Are Your Accessories as Sustainable as Your Wardrobe?

You’ve probably heard of sustainable fashion. In a nutshell, sustainable fashion aims to cut down on the environmental and economic impact of fast fashion by encouraging everyone to be conscious of what kind of materials they wear and where they got them. Nowadays, people have become more aware of their carbon footprint and continue to look for tangible, credible ways to minimize that. It’s not just a trend. From metal straws to glass water bottles, becoming more environment-friendly has never been this stylish.

But what about accessories? Accessories are an essential factor when constructing an outfit. Fashionistas can attest to how much the right accessory can elevate your whole look. But how can accessories be as sustainable as clothes? What kind of stuff should we look out for exactly? Here are ways to make your whole outfit, not just your clothes, ethical and sustainable.

It’s a Material World

When it comes to sustainable fashion, it’s all about the materials. What is it made from? Where does the material come from, and how was it harvested or acquired? It’s just the same with accessories. When you’re shopping for something made from fabric, such as scarves, hats, and even face masks, make sure that they’re made from organic and renewable materials. This includes natural fibers like cotton, linen, even bamboo, and pineapple. But be wary of what’s advertised.

Fast fashion brands might claim that their clothes are a hundred percent natural, but that might not always be true. When in doubt, look for smaller, more environment-friendly brands. Not only are you choosing not to give the fast fashion industry any more of your money, but you’re supporting an independent business and a good cause as well.

Making sure that the materials were ethically sourced is also a plus. This is especially true for materials that come from animals, such as wool and leather. If you’re vegan, stay clear of these products. It might be weird to ask the sales clerk about their manufacturer’s animal-raising practices, but it’ll all be worth it in the long run. The less animal abuse was involved, the better.

Other than that, recycled materials, like recycled synthetic fabric, are always a good idea too. When has recycling ever been bad for the environment?

Wear Sustainable Jewelry

Did you know that metal jewelry can be bad for the environment, too? Usually, jewelry is made from precious metals like gold, silver, and precious gems. While gold and silver can be melted down and reused, precious gems and other related metals are non-renewable resources and non-biodegradable to boot. Or at least, it might take the earth a bit longer to produce more gems of the same quality. Not to mention the significant environmental damage that mining causes, like contaminating drinking water, the use of mercury and cyanide, and the destruction of natural mountains.

Like with everything else, make sure that your jewelry is sourced ethically and made from sustainable materials, like recycled gold. Synthetic diamonds and gems made in labs are also surprising innovations of recent times. The good thing is, they make them look even better, and nobody can tell the difference.

If you’re looking for sustainable and cheaper alternatives, plastic is a no-go — it just makes you look cheap. If you still want to look good without worrying about the price, rings and bracelets made from materials like silicone are a nice alternative. And they make good workout rings, too, if you still want to accessorize at the gym.

Shop secondhand 

It might not be as common as thrift shopping for clothes, but buying secondhand accessories helps keep a sustainable wardrobe. You can still find secondhand hats, socks, and even bags in relatively good condition. Secondhand jewelry might be a bit of a slippery slope, but as long as they’re well taken care of, and the price is right, there shouldn’t be much of a problem.

What’s more, vintage, secondhand stuff has stories to them that you won’t find with brand new things. If you buy something that’s pre-loved from someone else, the sentimental weight that object carries gives it a whole new meaning and purpose, especially if it’s from someone you know and love. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to try out that cool vintage style you’ve always wanted to pull off.

As always, be careful of where you shop for your secondhand items and who you buy them from. Not only is buying secondhand much cheaper, but you’re less likely to contribute to the fast fashion industry this way too. So, by all means, go thrift shopping!

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