here, Rhonda! ~Erin xo

  2. I recently stumbled upon Celtic & Co, and love their items! They are UK based & use locally-sourced natural sustainable materials, including recycled fibers and materials that might have been otherwise discarded. I have found their clothing and footwear to be extremely well made, comfortable, and stylish.

  3. Great topic and one that deserves our focus!

    There’s a company called Perfect DD which makes blouses etc for women size DD or larger bust. It says select styles are available at Nordstrom.com.

    If you go to their frequently asked questions they have information about their work to be sustainable and socially responsible.

    They have an ECO box to reduce the waste in shipping. When someone doesn’t like their purchase due to non-damaged reasons (size, color, etc.), instead of returning the item back to the warehouse, items are shipped directly to the next willing customer.

    1. Glad you liked the post! Thanks for sharing…I’ll have to check it out. Genius shipping set-up too! ~Erin xo

  4. Thank you for this, I have started buying more natural fibers. and skipping the synthetics, cotton is biodegradable. I also avoid clothes manufactured in China for various reasons.

  5. I have found some amazing, high quality wardrobe basics from California based Rowan (forrowan.com). Their pieces are made in America with American-grown cotton. I can’t get enough of the Tyler tee. Rowan also donates 1% of proceeds to charities supporting fatherhood.

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